Jason Kubel‘s go-ahead grand slam off of New York Yankees all-world closer Mariano Rivera a couple weeks ago was supposed to turn his season around.
But in the eight games since, it didn’t happen. He produced just four hits, and only one – a double – for extra bases.
So after hitting two homers in another win over the Yankees on Thursday, will that be the game that gets him back on track?
Only time will tell, of course. But I’m perplexed how someone who absolutely mashed against right-handed pitching last season (.617 slugging percentage!) has struggled so mightily this season.
It’s early, so there’s still plenty of time to get things turned around. And maybe last season will end up being his career year.
He’s striking out at a little bit of a higher rate this year, but he’s walking at a higher rate, too. So maybe teams aren’t throwing him as many pitches in the strike zone, and he has failed to capitalize on the ones that have been there.
It’s worth noting, too, that Kubel was a much better hitter at home last season (.956 OPS at the Metrodome, .862 OPS on the road).
While his road numbers are down this season, his home numbers are WAY down (.593 OPS at home, .723 OPS on road entering Thursday).
So the Target Field factor, as much as anything, is a big reason for the drop-off. Kubel will have to adjust to the new confines if he wants to salvage the season.