[There will be no Hot-Cold feature this week since Monday coincides with the end of the month.]
Despite Joe Mauer's return and sizzling performance, the Twins were under .500 in the month of May. Let's run down exactly how they did.
Best record at any point (games above .500): 18-17
Worst record at any point (games below .500): 18-23
Days in first (and biggest lead): 1 (tied)
Days in last (and furthest out of first): 0 (5.5 games)
Longest win streak: 4
Longest losing streak: 6
Runs scored/runs against: 168/138
Most runs scored/most runs allowed: 20/10
Shutouts/times shut out: 1/1
Extra inning games: 4
Longest game: 13 innings
Hitter of the month: Joe Mauer (99 AB, 27 R, 11 HR, 32 RBI, 0 SB, .414/.500/.838)
What a month it was for Mauer in his return from injury. His OPS for the month was 1.338 and he tied a Twins record with 11 home runs in a month. Mauer's month-long performance was so good that it relegated Justin Morneau's 9 home runs, 29 RBIs, and .713 slugging percentage to an afterthought. All in all, it was far more than any of us could have expected when Mauer returned on May 1st.
Three more up
Justin Morneau (108 AB, 24 R, 9 HR, 29 RBI, 0 SB, .361/.459/.713)
Michael Cuddyer (109 AB, 23 R, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 2 SB, .312/.395/.651)
Joe Crede (68 AB, 9 R, 6 HR, 16 RBI, 0 SB, .265/.311/.574)
Bizarro World hitter of the month: Nick Punto (66 AB, 10 R, 0 HR, 8 RBI, .152/.244/.182)
When the Twins re-signed Punto in the off-season, reactions were mixed; but even the positive opinions were based on Punto not reverting back to his 2007 version. And so far that's exactly what's happened. Punto has been awful, especially in May, and mercifully he found the disabled list towards the end of the month. This, however, was better than his worst month of 2007: in August of that year, he hit .127/.210/.155 over 71 at bats.
Pitcher of the month: Joe Nathan (12.1 IP, 9 H, 3 BB, 14 K, 2.19/0.97)
Nathan threw only seven innings during April, and was still not used all that much in May. He did, however, up his innings total to 12 1/3, and was as dominating as ever. He blew one save in the month (against the Yankees on May 15th) and that was the 4th consecutive day he had pitched. Without that game, Nathan was filthy: 11.2 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 13 K, 0.00 ERA! And including that game, he was still very good.
Three more up
Nick Blackburn (38 IP, 38 H, 13 BB, 21 K, 3.08/1.34)
R.A. Dickey (19.1 IP, 17 H, 7 BB, 10 K, 1.86/1.24)
Matt Guerrier (15 IP, 7 H, 4 BB, 12 K, 2.40/0.73)
Bizarro World pitcher of the month: Francisco Liriano (30.1 IP, 39 H, 17 BB, 30 K, 7.12/1.85)
Liriano was utterly hittable and could not control his pitches for the entire month. While he still posted a good strikeout rate (8.9 per 9), he was not effective in the least, throwing only 4 innings in each of his last 3 starts. You can point to some bad luck, as in his last start, where there were 3 infield hits against him in one inning, but Liriano just wasn't good in any aspect this month.