MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 29: Second baseman Alexi Casilla #12 of the Minnesota Twins throws towards first base against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the fourth inning of their game on May 29, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Angels defeated the Twins 6-5. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
For the first few days of the season I think many of us gave Alexi Casilla the benefit of a doubt. A few poor games or a few blown plays and a few outmatched plate appearances do not a season make. It's baseball. We all know how long the season is and what a grind it is.
Soon, however, the 0-fers became unacceptable when combined with his defensive mistakes. A lot of those mistakes were mental. Not covering the bag, being out of position, completely botching fundamental baseball on a run down. It didn't take long for the critic in all of us to rear its ugly head, and when April ended with Casilla's .167/.227/.200 triple slash on the books there were riots in the streets of our Twins fan minds.
Now we're seeing something just a little bit different. Now we're seeing Casilla playing with confidence, which is what happens for a player when things go well. He's still fast, he's always fast, but now his patience at the plate is doing him favors. Now, when he makes contact, he's not rolling over to shortstop or second base, he's driving the ball into the shallow outfield or over the heads of the corner infielders.
This month alone, Casilla has turned in a .310/.375/.466 line. This includes his two hits and walk today. Ten strikeouts to five walks, three doubles and a trio of stolen bases as well; it's been a good month for Alexi.
Everybody is going to be talking about that soon, if they aren't already. But we need to be careful. Because, just like Delmon Young, we've seen hot streaks come and go before. They're the reason it's easy to be fooled, and some of his hits have come at tremendously critical points in the fortunes of our team. As such, Casilla's month hasn't been quite as good as some people might believe.
Alexi Casilla's month of May
|May 1 - May 23||.220||.289||.317|
|May 24 - May 29||.529||.579||.824|
Don't get me wrong, because I love what we're seeing from Casilla right now. But this chart illustrates perfectly well what we're really looking at when we see his very respectable line for the month. We're seeing a streak of five very, very productive games.
Hopefully we're still talking about Casilla's hot streak next week, and next month. A lot needs to happen before we get to those points, though. Naturally. Like not getting injured.