Encarnacion right on Target in Minny

* Edwin Encarnacion has had more success at Target Field than any other park in the American League. In 13 games prior to the Jays' series this week, he was a .356 hitter (16-for-45) with 14 RBIs. ....   2014 Canadians in the Minors 2014 Canadians in College Letters of Intent 2014 Canadian draft list 2015 Canadian draft list


By Bob Elliott

The bad news for the Toronto Blue Jays?

Jonathan Diaz and Erik Kratz have each knocked in twice as many runs as Edwin Encarnacion.

The good news for Encarnacion and the Blue Jays?

They began a three-game series Tuesday in Minneapolis.

Of all the 35 big league parks--some clubs have built new stadia--Encarnacion has walked into during his 10-year career, Target Field in Minneapolis is the American League park where he has had the most success at the plate.

He’s a .356 hitter (16-for-45) with 14 RBIs at Target Field in 13 games.

Busch Stadium in St. Louis is the only park where Encarnacion hits for a higher average, hitting .364 with an 1.119 OPS in five games.

Encarnacion has five homers in 53 plate appearances at Target Field, or one every 8.8 trips to the plate.

“I know I hit the ball well there when we’ve been in before, but I didn’t know the numbers were that good,” said Encarnacion on Sunday morning.

At the time, he was a clean-up hitter without an RBI in the first 12 games of the season. Dropped to fifth for the Baltimore finale, he had two doubles, a single and knocked in two runs in Sunday’s 11-3 win over Baltimore.

Diaz, who has made eight starts, and Kratz, who made one before being optioned to triple-A Buffalo on Sunday, each have four RBIs, two more than Encarnacion.

“I see the ball well there for some reason,” he said. “I like the stadium. The hitting background is good.”

How did he compare the hitting background to the old MetroDome?

“I never played there, my first year with Toronto we went there was Target Field to end the 2010 season.”

Ah yes, now that trip to Minneapolis was a power display.

The Jays arrived for the final weekend of the season, the last AL team to get a look at the Twins’ new home.

During batting practice before the first game, Twins first baseman Michael Cuddyer gave Jays catcher John Buck and others the home run data on the new ballpark:

Only one hitter had gone into the upper deck in left field, no one had gone deep to centre, and a right-handed hitter had not homered to right field.

Encarnacion homered to centre, then he and Jose Bautista went the other way to right.

Bautista went up where no man had gone before in left.

And then Encarnacion homered Friday (left field) and Saturday (left-centre). He doubled on Sunday.

“When it opened, the numbers said it was a pitcher’s park,” said Encarnacion, who hit ninth in Cito Gaston’s lineup in the first game of the series, “but we’ve been able to hit the ball well there. Not only me.”

Obviously he has hit the most home runs at the Rogers Centre (58) where he has played the most games, with one every 20.1 plate appearances.

And the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati is next for the former Reds third baseman (38), with one every 25.6 plate appearances.

Of the places he has been as a visiting player, Baltimore’s Camden Yards ranks No. 1 in total homers (12) even after this homerless three-game series with 12 in 160 plate appearances, or one every 13.3 at bats. (G, PA, AB, H, HR, RBI, BA, OPS)

STL-Busch Stadium (2, 5, 16, 11, 4, 1, 3, .364, 1.119) MIN-Target Field (13, 53, 45, 16, 6, 14, .356, 1.212) SF-AT&T Pk (15, 62, 55, 19, 1, 5, .345, .919) WSN-RFK (9, 34, 32, 11, 1, 9, .344, .914) CHW-US Cellular (5, 23, 18, 6, 2, 4, .333, 1.145) ARI-Chase Field (15, 61, 53, 17, 8, 13, .319, 1.240) PHI-CitizensBank (14, 57, 47, 15, 7, 12, .319, 1.280) COL-Coors Fld (10, 43, 38, 12, 0, 3, .316, .790) KCR-KauffmanStad (13, 51, 45, 2, 9, .311, .973) BAL-Camden Yards (38, 160, 145, 45, 12, 25, .310, 1.003) ATL-Turner Fld (18, 69, 63, 0, 4, .302, .712)

Home runs per plate appearances

(PA, HR, Ratio)

ARI-Chase Field (61, 8, 7.6) PHI-CitizensBank (57, 7, 8.1) MIN-Target Field (53, 8, 8.8) STL-Busch Stadium (91, 7, 13.0) BAL-Camden Yards (160, 12, 13.3)