All posts by Jeff A

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Three

CLEVELAND 9, MINNESOTA 2 IN CLEVELAND

Date:  Saturday, July 26.

Batting star:  Dustan Mohr was 2-for-4 with a double.

Pitching star:  Joe Mays pitched six innings of relief, giving up one run on nine hits and no walks and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Jody Gerut was 3-for-4 with a grand slam, his thirteenth homer.  Travis Hafner was 3-for-4 with a double.  Victor Martinez was 2-for-4.  Ryan Ludwick was 2-for-4.  Milton Bradley was 2-for-5 with a double.  Coco Crisp was 2-for-5.  Billy Traber pitched 6.1 innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits and no walks and striking out six.

The game:  The Twins actually got on the board first.  With one out in the second inning Matthew LeCroy reached on an error.  Consecutive singles by Jacque Jones, MohrChris Gomez, and Cristian Guzman plated two runs and gave the Twins a 2-0 lead.

Then came the bottom of the second.  Bradley doubled and Hafner singled, putting men on first and third with none out.  Singles by Ludwick, Victor Martinez, and John McDonald gave the Indians a 3-2 lead.  An error scored another run, and Coco Crisp singled to load the bases.  Casey Blake struck out, but Gerut hit a grand slam, making the score 8-2 Cleveland.

And that was pretty much it.  The Twins only threatened once, in the seventh, when they put men on second and third with two out.  The Indians added a run in the eighth when Angel Santos tripled and scored on Crisp's single.

WP:  Traber (5-5).  LP:  Kyle Lohse (6-9).  S:  None.

Notes:  LeCroy was behind the plate in place of A. J. Pierzynski.  Gomez was at third, as Corey Koskie was still out.  Shannon Stewart was the DH.

Alex Prieto made his major league debut in this game, pinch-hitting for Jones in the ninth.  He would be with the Twins for about a week, appearing in three games, then would come back as a September call-up.  In all, he would play in eight games in 2003 and sixteen in 2004, getting 43 at-bats and batting .209 with one home run.  Those were his career totals.  He kept playing through 2010, but did not make the majors again.

Lohse started and lasted just 1.2 innings.  He allowed eight runs (seven earned) on eight hits and struck out three.  He did not walk anyone--maybe he should have.  His ERA went to 5.18.  His game score was 12, his worst of the season.

Mays lowered his ERA to 6.44.

You can be forgiven if you don't remember Billy Traber.  This was his rookie season--he had started in the bullpen, but went into the rotation in early June.  He had a few excellent games--a one-hit shutout of the Yankees on July 8, seven shutout innings Cincinnati on June 27 and again against Seattle on August 7.  He also had some awful games, though, and for the year he was 6-9, 5.24, 1.54 WHIP.  He was injured all of 2004, was in the minors in 2005, but battled his way back to the majors with Washington in 2006.  He was never very good, though.  He only once posted an ERA below five (4.76 with the Nationals in 2007).  The 1.54 WHIP he posted in 2003 was the lowest of his career.  He went to the Yankees in 2008 and made one appearance for Boston in 2009.  For his career he was 12-14, 5.65, 1.59 WHIP.  Whatever he did in those few excellent games, apparently it was not anything he could do consistently.

The Twins once again failed to get above .500.

Record:  The Twins were 51-52, in third place in the American League Central, 5.5 games behind Kansas City.  They were 1.5 games behind second-place Chicago.

Happy Birthday–January 12

Henry Larkin (1860)
Tom Kinslow (1866)
George Browne (1876)
Joe Hauser (1899)
Lee Allen (1915)
Alfredo Ortiz (1944)
Ron Polk (1944)
Paul Reuschel (1947)
Randy Jones (1950)
Bill Madlock (1951)
Terry Whitfield (1953)
Tim Hulett (1960)
Mike Marshall (1960)
Casey Candaele (1961)
Andy Fox (1971)
Luis Ayala (1978)
Dontrelle Willis (1982)
Ivan Nova (1987)

Joe Hauser twice hit over 60 home runs in a season in AAA.

Historian and writer Lee Allen contributed much to the Hall of Fame and to the first edition of the Baseball Encyclopedia.

Alfredo Ortiz won 287 games in the minor leagues, mostly in the Mexican League, and 104 more in the Mexican Winter League.

Ron Polk was a very successful college baseball coach, most notably at Mississippi State.

The Mike Marshall listed above is the outfielder/first baseman who played mostly for the Dodgers.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 12

Winter Wonderland: Games of January 9 and 10

MAZATLAN

Saturday

HERMOSILLO 1, MAZATLAN 0 IN HERMOSILLO (GAME 6)

The game's lone run scored in the second on two singles, a bunt, and a ground out.  Mazatlan had seven hits and five walks but stranded nine and hit into two double plays.  Ramon Rios was 2-for-4.  Francisco Rios pitched seven innings, giving up four hits and two walks and striking out five.

Record:  Mazatlan loses the best-of-seven series four games to two.  Our reporting from the Mexican League is therefore at an end for this season.

GIGANTES

No games scheduled.  The Gigantes will play Aguilas in a best-of-seven series for the Dominican League Championship starting Monday night.

LARA, GAME 38, 39, and 40

Saturday

LARA 4, MAGALLANES 2 IN MAGALLANES

Lara scored two in the seventh to take a 3-2 lead.  Yojhan Quevedo was 2-for-2.  Cesar Puello was 2-for-3 with two walks.  Ex-Twin Rene Reyes was 2-for-4 with a home run, his second.  Angelo Palumbo started and pitched three innings, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks and striking out one.  Five relievers took it from there, pitching six shutout innings.

Sunday

LARA 11, ARAGUA 4 IN LARA (GAME 1--7 INNINGS)

Leading 4-2, Lara scored seven runs in the third to put the game out of reach.  Ex-Twin Rene Reyes was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and three RBIs.  Yonathan Mendoza was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two runs.  Raul Rivero pitched three innings, giving up two runs on four hits and no walks and striking out one.

ARAGUA 9, LARA 4 IN LARA (GAME 2--7 INNINGS)

Each team scored four in the third, but Aragua got two more in the fourth and three in the seventh.  Jecksson Flores was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk to lead Lara.  Francisco Arcia was 2-for-3 and Cesar Puello was 2-for-4.  Josmar Cordero was 1-for-3 with a grand slam, his second homer.  Leonel Aponte pitched 2.1 innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits and no walks and striking out one.

Stats:  Ex-Twin Jermaine Palacios was 1-for-3 and is batting .500.  Puello is batting .429.  Cordero is batting .311.  Ildemaro Vargas was 0-for-4 and is batting .308.  Vicente Campos gave up three runs (one earned) in one inning and has an ERA of 2.00.  Yapson Gomez gave up no runs in a third of an inning and has an ERA of 1.33.

Record:  Lara is 25-15, in first place in the Venezuelan League West, 2.5 games ahead of Magallanes.

Next game:  The mlb winter league website does not indicate when Lara's next game is.  I suspect it will be a playoff game, but I don't know when it will start or who they will play.

MAYAGUEZ

Their series against Manati remains in limbo due to COVID concerns.  If the series cannot be continued, Caguas will be the Puerto Rican League champions.

MELBOURNE

Saturday

CANBERRA 2, MELBOURNE 1 AT CANBERRA (GAME 1--7 INNINGS)

Canberra scored single runs in the second and third.  Melbourne scored in the seventh and had the bases loaded with one out, but could not tie it up.  Gift Ngoepe was 2-for-2.  Tyler Beardsley pitched a six-inning complete game, giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits and no walks and striking out three.

MELBOURNE 3, CANBERRA 2 AT CANBERRA (GAME 2--7 INNINGS)

Melbourne scored two in the sixth to break a 1-1 tie.  Canberra scored one in the seventh and had the tying run on third base with the game ended.  Darryl George was 3-for-4 with a double.  Chris Burke (not the guy from "Life Goes On") was 2-for-2 with a walk.  Ex-Twin Delmon Young was 2-for-4 with a double.  Gunnar Kines pitched 4.1 innings, giving up one run on four hits and a walk and striking out two.

Stats:  Young is batting .395.  George is batting .360.  Damek Tomscha was 0-for-3 and is batting .317.

Record:  Melbourne is 7-5, in second place in the Australian League behind Adelaide, which is 3-1.  COVID concerns have played havoc with the Australian League schedule.

Next game:  Melbourne's next scheduled game is Wednesday when they host Sydney.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Two

MINNESOTA 6, CLEVELAND 5 IN CLEVELAND

Date:  Friday, July 25.

Batting stars:  Doug Mientkiewicz was 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs.  Shannon Stewart was 3-for-5 with a double.  Torii Hunter was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.

Pitching star:  Eddie Guardado struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Milton Bradley was 3-for-4 with a double.  Ryan Ludwick was 2-for-4 with a home run, a double, and two RBIs.  Coco Crisp was 2-for-5.

The game:  It was all Indians early.  In the first Crisp doubled, an error put men on first and third, and Bradley hit a two-run double to put Cleveland up 2-0.  In the second, Ben Broussard walked, went to second on a ground out, and scored on Crisp's single to make it 3-0.  In the third Bradley singled and scored from first on Ludwick's double to increase the lead to 4-0.

The Twins started coming back in the fourth.  Singles by HunterA. J. Pierzynski, and Jacque Jones loaded the bases with one out.  All the Twins could do, though, was score on a ground out to cut the lead to 4-1.  They scored again in the fifth, but again missed a chance to do more damage.  Cristian Guzman walked and scored on Stewart's double.  Luis Rivas walked and Mientkiewicz singled to again load the bases, this time with none out.  But again, all the Twins could do was score on a ground out, so they remained behind at 4-3.

Ludwick homered leading off the bottom of the sixth to make it 5-3.  In the seventh the first two Twins struck out, but Rivas walked and scored from first on a Mientkiewicz double and Hunter followed with an RBI single to tie it 5-5.

The Twins took their only lead in the ninth.  Guzman singled and stole second.  With two out Mientkiewicz came through with a double to make it 6-5 Twins.  The Indians went down in order in the bottom of the ninth.

WP:  LaTroy Hawkins (8-2).  LP:  Danys Baez (0-7).  S:  Guardado (24).

Notes:  Denny Hocking was at third base in the continued absence of Corey Koskie.  Stewart was again in right and Morneau was again the DH.

Stewart raised his average to .310.  Jones was 1-for-4 and was also batting .310.

Kenny Rogers pitched six innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on eight hits and a walk and striking out four.  James Baldwin pitched two-thirds of an inning without giving up a run to make his ERA 2.35.  Hawkins retired both men he faced to make his ERA 2.55.

Jake Westbrook started for Cleveland.  He pitched 6.2 innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and three walks and striking out six.

Stewart was 15-for-27 in his last seven games.  He had three doubles, a home run, and four walks over that stretch.  He had also scored at least one run in each of those games.

This was Ludwick's first home run as an Indian.  He had hit one for Texas the year earlier, when he was up for a month.  He wouldn't get regular playing time in the majors until 2007, when he was St. Louis.  He ended with 154 major league homers, with a high of 37 in 2008.  That was the year he made his only all-star team and also won his only Silver Slugger award.  That year really stands out for him.  He batted .299/.375/.591, compared to career numbers of .260/.330/.451.  His next highest numbers in all those categories came in 2012, when he batted .275/.346/.531 with 26 homers.

Despite the chances they missed, the Twins stranded just seven and went 4-for-14 with men in scoring position.

The win moved the Twins back to .500.  Could they get above it this time?

Record:  The Twins were 51-51, in third place in the American League Central, 5.5 games behind Kansas City.  They were 1.5 games behind second-place Chicago.

Happy Birthday–January 11

George Pinkney (1859)
Silver King (1868)
Elmer Flick (1876)
Max Carey (1890)
George Trautman (1890)
General Crowder (1899)
Schoolboy Rowe (1910)
Don Mossi (1929)
Gene Cook (1932)
Jim McAndrew (1944)
Jack Zduriencik (1951)
Rocket Wheeler (1955)
Lloyd McClendon (1959)
Donn Pall (1962)
Warren Morris (1974)

George Trautman was the president of the National Association of Professional Baseball Clubs from 1947 until his death in 1963.

Gene Cook was the general manager of the Toledo Mud Hens from 1978-1998.  He is credited with convincing Jamie Farr to wear a Mud Hens cap on M*A*S*H.

Jack Zduriencik was the general manager of the Seattle Mariners from 2008-2015.

Rocket Wheeler has been a manager in the low minors for twenty-six seasons.  He was the manager of the Rome Braves in 2018.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 11

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred One

MINNESOTA 6, KANSAS CITY 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Thursday, July 24.

Batting stars:  Jacque Jones was 3-for-4 with a home run (his eleventh), a double, and three RBIs.  Torii Hunter was 1-for-4 with a home run, his eighteenth.

Pitching stars:  Brad Radke pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits and no walks and striking out four.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk.  Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Raul Ibanez was 2-for-4 with a home run (his fourteenth), a triple, and two RBIs.  Ken Harvey was 2-for-4.  Darrell May pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on three hits and three walks and striking out two.

The game:  Aaron Guiel led off the game with a single and scored on Ibanez' triple to give the Royals a 1-0 lead.  The Twins tied it in the second on Jones' two-out home run.  They took the lead in the fourth when Hunter hit a one-out homer.  It stayed 2-1 until the seventh, when Ibanez homered to tie it 2-2.

The Twins took control in the eighth.  Denny Hocking led off with a single.  An error on Shannon Stewart's bunt put men on second and third with none out.  A. J. Pierzynski drove in a run with a single and a wild pitch scored another.  Doug Mientkiewicz walked.  The next two batters struck out, but Jones delivered a two-run double to put the Twins up 6-2.

Kansas City did not go away quietly.  Carlos Beltran Walked and Harvey singled, putting men on first and third with one out.  But Michael Tucker was caught looking and Angel Berroa grounded out to end the game.

WP:  Hawkins (7-2).  LP:  Jason Grimsley (2-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  Matthew LeCroy was behind the plate in place of Pierzynski.  Pierzynski pinch-hit for Luis Rivas in the eighth and stayed in the game behind the plate.  Hocking was at short in place of Cristian Guzman.  Guzman pinch-hit for LeCroy in the eighth and stayed in the game at short, with Hocking moving to second.  Stewart was in right, with Justin Morneau at DH.

Jones raised his average to .311.  Stewart was 0-for-2 and was batting .306.

Radke lowered his ERA to 5.33.  Hawkins lowered his ERA to 2.59.

The Twins climbed back to within one game of .500

Record:  The Twins were 50-51, in third place in the American League Central, 5.5 games behind Kansas City.  They trailed third-place Chicago by 1.5 games.

Happy Birthday–January 10

Harry Wright (1835)
Chick Stahl (1873)
Del Pratt (1888)
Ziggy Sears (1892)
Max Patkin (1920)
George Strickland (1926)
Jim O'Toole (1937)
Willie McCovey (1938)
Chuck Dobson (1944)
Wilfredo Sanchez (1948)
Richard Dotson (1959)
Kelvin Torve (1960)
Wally Bell (1965)
Kevin Baez (1967)
Gary Rath (1973)
Adam Kennedy (1976)

 Outfielder Ziggy Sears played in the minors for sixteen years, mostly in the Texas League.  He once drove in eleven runs in a game.  He was a National League umpire from 1934-1945.

Max Patkin was a well-known baseball clown from 1944-1995.

Wilfredo Sanchez was a star in Cuba from 1968-1986, winning five batting titles.

Wally Bell was a major league umpire from 1992-2013, when he passed away from a heart attack.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 10

Winter Wonderland: Games of January 8

MAZATLAN

MAZATLAN 7, HERMOSILLO 2 IN MAZATLAN

Mazatlan scored three in the first and three in the third to take a 6-1 lead.  Edson Garcia was 2-for-3 with a walk and four RBIs.  Anthony Giansanti was 2-for-4 with two runs.  Edgar Torres pitched five innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on two hits and a walk and striking out three.

Record:  Mazatlan trails the best-of-seven series 2-3.

Next game:  Mazatlan is at Hermosillo tonight.

GIGANTES

GIGANTES 5, ESTRELLAS 3 AT ESTRELLAS

Kelvin Gutierrez hit a two-run homer in the first and the Gigantes led all the way.  Abiatal Avelino was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Gutierrez was 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs.  Chris Ellis struck out seven in six innings, giving up one run on four hits and two walks.

Record:  The Gigantes won the best-of-seven series 4-2.

Next game:  The Gigantes will play the winner of the Aguilas/Toros series in the finals.  The first game of the series will be Tuesday.

LARA, GAMES 36 AND 37

MAGALLANES 7, LARA 2 IN LARA (GAME 1--7 INNINGS)

Magallanes scored three in the fourth to break a 2-2 tie.  Osman Marval was 2-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs.  Yojhan Quevedo was 2-for-3 with a double.  Nestor Molina started and pitched 3.1 innings, allowing five runs (two earned) on six hits and a walk and striking out two.

LARA 5, MAGALLANES 4 IN LARA (GAME 2--7 INNINGS)

Yordanys Linares RBI single in the sixth tied it 4-4 and Josmar Cordero's RBI single in the seventh won it for Lara.  Cesar Puello was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Linares was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.  Ex-Twin Logan Darnell pitched four innings, giving up two runs on six hits and no walks and striking out two.

Record:  Lara is 23-14, in first place in the Venezuelan League West, 1.5 games ahead of Magallanes.

Next game:  Lara is at Magallanes tonight.

MAYAGUEZ

Mayaguez' series with Manati remains in limbo due to COVID concerns.  The last I knew, a decision would be made Sunday or Monday in regard to whether the series would be continued.  If it is not, Caguas, which won the other semi-final series, will be declared the champion.

MELBOURNE

MELBOURNE 4, CANBERRA 3 AT CANBERRA (10 INNINGS)

Damek Tomscha hit a three-run homer in the ninth to tie it 3-3.  Blake Gailen then singled in the tenth to bring home the go-ahead run.  Tomscha was 2-for-3 with a walk in addition to the home run, which was his fifth.  Jake Romanski was 2-for-4.  Brian Flynn struck out eight in 6.1 scoreless innings, giving up four hits and no walks.

Record:  Melbourne is 6-4, in second place in the Australian League, no "games back", but in second by winning percentage behind Adelaide.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred

KANSAS CITY 8, MINNESOTA 3 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, July 23.

Batting stars:  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Luis Rivas was 1-for-4 with a home run, his second.

Pitching stars:  None.

Opposition stars:  Jeremy Affeldt struck out five in five shutout innings, giving up three hits and two walks.  Carlos Beltran was 3-for-4 with a home run (his fourteenth), a double, a stolen base (his twenty-eighth), and a walk.  Michael Tucker was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Aaron Guiel was 2-for-5 with two home runs, his seventh and eighth.  Raul Ibanez was 1-for-4 with a home run, his thirteenth.  Angel Berroa was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his twelfth.

The game:  Each team put runners in scoring position, but there was no score through the first three innings.  That changed in the fourth, as Beltran led off with a home run.  The Royals added another run in the fifth when Guiel homered, making it 2-0.

Kansas City broke it open in the sixth.  Raul Ibanez hit a one-out home run.  Ken Harvey walked, Tucker doubled, and Desi Relaford walked, loading the bases.  A wild pitch scored one and Berroa followed with a three-run homer.  It was 7-0.

The Twins got on the board in the bottom of the sixth when Rivas homered.  Three walks later in the inning loaded the bases, but the Twins could do no more damage in the inning.  They put men on first and second in the seventh, but again could not make the margin smaller.

Guiel hit his second home run in the ninth to make it 8-1.  The Twins got two in the bottom of the ninth.  Stewart walked, Justin Morneau singled, and a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third.  A ground out scored one and Torii Hunter singled home another to make it 8-3, and that's how it ended.

WP:  Affeldt (6-5).  LP:  Johan Santana (4-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  Chris Gomez remained at third in the continued absence of Corey Koskie.  Stewart was in right.  Morneau pinch-hit for Rivas in the ninth.

Stewart raised his average to .308.  Jones was 0-for-2 and was batting .306.

Santana pitched 5.1 innings, allowing five runs on five hits and three walks and striking out four.

Joe Mays pitched two-thirds of an inning without giving up a run to lower his ERA to 6.73.

I don't remember if this was the origin of the term "Jeremy", but it's a good example of it.  Affeldt was a decent pitcher in 2003, but nothing special.  It was his first full season.  This was actually his last start of the season--he would be moved to the bullpen after this game.  At this point he was 6-5, 4.34.  He would finish 7-6, 3.93.

The Twins sank farther into third place with the loss.

Record:  The Twins were 49-51, in third place in the American League Central, 6.5 games behind Kansas City.  They were 1.5 games behind third-place Chicago.

Happy Birthday–January 9

Bill Thomas (1905)
Johnny Washington (1916)
John Kibler (1928)
Julio Navarro (1936)
Ralph Terry (1936)
Masaaki Mori (1937)
Al Clark (1948)
Joe Wallis (1952)
Ivan DeJesus (1953)
Otis Nixon (1959)
Stan Javier (1964)
Jay Powell (1972)
Gabriel Moya (1995)

Bill Thomas pitched in the minors from 1924-1952. He set records for games pitched (1,016), wins (383), losses (347), innings (5,995), hits allowed (6,721), and runs allowed (3,098).

Outfielder/first baseman Johnny Washington played in the Negro Leagues for nearly twenty years.

John Kibler was a National League umpire from 1963-1989.

Masaaki Mori was involved with twenty-seven pennant winners in Japan, sixteen as a player, three as a coach, and eight as a manager.

Al Clark was a long-time American League umpire.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 9