Minnesota Joe and Pitching Duels

– Let’s take a minute to talk about something simply incredible we are witnessing right now. Look at the following monthly totals:

Player A: 11 HR, 31 RBI, 25 R, .444 AVG, 1.444 OPS
Player B: 14 HR, 32 RBI, 27 R, .346 AVG, 1.423 OPS

Player A, of course, is the unbelievable season stats thus far for Joe Mauer. Player B is Albert Pujols in April 2006, which was easily the best month of his entire career. What Mauer is doing right now is simply unbelievable. After missing all of April, his month of May so far is: 1) statistically superior to the greatest month that the great Pujols has ever had, 2) the greatest month that any player not named Bonds has had in recent memory, and 3) indubitably one of the greatest months posted by a catcher EVER. Can he keep it up? I have no idea. I have historically not really liked the Twins, seeing as they are a division rival. But Mauer is an absolute joy to watch right now, and every out he makes comes as a mild shock. And…there’s still nearly a week left this month for him to add to these insane numbers. Remember way back in 2001 when Mauer went #1 in the draft and Mark Prior went #2? People were second guessing the Twins as Prior became an immediate star…but no one is second guessing now.

– Speaking of joys to watch, the Carpenter-Gallardo game today was simply scintillating. After 5 full innings, neither pitcher had given up a hit. After 8 innings, each starter had given up only two hits each and neither had given up a run. Of course, given the way the modern game is, both pitchers were pulled in the 9th and the bullpens ultimately decided the game as the Brewers won in the 10th. So yeah…I understand that Gallardo’s pitch count was already in the 120s and that Carpenter is coming off of an injury and that several balls were hit sharply off of him in the 8th…but when I see a duel like this, I want to see the starters finish what they started. Screw pitch counts; I want to see men be men, and may the best man win. Both of these guys are stars….after 8 innings of great baseball, does anyone want to see this game decided by Kyle McClellan? Hell no. MLB should make a new rule: if both starters are matched in a scoreless duel after 7 innings, both pitchers must stay in the game until someone scores…or until someone’s arm falls off.

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