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6/24 Game Thread: Chicago Cubs @ Minnesota Twins

Game Two of the series, Twins lead 1 game to 0.

Minnesota Twins
Name        POS   AVG HR  OBP
Castillo    2B   .276  2 .338
Punto       3B   .277  0 .370
Mauer       C    .370  5 .441
Cuddyer     RF   .272 11 .369
Morneau     1B   .282 19 .337
Hunter      CF   .258 10 .334
Kubel       LF   .290  6 .314
Tiffee      DH   .250  1 .333
Bartlett    SS   .419  0 .514

Chicago Cubs
Name        POS   AVG HR  OBP
Pierre      CF   .243  0 .290
Bynum       LF   .257  2 .288
Ramirez     3B   .257 13 .318
Nevin       1B   .228  6 .317
Jones       RF   .295 13 .327
Mabry       DH   .220  1 .304
Cedeno      SS   .280  2 .303
Womack      2B   .254  1 .333
Blanco      C    .243  3 .293

Name        ERA
Bonser     5.81
Prior     17.18

While Juan Pierre hasn't exactly been an acquisition that's worked as planned, offensively, for the Cubs, he's become the wrong guy to lead off.  His OBP of .290 is worse than Batista's, and is lower than any OBP the Twins sport in their batting order tonight.  Where there is cause for alarm in terms of Pierre is on the basepaths, where he's converted 80% of his stolen base attempts, which total 24 on the year.

With Todd Walker not in the starting lineup, the familiar Jacque Jones is the most dangerous hitter in the lineup for the Cubs.  He's quietly putting together a solid year after a miserable start, carrying an .840 OPS.  This is a number he's maintaining in spite of his infamous strikeout rates.  As for the slow start I mentioned, Jones hasn't been as hot as Morneau, but here are his totals by month.

Month   Avg  Obp  Slg
April  .228 .274 .474
May    .310 .343 .510
June   .325 .346 .545
Season .295 .327 .513

Typically this has all been done in JJ fashion, as he's hit .325/.360/.560 against right-handers, and .221/.243/.397 versus southpaws.

On the Twins side, Boof Bonser has kept his spot in the rotation, even as Scott Baker waits in Rochester.  With itchy trigger fingers targeting the starting five, you never know when Bonser has seen his final go.

Justin Morneau continued a hot June last night, homering again, giving him 9 on the month.  He's raised his averages to .282/.337/.565 after hitting a wicked .368/.405/.789 start to June, and there is still a week left to build on that line.  This has overshadowed the month that Mauer has had, because although Joe has cooled relatively, he's still sporting a .397/.488/.548 line on June.

Tonight's matchup involves the top picks of the 2001 draft, as Joe Mauer will hit against Mark Prior.  This will be Prior's second start of a year that's nearly half over; how will he fare against Mauer's hot bat?  Early on it appeared Prior was the better pick, due to his early arrival on the scene and his fantastic regular season performances, but now his injuries are taking their tolls and Joe Mauer has established himself as one of the top three catchers in the game.  Stay tuned to see how they match up head-to-head.