Or should he just get to his against Fausto Carmona every time he steps into the box?
Even before he jacked a pair of home runs in yesterday's win over the Cleveland Indians, Jason Kubel was having a fine year, hitting a triple slash of .311/.363/.485. That's very good. The only issue was that Jason, who finished second on the team in 2008 with 20 home runs, hadn't hit one in three weeks. And that homer was his only shot in May.
Between April 17 and June 4, Kubel hit just one home run. He still hit well and tallied a few doubles, and he took 11 walks, but was generally powerless. Some of this can be blamed on facing left-handed pitchers, as he continues to struggle against southpaws (.171/.244/.220 in 41 at-bats this year), but a majority of his plate appearances still saw him stepping in against righties. And we all know that Jason absolutely destroys right-handed pitching. So what happened?
The answer is probably simple. Unlike Justin Morneau, who could average 30+ home runs over the next seven years (and could top 40 this year), Kubel is more of a moderate power threat in terms of the home run, if only because he can't see a lot of time versus southpaws. The result is that Jason, like all moderate power threats in baseball, will go through stretches without hitting a home run. Jacque Jones and Torii Hunter went through the same spells; luckily for us and for the Twins, Kubel is simply a better pure hitter than either of those guys. So power numbers may be similar, but I'm willing to bet that Kubel will finish his career with higher average and on-base numbers.
What we've seen over the last year and a half is the blooming of our 27-year old designated hitter-slash-corner outfielder. He's turned into the hitter he was always capable of being. Right now he's having a career year, but the potential of the best Twins hitter to come through the system in the last 10 years not named Joe Mauer or Justin Morneau is being put on display. The isolated power will come around as he starts to knock a couple out of the park once again, but the most impressive part of this homerless stretch was Kubel's ability to remain a productive part of the offense.