Everybody, grab that monkey, throw it on the ground, light it on fire, stomp on its face, and suffocate it. Justin Morneau finally hit his third home run of the year. The (preferably stuffed) monkey is off his back, and hopefully PETA is off mine.
Wednesday, Morneau hit his first home run since April 28th. In that time, the Astros lost 28 games, Chris Davis hit 16 home runs, Mike Napoli struck out 59 times, and Manny Machado hit 24 doubles. Kimye also had a baby, Yeezus dropped, and I have watched at least three seasons of Desperate Housewives on Netflix (those darn ladies just get into so much tomfoolery).
Morneau's homerless draught spanned 167 at-bats and 45 days. His batting average went up from .263 to put .289 after hitting .315 in May and .294 so far in June.
So How Did This Happen?
It has certainly been a strange year for Morneau. He had a whopping 23 RBI in May, yet he only slugged .387 and had a .750 OPS. Those numbers have increased to .431 and .777 in June, but both of these are well below his career .486 slugging percentage and .836 OPS. The former MVP has gone from a 30-HR, 100-RBI guy to a mostly singles hitter who goes long stretches without home runs.
The strange thing about Morneau is that he is still hitting the ball hard, despite the poor numbers. His line drive percentage (22.9 percent) is the highest it has been since his 2006 MVP campaign (23.5 percent).
The difference for Morneau is his home run to flyball percentage. Morneau's career HR/FB percentage is 13.6 percent. This year, that number is a paltry 3.8 percent.
If I had to warrant a guess, I would say that Morneau's home run totals will pick up soon, just not go anywhere near where they used to be. His line drive percentage indicates he’s hitting the ball well, so now if he can elevate some of those laser rods, it could be business as usual for Morneau. At least, the Twins hope so, considering the trade deadline is only 41 days from today.
Jim Sannes covers baseball and the Minnesota Twins weekly for numberFire. Contact him on Twitter @JimSannes.