Morneau is apparently in the midst of one of his trademark late-season slumps. He's batting an anemic .161/.284/.274 with only one homer in his past 18 games, and his power has all but disappeared. He's looked awful at the plate, chasing pitches well outside the strike zone and hitting a lot of weak ground balls and shallow pop-ups. This is part of what has been a disturbing trend for Morny over his past five seasons:
While the September swoon is an annual occurrence, Morny's decline seems to be worse than usual this year (in an extremely small sample size of 106 plate appearances since August 1st, that is). He could be suffering from some lingering affects from his inner ear infection, since his production started to decline sharply around the time he was diagnosed with the condition. His timing is obviously off, but that isn't unusual for a hitter in a terrible slump, either. There has also been speculation that Morneau has some sort of chronic, nagging injury, but unless it's something that only affects him later in the season, that doesn't make much sense. Gardy made some sort of off-hand comment about his back during spring training, which seemed odd because Morny had never before complained of back trouble. He has started 826 games in his seven major league seasons, nearly half of which have been on the Dome turf, so it's possible that his back starts to bother him late in the season. However, until Morneau publicly acknowledges that he is suffering from back or any other health problems, there isn't any reason to think that this is anything more than just another late-season slump.
On a completely unrelated note, since