All posts by Jeff A

Happy Birthday–May 25

Al Reach (1840)
Lip Pike (1845)
Tip O’Neill (1858)
Joe Judge (1894)
Martin Dihigo (1905)
Lindsey Nelson (1919)
Bill Sharman (1926)
Jim Marshall (1931)
W. P. Kinsella (1935)
Glenn Borgmann (1950)
John Montefusco (1950)
Bob Knepper (1954)
Kerwin Danley (1961)
Bill Haselman (1966)
Dave Hollins (1966)
Joey Eischen (1970)
Todd Walker (1973)
Miguel Tejada (1974)
Chris Young (1979)
Scott Hairston (1980)
Jason Kubel (1982)
Eric Young (1985)
Pat Dean (1989)
Neil Ramirez (1989)

Al Reach played major league baseball from 1871-1875.  He later founded the A. J. Reach Company, which was the largest sporting goods company in the United States at one time (it eventually merged with Spalding).  This company also published the Reach Guide, an influential baseball publication, from 1883-1927.

Martin Dihigo was a star in the Negro Leagues, winning 250 games as a pitcher and also winning two batting titles.

Lindsey Nelson was one of the most famous broadcasters in the country at one time.  He broadcast New York Mets games from 1962-1978 and San Francisco Giants games from 1979-1981.

Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Sharman was a minor league outfielder from 1950-1953 and in 1955, reaching AAA with St. Paul.

W. P. Kinsella has written several books on baseball, most notably "Shoeless Joe" the book on which the movie "Field of Dreams" was based.

Kerwin Danley has been a major league umpire since 1998.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–May 25

2019 Recap: Game Forty-nine

MINNESOTA 16, LOS ANGELES 7 IN LOS ANGELES

Date:  Thursday, May 23.

Batting stars:  C. J. Cron was 5-for-6 with a home run (his thirteenth) and two doubles, scoring three times.  Max Kepler was 3-for-5 with a home run (his tenth), a double, a walk, and a stolen base, scoring four times and driving in two.  Eddie Rosario was 3-for-6 with a home run (his fourteenth), scoring twice and driving in two.  Jorge Polanco was 2-for-3 with a home run (his ninth), a double, and a walk, driving in three.  Miguel Sano was 2-for-4 with two home runs (his third and fourth) and a walk, driving in three.  Jonathan Schoop was 2-for-5 with two home runs (his ninth and tenth) and four RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Martin Perez pitched five innings, giving up two runs on six hits and four walks and striking out three.  Ryne Harper pitched a perfect inning, striking out one.  Tyler Duffey struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Tommy La Stella was 2-for-5 with a grand slam, his twelfth homer.  Luis Rengifo was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Brian Goodwin was 1-for-4 with a home run, his fifth.  David Fletcher was 1-for-5 with a home run, his fourth.  Taylor Cole pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out two.

The game:  The Angels threatened in the first, putting men on second and third with one out, but a strikeout and a ground out ended the inning.  The Twins broke it open in the second.  Singles by Rosario and Cron were followed by a wild pitch, putting men on second and third.  A sacrifice fly brought home the first run, Sano walked, and Schoop hit a three-run homer to make it 4-0.  With two out, Kepler doubled and Polanco hit a two-run homer to make it 6-0.  In the third, homers by Cron and Sano increased the Twins' lead to 8-0.

Los Angeles made a comeback attempt in the bottom of the third.  Fletcher hit a one-out homer and Mike Trout followed with a double-plus-error.  He scored on a ground out to cut the lead to 8-2.  A pair of singles and a walk off of suddenly wobbly Twins starter Perez loaded the bases, but he came back to strike out Kole Calhoun to end the inning.  In the fifth the Angels got a pair of one-out walks and a two-out infield single, again loading the bases for Calhoun, but he hit into a force out to end the inning.

The Twins put it out of reach for good after that.  In the sixth Kepler drew a two-out walk, stole second, and scored on Polanco's double.  In the seventh, Cron hit a one-out double.  With two -out, Sano and Schoop hit back-to-back homers, Willians Astudillo walked, and Kepler homered, putting the Twins up 14-2.  Rosario homered in the eighth to make it 15-2.  In the ninth, Kepler singled, Ehire Adrianza walked, and Rosario had an RBI single to make it 16-2.

Los Angeles did get some runs in the ninth to make the score look better.  Goodwin led off with a home run.  Walks to Trout, Dustin Garneau, and Jonathan Lucroy loaded the bases and La Stella hit a grand slam to cut the margin to 16-7.  A two-out single by La Stella chased Austin Adams from the game, and Mike Morin retired Zack Cozart on a ground ball to end the contest.

WP:  Perez (7-1).  LP:  Matt Harvey (2-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  Kepler was in center and Marwin Gonzalez in right, with Byron Buxton on the bench.  Luis Arraez was the DH.  Willians Astudillo caught and batted ninth, taking Buxton's place as the second leadoff man.

Arraez was 0-for-3 with a walk and is batting .467.  Polanco is batting .345.  Perez has an ERA of 2.95.  Harper's ERA is 1.69.  Morin has an ERA of 1.08.

Perez has been substantially less awesome in his last three starts.  He has pitched 16.2 innings and allowed six runs, which isn't bad, but he's also allowed fifteen hits and ten walks.  He obviously wasn't going to keep it going as well as he had, but the walks, especially, are not a good trend.

Nothing personal, but if Austin Adams can't protect a fourteen-run lead for one inning he really doesn't have a place on a major league baseball team.  You might as well have an extra position player.

I feel like I should be saying more about all the home runs, but I don't really know what to say about except that it's fun to see.  It was nice of them to do it in a day game while I was on the road, so I could enjoy all the homers live.

Even more notable than the eight home runs might be the fact that Astudillo drew a walk.

freealonzo linked an interesting article about Rocco in yesterday's game log.  I don't know about all the generational stuff, but I have noticed how much more complimentary Rocco is about his players compared to recent Twins managers.  It's easier to do that when you're winning, of course, but it was already clear in spring training.  Rather than looking for things to criticize or cautioning us against getting too excited when a player is doing well, Rocco actually praises them.  It seems like that would have to create a more positive environment in the clubhouse.

I also think the Twins have not received enough credit for the coaching staff they put together.  It's hard to know, from the outside, how much credit/blame to give coaches--we can see the results, but we don't know how much of it is due to the coaches versus the players themselves.  But the Twins have a substantial number of players who are doing better this year than last year, and some who are doing better than they ever have before.  It seems to me that's a pretty good indication that the coaching staff knows a thing or two.

The caution about all this, of course, is that we're still not quite a third of the way into the season.  We've all seen teams that looked like world-beaters in May but fell apart in August and September.  I don't think that's going to happen with this team, though.  That's not to say they'll win over two-thirds of their games all season.  In fact, they'll probably have a down stretch at some point--almost everyone does--and then all the so-called "fans" who delight in running their team down will be out in full force.  But unless they get a string of injuries, I don't see this team collapsing.  This is a good baseball team.

Record:  The Twins are 33-16, first in the American League Central, eight games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 146-16!

Happy Birthday–May 24

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

Fred Jacklitsch (1876)
Jack Pfiester (1878)
Joe Oeschger (1892)
Willy Miranda (1926)
Ellie Rodriguez (1946)
Rob Ducey (1965)
Carlos Hernandez (1967)
Todd Rizzo (1971)
Danny Bautista (1972)
Bartolo Colon (1973)
Brad Penny (1978)
Adam Conley (1990)

Adam Conley was drafted by Minnesota in the thirty-second round in 2008 but did not sign.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–May 24

Happy Birthday–May 23

Dummy Hoy (1862)
Deacon Phillippe (1872)
Zack Wheat (1888)
Halsey Hall (1898)
Arch McDonald (1901)
Willis Hudlin (1906)
Augie Galan (1912)
Lawrence Ritter (1922)
Clyde King (1924)
Skip Bertman (1938)
Tom Penders (1945)
Reggie Cleveland (1948)
Buck Showalter (1956)
Ricky Gutierrez (1970)
Ramon Ortiz (1973)
Mike Gonzalez (1978)
Mike Dunn (1985)
Jordan Zimmerman (1986)
Kyle Barraclough (1990)

Deacon Phillippe was the winning pitcher in the first World Series game.  He lived in what would become the state of South Dakota from 1875-1896, where his family farmed near the town of Athol.

Legendary sportswriter and broadcaster Halsey Hall broadcast Twins games from 1961-72.

Arch McDonald was an early baseball broadcaster known for his re-creations of games.

Author Lawrence Ritter wrote the excellent book, "The Glory of Their Times".

Skip Bertman was the head baseball coach at LSU from 1984-2001.

College basketball coach Tom Penders played minor league baseball for the Indians in 1968.

Kyle Barraclough was drafted by Minnesota in the fortieth round in 2011 but did not sign.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–May 23

2019 Recap: Game Forty-eight

MINNESOTA 8, LOS ANGELES 3 IN LOS ANGELES

Date:  Tuesday, May 21.

Batting stars:  Luis Arraez was 2-for-4 with a home run.  Jorge Polanco was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk, scoring twice and driving in two.  Max Kepler was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk, scoring twice.  Marwin Gonzalez was 2-for-5 with a home run (his fifth) and a double, scoring twice and driving in three.  Eddie Rosario was 2-for-5 with two RBIs,

Pitching stars:  Michael Pineda pitched six innings, giving up three runs on four hits and two walks and striking out three.  Matt Magill struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  Mike Morin pitched a scoreless inning, giving up two hits.

Opposition stars:  David Fletcher was 3-for-3 with a walk.  Mike Trout was 1-for-3 with a home run (his eleventh) and a walk.  Trevor Cahill struck out five in five innings, giving up one run on two hits and two walks.

The game:  Trout homered with one out in the first inning to get the Angels up 1-0.  In the second, with two out and none on, Brian Goodwin walked, Luis Rengifo singled, Fletcher had an RBI single, and a wild pitch scored another run putting Los Angeles up 3-0.  Meanwhile, the Twins did not get a hit until the fifth inning and did not get a man past first base in that time.  It was not looking good.

No worries.  Kepler led off the sixth with a double, leading the Angels to remove starter Cahill.  Polanco followed with an RBI double and Gonzalez hit a two-run homer, tying the score at 3-3.  The Twins took control in the seventh.  Jason Castro was hit by a pitch and was on first base with two out.  Kepler then singled, Polanco had an RBI single, Gonzalez hit a run-scoring double, and Rosario delivered a two-run single, leaving the Twins ahead 7-3.  Arraez added a home run leading off the eighth.

Meanwhile, Twins starter Pineda had really settled down, allowing only one hit after the second inning.  Four relievers held Los Angeles at bay over the last three innings--their only threat was in the ninth, when they put men on first and second with two out, and nothing came of it.

WP:  Pineda (4-3).  LP:  Luke Bard (1-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Gonzalez was the DH in this game, with Arraez manning third base and Miguel Sano on the bench.  Jason Castro caught back-to-back games, which I believe is only the fourth time all season he has done that.

Arraez is batting .583.  Polanco is batting .339.  Magill has an ERA of 1.80.  Taylor Rogers retired the only man he faced and has an ERA of 1.33.  Morin has an ERA of 1.13.

Pineda really pulled himself together after the second inning.  In the second, he looked like he was all over the place and had very little command.  I went to bed soon after that and assumed he would not be in the game much longer.  Instead, he pitched very well from innings four through six.  That makes four starts in a row in which he has pitched competently.  None of them has been outstanding--he's given up three runs in each and his highest game score is sixty-one--but he's pitching about as well as you expect a fifth starter to pitch.  There's a chance he may still improve, but if he can just stay where he is he's helping.

I said that if Arraez is going to be here he should play, and he has been, so good job Rocco Baldelli.  Of course, the fact that he's gone 7-for-12 with a home run, a double, and two walks makes it a lot easier to play him.  He won't keep that up, of course--that would be a record--but he's certainly off to a good start.

I assume it was mentioned during the broadcast, or maybe some of you even remember, but Bard is a former Twin.  He was in their system from 2012-2018, reaching Rochester in 2017.  He was chosen by the Angels in the rule 5 draft before the 2018 season but was returned to the Twins in late April.  He became a minor league free agent after the season and signed with the Angels.  He had been pitching well for them, but obviously did not do so last night.

Who'd have thought that with about thirty percent of the season gone, the Twins would be winning two-thirds of their games?

Record:  The Twins are 32-16, first in the American League Central, 6.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 146-16!

Happy Birthday–May 22

Al Simmons (1902)
Terris McDuffie (1910)
Jose Valdivielso (1934)
Ron Piche (1935)
Rich Garcia (1942)
Walt Hriniak (1943)
Tommy John (1943)
Jim Colborn (1946)
Jose Mesa (1966)
Al Levine (1968)
Julian Tavarez (1973)

Terris McDuffie pitched from 1930-1954, playing in the Negro Leagues, the Cuban Winter League, the Mexican League, the Puerto Rican League, the Dominican League, the Venezuelan League, the California Winter League, and the minor leagues.  His biography at b-r.com is worth reading.

Rich Garcia was an American League umpire from 1975-1999.

Tommy John was one of the Twins’ television broadcasters from 1994-1996.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–May 22

Happy Birthday–May 21

Fred Dunlap (1859)
Eddie Grant (1883)
Earl Averill (1902)
Hank Johnson (1906)
Mace Brown (1909)
Monty Stratton (1912)
Larry Napp (1919)
Ed Fitz Gerald (1924)
El Tappe (1927)
Moe Thacker (1934)
Barry Latman (1936)
Bobby Cox (1941)
Kent Hrbek (1960)
Bryce Florie (1970)
Tom Martin (1970)
Chris Widger (1971)
Mark Quinn (1974)
Josh Hamilton (1981)
Andrew Miller (1985)
Matt Wieters (1986)

Larry Napp was an American League umpire from 1951-1974.

El Tappe had a twin brother, Mel Tappe, who played in the minors.

We would also like to wish a happy birthday to zooomx.2 and a happy anniversary to Mr. and Mrs. MagUidhir.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–May 21