Players to Watch: Twins
- Josh Willingham: He’s been the Twins’ best and most reliable hitter all season long. He leads the team in home runs (10), RBI (35), and OPS (.965) and has done his best to provide some pop in the middle of the lineup. Unfortunately he hasn’t gotten much help, which has allowed pitchers to work around him. It’s interesting to think what his stats could be like in a lineup with some protection around him.
- Justin Morneau: While he’s still not playing at anywhere near the MVP level at which he once performed, Morneau is starting to turn the corner in his recovery from concussion-like symptoms and other nagging injuries. Despite batting only .244 on the year, he has 9 home runs and 25 RBI. Over his last 10 games he’s 9-for-37 with four homers, four doubles, and 10 RBI. It’s safe to say he’s beginning to hit the ball with some authority again. Tribe pitchers should take note.
Players to Watch: Indians
- Lonnie Chisenhall: Manny Acta said Chisenhall is going to get at-bats; now it’s time for him to do something with them. After last year’s somewhat disappointing stint with the big league club, it would be nice to see him learn from those mistakes, show more plate discipline and start spraying the ball all over the field. The Indians wanted to take it slowly with Chisenhall, but thanks to the breakout of injuries, the future has to be now.
- The left field platoon: Can we get something—anything—out of left field? Johnny Damon has been a major disappointment, Shelley Duncan’s season has been ruined by inconsistent playing time, and Aaron Cunningham hasn’t really gotten a chance to play before the eighth inning of most games. If none of them is going to take the bull by the horns or if the Indians are afraid to commit to one of them, then make a change already. Call up LaPorta, let him have a shot out in left, and see what happens.
Trivia Answer: In his four year high school career, Joe Mauer struck out only once. Mauer on the strikeout: ”I can remember the time I did strike out. It was junior year, and it was in the state tournament. I came back to the bench and everybody thought something was wrong with me.”