All posts by Jeff A

Winter Wonderland: Games of January 15

GIGANTES

GIGANTES 5, AGUILAS 0 AT AGUILAS (GAME 4)

The Gigantes scored three in the fourth and two in the fifth, led by three home runs.  Ronald Guzman was 4-for-5 with a double.  Juan Francisco was 1-for-4 with a home run and a walk.  Peter O'Brien was 1-for-2 with a home run, a walk, and two RBIs.  Jose Siri was 1-for-4 with a home run and a walk.  Richelson Pena pitched seven shutout innings, giving up three hits and two walks and striking out four.

Record:  The Gigantes have taken a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Next game:  The Gigantes host the Aguilas tonight.

LARA

LARA 19, ARAGUA 10 AT ARAGUA (GAME 3)

Lara scored six in the second to go up 6-1.  Aragua scored six in the fifth to lead 9-6.  Aragua led 10-8 through eight, but Lara scored eleven runs in the ninth to win it.  They had two doubles, five singles, four walks, and two hit batsmen in the inning.  Carlos Rivero was 3-for-5 with a double.  Yordanys Linares was 3-for-6 with a double, three runs, and three RBIs.  Osman Marval was 2-for-4 with a walk and three runs.  Lara had just twelve hits, but drew twelve walks.  The teams combined to use nineteen pitchers, eleven of them by Aragua.

Record:  Lara leads the best-of-seven series 2-1.

Next game:  Lara is at Aragua Sunday night.

MAYAGUEZ

Nothing new to report.  The last word on the league website is from January 13, which says they are waiting for the Puerto Rico Department of Health to determine whether the series with Manati can continue.

MELBOURNE

MELBOURNE 2, CANBERRA 0 IN MELBOURNE

Kyle Perkins homered in the fifth and Jack Barrie had an RBI single in the sixth for the game's only runs.  Ex-Twin Delmon Young was 3-for-4.  Damek Tomscha was 2-for-4.  Perkins was 1-for-3 with a home run.  Tyler Beardsley struck out seven in six shutout innings, giving up three hits and a walk.

Stats:  Barrie was 1-for-3 and is batting .500.  Young is batting .449.  Darryl George was 1-for-4 and is batting. 349.  Tomscha is batting .308.  Jon Kennedy struck out four in 1.2 scoreless innings and has an ERA of 2.53.

Record:  Melbourne is 10-5, in first place in the Australian League, 1.5 games ahead of Adelaide.

Next game:  Melbourne again hosts Canberra tonight.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Seven

MINNESOTA 10, BALTIMORE 9 IN MINNESOTA (10 INNINGS)

Date:  Thursday, July 31.

Batting stars:  A. J. Pierzynski was 4-for-6.  Luis Rivas was 3-for-5 with a stolen base (his ninth), two runs, and three RBIs.  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-5 with a double, a walk, a hit-by-pitch, and two RBIs.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-5 with two walks.  Michael Restovich was 2-for-6 with two runs.

Pitching stars:  Juan Rincon struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up a walk.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Robert Machado was 4-for-5.  Jay Gibbons was 3-for-6 with a home run (his seventeenth) and three runs.  Jose Leon was 3-for-5.  Deivi Cruz was 2-for-5 with a home run (his thirteenth), a double, two runs, and five RBIs.  Brian Roberts was 2-for-5 with a double and a hit-by-pitch.

The game:  The Twins loaded the bases in the second but did not score.  In the third, Rivas led off with a single, stole second, and scored on a pair of infield grounders to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  The Orioles came right back in the fourth on singles by Jeff Conine and Gibbons and Cruz' three-run homer.  But the Twins came back in the bottom of the fourth.  Singles by RestovichCristian GuzmanStewart, and Rivas plated two runs to tie it 3-3.

The Twins went back into the lead in the fifth.  Singles by PierzynskiRestovich, and Guzman plated one run, Stewart was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and a sacrifice fly made it 5-3 Twins.  But Baltimore came back in the sixth inning.  Gibbons and Jose Leon singled, and both scored on a Cruz double to tie it.  Machado's RBI single put the Orioles ahead.  A walk and a hit batsman loaded the bases and a sacrifice fly made it 7-5 Baltimore.

The Orioles added to their lead in the seventh.  Gibbons led off with a homer, and two-out singles by Machado, Larry Bigbie, and Roberts increased the margin to 9-5.  But the Twins came back in the bottom of the seventh.  Chris Gomez walked and scored from first on Stewart's double.  Stewart went to third on the throw home and scored on a ground out to make it 9-7.  The Twins loaded the bases in the eighth but did not score.

In the ninth Rivas led off with a single and Mientkiewicz walked.  The next two batters struck out, but Pierzynski singled in a run to make it 9-8 and move the tying run to second.  Restovich struck out, but the third strike was not held and catcher Brook Fordyce threw wildly to first, allowing Mientkiewicz to score the tying run.  Twins baseball!

Baltimore went down in order in the top of the tenth.  Guzman led off the home half with a single and Stewart walked.  A bunt moved the runners up, an intentional walk loaded the bases, and Jacque Jones delivered a single to bring home the deciding run.

WP:  Hawkins (9-3).  LP:  Travis Driskill (3-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  Gomez was at third in the continued absence of Corey Koskie.  Stewart was in left.  Dustan Mohr was in center in place of Torii Hunter.  Restovich was in right.

Todd Sears pinch-hit for Gomez in the eighth but did not bat, as a pitching change prompted Ron Gardenhire to use Matthew LeCroy to pinch-hit for Sears.  Denny Hocking then pinch-ran for LeCroy and stayed in the game at third base.  Hunter pinch-hit for Mohr in the ninth and stayed in the game in center field.

Restovich was batting .385.  Stewart was batting .315.  Jones was 1-for-5 and was batting .311.

Kenny Rogers pitched five innings and allowed seven runs on ten hits and a walk and struck out three.  His ERA was 5.24.  Joe Mays allowed two runs in 1.2 innings to raise his ERA to 6.50.  Hawkins lowered his ERA to 2.53.

Jason Johnson started for the Orioles.  He pitched 4.2 innings, allowing five runs on eleven hits and two walks and striking out two.  He's another guy who pitched for years without ever accomplishing anything.  His lowest ERA in a season was 4.09, in 2001.  In his eleven years in the majors he ERA was over 5.00 seven times and was 6.00 or more three times.  His career numbers are 56-100, 4.99, 1.49 WHIP.  Yet, he pitched 1357 innings and appeared in 255 games, starting 221 of them.

The Twins finished July on a bit of a high note, winning their last two.  However, they were still below .500 and in third place with only two months of the season left.

Record:  The Twins were 53-54, in third place in the American League Central, 4.5 games behind Kansas City.  They were 3.5 games behind second-place Chicago.

Happy Birthday–January 16

Jimmy Macullar (1855)
Art Whitney (1858)
Jimmy Collins (1870)
Ferdie Schupp (1891)
Buck Jordan (1907)
Dizzy Dean (1910)
Jim Owens (1934)
Ron Herbel (1938)
Joe Bonikowski (1941)
Tsuneo Horiuchi (1948)
Dave Stapleton (1954)
Steve Balboni (1957)
Marty Castillo (1957)
Dave Jauss (1957)
Jack McDowell (1966)
Ron Villone (1970)
Jack Cust (1979)
Albert Pujols (1980)
Matt Maloney (1984)
Jeff Manship (1985)
Mark Trumbo (1986)

Jimmy Macullar holds the career record for most games by a left-handed-throwing shortstop (325). Oddly, he batted right-handed.

Pitcher Tsuneo Horiuchi made nine all-star teams in Japan and won seven Gold Gloves.  On October 10, 1967 he pitched a no-hitter and also hit three home runs.

Dave Jauss is a long-time minor league manager, scout, and major league coach.

Marty Castillo was drafted by Minnesota in the twenty-first round in 1975, but did not sign.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 16

Winter Wonderland: Games of January 14

GIGANTES

No game scheduled.  The Gigantes are at the Aguilas tonight.  The Gigantes lead the best-of-seven series 2-1.

LARA

ARAGUA 5, LARA 4 AT LARA

Lara led 4-3 after eight, but Aragua loaded the bases on three singles and an error scored the tying and go-ahead runs.  Carlos Rivero was 3-for-4.  Ildemaro Vargas was 2-for-5.  Cesar Hernandez was 2-for-5.  Gorkys Hernandez was 1-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs.  Yordanys Linares was 1-for-4 with a home run.  Nestor Molina pitched five innings, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks and striking out four.

Record:  Lara and Aragua are tied in their best-of-seven series 1-1.  Lara is at Aragua tonight.

MAYAGUEZ

Nothing new to report.  The league still waits for the Puerto Rico Department of Health to decide whether the series can continue.

MELBOURNE

MELBOURNE 4, CANBERRA 3 AT MELBOURNE

Jack Barrie homered in the fourth to break a 2-2 tie.  Chris Burke homered in the seventh for an insurance run and they needed it, as Canberra scored in the ninth on a pair of errors, a walk, and a passed ball.  They had runners on second and third when the game ended.  Barrie was 2-for-3 and had two home runs and three RBIs in the game.  Gunnar Kines pitched five innings, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks and striking out four.

Record:  Melbourne is 9-5, in second place in the Australian League, technically a half game ahead of Adelaide (5-2).

Next game:  Melbourne again hosts Canberra this afternoon.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Six

MINNESOTA 5, BALTIMORE 1 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, July 30.

Batting stars:  Jacque Jones was 2-for-3 with three RBIs.  Luis Rivas was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs.  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-4 with a double.

Pitching stars:  Brad Radke pitched 7.1 innings, giving up one run on six hits and a walk and striking out five.  Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition star:  Deivi Cruz was 2-for-3 with a double.

The game:  The Twins jumped out to a lead in the first inning.  Stewart doubled, Rivas had an infield single, and Doug Mientkiewicz walked to load the bases.  Jones responded with a two-run single.  They did no more damage that inning, but had a 2-0 lead.  They added a run in the fourth when Rivas doubled, took third on a wild pitch, and scored on a sacrifice fly.  It went to 5-0 in the seventh.  Michael Restovich doubled, Cristian Guzman tripled, and Stewart singled.

Meanwhile, the Orioles were doing very little on offense.  They didn't put two men on until the fifth, when an error and a single put men on first and second with one out.  Nothing came of it, however, and they did not again put two on until the eighth, when they got their lone run.  Cruz doubled, was bunted to third, and scored on a Luis Matos single.  That was the last hit Baltimore got, and it ended 5-1.

WP:  Radke (7-9).  LP:  Sir Sidney Ponson (14-6).  S:  None.

Notes:  Denny Hocking was at third in place of Corey Koskie.  Stewart was again in left, Restovich in right, and Jones at DH.

Restovich was batting .429.  Stewart was batting .314.  Jones was batting .313.

Radke lowered his ERA to 5.12.

Stewart stayed hot.  He was now 22-for-46 in his last 11 games.

This was the one good year Sir Sidney Ponson had, and he turned it into a twelve-year career.  He'd been decent the year before, 7-9, 4.09, 1.34 WHIP, but in 2003 he was 17-12, 3.75, 1.26.  It was the last year he would have an ERA below four.  In fact, it was the last year he would have an ERA below five.  He did manage to lead the league in complete games and shutouts in 2004, but he also led the league in hits allowed and earned runs allowed, as he compiled a record of 11-15, 5.30, 1.55.  Teams kept giving him chances for years, including, of course, the Twins in 2007.  He kept pitching until 2010 before he finally ran out of teams that would give him the ball.  For his career he was 91-113, 5.03, 1.48 WHIP in 1760.1 innings.  He appeared in 298 games, starting 278 of them.  I've said it before, but it always annoys me when somebody like Ponson keeps getting chances long after he's established that he's not good enough, while other guys dominate in AAA and get a cursory look if any at all.  Again, nobody said life or baseball would be fair.

The Twins gained a game on Kansas City, but not on Chicago.

Record:  The Twins were 52-54, in third place in the American League Central, 5.5 games behind Kansas City.  They were 3.5 games behind second-place Chicago.

Happy Birthday–January 15

Johnny Nee (1890)
Ray Chapman (1891)
Steve Gromek (1920)
Georges Maranda (1932)
Dr. Mike Marshall (1943)
Bobby Grich (1949)
Rance Mulliniks (1956)
Jerry Narron (1956)
Don Cooper (1956)
Delino DeShields (1969)
Ray King (1974)
Matt Holliday (1980)
Armando Galarraga (1982)
Mitch Garver (1991)

Johnny Nee was a long-time minor league manager and scout.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 15

Winter Wonderland: Games of January 13

GIGANTES

AGUILAS 6, GIGANTES 3 AT GIGANTES (GAME 3)

The Aguilas led 4-0 before the Gigantes scored three in the seventh.  In the eighth, however, Francisco Pena hit a two-run homer to seal the win for the Aguilas.  For the Gigantes, Peter O'Brien was 1-for-3 with a home run and Juan Francisco was 1-for-4 with a home run.  Chris Ellis pitched 4.2 innings, giving up two runs on three hits and four walks and striking out two.

Record:  The Gigantes lead the best-of-seven series 2-1.

Next game:  The Gigantes are at the Aguilas on Friday.

LARA</h4?

LARA 7, ARAGUA 6 IN LARA (GAME 1)

Aragua scored three in the top of the eighth to take a 6-4 lead, but Lara came back with three in the bottom of the eighth to go up 7-6.  Cesar Hernandez' two-run single brought home the tying and go-ahead runs.  Ildemaro Vargas was 3-for-4 with a triple, a double, and three runs.  Hernandez was 2-for-3 with two walks and three RBIs.  Osman Marval was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Carlos Rivero was 2-for-4 with a home run and two runs.  Ex-Twin Logan Darnell pitched five innings, giving up three runs on six hits and no walks and striking out one.

Record:  Lara leads the best-of-seven series 1-0.

Next game:  Lara host Aragua tonight.

MAYAGUEZ

The series with Manati remains in limbo.  I'm using Google Translate on the league website, which is sometimes tricky, but here's what I think is going on.  It appears that Manati has been cleared to play, but Mayaguez has not yet.  The clearance to play is up to the Puerto Rico Department of Health.  If they give the go-ahead for Mayaguez to play, the series will resume on Sunday.  if they don't, Manati will move on to play Caguas, the winner of the other semi-final series, in the finals.

MELBOURNE

MELBOURNE 9, CANBERRA 7 AT MELBOURNE

Melbourne built a 9-0 lead after six, then held on as Canberra scored two in the seventh and five in the ninth.  The tying run was up to bat when the game ended.  Ex-Twin Delmon Young was 3-for-4 with two RBIs.  Darryl George was 3-for-5 with two doubles and two runs.  Blake Gailen was 2-for-4 with a home run (his second), a walk and three RBIs.  Jarryd Dale was 2-for-4 with a home run, a double, and three RBIs.  Jack Barrie was 2-for-4.  Brian Flynn struck out seven in seven innings, giving up two runs on six hits and a walk.

Stats:  Barrie is batting .500.  Young is batting .429.  George is batting .382.  Damek Tomscha was 1-for-4 and is batting .311.  Gailen is batting .306.  Flynn has an ERA of 0.89.  Drew Anderson struck out the only man he faced and has an ERA of zero.

Record:  Melbourne is 8-5, in second place in the Australian League, but technically a half game ahead of first-place Adelaide (4-2).

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Five

BALTIMORE 7, MINNESOTA 5 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Tuesday, July 29.

Batting stars:  Luis Rivas was 2-for-4 with a home run (his third), a walk, and three RBIs.  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Michael Restovich was 2-for-4 with a double.

Pitching star:  James Baldwin pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Jay Gibbons was 2-for-3 with a home run (his sixteenth), a walk, and three RBIs.  Tony Batista was 2-for-4 with a home run, his nineteenth.  Jeff Conine was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs.  Luis Matos was 2-for-5 with a stolen base (his thirteenth) and two runs.

The game:  The Orioles jumped out to a lead in the first inning.  Matos singled and scored from first on Conine's double.  Gibbons hit a two-out two-run homer, and it was 3-0 Baltimore before the Twins even came to bat.

The Twins got on the board in the third when Stewart hit a two-out double and Rivas followed with a two-run homer.  Batista homered leading off the fourth to make it 4-2.  The Twins got that run back in the bottom of the fourth but missed a chance for more.  Torii Hunter led off with a double and went to third on A. J. Pierzynski's single, but Jacque Jones hit into a double play.  It scored the run but took the Twins out of the inning, leaving the Orioles ahead 4-3.

The Twins tied it in the fifth when Chris Gomez singled, was bunted to second, and scored on a Rivas single.  But Baltimore went right back into the lead in the sixth when Matos singled, stole second, and scored on a Gibbons single.  The Twins tied it again in the seventh when Restovich led off with a double and scored on Cristian Guzman's single.

But in the eighth the Orioles went into the lead to stay.  Singles by Conine and Batista put men on first and third and a wild pitch scored a run.  They added an insurance run in the ninth on singles by Larry Bigbie and Deivi Cruz and an error.  The Twins put men on first and second with none out in the eighth and with two out in the ninth, but did not score.

WP:  Hector Carrasco (1-2).  LP:  LaTroy Hawkins (8-3).  S:  Jorge Julio (24).

Notes:  Gomez remained at third in place of Corey Koskie.  Stewart was in left, with Restovich in right and Jones as the DH.

Matthew LeCroy pinch-hit for Jones in the eighth but did not bat.  A pitching change prompted Ron Gardenhire to then bat Todd Sears for LeCroy.

This was Restovich's season debut.  He had appeared in eight games for the Twins in 2002.  After this game, he was batting .500.  Stewart raised his average to .311.  Jones was 0-for-3 and was batting .310.

Johan Santana's transition to the rotation was not going as hoped.  In four starts, he had allowed 14 runs in 24.1 innings.  In this game, he allowed five runs on six hits and no walks in 5.2 innings.  He did strike out seven.

Baldwin lowered his ERA to 2.00.  Hawkins gave up a run in one inning and had an ERA of 2.63.

Stewart was staying hot.  In his last ten games he was 20-for-42 with four doubles, a home run, and five walks.  He raised his average from .289 to .311.

Baltimore players with Twins connections included Tony Batista, Hector Carrasco, and Rick Helling.

The Twins had lost three games in a row and continued to sink more deeply into third place.

Record:  The Twins were 51-54, in third place in the American league Central, 6.5 games behind Kansas City.  They were 3.5 games behind second-place Chicago.

Happy Birthday–January 14

Billy Meyer (1892)
Smead Jolley (1902)
Phil Piton (1903)
Chet Brewer (1907)
Sonny Siebert (1937)
Dave Campbell (1942)
Ron Clark (1943)
Derrel Thomas (1951)
Terry Forster (1952)
Wayne Gross (1952)
Mike Pelfrey (1984)
Erick Aybar (1984)
Logan Forsythe (1987)
J. R. Graham (1990)

Billy Meyer won 1,604 games as a minor league manager, mostly in the Yankees organization.

Phil Piton was president of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues from 1964-1971.

Chet Brewer was a star pitcher in the Negro Leagues known for his mastery of throwing scuffed baseballs.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 14

Winter Wonderland: Games of January 12

GIGANTES

GIGANTES 6, AGUILAS 2 AT AGUILAS (GAME 2)

The Aguilas scored two in the first, but the Gigantes tied it with two in the second and took the lead in the third on Ronald Guzman's RBI single.  Guzman was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.  Richard Urena was also 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.  Moises Sierra was 2-for-4.  Paolo Espino pitched six innings, giving up two runs on six hits and no walks and striking out five.

Record:  The Gigantes lead the best-of-seven series 2-0.

Next game:  The Gigantes host the Aguilas tonight.

LARA

The four-team playoff starts tonight.  Lara plays Aragua in a best-of-seven series.

MAYAGUEZ

There's supposed to be an announcement made today in regard to whether Mayaguez' series with Manati will continue, and if so, when.

MELBOURNE

The Australian League website gives conflicting information regarding whether Melbourne's next game is tonight or tomorrow night.  Whichever it is, they are hosting Canberra.  Melbourne remains 7-5, in second place, behind Adelaide (3-1).