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Monday, September 26, 2011

Home Run Watch Update: Mauer vs. Montero

If you're an east coast baseball fan, this was probably an exciting weekend of baseball for you. The Red Sox, plummeting by any definition of the word, were trying to hang onto their postseason hopes, and had the misfortune of playing the Yankees, in the Bronx. Meanwhile, the charging Rays played Toronto. As it stands right now, the Sox have a 1 game lead in the wild card.

But I have some more relevant news to report. If you have been reading this blog, you will know that, for no really good reason, I have been tracking the home runs of new Yankee catcher Jesus Montero, versus the home runs of Joe Mauer. Truthfully, I don't care if Mauer hits many home runs, as long as his average is high, and he hits doubles. Still, however, this is a fun exercise in what has just been a disgusting season for the Twins. This weekend marked a turning point in the Mauer-Montero battle.

On Saturday, Jesus Montero hit another home run (he actually was just a triple short of the cycle), giving him 4 on the season in 58 plate appearances (52 official at-bats). His slash line thus far is .346/.414/.635, and manager Joe Girardi has indicated that Montero will be on the postseason roster. In addition to the 4 home runs, Montero has 3 doubles; 7 of his 18 big league hits have been for extra bases. Yes, this is a tiny sample size, and yes, the league will adjust to Montero, but it is impressive that he is making such a debut playing at Yankee Stadium in the midst of a pennant race.

Our own Joe Mauer, on the other hand, was shut down for the remainder of the season with pneumonia. Mauer ended the season with 3 home runs in 333 plate appearances (296 at-bats). He hit 15 doubles, as well, and his slash line was .287/.360/.368, well below his career averages of .323/.403/.471. 18 extra base hits in 296 at-bats was not what Twins fans, Mauer, his coaches, or teammates had hoped for. I'm glad Mauer has already begun the off-season. Except for a few weeks when he was hitting the ball hard and recording multiple hits in games, it was obvious that Mauer was never healthy. Let's hope that Mauer, Justin Morneau, Denard Span and others can get healthy for 2012. Unfortunately for Mauer, as a result of his inability to keep pace with Jesus Montero, I will not be making a donation to the National Institute for Bilateral Leg Weakness Research. Better luck next year, Joe.

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