MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JULY 1: A member of the Target Field grounds crew stands on the tarp before the game between the Minnesota Twins and the Milwaukee Brewers on July 1, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Sometimes, when you know you're right in how you feel but circumstances don't allow you to express those thoughts, frustration can simmer under the surface. So you bide your time and you wait for the right circumstances, and meanwhile in your head you think of all the things you'd like to say that would put people straight. Just a few short, sharp words that will drive home the fact that they were all wrong, and you were right. Then, when your opportunity finally comes to put the world to rights, you get so caught up in the moment and it's been building up so long that you say something that comes off just a wee bit too strong.
Well, after a nice win by the Twins last night, Ron Gardenhire let loose a few of those frustrations that had obviously been simmering below the surface in regards to how the media (and maybe some fans) had been treating Mauer:
"He was on the bases four times, hitting the ball hard pretty much every time up," Gardenhire said. "You're going to see a lot more of it, just mark my word. For those of you around here long enough, you've seen it plenty of times, and those of you who doubted him, you should slap yourself right in the face. Go ahead, all you guys who doubt him because he's pretty [darn] good."
Joe Mauer is pretty [redacted] good. This is true. All of the people who have come out questioning Mauer's character, and plenty of people have gone beyond questioning his character and have gone into straight character assassination mode, should probably be questioned for their timing just happening to coincide with the fact that Joe has had a real struggle this season. Hell, all season through June the man had 75 at-bats...how dare that lazy prick not hit .320 after 75 measely at-bats?
But: "slap yourself right in the face"? Really? Nobody should slap themselves in the face, but we certainly know who's corner Gardenhire has been in all season.
We'll go to a few specifics in the game after the jump, but I'll leave us with just a couple more Mauer tidbits.
- After just one good game, Mauer's OPS jumped 47 points. His batting average jumped 28 points.
- In his last six games, Mauer is 8-for-20 with a walk.
- In that stretch his OPS has jumped 119 points, his batting average 55 points.
- Mauer's season is still a very small sample size. Let's hope for a few more games like the one he had last night, so we can get this one issue off our plate and start thinking about what this team will do the rest of 2011.
- Francisco Liriano was more that solid last night, settling in quite well after allowing another Carlos Gomez homer in the first inning. His second run was allowed in the third, but even on the occasions that a runner was on base Liriano never lost his composure. He didn't allow back-to-back hits all night.
- The Brewers stacked their lineup with right-handed hitters, although it didn't work out for them. Prince Fielder, the only lefty, continued his struggles versus Liriano, while the eight other batters managed just four hits in 24 plate appearances.
- Liriano kept right-handers off balance all night. Just 37 of his 92 pitches (40%) to righties were fastballs. He threw plenty of sliders (26) and changeups (29), mixing up all of his pitches and never throwing more than three fastballs in a row. Any hitter that saw more that two pitches in a plate appearance saw at least two types of pitches.
- Gomez probably wishes he could face Liriano more often. He picked up two more hits against him last night, adding a double to his first inning home run.
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka was 1-for-2 with a walk.
- Jim Thome blasted his 594th career homer with a three-run shot in the first inning. I'm going to have to come up with a cool graphic for him.
- Joe Nathan and Glen Perkins combined for two perfect innings to close the game out.
Joe Mauer had a big game including three hits and a pair of runs scored.
Francisco Liriano pitched like a leader last night, he was very good.
Jim Thome, mashin' taters.
Michael Cuddyer picked up another hit and another walk.