Players to Watch: Twins
Joe Mauer: Joe Mauer has had a pretty decent bounceback year so far. Despite the constant booing from the home crowd, Mauer has managed to post a respectable .282 average with a .391 OBP, 15 RBI, and 13 runs scored so far. Compared to where he was a year ago, it’s almost a miracle that Mauer has been as good as he has been. The only real cause for alarm thus far has been the lack of power. Mauer has never been known for his power, especially at the cavernous Target Field, but so far Mauer’s slugging only .376 with one home run (ironically, that lone home run came at home). Regardless of what you think of Mauer, he could still play a big part in how this series plays out for the Twins.
Josh Willingham: So far this season, Willingham has been an absolute beast. Granted most of his statistics are heavily waited to due to such a ridiculous first couple of weeks (his performance has tailed off a bit) but he’s been the best hitter in the Twins lineup to date. Willingham, a career .263 hitter is currently batting .304 with an OPS of 1.045. His seven home runs lead the team and make him the Twins’ lone power threat in the middle of the order right now. Wouldn’t he have looked good manning left field for the Indians this season?
Players to Watch: Indians
Jason Kipnis: I know I sound like a broken record and it may be a bit of a cop out to continually make Kipnis a player to watch, but he’s been the Indians’ best player this year by far. Right now Kipnis leads the team in home runs (6), RBI (22), and runs scored (22). He’s been on an absolutely torrid stretch as of late. Look for his hot hitting to continue against a less-than-stellar Twins pitching staff.
Asdrubal Cabrera: Cabrera is having another solid season for the Indians. However, it doesn’t seem like he’s had as big of an impact as he did out of the gate last season. I want to see Cabrera turn his game up a notch. He showed us all what he could do last season and ultimately he raised the bar for himself. It’s time for him to take hold of this team as its leader and raise that bar again.
Series Trivia: Many people believe Target Field is a cavernous black hole, myself included. However, Target Field’s footprint covers the smallest acreage of any stadium in Major League Baseball, 8.5 acres.