Despite providing the occassional head-scratching moment, Carlos Gomez and Alexi Casilla were sure a lot of fun to watch last season.
Dubbed "Loose Cannon 1" and "Loose Cannon 2" by manager Ron Gardenhire, the duo made fans with their unabashed and sometimes quirky style of play. For every highlight reel catch, there was the occassional air-mailed throw or bobbled routine grounder.
This year, the Twins have seen just one end of their "Loose Cannons," and it’s the wrong one.
Both players are hitting under .200. Both are losing a lot of playing time.
Gomez has had just 11 at-bats since April 19, a routine string of benchings that started prior to him leaving the team for the birth of his son.
Casilla has seen much more time on the field, but even he is starting to lose starts to the more ho-hum, but hot-hitting Brendan Harris. Casilla bobbled another ground ball last night, leaving you wondering how long of a leash Gardenhire will give his young second baseman, who is hitting just .160.
If Gomez and Casilla can’t rebound from struggling starts, the Twins might have to find out if slow and steady does win the race in the AL Central.
Reigning American League batting champion Joe Mauer is expected to return from the disabled list for the Minnesota Twins in tonight’s game against the Kansas City Royals.
While Mauer’s inability to hit consistently for power – and the occasional 4-6-3 double play ball he does hit - frustrates many Twins fans, his offense should provide a little more consistency to the lineup.
Mauer has done some of his best hitting in tough spots. His career numbers get better as the situation becomes more pressure-packed.
- With the bases empty: .302 BA, .453 SLG
- With RISP: .342 BA, .499 SLG
- With RISP, 2 outs: .352 BA, .519 SLG
With backup catcher Mike Redmond banged up, Jose Morales has been left to assume the duties behind the plate for the Twins.
Morales has done a nice job at the plate for the Twins, sporting a .349 BA so far this season. However, behind the plate is another matter.
I was watching the Twins either Sunday or Monday when one of the announcers said it was the first time all season that a Minnesota catcher had thrown a baserunner out. ALL SEASON!?!?! The 2009 campaign was three weeks old at the time.
And that might be the one area that gets the least attention. The Twins, especially the pitchers, need Mauer to at the very least control the opponent’s running game.
So far, that has been a major struggle for the Twins.