Small sample sizes being what they are, we aren't trying to make a big deal of this. Maybe in the grand scheme of things it's really not that terrible that Joe Mauer is striking out more. After all, his other numbers -- .309 average, eight-game hitting streak, a .388 on-base percentage and 19 runs scored -- are all just fine.

But it is a little startling to see that Mauer has 29 strikeouts in 31 Twins games this year -- a pace to whiff 151 times this season.

It's startling because Mauer has been such a good contact hitter in his career and is praised for his plate discipline/batting eye. He struck out 88 times last season, a career-high. Before that, he'd never K'd more than 64 times in a season.

He's been particularly strikeout-happy lately, going down on strikes 13 times in his last eight games. But like we said, Mauer has hit safely in all eight, batting .364 with a 1.007 OPS in that span.

During five hitless games before that, an 0-for-19 stretch, he struck out just twice.

These numbers make little sense, yet here they are. So don't be surprised if you're at Target Field this weekend and you see a Mauer strikeout -- and a couple of hits.


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