2003 Rewind: Game Twenty


Date:  Tuesday, April 22.

Batting stars:  Torii Hunter was 2-for-3 with two walks.  Luis Rivas was 1-for-3 with a home run, a hit-by-pitch, and two runs.

Pitching star:  Mike Fetters pitched two shutout innings, allowing only a hit batsman.

Opposition stars:  Runelvys Hernandez pitched 6.2 innings, giving up one run on three hits and six walks and striking out three.  Angel Berroa was 2-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch.  Carlos Febles was 2-for-3.  Raul Ibanez was 2-for-4 with a double.  Joe Randa was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his fourth.

The game:  The Twins drew three walks in the second inning but left the bases loaded.  The Royals scored all their runs in the third.  Febles singled with one out, Tucker walked, and Randa hit a three-run homer.  It did not kill the rally, as Mike Sweeney drew a two-out walk and scored from first on a double by Ibanez.  Kansas City led 4-0.

The Twins got on the board in the fifth when Rivas led off with a home run.  They drew a pair of two-out walks in the inning, but could do nothing with them.  The Twins had men on first and second with two out in the seventh, but again failed to score.

The Twins tried to come back in the ninth.  Rivas was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Jacque Jones walked.  A pair of ground outs made the score 4-2 and put a man on third.  Corey Koskie walked and Hunter singled.  That cut the margin to 4-3, put the tying run on third, and put the go-ahead run on first.  The comeback was not to be, however, as Doug Mientkiewicz struck out to end the game.

WP:  Hernandez (4-0).  LP:  Kenny Rogers (2-1).  S:  Mike MacDougal (8).

Notes:  Bobby Kielty was in right field.  There were no substitutions in the lineup.

Kielty was 0-for-2 with three walks and was batting .340.  Jones was 0-for-4 with a walk and was batting .315.

Rogers pitched six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and four walks and striking out two.

Fetters kept his ERA at zero.

Rivas hit thirty-four home runs in his career.  That's not a lot, obviously, but it's more than I would've guessed.  He hit eight in 2003.  His career high was ten, in 2004.

As you can see above, the Twins left a lot of men on base.  They stranded twelve and went just 1-for-12 with men in scoring position.

Runelvys Hernandez was off to an awesome start in 2003.  At this point, after five starts, he had pitched 32.2 innings and had an ERA of 1.10.  For the month of April he was 4-0, 1.36.  His season fell apart after that.  He was 0-3, 5.89 in May; missed the month of June, was 1-1, 5.40 in July, and was 2-1, 10.57 in August.  As it turned out, he needed Tommy John surgery and was never a good pitcher again.  He missed all of 2004, was 8-14, 5.52 in 2005, and was 6-10, 6.48 in 2006.  He spent time in the Boston, Yankee, and Pittsburgh organizations in 2007.  He made four starts for Houston in 2008, going 0-3, 8.38.  He pitched in Korea in 2009, in Mexico in 2010, and played winter ball through 2013.  It's hard to know just how good he might have been if he hadn't been injured. He signed with the Royals in December of 1997, but b-r.com doesn't have minor league stats for him until 2001.  Presumably he was in foreign rookie leagues, like the Dominican Summer League, until then.  By 2001 he was twenty-three.  He pitched well in Class A that season and did well in AA as a twenty-four year old in 2002, but if he's got anything at all to recommend him he should do well at that level at that age.  My guess is that the one hot month he had was just that, a hot month, but we'll never know.  He did at least have the one hot month, though, which is one more than a lot of guys get.

The Twins had now lost five in a row.  There would be a rainout the next day, shortening this to a two-game series, so a loss in the next game would make the seventh consecutive series sweep the Twins had been involved in from the start of the season.

Record:  The Twins were 9-11, in third place in the American League Central, seven games behind Kansas City.