Players to Watch: Twins
- Josh Willingham: He’s an absolute beast and is putting up monster numbers for a team that isn’t considered an offensive juggernaut. He really has been a one-man band when it comes to power. His 25 home runs lead the the team and his 72 RBI are almost 30 more than the next closest Twin (Ryan Doumit has 46). If the Indians pitchers can keep Willingham’s impact to a minimum, then things become a bit easier.
- Joe Mauer: As I said, Mauer is doing a phenomenal job of not making outs. Of course it helps that he’s protected in the lineup by Willingham so he sees more quality pitches than probably any other Twin in their everyday lineup. Mauer has a proven track record for both hitting for average and getting on base, and at only 29 years old, it was ridiculous to think his career was on the decline last year.
Players to Watch: Indians
- Carlos Santana: Don’t look now, but Carlos Santana might be starting to break out of his season-long slump. Over his past nine games, Santana is batting .393 with a 1.308 OPS, 3 home runs, 8 RBI, and four multi-hit games. Perhaps even more impressive, Santana has struck out only 4 times in that span. He’s putting the ball in play again and doing it with authority. The White Sox and Tigers should be concerned.
- Shin-Soo Choo: I don’t want to put a damper on the mood, but this needs to be said:With the trade deadline looming and anyone and everyone being thrown around as possible trade bait, I am imploring you to enjoy Shin-Soo Choo for as long as you possibly can. He’s been great this season and appears to have returned to the form that made him such an exciting player. There’s a chance he gets traded so these may be his few final games in an Indians uniform. If that’s the case, try to enjoy it. He’s a unique player and it’s been an absolute joy to watch him play in Cleveland.