2002 Rewind: Game Ninety-eight


Date:  Friday, July 19.

Batting stars:  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-4 with a home run, his fourth.  Corey Koskie was 2-for-4 with a home run, his ninth.  David Ortiz was 2-for-4 with a home run, his eighth.

Pitching stars:  Kyle Lohse pitched six innings, giving up one run on six hits and a walk and striking out one.  Johan Santana struck out four in three shutout innings, giving up two hits and no walks.

Opposition stars:  Carlos Pena was 2-for-4 with a double.  Bobby Higginson was 2-for-4.

The game:  Each team put two men on in the first but did not score.  The Twins broke through in the fourth, as Koskie and Ortiz opened the inning with back-to-back homers and Luis Rivas added an RBI single later in the inning.  The Tigers opened the fifth with three consecutive singles but could only score one run, cutting the lead to 3-1.  Mientkiewicz hit a home run in the sixth and Denny Hocking contributed a run-scoring single in the seventh to round out the scoring.

WP:  Lohse (9-5).  LP:  Brian Moehler (1-1).  S:  Santana (1).

Notes:  Hocking started at shortstop in place of Cristian Guzman.  He went 1-for-5 and hit into two double plays.

This was Lohse's third consecutive solid start.  He pitched nineteen innings and gave up just two earned runs on fifteen hits and seven walks with sixteen strikeouts.  His next start would also be a very good one.

The three-inning save was the only save of Santana's career.  He would make two more starts, two more relief appearances, and then five more starts before going to the bullpen for the month of September.  He wanted to start, but while he wasn't bad in that role he was better as a reliever in 2002:  ERA of 2.28 versus 3.34, WHIP of 1.12 versus 1.26.

Torii Hunter was 0-for-4 and was batting .310.

Dustan Mohr was 1-for-4 and was batting .302.

Detroit starter Brian Moehler struck out seven in six innings, but gave up four runs on nine hits and no walks.  This was one of three starts he would make for the Tigers in 2002.

Moehler had a pretty long career, especially considering that he wasn't all that good.  He came up to make two September starts in 1996 and then was a rotation starter for Detroit from 1997-2000.  He was good in 1998, going 14-13, 3.90, 1.25 WHIP.  He was not good in the other years, posting ERAs of 4.50 or higher and WHIPS above 1.4.  He made one start at the beginning of 2001, then was injured and missed the rest of the season.  He was still trying to make it back in 2002.  He had pitched well in his first two starts, and not that badly in this one.  This was his last appearance as a Tiger, however, as he was traded to Cincinnati.  He finished the year there, not pitching very well, and went to Houston as a free agent for 2003.  He was able to make just three starts for them, again missing most of the season due to injury.  He was in AA for Atlanta in 2004, making twenty starts, then spent 2005-2006 with Florida and 2007-2010 back with Houston.  He was a starter all but one of those years, 2007.  That was actually the best year of the bunch, as he posted an ERA of 4.07 and a WHIP of 1.41.  Those aren't great numbers, but they're better than his numbers as a starter.  In the other years he always had an ERA above 4.5, once over five and once over six.  His WHIP was over 1.5 every season except 2008, when it was 1.35.  For his career he was 84-107, 4.81, 1.46 WHIP.  It's hard to see why teams kept leaving him in their starting rotation, but they did--Brian Moehler made 252 major league starts.  At last report, he was a scout for the Boston Red Sox.

Record:  The Twins were 57-41, in first place, leading Chicago by twelve games.

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