After sluggish start to season, Twins’ Rosario breaks through in May

The Minnesota Twins may be struggling at the plate — they’ve scored three or fewer runs in five of the last seven games — but don’t blame it on outfielder Eddie Rosario.

He’s just waiting for his ballclub to follow suit.

After slashing .231/.263/.396 in March and April, Rosario has broken through in the season’s second full month, bumping his slash line to .366/.388/.625 in May. The +.135 boost in batting average from month-to-month is the second-highest in MLB this season.

Over his four-year career in the big leagues, Rosario has typically played solid in May, but he’s never produced at this level this early in the season.

Rosario’s career in May

YEAR G H HR RBI BA OBP SLG
2015 18 17 2 10 .298 .317 .421
2016 11 8 0 3 .200 .195 .250
2017 25 21 3 7 .269 .310 .500
2018 26 41 6 20 .366 .388 .625

Rosario ups his production even more towards the end of games. In the eighth inning and beyond, Rosie ranks first in MLB in total bases (39), second in homers (5), RBI (11) and hits (21), and is tied for third with 11 runs scored.

On the season, he leads Minnesota in hits (60), home runs (9) and stolen bases (5). Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Baez is the only other player to lead a team in those three categories.

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Rosario and the Twins face Shane Bieber (no, no relation to that Bieber) — who makes his MLB debut for the red-hot Cleveland Indians — on Thursday to launch a critical four-game series at Target Field.

Cleveland has built its lead in the AL Central to a comfortable 5 1/2 games above Minnesota after winning five straight and seven of its last 10.

Can the Twins turn their offense around in the friendly confines of Target Field?

Never say never.

NOTABLE

— In his last three starts, Jose Berrios has tossed 7+ innings and allowed two or fewer runs.

— Cleveland’s first three hitters in the batting order (typically Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley and Jose Ramirez) are hitting .340 in the month of May.

— The Twins have been held to 85 runs and 17 homers at home this season, the lowest total in MLB in both categories.

— Cleveland outfielder Michael Brantley owns MLB’s longest hitting streak this season at 19 games.

— The Indians have a -29 run differential after the fourth inning, which ranks 25th in baseball.

Statistics courtesy STATS, baseball-reference.com