Jason Kubel Versus Left-Handed Pitching

Patches go BOOM.

For a few brief moments during yesterday afternoon's game, there was an electricity in the air that had been missing the entire season. Francisco Liriano's no-hitter was a special moment in history, but it happened away from the confines of Target Field and 40,000 hometown fans. And as Scott Baker's afternoon deteriorated, and the team fell behind once again, the resignation in the crowd was palpable.

Hell, the resignation on the bench was palpable. John Shipley, who covers the Twins for the Pioneer Press, Tweeted this:

dougout, nine players, coaches, trainer leaning over rail. dugout, Gardy, Andy, Ullger.
But then Jason Kubel obliterated a fastball from Daniel Schlereth.
Kubel's destruction of Schlereth constituted not just Minnesota's first three-run homer of the season (sad, but true), it also gave the Twins what would have seemed impossible just an inning prior: the lead. His three-run jack put the home team up 6-5, and the way the crowd lit up you'd have thought it was October.
Part of the celebration, at least for me, was less about the fact that Kubel had come through again and more about the fact that Kubel came through in the clutch versus a left-handed pitcher.

Jason Kubel G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG

Career, vs LHP

2011, vs LHP before game

2011, vs LHP after game

-

-

-

559

37

40

-

-

-

133

10

12

30

3

3

2

0

0

10

0

1

77

4

8

51

3

4

142

9

9

1

0

0

0

0

0

.238

.270

.300

.314

.333

.370

.352

.351

.450


This illustrates perfectly how quickly numbers can swing in a small sample size, as yesterday's performance gives Kubel more than a respectable season line versus lefties. But you can certainly understand why the Tigers chose to pitch to Kubel, even with one out and runners on second and third: because even this year, Kubel wasn't a good hitter versus southpaws. Enter, Daniel Schlereth.

Kubel is obviously seeing the ball well this season, his overall line tells us that. And maybe this year will just be one of those years where, even though he's clearly not an ideal bat to start versus a lefty, he won't be as terribile as he's been in seasons past. I'd still express doubts if anyone wanted to argue that this was a turning point for his weakness in this regard.

But yesterday? The man was a god amongst mortals. And for just a few fleeting moments, we had a taste of 2010's electricity.

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