Dozier leads way as Twins' bats heat up

Dozier leads way as Twins' bats heat up

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins' offense has had some hot stretches this season, but each of those upswings has unceremoniously fizzled out after a few games. Though Minnesota has scored more than six runs in three straight games for the first time since May 25-28, it's natural to expect a lineup that has been inconsistent to come back to earth at some point.

And yet -- it's looking like things could be different this time around.

This time, three of the team's veteran hitters -- Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar and Kurt Suzuki -- have really started to put things together at the plate at the same time, and manager Paul Molitor expects that's a sign of consistency to come.

"These guys that have track records, you'd think it's just a matter of time before they start doing things a little more consistently," said Molitor. "And in some of these examples, that's what's happened."

Dozier entered Wednesday having hit safely in 16 of the 19 games this month and has slowly improved as the season has progressed, hitting .191 in April, .215 in May and now a torrid .342 in June. The Twins' cleanup hitter has three consecutive multi-hit games for the first time since June 24-27 last season and went 3-for-5 in Tuesday's victory over the Phillies, with two RBIs and two runs scored.

His season average is now up to .244, which is much closer to his career line of .240 across five Major League seasons.

He said, like many of the Twins' hitters at the beginning of a rough season, he was pressing at the plate and trying to get ahead of too many balls. But with more of the pressure and scrutiny off him with teammates like Suzuki, Escobar and Trevor Plouffe heating up as well, he's been able to sit back on balls and use the middle of the field more.

"That first month, we were losing a lot of games and you always want to be the guy to come through and get things going for the offense, start scoring more runs, get winning more games," Dozier said. "You start pressing a little bit and you start trying to hit the three-run homer with nobody on base and thinking you're going to score four runs by yourself.

"That's the part of baseball that people have to overcome and have that mindset of still trying to succeed. But once the bats start heating up, you heat up yourself. It's cool to see."

Molitor said his second baseman has been seeing more pitches and making more consistent contact. Dozier agrees and mentioned he's feeling much closer to his form at the plate from the last several years, which included an All-Star Game appearance in 2015.

"I just think he's feeling better about his game," Molitor said. "We all know he's gotten a few more hits to right field and all of those things he's trying to work on. But I think he's just a little more confident in the box than we saw earlier in the year."

Do-Hyoung Park is a reporter for based in Minneapolis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.