1991 Rewind: Game Twenty-five


Date:  Sunday, May 5.

Batting stars:  Mike Pagliarulo was 2-for-3.  Chili Davis was 1-for-3 with two walks.

Pitching stars:  Allan Anderson pitched seven innings, giving up one run on four hits and three walks and striking out two.  Rick Aguilera pitched three innings, giving up one run on four hits and a walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Bill Wegman pitched six shutout innings, giving up two his and a walk and striking out one.  Jim Gantner was 2-for-4 with a double.  Paul Molitor was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his second.

The game:  There were no hits until the top of the third, when the Twins got one-out singles from Pagliarulo and Greg Gagne.  Nothing came of it, and there were no other threats from either team until the bottom of the sixth.  Rick Dempsey led off the inning with a single-plus-error, reaching second.  With one out, Molitor singled him to third and stole second.  Willie Randolph was intentionally walked to bring up Robin Yount (!).  Yount was accidentally walked to force in a run.  Franklin Stubbs hit into a flyball double play, with Molitor thrown out at the plate by Kirby Puckett, but the Brewers led 1-0.

The Twins had men on first and third with one out in the seventh, but Puckett was thrown out trying to score on an infield grounder.  They broke through in the eighth, though.  Pagliarulo led off with a single and Al Newman came in to run.  With one out, consecutive singles by Dan GladdenChuck Knoblauch, and Puckett gave the Twins a 2-1 lead.  Milwaukee tied it in the bottom of the eighth when Molitor walked, went to third on Randolph's single, and scored on Yount's sacrifice fly.

Neither team scored in the ninth, so we went to an extra inning.  Knoblauch walked.  Puckett bunted and reached base on an error, putting men on first and second.  Gene Larkin then bunted the runners to second and third.  Davis was intentionally walked, and Shane Mack hit a sacrifice fly to give the Twins the lead.  Brian Harper followed with a two-run single and the Twins were up 5-2.  The Brewers did not threaten in the bottom of the tenth.

WP:  Aguilera (1-2).  LP:  Edwin Nunez (1-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Puckett started in center, with Randy Bush in right.  Mack pinch-hit for Bush in the seventh and stayed in the game, but went to right field, with Puckett remaining in center.  Puckett would remain the center fielder the rest of the season.

Kent Hrbek come out of the game after batting in the eighth inning.  He would miss the next several games, returning May 14.  Gene Larkin played first base the rest of the game.

Newman remained in the game after pinch-running for Pagliarulo.  Scott Leius pinch-ran for Harper but did not remain in the game, with Junior Ortiz coming in to catch.  Apparently Tom Kelly believed Newman to be the superior third baseman.

Gagne was 1-for-4 and was batting .328.  Knoblauch was 1-for-4 with a walk and was batting .316.  Puckett was 1-for-3 with a walk and was batting .312.  Harper was 1-for-5 and was batting .311.

Mack was 0-for-2 and was batting .175.  Hrbek was 0-for-3 with a walk and was batting .183.  Aguilera had an ERA of 2.38.

I have a really hard time figuring out why you would walk Willie Randolph to pitch to Robin Yount.  Yes, it set up a double play, but that's all it did.  Both were right-handed batters, so you did not gain a platoon advantage.  And, no disrespect to Randolph, he was no Robin Yount, especially at this stage of their careers.  As of this game, Randolph was batting .255/.340/.255.  Yount was batting .295/.373/.526,  Maybe TK had some numbers that indicated Allan Anderson did really well against Yount or something, I don't know.  But it sure is not a move that makes much sense to me.

Isn't baseball great?  We can sit here and second-guess the manager twenty-eight years later.

Bill Wegman was a decent but not great pitcher.  1991 was the best year he had, going 15-7, 2.84, 1.12 WHIP.  He was pretty good in 1992 as well:  13-14, 3.20, 1.17 WHIP.  He did not have an ERA under four in any other season, although he was at 4.51 or below four other seasons.  For his career, all with Milwaukee, he was 81-90, 4.16, 1.29 WHIP in 1482.2 innings.  He played in 262 games, 216 of them starts.  Not an ace, not even usually a number two guy, but a good guy to have to fill out your rotation.

Record:  The Twins were 12-13, tied for fifth with Seattle in the American League West, 3.5 games behind Oakland.

3 thoughts on “1991 Rewind: Game Twenty-five”

  1. Puckett would remain the center fielder the rest of the season.

    I've been looking ahead to this game. Whatever defensive alignment ideas TK was toying with, he put them back on the shelf for quite a while. Puckett played RF 19 times through the Twins' first 23 games, then didn't play another inning there in an official game until 15 July 1993. It looks like Pedro Munoz was on the shelf during that time, so Kirby moved over. When Munoz came back, he came back as the primary left fielder. Shane Mack must've gotten hurt near the end of the season, because Kirby was back in center from 15 September to the end. Dave Winfield (age 41) also played 31 games in right that season.

    So, why was TK shifting his star center fielder, and why did he quit cold turkey? I'm guessing there was a noticeable difference between Puckett (31) & Mack (27) in center, but I don't know I've ever read a full account of what was going on in early 1991.

    1. Whatever TK saw, TotalZone missed it. Mack had +2 runs in center, that's +14 for an entire year, while Puckett had -5 runs. Puckett did have one more plus year in '92 however.

      1. My guess--and that's what it is, I don't actually remember--is that Puckett was unhappy being moved to right, and that TK thought the gain of keeping his superstar happy was more than the loss incurred on defense. And of course, there weren't a lot of defensive stats that were readily available in 1991.

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