Remember when it looked like Joe Mauer had overstayed his welcome in Major League Baseball?
Well it appears news of his demise was a bit premature. The longtime face of the Minnesota Twins picked up his 400th career double on Thursday night with a two out laser off the wall in the 6th inning against Detroit to drive in two runs.
The former MVP has been a force at the plate in Minnesota and you really can’t help but be impressed. Since May 1st, Mauer is slashing .328/.409/.457. Despite an abysmal start to the year, that stretch brings Mauer’s season totals to .310/.388/.425. Not bad for anyone, let alone a 34-year-old veteran who’s had to battle through multiple injuries over the past few years. If you look back to August 10th, Mauer has the second highest batting average (.395) in the Majors. And that was before he went 3-for-4 with a walk in a 12-1 thrashing of the Tigers on Thursday.
Still not impressed? How about the fact that he’s only struck out 10 times in the last month. That’s over 95 plate appearances and includes 31 walks. He’s picked up a hit in 26 of his last 28 starts, too, in case you need any more convincing, which you really shouldn’t by now.
You could argue that Mauer is seeing the ball as well as he ever has and it’d be difficult at best to prove otherwise.
Mauer needs just 15 more doubles to pass Kirby Puckett (414) for first all-time in franchise history, and is only 19 hits away from 2000 for his career as well.
This resurgence couldn’t be more important for his club, by the way.
The Twins are up 2.5 games in the American League Wild Card race on the Angels with eight games left to play. There’s nothing comfortable about that kind of lead with the finish line so close. Making matters more difficult is the fact that Minnesota will face the hottest team in baseball for its next series when it travels to Cleveland.
Essentially, the Twins are hanging on for their postseason lives. Thanks to Joe Mauer, their grip is getting a little tighter.
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