1991 Rewind: Game Forty-three


Date:  Sunday, May 26.

Batting stars:  Gene Larkin was 2-for-4.  Chili Davis was 2-for-4.  Chuck Knoblauch was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Pitching stars:  Carl Willis pitched three shutout innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.  Steve Bedrosian pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk.  Rick Aguilera pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Bret Saberhagen pitched a complete game, giving up one run on eight hits and two walks and striking out two.  Brian McRae was 3-for-5 with a home run (his fourth), a stolen base (his fourth), two runs and two RBIs.  Brent Mayne was 2-for-4.  George Brett was 2-for-4.  Kirk Gibson was 2-for-5 with a double.

The game:  The Royals jumped on Twins starter Kevin Tapani for three runs in the first inning.  They got the first two of them before anyone was retired:  McRae singled, Gibson had an RBI double, Brett singled, and Danny Tartabull had an RBI single.  Following a pop up, Mayne singled home the third run of the inning.  Kansas City added another run in the second when McRae led off the inning with a homer to make the score 4-0.  They got their final run in the fourth when Terry Shumpert doubled and scored on McRae's single.

Meanwhile, the Twins were not doing much of anything off Saberhagen.  They got a man to second base in the third, when Knoblauch and Shane Mack drew two-out walks.  They did it again in the seventh when Davis reached on an error and Larkin had a two-out single.  They actually got two hits in the same inning in the eighth, when Knoblauch singled with one out and Kirby Puckett singled with two out.

The Twins did get on the board in the ninth, when they opened the inning with consecutive singles by DavisBrian Harper, and Larkin.  Another hit would've brought the tying run to the plate, but instead a strikeout and a double play ended the game.

WP:  Saberhagen (5-3).  LP:  Tapani (2-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  With a day game, Mack was in left, replacing Dan Gladden.  He batted second, with Knoblauch moving up to the leadoff spot.  Larkin was in right field.  Al Newman was at short, replacing Greg Gagne.

Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .368.  Puckett was 1-for-4 and was batting .326.  Davis raised his average to .313.

Tapani lasted just four innings, giving up five runs on nine hits and a walk and striking out one.  It was his first really bad game of the season, but he hadn't been pitching as well lately.  His ERA went up steadily from 2.10 on April 27 to now 3.79.

The Twins bullpen did really well.  Five shutout innings, giving up two hits and a walk.  Much of that was Willis, as set forth above.  His ERA was now 3.48.  Aguilera's ERA went to 1.69.

George Brett was off to a very slow start, and in fact would not have a particularly good year.  He had won the batting title in 1990, batting .329.  At this point in 1991, however, he was batting just .224.  He would end the season at .255 with an OPS of .729.  Well, he was thirty-eight.  He would play for two more seasons at about the same level of production, then retire at age forty.  He was mostly a DH at this point, with Bill Pecota having taken over at third base.  Pecota would bat .286 with an OPS of .756--I don't know how this compared to his PECOTA projection.

This was an odd-numbered year, so naturally Saberhagen was having a good season.  Actually, when you look at the stats, the odd-even thing is not nearly as pronounced as legend has made it out to be.  It shows up in his won-lost record more than anywhere else, indicating that it may have been a function of luck as much as anything.  It's true that, throughout most of his career, his ERA was lower in odd-numbered years than in even, but most of the time the difference is not all that great.  It made for a good story, though.

The Twins had now lost six of seven and eight of eleven.  One suspects people were saying "same old Twins".

Record:  The Twins were 20-23, sixth in the American League West, 6.5 games behind Texas.  They remained a half game behind fifth-place Chicago.  They were one game ahead of last-place Kansas City.

4 thoughts on “1991 Rewind: Game Forty-three”

  1. This (1991) was to be Brett’s first year as a full-time DH. He played 110 games on defense in 1990 — 102 at first, just 1 at the hot corner, and another 9 in the outfield corners. In 1991, he played a total of 10 games on defense, all at first. That total jumped up to 18 in 1992 (15 at first, 3 at third), and then Brett hung up his glove and exclusively was a DH in his last season.

    Brett’s days of being a real threat at the plate also ended in 1990; he posted negative values in Runs Batting in his last three seasons. He was -4 in’91, rose to -1 the next year, and then sunk to -11 in 1993. Somehow his OPS+ stayed just a bit above league-average until his last season, when he sunk below 100 for the first time since his age-21 season in 1974.

    Pecota would bat .286 with an OPS of .756--I don’t know how this compared to his PECOTA projection.


    1. Nate Silver unfortunately didn't grace Pecota with his PECOTA, but Jeff Sackmann did a retro-Marcel for all of baseball history after 2009.

      1991 Marcel 31 0.312 0.239 0.321 0.377 349 305 50 73 15 3 7 29 10 4 35 49 1 2 6 1 7
      1991 Actual 31 0.339 0.286 0.356 0.399 448 398 53 114 23 2 6 45 16 7 41 45 6 2 7 0 12
        1. Everyone from 1901-2009 got a Marcel projection. Short version is he should have gotten a bigger chance in 1971.

          bdbID First Last Year age rel IP ERA RA W L G GS CG SHO SV H ER HR BB SO BAopp IBB WP HP BK R
          lachema01 Marcel Lachemann 1969 28 0.00 40.0 2.93 3.38 2 2 11 4 1 0 1 35 13 3 12 26 0.245 2 1 1 0 15
          lachema01 Marcel Lachemann 1970 29 0.32 46.3 3.88 4.66 3 2 19 3 1 0 1 45 20 3 20 25 0.265 2 3 1 0 24
          lachema01 Marcel Lachemann 1971 30 0.48 58.3 3.70 4.17 3 3 29 3 1 0 2 58 24 5 22 35 0.269 4 3 2 0 27
          lachema01 Marcel Lachemann 1972 31 0.36 31.0 3.48 3.77 2 2 14 2 1 0 1 30 12 2 11 18 0.264 2 1 1 0 13
          lachema01 Marcel Lachemann 1973 32 0.17 25.0 3.24 3.60 1 1 9 2 1 0 1 24 9 2 9 15 0.262 1 1 1 0 10
          lachema01 Marcel Lachemann 1974 33 0.00 25.0 3.96 4.32 1 1 7 3 1 0 1 25 11 2 10 14 0.270 1 1 1 0 12

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