May 23, 2009

Cuddyer's in the Zone

Michael Cuddyer hit for the team's third cycle in the last 380 days, what once was a considered a rare feat has suddenly become a common occurence for Twins hitters. Jason Kubel accomplished it earlier this season while Carlos Gomez did so last year. Only three Twins players have hit for the cycle since Kirby Puckett did it on August 1, 1986.

Cuddyer began the game with a three-run home run to give the Twins the early lead. In the third inning, he hit a double that bounced over the wall before hitting a run-scoring single in the fourth inning. Then in the sixth inning, with just a triple remaining, Cuddyer hit the ball down the third base line that ended up breaking his bat. The ball ended up rolling into foul territory to the outfield wall which was long enough for Cuddyer to leg out the triple. Although it wasn't as pretty as Jason Kubel's cycle, it was still a great accomplishment. According to FanGraphs, Cuddyer's .231 WPA is 2.18 times more than the rest of the lineup's combined WPA, which was .106.

In just this one game, Cuddyer raised his batting average 16 points while his OPS climed 61 points. It also marked Cuddyer's fourth home run in the last five games. At the start of that span, he was hitting .252/.350/.393 with only 11 extra-base hits (three home runs) and 18 RBI. He is now hitting .291/.376/.519 with 19 extra-base hits (seven home runs and 30 RBI. In other words, Cuddyer's in the zone.

Game Ball #43

May 22, 2009 vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Michael Cuddyer - Right Field
Line: 4-5, Cycle, 5 RBI