Phil Miller's Sunday Insider: Numbers adding up this year for Cuddyer

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 6, 2013 - 11:56 PM

By paying less attention to statistics and more to every pitch he sees, Michael Cuddyer is having a career year.


Michael Cuddyer had a frustrating first season in Colorado because of an injury that limited him to 101 games last year, but this year he is having the best year of his major league career.

Photo: David Zalubowski • Associated Press,

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By ignoring the numbers in a game built on them, Michael Cuddyer put up one of the most impressive numbers of the season.

The former Twins star went 0-for-4 in the Rockies’ 8-0 loss to the Dodgers on Tuesday, and no, that’s not the impressive part. Clayton Kershaw does that to a lot of hitters.

But that game marked the first time since May 27 — more than a month earlier — that Cuddyer didn’t have a hit. His 27-game hitting streak is the longest in baseball this season, and the longest in Colorado Rockies history.

“It was a lot of fun. I’ve never been through something like that, and I enjoyed being able to help the team every single day,” said Cuddyer, who left the Twins as a free agent after the 2011 season. “And there’s no shame in losing it to the best pitcher in baseball.”

So when did Cuddyer, whose longest previous career-best streak was 15 games, realize he hadn’t gone hitless in a while? “Oh, I usually realize I have a hitting streak about three games,” he said with a laugh. “I knew what was going on. But I was proud of the way I kept my focus the whole way.”

That focus, he said, was the secret. It took until his 13th big-league season, he said, to understand that worrying about statistics is the best way to sabotage them. “The one thing I’ve done better this year than at any time in my career is to focus on each pitch, each at-bat. Think about nothing else,” said the 34-year-old outfielder, who was named an All-Star for the second time Saturday. “That sounds simple, but I definitely used to be guilty of thinking, ‘I’ve got to get two hits today.’ Or, ‘I need three hits in my next 10 at-bats.’ Or, ‘Didn’t get a hit yesterday, need to make it up today.’ ”

Cuddyer said he used to break his routine into 10 at-bat stretches, “and I didn’t realize how it affected my focus,” he said. “What that does is, if you don’t get a hit in your next seven at-bats, now you’ve put a whole lot more pressure on yourself. It’s amazing how that prevents you from sticking to the mentality of, ‘What is this pitcher doing? What pitch is coming?’ ”

By uncluttering his mind, so to speak, Cuddyer has embarked on perhaps the best season of his career. Entering Saturday, he had gone hitless in a game he started only seven times all year, fewest in the National League among players with 60 games, and his .342 batting average was third-highest in the majors, nearly 60 points better than his best season. With 15 home runs and 52 RBI, he is on pace to challenge career highs in those categories, too.

Staying healthy has been the key, after his 2012 season was ruined by a recurring oblique strain that limited him to 101 games.

And best of all, the Twins’ 1997 first-round pick said, is that the Rockies have recovered from last year’s 98-loss season — two games worse than the Twins — to become a plausible postseason contender, going into Saturday night’s game at Arizona within 3½ games of the first-place Diamondbacks. The Rockies were in first place throughout April and as late as May 25, and their 24-19 record within the NL West gives him hope.

“The way to win, Gardy always preached, was to beat the teams in your own division. That’s what we’re doing,” Cuddyer said, citing Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “We’re definitely within striking distance.”

Not that he pays attention to numbers anymore.

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Houston 2 FINAL
St. Louis 5
Washington 9 FINAL
Atlanta 8
Miami 5 FINAL
Boston 3
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
NY Yankees 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 1
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 5
Detroit - LP: J. Mantiply 4 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: C. Torres 5
Cincinnati 1 Top 7th Inning
Chicago Cubs 1
Los Angeles 8 Top 7th Inning
Milwaukee 0
San Francisco 9 Bottom 7th Inning
Texas 0
Chicago WSox 0 Bottom 7th Inning
San Diego 3
Kansas City 10 Top 6th Inning
Cleveland 5
Seattle 4 Top 8th Inning
Los Angeles 7
Colorado 0 Bottom 7th Inning
LA Angels 3
Oakland 4 Top 6th Inning
Arizona 1
Pittsburgh 6:05 PM
NY Yankees
Chicago 6:00 PM
Sacramento 6:00 PM
Utah 6:00 PM
Miami 6:00 PM
Toronto 6:00 PM
Cleveland 6:30 PM
Boston 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Detroit 7:00 PM
LA Lakers 7:00 PM
Phoenix 7:00 PM
Denver 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Dallas 9:30 PM
Golden State
Columbus 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Minnesota 6:00 PM
Buffalo 6:30 PM
Calgary 6:30 PM
Edmonton 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh 9:00 PM
Longwood 68 FINAL
Char Southern 60
Ark-Pine Bluff 94 FINAL
Miss Valley St 75
Southern Ill 45 FINAL
Wichita State 56
Winthrop 67 FINAL
Radford 66
Evansville 44 2nd Half 9:55
Illinois State 50
Towson 5:00 PM
Gardner-Webb 5:00 PM
High Point
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UNC Greensboro
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Ball State
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Brown 6:00 PM
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Eastern Mich
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Kent State
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Western Mich
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Cleveland State
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Eastern Ky
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Indiana State
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Santa Clara
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Los Angeles
Saint Louis 63 FINAL
(21) George Washington 77
Wake Forest 68 FINAL
(16) Duke 77
Furman 55 FINAL
(17) Chattanooga 68
Monmouth 61 FINAL
Quinnipiac 82
Michigan State 60 FINAL
(4) Maryland 70
Belmont 65 FINAL
UT Martin 71
Arkansas 36 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 58
Mercer 56 FINAL
East Tenn St 66
Richmond 45 FINAL
Fordham 46
Miami-Florida 61 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 77
Siena 61 FINAL
Iona 71
Washington St 48 FINAL
(9) Arizona State 67
Ark-Pine Bluff 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 51
(23) Rutgers 57 FINAL
(24) Northwestern 62
Tennessee St 71 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 59
Loyola Marymount 50 FINAL
Gonzaga 70
(18) Texas A&M 58 2nd Half 2:11
LSU 63
Cincinnati 57 2nd Half 9:39
UCF 45
Saint Josephs 30 1st Half 2:28
Dayton 42
UCLA 13 1st Half 12:53
(19) Stanford 14
Santa Clara 4:30 PM
San Diego
Virginia Tech 5:00 PM
(7) Florida State
SMU 5:00 PM
Lehigh 5:05 PM
Holy Cross
Rhode Island 6:00 PM
North Florida 6:00 PM
(20) Fla Gulf Coast
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USC Upstate 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
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Nebraska 6:00 PM
(14) Iowa
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Navy 6:00 PM
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(5) Tennessee
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Penn 6:00 PM
(13) Princeton 6:00 PM
Kansas 6:00 PM
Kansas State
Harvard 6:00 PM
(15) North Carolina 7:00 PM
(10) Louisville
San Jose St 7:00 PM
Houston 7:00 PM
Utah State 8:00 PM
Colorado State
Colorado 8:00 PM
(8) Oregon State
New Mexico 8:00 PM
Minnesota 8:25 PM
Ohio State
(12) Kentucky 8:25 PM
(11) Miss State
San Diego State 8:30 PM
Niagara 8:30 PM
Texas Tech 8:30 PM
West Virginia
Boise State 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Washington 10:30 PM
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