It's a familiar site for the Twins.
Span is on first with one out and up to the plate is Twins' number three hitter Joe Mauer. The first pitch is a cheese ball right down the middle of the plate. Mauer aptly takes the pitch and proceeds to lightly brush the dirt around in the batters box. He's behind in the count right away at 0-1, no big deal. The next pitch is low and away and Joe waves at it with not much purpose other than to establish to the pitcher that he is actually there. The count is now 0-2 and the next pitch is a waste pitch, usually up in the zone. Joe will typically take this pitch putting the count at 1-2. Now if the pitcher is smart and has Joe figured out, he will go low and inside. Most pitchers will do this and the outcome is Mauer tapping a grounder to second for an easy 4-6-3 double play and the inning is over. Joe then trots off the field at a leisurely pace like it's just another day on the job.
Wake up Joe!!!
This is the big leagues and you're the highest paid Twins player ever and you act like it's no big deal that you hit the ball like Alexi Casilla on a bad day. It irks me, and many other Twins fans that I know, that he seems content with hitting grounders to second. It bothers me that he doesn't change his approach at the plate.
Instead of always taking that first fastball that is grooved down the middle, he needs to turn on it and jack it out of the park. That's what smart hitters do. Every pitcher in the world knows that he can get ahead of Mauer right away by just lobbing one up there for a strike because he's not going to swing at it! C'mon man!
It also bothers me that he exudes the excitement of Yellow Dog from Funny Farm! Remember that scene when Chevy Chase has to take Yellow Dog's tail out of the fire place? If not, watch the movie...it will remind you of Joe Mauer!
Wake up Joe!!!
Be the leader that's you're supposed to be. Being the highest paid player on the team comes with some responsibility, namely leadership. Players, coaches and fans look to you to carry the team through the tough times, not just go out like it's business as usual. Especially with Morneau's chronic DL status, it's time to put the team on your back.
Another thing that bothers me is that it's not like Joe's a little guy. He's 6'5", 220. He should be hitting for power, jacking balls out of Target Field. Look at Curtis Granderson. He's not that big of a dude but he still powers it out. There's no reason Mauer shouldn't be hitting 30 + homers per year. I guess other than that he enjoys grounding out to second and trotting down the first base line and then back into the dugout.
Wake up Joe!!!
If he doesn't change soon, I think the only logical thing for Terry Ryan and the Twins to do is shop him around and trade him. Maybe we could get a pitching prospect that either already has had Tommy John surgery or doesn't need it. Not to mention it would free up a bunch of money for the Twins to go out and get someone that will actually make a difference.
In order to even have a shot at salvaging this season, change needs to come fast. If that's getting rid of Mauer than so be it. Otherwise, the only way the Twins have a chance is if Joe will change his approach at the plate, be a leader and just wake up.