All posts by Jeff A

2002 Rewind: Game One Hundred Six

MINNESOTA 4, TORONTO 0 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Sunday, July 28.

Batting stars:  Torii Hunter was 3-for-4 with a double and a home run, his twenty-fourth.  David Ortiz was 2-for-4.  Corey Koskie was 1-for-4 with a double.

Pitching stars:  Johan Santana struck out thirteen in eight shutout innings, giving up two hits and three walks.  Eddie Guardado struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Carlos Delgado was 2-for-4 with a double.  Shannon Stewart was 1-for-4 with a triple.  Scott Eyre retired all four batters he faced.

The game:  Doubles by Cristian Guzman and Koskie gave the Twins a 1-0 lead in the first inning.  It stayed 1-0 until the sixth, when the Twins loaded the bases with one out and a Michael Cuddyer sacrifice fly and an A. J. Pierzynski singled made it 3-0.  Hunter added a home run in the eighth to round out the scoring.  The Blue Jays twice got a man to third base but did not score.

WP:  Santana (5-2).  LP:  Esteban Loaiza (4-6).  S:  None.

Notes:  Cuddyer started at first base, with Doug Mientkiewicz on the bench.  He was 0-for-2 with a walk and a sacrifice fly.

Denny Hocking was 1-for-3 in place of Luis Rivas.

Hunter raised his average to .315.

Bobby Kielty was 0-for-2 with two walks to make his average .328.

Pierzynski was 1-for-4 and was batting .303.

This was the best start of the season for Santana, at least by game scores.  He would then make two relief appearances before making his next start on August 6.

As you may have noticed, I kind of like checking out the careers of guys I don't remember.  Today it's Scott Cassidy, who pitched the last inning for Toronto in this game.  This was his rookie year.  He'd signed as a free agent with the Blue Jays in 1998.  He did well in a 2001 split between AA and AAA and started 2002 in the Toronto bullpen.  He appeared in 58 games and had a fine WHIP, 1.27, but posted an ERA of 5.73.  He gave up 12 home runs in 66 innings, which probably contributed to that.  He then spent the next two years in the minors, and when he got back to the big leagues it was with Boston in 2005.  He was called up in July appeared in one game, and was traded to San Diego.  He was sent back to AAA, but got a September call-up with the Padres.  He didn't do much, but he started 2006 with San Diego and did quite well, posting a 2.79 ERA in 37 appearances.  Then in mid-July, for no apparent reason, he was sent back to AAA, not coming back until September.  Still, his numbers that year were 6-4, 2.53, 1.36 WHIP, and it appeared that age thirty Scott Cassidy had finally figured it out.  Instead, he never got back to the majors again.  He appeared in forty games in AAA in 2007, then his career was done.  It seems like there must be more to the story than that, but a quick google search did not reveal it.  Scott Cassidy is currently the head baseball coach at LeMoyne College in Syracuse.

Record:  The Twins were 64-42, in first place, leading Chicago by fourteen games.

Happy Birthday–January 18

Eddie Moore (1899)
Danny Kaye (1913)
Mike Fornieles (1932)
Chuck Cottier (1936)
Satch Davidson (1936)
Curt Flood (1938)
Carl Morton (1944)
Billy Grabarkewitz (1946)
Sachio Kinugasa (1947)
Scott McGregor (1954)
Dave Geisel (1955)
Brady Anderson (1964)
Mike Lieberthal (1972)
Wandy Rodriguez (1979)

Entertainer Danny Kaye was one of the original owners of the Seattle Mariners.

Satch Davidson was a National League umpire from 1969-1984.

Sachio Kinusaga played in 2,215 games in Japan from 1970-1987.

Six players born on this day made their major league debuts in 2017:  Jaycob Brugman, Max Fried, Jarlin Garcia, Kyle Martin, Alex Mejia, and Gift Ngoepe.  I don't know, but I suspect this may be a record.

We would also like to wish a happy birthday to Scot's oldest son.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 18

2002 Rewind: Game One Hundred Five

MINNESOTA 5, TORONTO 4 IN MINNESOTA (10 INNINGS)

Date:  Saturday, July 27.

Batting stars:  Corey Koskie was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Cristian Guzman was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Torii Hunter was 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base, his seventeenth.

Pitching stars:  Eric Milton struck out six in six innings, giving up two runs on five hits.  Bob Wells struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk.  J. C. Romero pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up two walks and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-5 with two doubles.  Josh Phelps was 2-for-4.  Dave Berg was 1-for-4 with a double.

The game:  The Twins scored four in the third to take a 4-0 lead.  Guzman had an RBI double, Koskie brought him home with a single, and Hunter delivered a two-run double.  The Blue Jays missed a chance in the fifth, stranding two runners, but broke through in the sixth on a Jose Cruz double and a run-scoring ground out.  LaTroy Hawkins, who was having an outstanding season, came on in the seventh and gave up consecutive singles.  He retired the next two batters on ground outs, one of which scored a run, but Stewart doubled to send home the tying run.  Berg led off the ninth with a double but did not advance past second.  In the tenth, Bobby Kielty led off with a single and was bunted to second.  Guzman was intentionally walked, but Koskie came through with a double to deep right-center to bring home the winning run.

WP:  Wells (1-1).  LP:  Kelvim Escobar (5-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Kielty was used as a pinch-hitter for Luis Rivas, who had gone 0-for-3.  Dustan Mohr started in right.

Hunter raised his average to .311.

Mohr went 0-for-4 and was batting .303.

Despite giving up two runs, Hawkins still had an ERA of just 1.59.  He had not given up a run since June 12.

Romero brought his ERA down to 1.95.

Kelvim Escobar was used as both a starter and a reliever at various points in his career.  He came up to the Blue Jays in 1997, a year which he began in Class A.  He made 27 appearances with Toronto, posting an ERA of 2.90 but a WHIP of 1.52, largely due to the fact that he walked 5.5 batters per nine innings.  He struck out 10.5, though.  He started 1998 in the Blue Jays bullpen but was pretty awful, and so he went down to AAA to get used to starting again, the role he had filled in his minor league career.  He came back in August to make ten starts and did pretty well.  He was in the Blue Jays' rotation for most of 1999-2000 and did not do well, however, so he started 2001 back in the bullpen.  He did fairly well as a setup man and was moved back into the rotation in August, where he did even better.  2002 found him installed as the Blue Jays' closer, and while he had 38 saves his other numbers were not good:  5-7, 4.27, 1.53 WHIP.  He was back starting in 2003, was not all that good there either, and after the season Toronto allowed him to become a free agent.  He signed with the Angels and had his best years there.  From 2004-2007 he went 43-35, 3.60, 1.26 WHIP.  The main difference seems to have been his control, as he went from walking 4.2 batters per nine innings before 2005 to walking just 3.0 after.  He missed much of 2005 and all of 2008 due to injury.  He tried to come back in 2009, but was able to make just one start.  He tried again in 2013, going to spring training with Milwaukee, but did not make the team.  He pitched in Mexico that season, but then his playing career was over.  He was still hoping to make a comeback in 2014, but could find no takers.  He was up and down, but overall his numbers are okay--101-91, 4.15, 1.38 WHIP.  He is a cousin of Alcides Escobar and Edwin Escobar.  At last report, Kelvim Esocbar was living in the Miami area.

Record:  The Twins were 63-42, in first place, leading Chicago by fourteen games.

Happy Birthday–January 17

Due to personal time constraints, this is a reprint from last year which has not been updated.

Louis Santop (1890)
Hank Leiber (1911)
Lum Harris (1915)
Mayo Smith (1915)
Don Zimmer (1931)
Keith Lieppman (1949)
Antonio Munoz (1949)
Pete LaCock (1952)
Darrell Porter (1952)
Mark Littell (1953)
Jerry Turner (1954)
Doug Simunic (1956)
T. R. Bryden (1959)
Chili Davis (1960)
SBG (1965)
Tyler Houston (1971)
Rob Bell (1977)

Catcher Louis Santop was a star in the Negro Leagues, hitting .349 over fifteen seasons.

Keith Lieppman has been Oakland's Director of Player Development since 1992.

Antonio Munoz was a long-time star in Cuba, winning eight home run titles and becoming the all-time leader in walks.

Doug Simunic has been the manager of the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks since 1996.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 17

2002 Rewind: Game One Hundred Four

MINNESOTA 10, TORONTO 5 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, July 26.

Batting stars:  Jacque Jones was 2-for-5 with two home runs (his sixteenth and seventeenth) and three RBIs.  Torii Hunter was 2-for-5 with a triple and a double.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-3 with three RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Tony Fiore struck out four in two perfect innings.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk and striking out one.  Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Vernon Wells was 2-for-4 with a home run, his fifteenth.  Carlos Delgado was 1-for-2 with two walks and a home run, his twenty-first.

The game:  Vernon Wells hit a two-run homer in a four-run wecond that gave the Blue Jays a 4-0 lead.  Hunter tripled and scored on a Mienkiewicz sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second to cut the lead to 4-1, but Delgado homered in the third to put it back up to four runs at 5-1.  The Twins got three consecutive singles in the fourth, the last an RBI hit by Luis Rivas, to make the score 5-2.  The Twins opened the fifth with four hits, a single by Corey Koskie, a double by David Oritz, a two-run double by Hunter, and an RBI single by Mientkiewicz, to tie the score 5-5.  The Twins then scored four in the sixth to take control of the game.  Jones hit a two-run homer and Ortiz and Mientkiewicz had RBI singles, giving the Twins a 9-5 advantage.  Jones closed out the scoring with another home run in the eighth.  Toronto did not get a hit after the third inning.

WP:  Tony Fiore (9-2).  LP:  Luke Prokopec (2-8).  S:  None.

Notes:  Hunter raised his average to .311.

Bobby Kielty was 1-for-3 with a walk to keep his average at .328.

A. J. Pierzynski was 3-for-4 to raise his average to .304.

Joe Mays started for the Twins and pitched five innings, giving up five runs on six hits and two walks and striking out four.  He actually lowered his ERA slightly, from 9.17 to 9.13.

This was the third time Fiore struck out four in a game, but the only time he did so in just two innings.

Hawkins lowered his ERA to 1.31.

The Blue Jays had two future Twins in their lineup, Shannon Stewart and Orlando Hudson.  Stewart was 0-for-3 with a walk.  Hudson was 1-for-4.

Toronto starter Steve Parris pitched four innings, giving up five runs on ten hits and two walks and striking out five.  I have no memory of Steve Parris, but he was in the majors for at least part of eight seasons.  He had been drafted by Philadelphia, picked up on waivers by the Dodgers, picked up on waivers by Seattle, and released before he came up with Pittsburgh in July of 1995.  He was in their rotation the rest of the season.  He didn't get a whole lot accomplished, but on the other hand he had come up from AA.  But on the other hand, he was already twenty-seven at this point.  He was apparently injured part of 1996, was released, and signed with Cincinnati.  He was in the minors for all of 1997 but gave the Reds two good seasons from 1998-1999, going 17-9, 3,60 in thirty-seven starts.  He struggled in 2000, however, and was traded to Toronto after the season.  he was with the Blue Jays for 2001-2002, going 10-11, 5.17.  He went to Tampa Bay for 2003 but was released in mid-June, ending his career.  His career numbers were 44-49, 4.75 in 129 starts.  Nothing remarkable, but he did have two good seasons for Cincinnati.  Plus, you have to give him marks for persistence.  A number of teams gave up on him, but for a long time there was always somebody who wanted him, too.  He was born in Joliet, Illinois and apparently has returned there, as we found a couple of recent articles about personal appearances he has made and clinics he has participated in around that area.

Record:  The Twins were 62-42, in first place, leading Chicago by fourteen games.

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)

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

2002 Rewind: Game One Hundred Three

MINNESOTA 8, CHICAGO 1 IN CHICAGO

Date:  Wednesday, July 24.

Batting stars:  David Ortiz was 3-for-5 with a double and a three-run homer, his twelfth.  Torii Hunter was 3-for-5 with a double.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 1-for-2 with a home run (his sixth) and two walks.

Pitching stars:  Kyle Lohse pitched eight innings, giving up one run on eight hits and four walks and striking out four.  J. C. Romero pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Ray Durham was 3-for-5.  Kenny Lofton was 2-for-4.  Frank Thomas was 1-for-2 with two walks and a home run, his seventeenth.

The game:  Bobby Kielty hit a two-run homer in the second to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.  A. J. Pierzynski singled home a run in the fourth to make it 3-0.  The Twins took control in the fifth, getting a three-run homer from Ortiz and a two-run homer from Mientkiewicz to make it 8-0.  The White Sox missed all kinds of chances, stranding two runners in the first, third, fifth, eighth, and ninth and leaving the bases loaded in the second.  Their only run came in the sixth, when Thomas led off with a home run.  For the game Chicago stranded twelve and went 0-for-11 with men in scoring position.

WP:  Lohse (10-5).  LP:  Jon Garland (8-8).  S:  None.

Notes:  Hunter raised his average to .310.

Kielty was 1-for-3 with a walk and a two-run homer, his eighth.  He raised his average to .328.

This was the fourth consecutive strong start by Lohse.  In those starts, he gave up just three earned runs in twenty-seven innings for an ERA of 1.00.

Romero lowered his ERA to 2.00.

Chicago starter Garland pitched 4.1 innings and allowed seven runs on nine hits and three walks and struck out two.  This was his first full year as a rotation starter, a position he held through 2010.  He was pretty much a league average pitcher--his ERA+ was between 91 and 111 every year from 2002-2010 with the exception of 2005, when it was 128.  That was his best season--he went 18-10, 3.50, 1.17 WHIP.  He made his only all-star team that season and finished sixth in Cy Young balloting.  But in each season from 2002-2010 he made either thirty-two or thirty-three starts and pitched 192-221 innings.  That's a very valuable man.  He stayed with the White Sox through 2007, was with the Angels in 2008, played for Arizona and the Dodgers in 2009, and was with San Diego in 2010.  He signed with the Dodgers for 2011, but made only nine starts before needing shoulder surgery.  He missed all of 2012.  He tried to come back in 2013, but lasted just twelve starts for Colorado before being released.  It sounds as if he would like to have given it another try, but no one was interested in letting him do that.  In fact, an article last summer said that he had started throwing and was contemplating a comeback, although it does not appear that anything came of it.  He's thirty-eight, so it wouldn't be impossible, although it would certainly be quite a story.

Record:  The Twins were 61-42, in first place, leading Chicago by fourteen games.