Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Mauer, Kubel Great But Team Doesn't Follow

Keeping with the theme of yesterday's post, I'd like to at least look at the positives of last night's discouraging loss to Seattle 4-2. Basically, there were two positives: The play of Jason Kubel and of course, Joe Mauer, who now leads the majors with a .368 average.

Mauer, who also stole a base, now spots a .368/.423/.521 line with 5 HRs and 27 RBI. We've talked about Mauer before, so there is no real need to go into it. He's just hitting everything lately, as he went 4 for 4 on the night with two doubles. At this point, if he gets an All-Star snub, it would just be plain ridiculous. Its early June, so obviously things can change, but if he is hitting .330 at the break, it would still be beyond belief. (As it is now, the starting lineup will consist of one Angel, three Red Soxs, and four Yankees. That wouldn't be worth watching at all)

Kubel, on the other hand, we haven't discussed too much. He came up struggling and Gardehnhire continued to mess with him until now, where after some consistent at-bats (surprise) he starts to hit. He went 3 for 5 tonight with a home run off of former Twin Eddie Guardado, who just looks awful out there. The .250 average doesn't really stand out, but he is starting to get it going it appears. In his last seven games, Kubel is hitting .375 with two home runs. The hope is that Kubel will continue this trend and the one guy most deserving will stay and another will go.

Who should go? Its got to be Rondell White. Its not just the absolutely putrid .193 average. (Ok its June 7th now. Enough excuses the guy is not going to help this club at all.) Its not the .209 OBP or .229 slugging percentage. Its that the guy doesn't even get the basics right. With a clear hit and run on and Justin Morneau going to second in the sixth, White look at strike three and Morneau was thrown out, ending the inning. Adding up all the mental mistakes, the times getting thrown not paying attention, the complete lack of any offensive input, and essentially costing the Twins four games (Check out Aaron Gleeman's post from yesterday)

He needs to go. Whether he is cut, traded, or put on the DL for made up reasons, I don't care. Rondell is a good guy and he should get credit for it, but he isn't doing this team any good. And he doesn't have a future here either and Kubel does if he gets the time now to hone his skills. Kubel could be an All-Star outfielder for years to come. White is 34 and looks done. This should be an easy choice, but then again, I wouldn't be surprised if they make the idiotic choice to keep White and send Kubel down.

Of course, anyone watching the game probably noticed the complete ineptitude with runners on. The Twins left nine men on base, seven of them in scoring position with two outs. Obviously, having a giant hole in the bottom third of the order doesn't help, but Torii, Cuddyer, and Morneau haven't been producing lately either. But give Gardy credit for finally using Luis Castillo in the leadoff role (Although it didn't pay any immediate dividens with him going 0 for 5) and Kubel in the number two hole. At least he is trying smarter lineup construction. It just doesn't help as much when you have 1 for 12 night from your bottom third (Nick Punto was pinch hitting for that one) of your lineup.

Needless to say, lets hope the Twins can beat up soft-tossing Jamie Moyer again tonight with Boof getting another start. With Mauer getting better each night it seems, there is hope.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great post!! I just wanted to mention that when describing Kubel's performance as of lately, you forgot to mention that catch he had last night!! He was completely horizontal--it was great! If they move him down when Stewart comes back up, I will know that they have for sure lost all of their marbles!!

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Get rid of White. Kubel had a great performance last night. That catch had Web Gem written all over it.

Nick M. said...

Oh right. Yes the defense was great. He is definitely a good outfielder. I was just concentrating on the anti-White rant I think. I even forgot stupid Ruben Sierra, whom Gardy absolutely loves, who will soon return. Why isn't he getting let go? He's an ancient slugger, White has a .436 OPS, and Castro is completely worthless. All these guys just need to be let go, so guys like Kubel, Bartlett, and others can get their playing time in. And for God's sake, lets give up on Terry Tiffee. He has no power, no real hitting ability to speak of, no patience, and no defensive ability. Why, again, is did he get the call up? Wooten would have been worse, but the Twins have done some pretty dumb stuff lately. Sending Kubel down again would be a knife in the heart.

J. Lichty said...

At this point, if [Mauer] gets an All-Star snub, it would just be plain ridiculous.

He will. The fans will vote for Pudge Rodriguez and Ozzie will tale AJ as backup because he has stated repeatedly in the Chicago press that he will take all of his team as subs once the mandatory positions are filled.

How much Ozzie blather that is and reality remains to be seen. But I would not want it to come down to Mauer and AJ for the final catcher spot.

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