Byron Buxton has picked up right where he left off.
During Minnesota’s 4-2 victory over Texas on Sunday – Buxton’s second game back after missing 39 contests on the injured list – the center fielder collected two hits, including a two-run blast in the first inning.
It was Buxton’s 10th home run of the season in just 26 games. He’s now just six dingers shy of his career high of 16, set in 2017 when he suited up for 140 contests.
Buxton is the sixth Twins hitter to notch double-digit homers in the first 26 games of a player’s season, and just the third since Minnesota won its first World Series in 1987. Joe Mauer (2009), Eddie Rosario (2019) and Kirby Puckett (1986) smacked 11 homers apiece of their first 26 games of those campaigns. Bob Allison (1964) and Harmon Killebrew (1959, ’61) belted 10 big flies in 26 tilts, just like Buxton.
That’s some good company.
If he was healthy the entire season, Buxton would likely be in the MVP conversation with Shohei Ohtani. The 27-year-old outfielder has tallied a bWAR of 2.9, which ranks ninth among big-league position players. Everyone else on that top-10 bWAR list has played at least 55 games – more than double the amount of contests Buxton has appeared in.
Buxton will take his five-game hitting streak into Minnesota’s two-game home series against Cincinnati, beginning at 7:10 p.m. Monday.
-- Since 2018, the Twins and Reds have collided six times with Cincinnati coming away victorious in four of them. Minnesota’s bullpen posted an ERA of 6.83 in those contests.
-- Minnesota has scored 30.3% of its runs this season with no outs, the highest clip in baseball, while the Reds rank second (30.1%).
-- The Twins have a record of 13-27 this season when playing a team over the .500 mark. Last season, Minnesota went 18-12 in such matchups.
-- Cincinnati outfielder Nick Castellanos leads MLB in batting average (.344), while teammate Jesse Winker is tied for second (.341).
-- Luis Arraez has had a major impact in determining Minnesota’s wins and losses. During the 18 games he’s started and the Twins have won, Arraez is batting .397. In losses, the third-year infielder is batting .214.
Statistics courtesy Sportradar, baseball-reference.com