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.