PITTSBURGH -- Twins first baseman Justin Morneau's numbers against right-handed pitchers this season have been right in line with his career numbers against righties, but he's uncharacteristically struggled against left-handers this season.
Entering Wednesday, Morneau was hitting .304/.385/.592 (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) with eight homers in 143 plate appearances against right-handers, which is a bit better than his career average of .294/.376/.531 vs. righties.
But against lefties, Morneau is batting just.094/.119/.203 with two homers and 20 strikeouts in 67 plate appearances. Those numbers pale in comparison to his overall numbers against southpaws, as he's a career .251/.299/.434 hitter against left-handers.
"I think he's definitely pressing a little bit when he gets up there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "There's been a lot of talk about him numbers against left-handers outside this office. That always makes guys think about it more and try a little harder. So I think he's thinking about it an awful lot and thinking about what's going wrong instead of seeing it and hitting it. So you have to get back to the basics in this game."
Despite his struggles against lefties, Morneau was still in the lineup against Pirates left-hander Erik Bedard on Wednesday, as he's batting .407 (11-for-27) with two homers against him in his career.
Gardenhire said the key is for Morneau to stay back and wait for a pitch to drive while facing lefties instead of trying to do too much.
"Right now, he's trying to beat it instead of waiting a little bit longer," Gardenhire said. "That's what it looks like to me. But I'm sure he's pressing and thinking about it an awful lot and that gets you in trouble in this game."