Startribune.com digital sports editor Howard Sinker used to cover the Twins and now shares season tickets with friends in Section 219 of Target Field. He blogs about baseball from the perspective of a long-time fan who loves the game, doesn’t always believe the hype and likes hearing what others think. Howard sometimes talks about sports with Cathy Wurzer on MPR's Morning Edition.
When times are bad, we expect good players to step up. That's what Michael Cuddyer did in 2009 when he filled in for Justin Morneau at first base and did a lot of the heavy lifting in the final weeks as the Twins rallied to win the AL Central in the season of 163 games.
This year, so far, it's not happening.
And this is the most telling manifestation:
So far this season, Cuddyer has three home runs and four RBI in 122 plate appearances. That means he's driven in exactly one player who isn't named Cuddyer.
That was Jason Kubel with a fielder's choice on April 23 against Cleveland.
Save for the solo home runs, Cuddyer does not have a run-scoring hit in the 52 times he's batted with runners on base -- including 27 with runners in scoring position.
A comparison: Kubel, who is carrying the last-place Twins, has batted 54 times with runners on base (28 with runners in scoring position) and has 13 RBI. Danny Valencia has 60 at-bats with runners on (including 31 with runners in scoring position) and has 16 RBI.
There are many reasons why the Twins are 10 games behind Cleveland right now. But if you want to win an argument about the worst of the worst, you'd be safe citing Cuddyer's incredibly bad start.
|Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks||11:35 AM|
|Cincinnati - H. Bailey|
|Philadelphia - D. Buchanan||1:10 PM|
|Milwaukee - M. Garza|
|Oakland - S. Kazmir||2:45 PM|
|San Francisco - T. Hudson|
|Chicago WSox - J. Quintana||3:05 PM|
|Boston - J. Lester|
|Washington - G. Gonzalez||6:05 PM|
|Baltimore - W. Chen|
|NY Yankees - D. Phelps||6:05 PM|
|Cleveland - T. House|
|Atlanta - A. Harang||6:10 PM|
|NY Mets - B. Colon|
|Pittsburgh - E. Volquez||6:15 PM|
|St. Louis - S. Miller|
|LA Angels - H. Santiago||7:05 PM|
|Texas - C. Lewis|
|Detroit - D. Smyly||7:10 PM|
|Kansas City - J. Guthrie|
|San Diego - O. Despaigne||9:10 PM|
|Los Angeles - C. Kershaw|
|Minnesota - Y. Pino||9:10 PM|
|Seattle - T. Wilhelmsen|
|Winnipeg||7/11/14 6:00 PM|
|Ottawa||7/11/14 9:00 PM|
|Calgary||7/12/14 5:30 PM|
|Brt Columbia||7/12/14 8:30 PM|
|Edmonton||7/17/14 7:30 PM|
|Toronto||7/18/14 6:00 PM|
|Hamilton||7/18/14 9:00 PM|
|Montreal||7/19/14 6:00 PM|
Poll: Should Justin Morneau get the final National League All-Star spot?