2002 Rewind: Game Eighty-seven


Date:  Friday, July 5.

Batting stars:  Corey Koskie was 2-for-3 with two doubles and a walk.  Bobby Kielty was 2-for-4.  Torii Hunter was 1-for-4 with a grand slam, his nineteenth home run.

Pitching star:  Eric Milton pitched a complete game, giving up four runs on seven hits and one walk and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  John Olerud was 2-for-4 with a home run, his thirteenth.  Mike Cameron was 1-for-3 with a three-run homer, his fifteenth.  James Baldwin pitched six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and a walk and striking out three.

The game:  The Twins had a man in scoring position with none out in the second and one out in the third and failed to score.  It looked like that might come back to haunt them, as Cameron hit a three-run homer in the fourth to give the Mariners a 3-0 lead.  Olerud homered leading off the fourth to make it 4-0.  The Twins finally got to Baldwin in the seventh.  Koskie led off with a double and scored on a Matthew LeCroy single.  Jacque Jones followed with a two-run homer to cut the lead to 4-3.  The home run did not kill the rally.  Bobby Kielty and A. J. Pierzynski singled off Jeff Nelson, a wild pitch tied it up, and a walk, a bunt, and an intentional walk loaded the bases.  Hunter then unloaded them with a grand slam.  This time it did kill the rally, but no one cared.  It was an eight-run inning and the Twins had the game under control.  Milton did not allow a baserunner after that.

WP:  Milton (10-6).  LP:  Nelson (1-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Cristian Guzman was moved up to the leadoff spot, with Jones batting sixth.  They each went 1-for-4, but of course Jones hit the two-run homer...Hunter's average was now .301...LeCroy was the DH, going 1-for-4.  He was batting .320...Koskie had a ten-game hitting streak.  He was 13-for-34 and nine of his thirteen hits were doubles.  He also had a home run, meaning ten of his thirteen hits were for extra bases.  He also drew five walks and stole a base.  He would hit in one more game before his streak was snapped...Milton threw 119 pitches in the complete game.  Later in Gardy's career, I doubt he would've let Milton pitch the ninth, especially with a relatively rested bullpen and a four-run lead.  I can't prove that, obviously, and I'm not criticizing him for doing it.  Milton was pitching very well.  I just don't think that, say, 2010 Gardy would've had Milton throw a complete game in that sitaution.

Notes:  The Twins were 49-38, in first place, leading Chicago by 7.5 games.

2002 Rewind: Game Eighty-six


Date:  Thursday, July 4.

Batting star:  Corey Koskie was 2-for-4 with a double.

Pitching star:  Juan Rincon pitched 6.1 innings, giving up one run on five hits and two walks and striking out four.

Opposition stars:  Freddy Garcia struck out seven in seven innings, giving up one run on six hits and a walk.  Mark McLemore was 3-for-3 with a triple and a double.  John Olerud was 1-for-3 with a double.

The game:  Another pitchers' duel.  The Twins missed a good chance in the fourth.  Cristian Guzman and Koskie led off the inning with singles.  David Ortiz lined out, but Torii Hunter singled to load the bases.  A wild pitch brought home a run, and Doug Mientkiewicz was intentionally walked to re-load the bases.  The strategy worked, as Dustan Mohr and A. J. Pierzynski both struck out.  The failure to put up a crooked number cost the Twins.  McLemore led off the sixth with a triple and scored on Olerud's sacrifice fly to tie the game.  In the eighth, Edgar Martinez drew a walk and was replaced by Charles Gipson.  Olerud then doubled to left-center, scoring Gipson from first to put the Mariners ahead.  The Twins went down in order in the ninth, and in fact did not get a baserunner after Koskie led off the sixth with a double.

WP:  Arthur Rhodes (5-1).  LP:  Jose Rodriguez (0-1).  S:  Kazuhiro Sasaki (20).

Notes:  Torii Hunter was 1-for-4 to make his average .302...This was the first start of Juan Rincon's career, and it was the best one he would have.  He would start only two more times, both in July of 2002, then spend the rest of his major league career in the bullpen...This was the second game of Jose Rodriguez' career as a Twin.  He came in to start the eighth with the score tied 1-1.  He retired Ichiro Suzuki, then gave up the walk and the double that put Seattle ahead.  He gave an intentional walk to Ruben Sierra before leaving the game.  I assume Gardy was playing match-ups with the left-hander, but it seems strange that he would use Rodriguez in that situation when he had so many better relievers to choose from.

Record:  The Twins were 48-38, in first place, leading Chicago by 6.5 games.

Happy Birthday–December 29

Hank DeBerry (1894)
Bill Knickerbocker (1911)
Ted Del Guercio (1927)
Ken Rudolph (1946)
Jim Wilson (1960)
Devon White (1962)
Craig Grebeck (1964)
James Mouton (1968)
Tomas Perez (1973)
Emil Brown (1974)
Richie Sexson (1974)
Jaret Wright (1975)
Jack Wilson (1977)

Ted Del Guercio was part of the largest trade in baseball history. He was traded by the New York Yankees along with Don Larsen, Billy Hunter, Bob Turley, Kal Segrist, Bill Miller and Don Leppert to the Baltimore Orioles for Gene Woodling, Harry Byrd, Jim McDonald, Hal Smith, Gus Triandos, Willy Miranda, Mike Blyzka, Darrell Johnson, Jim Fridley and Dick Kryhoski in the off-season following the 1953 campaign. Del Guercio was the only person involved in the trade not to play in the majors.

James Mouton was drafted by Minnesota in the eighth round in 1990, but did not sign.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–December 29

December 29, 2017: The Depths

Throughout my life, I haven't been defined by naivete. The current landscape of sexual harassment is a huge exception. I have, at times, second-guessed myself after dirty jokes; with as large as this pool of jackasses has become, I'm understanding more and more why my occasional crass joke is always forgiven by the women in my life: I could simply be so much worse than this, and all too many women have experienced it firsthand.

I knew mankind was flawed; I didn't think we were still Neanderthals.

How do we get better? Is this a good start, or a bandage that will get ripped off in time when America moves on to a different complaint? I genuinely hope we're growing right now, but I trust you'll pardon my cynicism.