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Passen: Morneau 'tortured' by his failures against lefties

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#1 Parker Hageman

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 08:13 AM

Yahoo.com's Jeff Passen wrote up a good piece on Justin Morneau's 2012 season, his battle with concussions and how his struggles against same-sided pitchers is haunting him.

Of the 168 hitters who qualify for the batting title, Morneau ranks 168th in batting average (.097), 168th in on-base percentage (.123) and 163rd in slugging percentage (.210) against lefties. He's swinging more against them than anybody but Hamilton and Delmon Young, and he's missing those swings at a baseball-worst 50 percent clip. Though he has hit two home runs, in 62 at-bats against lefties, he has just one line drive – and it was caught.

"I just can't hit lefties," Morneau said. "That's what's killing me."


You wonder if there may be a point where the Twins start to consider a platoon situation when facing southpaws.

#2 stringer bell

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 08:18 AM

He's been nearly helpless. He is certainly jumping at almost anything and constantly finding himself in the hole. Hitting between Willingham and Plouffe will protect him, but Morneau really needs to produce more vs. lefthanders.

#3 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 08:23 AM

Well, if they need an excuse to put Mauer at first more often... here's as good a reason as any - start Mauer at first against lefties?

#4 Boom Boom

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 09:13 AM

Gardy has never liked to platoon. And he'd definitely not want to platoon one of his veteran guys. If you don't put Morneau in the lineup against lefties, the manager is reinforcing Justin's belief that he can't hit same-sided pitching. That's the theory, anyway.

#5 Thrylos

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 10:17 AM

You wonder if there may be a point where the Twins start to consider a platoon situation when facing southpaws.


Gardy has never liked to platoon. And he'd definitely not want to platoon one of his veteran guys..


Parmelee is is a lefty himself. Gardy cannot platoon, unless one would want to mess up with Plouffe's success while at 3B and have him play 1B, Casilla and 2B, Dozier at SS and Carroll at 3B, at which point you trade one of the last 3 bats for Morneau's; not sure that this would be advantageous... or you can have Mauer at 1B and Butera at C, where you trade Morneau's bat for Butera's... Still no good. I assume Doumit at DH
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#6 ashburyjohn

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 10:24 AM

Gardy has never liked to platoon. And he'd definitely not want to platoon one of his veteran guys.

If you don't put Morneau in the lineup against lefties, the manager is reinforcing Justin's belief that he can't hit same-sided pitching. That's the theory, anyway.


I agree. I expect the thinking is that he's been effective enough (just a bit below his effectiveness against righties) through most of his career, and this is the last hump to get over in his rehabilitation.

I note that the year after his MVP season he tailed off rather sharply, and most of it was due to a sudden drastic downturn in hitting lefties. (Nowhere as bad as this year, of course.) It would be interesting if there was any "organizational memory" of what went on that year, and how it got corrected in 2008.

#7 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 10:38 AM

That makes sense. It's probably a good idea to still give Morneau some at bats against lefty pitching - maybe there's a compromise to allow him to find his batting stroke against back-end the rotation lefties and bench him against guys like Hamels, Sabathia, etc. etc.

#8 Boom Boom

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 11:20 AM

Parmelee is is a lefty himself. Gardy cannot platoon, unless one would want to mess up with Plouffe's success while at 3B and have him play 1B, Casilla and 2B, Dozier at SS and Carroll at 3B, at which point you trade one of the last 3 bats for Morneau's; not sure that this would be advantageous... or you can have Mauer at 1B and Butera at C, where you trade Morneau's bat for Butera's... Still no good. I assume Doumit at DH


As you said, there really isn't an optimal platoon partner for Morneau on the roster right now.

But even if there was, Gardy wouldn't do it.

#9 StormJH1

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 11:29 AM

Guys, the answer is obvious. Mauer needs to learn to switch hit and become the starting first baseman. C'mon, for what he's paid, it's the LEAST he could do for us. ;)

#10 TwinsGuy55422

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 11:37 AM

I think he needs to be allowed to work through his struggles against left handers. He has made a lot of progress in his comeback from the injuries and he used to hit southpaws quite well. If you ever want Morneau to get back to close to what he was, you have to let him struggle his way through this.
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#11 glanzer

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 11:55 AM

How difficult would it be for Morneau or any player to try switch-hitting at this point in a career? How could Morneau possibly do any worse if he turned around and batted right-handed against lefties?

#12 jeffk

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 12:39 PM

Platooning him would be crazy. The Twins are not contenders, so it's much more important to try to get him back up to his former self. And it's going better than anyone could have guessed - the lefties are his only weak point, which is really actually great news. Benching him against them is essentially quitting his rehab when he's 90% of the way through it and decreasing his value immensely.