It’s been a great week in Twins Territory! The starting rotation has a 3.75 ERA during a nice 6 game streak, a figure that drops to 2.21 if you take out Kevin Correia’s clunker against Boston. The offense is scoring enough runs to take advantage and the bullpen is keeping tight games in the team’s favor. The result is a Minnesota Twins team that has won 5 of their past 6 games and currently resembles a competent and competitive team. There are plenty of causes for this but one of the biggest is the great play of Brian Dozier.
Unlike a few other Twins who blazed through April and then cooled off in May, Dozier has flipped a major switch in May. After posting an already pretty great .226/.360/.462 batting line in April, Dozier is sitting at an amazing .318/.420/.545. Even better, he’s in the midst of an eight game hitting streak where his batting line is an absurd .387/.474/.742 with two 3-run homers in the span, after hitting his first 9 homeruns without anyone on base. Add this to his great defense and Dozier looks like an all-star second basemen.
Dozier’s power surge this year isn’t completely unexpected after he hit 18 homeruns last year and slugged .414, but now he is a legitimate threat for 25-30 homers this season and is slugging .485. Dozier’s power is to the pull side and generally crushes pitches that are left up in the zone and quickly turns on inside pitches. His last two homeruns were extremely impressive, not just because of their impact on the game, but because of the widely different locations where he made contact. He hit his homerun on Friday night on a fastball that was nearly at his shoulders and then golfed a nasty-looking breaking ball into the seats on Saturday that was around his lower calves. Both of the pitches likely would have been called balls but when you are hitting the ball as well as Dozier is your hitting zone is humongous.
Another crazy stat about Dozier is that he apparently loves to hit in Target Field in 2014. After posting a basically nonexistent home-away split in 2013, this year Dozier is hitting .302/.410/.605 with 8 HRs at home and .208/.340/.351 and 3 HRs on the road. It’s a long season and the Twins haven’t hit a lot of away parks yet that might even out Dozier’s numbers, but it will be interesting to see if his home-away splits stay so drastic. Certainly the left-field Homerun Porch at Target Field attracts lots of his shots but maybe he is starting to feed off of the home fans that are excitedly starting to realize the star potential of Brian Dozier, who might be around for a long time.