Tag Archives: .300 hitters

Random Rewind: 1996, Game One Hundred Forty-four


Date:  Tuesday, September 10.

Batting star:  Chuck Knoblauch was 1-for-2 with two walks and a stolen base, his thirty-ninth.

Pitching star:  Scott Klingenbeck struck out two in two shutout innings.

Opposition stars:  Dave Telgheder pitched a complete game shutout, giving up three hits and three walks and striking out seven.  Mike Bordick was 3-for-5 with a double and a stolen base, his fifth.  Brian Lesher was 2-for-4 with two runs.  Tony Batista was 2-for-5 with a walk and a stolen base, his sixth.  Jason Giambi was 2-for-5.  Ernie Young was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his seventeenth.

The game:  The Twins put two on in the first, but a double play took them out of the inning.  The Athletics started the scoring in the second when Lesher singled, went to second on a passed ball, and scored on a Bordick double.  Oakland increased its lead in the fourth.  Singles by Giambi, Bordick, and Tony Batista plated one run, Scott Brosius walked to load the bases, and a sacrifice fly made it 3-0.

Todd Walker doubled leading off the fourth but did not advance. The Athletics put the game away in the fifth.  They opened the inning with walks to Terry Steinbach and Lesher, and with one out Young hit a three-run homer to give Oakland a 6-0 lead.  They added one more in the sixth when Steinbach walked and Lesher and Giambi singled.

The Twins had only three hits.  Their last came in the sixth, when Rich Becker singled.  He got as far as third base, but that was it.

WP:  Telgheder (3-6).  LP:  Rich Robertson (7-14).  S:  None.

Notes:  Matt Walbeck was the catcher.  He shared catching duties with Greg Myers in 1996, with Myers playing in the majority of games.

Walker was the third baseman.  Dave Hollins was the regular third baseman most of the season, but he was traded at the August deadline.  Walker came up and was immediately given the third base job for the rest of the season.  He would, of course, play second base for most of his major league career.

Brent Brede went to right field in the eighth in place of Matt Lawton.  Mike Durant went behind the plate in the eighth in place of Walbeck.  Chip Hale pinch-hit for Pat Meares in the eighth.  Denny Hocking then went in to play short in the ninth.

Walker, in limited at-bats, was batting .343.  He would finish at .256.  Paul Molitor, at age thirty-nine, was batting .340.  He would finish at .341.  Knoblauch was batting .339.  He would also finish at .341.  Marty Cordova was batting .306.  He would finish at .309.  Part-time outfielder Roberto Kelly would bat .323 in 322 at-bats.

So with all those .300 hitters, did the Twins have an exceptional offense in 1996?  Not really.  They were tied for second in team batting average at .288, but only eighth in runs scored with 877.  The biggest reason, as you may have guessed, was a lack of power.  They finished dead last in the league in home runs with 118.  The team leader was Cordova with 16.  They had five others in double figures:  Scott Stahoviak (13), Knoblauch (13), Hollins (13), Becker (12), and Ron Coomer (12).

Robertson lasted 4.1 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and six walks and striking out two.  He would finish 7-17, 5.12.  Of their five most used starters, only one, Brad Radke, had an ERA under five.  The others were Frankie Rodriguez (5.05), Scott Aldred (5.09), and Rick Aguilera (5.42).  Aguilera had re-signed with the Twins on the condition that they give him the chance to start.  Dave Stevens was the closer at the start of the year.  When he couldn't do the job, they went closer by committee for a while and finally gave the job to Mike Trombley at the end of the season.

This was the only shutout of Dave Telgheder's career.  It was also the only complete game of his career.  As a starter for his career, he was 14-18, 5.39, 1.58 WHIP.  That's the pitcher who shut down the Twins in this game.  Yes, it's baseball, and it happens, but it happens to you a lot more when you're not very good.

Record:  The Twins were 72-72, in third place in the American League Central, 13.5 games behind Cleveland.  They would finish 78-84, in fourth place, 21.5 games behind Cleveland.

The Athletics were 71-75, in third place in the American League West, 13 games behind Texas.  They would finish 78-84, in third place, 12 games behind Texas.

1991 Rewind: Game Thirty-six


Date:  Saturday, May 18.

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a home run, his fourth.  Greg Gagne was 2-for-4.  Shane Mack was 1-for-3 with a three-run homer, his third.

Pitching stars:  Mark Guthrie pitched six innings, giving up one run on five hits and four walks.  He struck out three.  Rick Aguilera pitched two shutout innings, giving up three walks and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Milt Cuyler was 2-for-3 with a stolen base, his tenth.  Frank Tanana pitched eight innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and four walks and striking out two.  He threw 127 pitches.

The game:  All the scoring came early.  With two out and none on in the first Puckett hit a home run to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  With two out and none on in the bottom of the first, Guthrie walked three in a row to load the bases, but struck out Travis Fryman to get out of the inning.

Brian Harper led off the second with a single.  Kent Hrbek walked, and Mack hit a three-run homer to put the Twins up 4-0.  The Tigers got one back in the bottom of the second when Andy Allenson doubled, took third on Cuyler's single, and scored on a sacrifice fly.

And that was all the scoring.  Detroit got a man to second in the fourth, when Fryman walked and stole second; in the sixth, on singles by Rob Deer and Pete Incaviglia, and in the seventh, when Cuyler singled and stole second.  They had a major threat in the ninth.  With one out, Dave Bergman walked.  With two out, Aguilera walked Tony Phillips and Lou Whiteaker, loading the bases and bringing the potential winning run up to bat.  Alan Trammell hit a fly to deep left, but it stayed in the park and the Twins won the game.

WP:  Guthrie (3-2).  LP:  Tanana (2-3).  S:  Aguilera (7).

Notes:  Mack started in right field in this game, but he was not yet the full-time starter.  Other than that, it was the regular lineup.

Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .385.  Chuck Knoblauch was 1-for-4 and was batting .313.  Puckett raised his average to .312.  Gagne went up to .307.  Chili Davis was 0-for-3 with a walk and was batting .300.  As you can see, that makes five starters batting .300 or better.  It's still only mid-May, but that's pretty good.

Terry Leach pitched a third of an inning, giving up no runs on one hit.  His ERA was 2.70.  Aguilera's ERA was 1.62.

Scott Leius was 1-for-3 to raise his average to .171.

There were eleven walks in the game, seven given by Twins pitchers.  Who knows, but one suspects plate umpire Dale Scott might have had a small strike zone.  Oddly, six of the seven walks Twins pitchers gave up came in two innings, the first and last.  In both of those innings, Twins pitchers walked the bases full but did not allow a run.

Frank Tanana was a fine pitcher, but for some reason the Twins usually did fairly well against him.  For his career he was 240-236, 3.66, 1.27 WHIP.  Against the Twins, he was 19-20, 4.49, 1.37 WHIP.  He only faced the Twins one other time in 1991, though, in late July, and did quite well in that game.

Record:  The Twins were 19-17, tied for fourth with California, three games behind first-place Seattle.  The Twins were a half game behind Texas for third place.