Tag Archives: A.J. Pierzynski

2003 Rewind: Game Forty-nine

MINNESOTA 3, SEATTLE 1 IN SEATTLE

Date:  Sunday, May 25.

Batting stars:  Torii Hunter was 2-for-2 with two walks.  A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-4 with a stolen base.  Chris Gomez was 2-for-4.  Dustan Mohr was 1-for-3 with a home run (his fifth) and a walk.

Pitching stars:  Rick Reed pitched seven innings, giving up one run on five hits and no walks and striking out one.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.  Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Ryan Franklin pitched 6.2 innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and four walks and striking out four.  Bret Boone was 2-for-4 with a home run (his twelfth) and a double.

The game:  Jacque Jones led off the game with a walk.  Corey Koskie drew a one-out walk, and Bobby Kielty singled to put the Twins up 1-0.  Mohr homered leading off the second to make it 2-0.

The Mariners had only three hits, all singles, through the first six innings and never got a man past first.  That changed in the seventh, when Boone led off with a home run to cut the Twins lead to 2-1.  The Twins got the run back in the eighth when Kielty singled, went to third on a stolen base-plus-passed ball, and scored on Hunter's single.

Seattle got a one-out double by Boone in the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate.  A pair of fly outs ended the game.

WP:  Reed (3-5).  LP:  Ryan Franklin (3-3).  S:  Guardado (13).

Notes:  Todd Sears was at first base in place of Doug Mientkiewicz.  Mientkiewicz came in for defense in the eighth.  Gomez was at second in place of Luis Rivas.  Kielty was the DH.

Jones was 1-for-4 with a walk and was batting .343.  Mohr was batting .318.  Gomez raised his average to .313.

Hawkins lowered his ERA to 1.19.  Guardado lowered his ERA to 1.74.

This was the first of three stolen bases for Pierzynski in 2003.  Three was his career high, equalled in 2010.  For his career he had 15 stolen bases and was caught stealing 23 times.  I'm no sabremetrician, but I don't think that's a very good percentage.

I know Chris Gomez was a member of the Twins, but I don't have any actual memory of his time with the team.  Does anyone remember, were we excited about him at this point, when he was batting over .300?  Were we thinking he should replace Rivas at second base?  Or did we think that it was just a small sample size fluke, which it turned out to be?  I have no idea.

In his last three starts, Reed had pitched 22 innings and given up 4 runs on 19 hits and 3 walks.  He had lowered his ERA from 5.87 to 4.10.

Sears was sent back to AAA after this game.  He was batting .278/.365/.426, so it wasn't terribly fair, but Mientkiewicz was ready to resume regular duties at first base and there simply wasn't a spot for him.  He would come back for a couple of weeks in late July/early August, but then would be traded to San Diego for Alex Garcia, a middle infielder who couldn't hit.  He spent one year in Class A Quad Cities, then played two years of independent ball.

I don't remember Bret Boone as a slugger, but already hit his twelfth  home run of the season in this game.  He would hit 35 on the season.  He went through 2000, his age thirty-one season, only having hit 20 homers twice (24 in 1998, 20 in 1999).  Then, in his early-to-mid thirties, he hit 37, 24, 35, and 24 home runs.  A suspicious person might wonder if he had some help, although it should be pointed out that I'm aware of no evidence to support that suspicion.

The Twins had won four of five, seven of nine, nine of twelve, and fifteen of twenty, and nineteen of twenty-five.

Record:  The Twins were 29-20, in first place in the American League Central, 2.5 games ahead of Kansas City.

November 21, 1998: Random Day in Twins History

I used a random number generator to pick a season from the past with the idea that I would quickly highlight the Twins history that occurred today in that year.  The generator sent me to the year 1998.

The Twins concluded a sixth-consecutive losing season in 1998 and began to finally embrace a full rebuild.   Relatively cheap veterans Greg Swindell, Bob Tewksbury, Mike Morgan, Otis Nixon, and Orlando Merced were all traded during the season or allowed to leave as free agents.  Paul Molitor finally retired.

The STrib's John Millea noted, "Don't be surprised if the 1999 season is Tom Kelly's last as manager of the team.  The payroll is getting smaller, the players are getting younger, and Kelly's patience continues to wear thin.  He is at his best when the clubhouse is full of veterans who have been through the wars and earned their stripes.  Kelly is not exactly the fatherly type when it comes to youngsters, and sometimes that has resulted in strained relationships that can hinder the ballclub's progress."

Well, that wasn't entirely true.  1999 wasn't Kelly's last season with the team, although the payroll did get smaller and the roster got younger.  Who knows how Kelly's patience wore.  The sentence about striped veterans is the type of non-factual, journalistic mumbo-jumbo that would make Ken Tremendous a cult hero within years.

On this date, Terry Steinbach had filed for free agency and the Twins were mulling whether to bring him back.  Their internal candidates were Javier Valentin and A.J. Pierzynski, and the team did not believe either was fully ready for the next season.  Still, the team had been disappointed with Steinbach's production behind the plate the previous two years.

Postscript: On January 4, the Twins finally re-signed Steinbach.  Despite being nearly ready, it would take Pierzynski two more years to become the starting catcher mainly due to some, um, maturity issues.  One wonders at the official number of "wars" Pierzynski has endured in his career.

Did You Know that David Ortiz played in 86 games, and Torii Hunter played in 6 games that season?  On the mound, Eric Milton started 32 games that year.  Hunter has been retired for one season, and Ortiz just retired.  Milton was just 105 days older than Ortiz, and just 122 days older than Hunter, but  has not played in a game since June 27, 2009 even though he earned more than $47 million in his career.

Did You Also Know that the winning pitcher in Milton's last game was King Felix?

Furthermore, Did You Know that the final hitter Milton faced was Junior Griffey?