Tag Archives: accept no substitutes

2003 Rewind: Game Twenty-one

KANSAS CITY 2, MINNESOTA 1 IN KANSAS CITY

Date:  Thursday, April 24.

Batting stars:  A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-3.  Torii Hunter was 2-for-4.

Pitching star:  Brad Radke pitched an eight-inning complete game, giving up two runs on four hits and one walk and striking out four.

Opposition stars:  Chris George pitched six innings, giving up one run on five hits and two walks and striking out three.  Jason Grimsley pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.  Carlos Febles was 2-for-3 with a stolen base.  Mike Sweeney was 1-for-2 with a home run (his fourth) and a stolen base.

The game:  The Twins got a pair of one-out singles in the first but did not score.  Neither team threatened after that until the fourth, when Sweeney hit a two-out home run to put the Royals up 1-0.  The Twins tied it in the sixth with a two-out rally:  Bobby Kielty walked and singles by Corey Koskie and Hunter plated the run.

Kansas City went back in front in the bottom of the sixth.  Febles led off with a single and scored from first on a one-out double by Joe Randa.

And that was it.  The Royals did not get a man on base after the sixth, but it didn't matter.  The Twins got a couple of singles, but never advanced a man past first base.

WP:  George (3-1).  LP:  Radke (1-3).  S:  Mike MacDougal (9).

NotesMichael Cuddyer was again in right field.  Kielty was again the DH.  There were no in-game lineup substitutions.

Kielty was 1-for-3 with a walk and was batting .340.  Cuddyer was 0-for-3 and was batting .193.

Radke lowered his ERA to 6.28.  This was the first of three complete games Radke had in 2003.  He had 37 for his career.  By game scores this was his second-best game of the season, topped only by a complete game shutout on August 26.

After a lowpoint of .111 on April 11, Hunter finally climbed above the Mendoza line to stay at .216.  It seems like he was pretty hot-and-cold in 2003, posting averages by month of :.217, .269, .273, .229, .233, and .284.  On thinking about it, though, I wonder just how unusual that really is.  Everyone bounces up and down over the course of a season--how much variance is "normal" and how much is "unusual"?  I don't really know.

I kind of remember Joe Randa as a Twins killer, but he really wasn't.  He batted .275/.315/.404 for his career against the Twins and .264/.293/.431 against them in 2003.  His overall career numbers are .284/.339/.426, so he actually was worse against the Twins than against the rest of MLB.  Maybe I just remember a few big hits he got or something.

I didn't actually go through his whole career to check, but this has to be one of the best games Chris George ever pitched.  By game scores it was the second-best of the season, topped only by his first game of the season, when he pitched 6.2 innings and also gave up one run on five hits.  He made eighteen starts in 2003 and had an ERA of 7.11 with a WHIP of 1.75.  Somehow he went 9-6, which is probably why he was allowed to make 18 starts.  It's not like this was just a bad year--for his career he was 14-20, 6.48, 1.66 WHIP in 237.1 innings (47 games, 44 starts).  His "best" season was his first one, 2001, when he went 4-8, 5.59, 1.37 WHIP in 13 starts.  In his defense, he was rushed to the majors at age 21 on the strength of 18 AA starts in which he went 8-5, 3.14, but with a WHIP of 1.47.  He was on the Omaha/Kansas City shuttle from 2001--2004, spent all of 2005 in Omaha, then became a free agent.  He was with several organizations after that, but never made it to the majors.  Would more time in the minors when he was younger have helped?  It's hard to say.  It wouldn't have hurt, but at the same time, his career AAA numbers are 66-73, 4.95, 1.52 WHIP in 1223 innings.  It seems more likely that he just was never that good in the first place.

This made six losses in a row for the Twins, and was the seventh series sweep they'd been involved in at the start of the season.

Record:  The Twins were 9-12, in third place in the American League Central, eight games behind Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game Twenty

KANSAS CITY 4, MINNESOTA 3 IN KANSAS CITY

Date:  Tuesday, April 22.

Batting stars:  Torii Hunter was 2-for-3 with two walks.  Luis Rivas was 1-for-3 with a home run, a hit-by-pitch, and two runs.

Pitching star:  Mike Fetters pitched two shutout innings, allowing only a hit batsman.

Opposition stars:  Runelvys Hernandez pitched 6.2 innings, giving up one run on three hits and six walks and striking out three.  Angel Berroa was 2-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch.  Carlos Febles was 2-for-3.  Raul Ibanez was 2-for-4 with a double.  Joe Randa was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his fourth.

The game:  The Twins drew three walks in the second inning but left the bases loaded.  The Royals scored all their runs in the third.  Febles singled with one out, Tucker walked, and Randa hit a three-run homer.  It did not kill the rally, as Mike Sweeney drew a two-out walk and scored from first on a double by Ibanez.  Kansas City led 4-0.

The Twins got on the board in the fifth when Rivas led off with a home run.  They drew a pair of two-out walks in the inning, but could do nothing with them.  The Twins had men on first and second with two out in the seventh, but again failed to score.

The Twins tried to come back in the ninth.  Rivas was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Jacque Jones walked.  A pair of ground outs made the score 4-2 and put a man on third.  Corey Koskie walked and Hunter singled.  That cut the margin to 4-3, put the tying run on third, and put the go-ahead run on first.  The comeback was not to be, however, as Doug Mientkiewicz struck out to end the game.

WP:  Hernandez (4-0).  LP:  Kenny Rogers (2-1).  S:  Mike MacDougal (8).

Notes:  Bobby Kielty was in right field.  There were no substitutions in the lineup.

Kielty was 0-for-2 with three walks and was batting .340.  Jones was 0-for-4 with a walk and was batting .315.

Rogers pitched six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and four walks and striking out two.

Fetters kept his ERA at zero.

Rivas hit thirty-four home runs in his career.  That's not a lot, obviously, but it's more than I would've guessed.  He hit eight in 2003.  His career high was ten, in 2004.

As you can see above, the Twins left a lot of men on base.  They stranded twelve and went just 1-for-12 with men in scoring position.

Runelvys Hernandez was off to an awesome start in 2003.  At this point, after five starts, he had pitched 32.2 innings and had an ERA of 1.10.  For the month of April he was 4-0, 1.36.  His season fell apart after that.  He was 0-3, 5.89 in May; missed the month of June, was 1-1, 5.40 in July, and was 2-1, 10.57 in August.  As it turned out, he needed Tommy John surgery and was never a good pitcher again.  He missed all of 2004, was 8-14, 5.52 in 2005, and was 6-10, 6.48 in 2006.  He spent time in the Boston, Yankee, and Pittsburgh organizations in 2007.  He made four starts for Houston in 2008, going 0-3, 8.38.  He pitched in Korea in 2009, in Mexico in 2010, and played winter ball through 2013.  It's hard to know just how good he might have been if he hadn't been injured. He signed with the Royals in December of 1997, but b-r.com doesn't have minor league stats for him until 2001.  Presumably he was in foreign rookie leagues, like the Dominican Summer League, until then.  By 2001 he was twenty-three.  He pitched well in Class A that season and did well in AA as a twenty-four year old in 2002, but if he's got anything at all to recommend him he should do well at that level at that age.  My guess is that the one hot month he had was just that, a hot month, but we'll never know.  He did at least have the one hot month, though, which is one more than a lot of guys get.

The Twins had now lost five in a row.  There would be a rainout the next day, shortening this to a two-game series, so a loss in the next game would make the seventh consecutive series sweep the Twins had been involved in from the start of the season.

Record:  The Twins were 9-11, in third place in the American League Central, seven games behind Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game Fifteen

MINNESOTA 6, DETROIT 0 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Thursday, April 17.

Batting stars:  Chris Gomez was 3-for-4.  Torii Hunter was 2-for-3 with two doubles and a walk.  Michael Cuddyer was 2-for-3 with a triple, a walk, and two runs.  Bobby Kielty was 2-for-4 with two home runs, his second and third.  Corey Koskie was 1-for-4 with a home run and two runs.

Pitching stars:  Kenny Rogers struck out nine in eight shutout innings, giving up seven hits and no walks.  Tony Fiore pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Eugene Kingsale was 2-for-3.  Omar Infante was 2-for-4.

The game:  The Twins did not have a big inning, but just eased out to a comfortable lead.  In the first, a single by Cristian Guzman and a double by Hunter led to a run.  Kielty homered leading off the second to make it 2-0.  Koskie homered with one out in the third to make it 3-0.  In the fourth, Cuddyer led off with a triple and scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-0.

I don't know if there's ever been a game in which a team scored exactly one run in each inning, and sadly this would not be one.  The score remained 4-0 until the eighth.  The Tigers had a threat in the fifth when Infante led off with a double and Kingsale had an infield single with one out.  A strikeout and a ground out ended the threat, and Detroit would not threaten again.

The Twins got their final two runs in the eighth.  Kielty again lead off the inning with a home run.  With one out Cuddyer walked, went to third on a Gomez single, and scored on a sacrifice fly.

WP:  Rogers (2-0).  LP:  Jeremy Bonderman (0-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  Gomez was at second base in place of Luis Rivas.  Kielty was in center field, with Hunter at DH.  Cuddyer was in right field.  The Twins made no position player substitutions.

Gomez was batting .467.  Kielty was batting .387.  Guzman was batting .347.  Jacque Jones was 0-for-4 and was batting .333.  Koskie was batting .306.

Rogers lowered his ERA to 3.50.  That was as low as it would get all season.  By game scores this was his second-best game of the season, topped only by a game in Kansas City in mid-August.

Six of the Tigers' starters had batting averages below .200:  Eric Munson (.175), Infante (.167), Carlos Pena (.167), Dean Palmer (.118), Brandon Inge (.091), and Hiram Bocachica (.045).

Jeremy Bonderman started for Detroit.  He pitched six innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on ten hits and a walk and striking out four.

This was the fifth consecutive series sweep the Twins were involved in at the start of the season.  They had been on the winning end of three and the losing end of two.  I don't know what the record is.  Of course, the year the Orioles started 0-21, they must have been on the losing end of several sweeps.

Record:  The Twins were 9-6, tied for second in the American League Central with Chicago, 2.5 games behind Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game Fourteen

MINNESOTA 4, DETROIT 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, April 16.

Batting stars:  Corey Koskie was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.  Cristian Guzman was 2-for-3 with a double, a hit-by-pitch, and two runs.  A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-4 with a double.  Jacque Jones was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his third.

Pitching stars:  Rick Reed pitched six innings, giving up two runs on six hits and a walk and striking out five.  Johan Santana retired all four batters he faced, striking out one.  Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Wil Ledezma retired all seven batters he faced, striking out three.  Bobby Higginson was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.

The game:  The Tigers put a man on second with two out in the first and did not score.  The Twins put men on second and third with one out in the first and did not score.  The Twins got on the board in the second when Bobby Kielty and Pierzynski started the inning with back-to-back doubles, putting Minnesota up 1-0.  They got one more in the third.  Guzman was hit by a pitch and Koskie singled, putting men on first and third with none out.  Torii Hunter then hit into a double play which scored a run and made it 2-0.

The Twins put together a two-out rally in the fourth.  Jones and Guzman singled with two down and Koskie hit a two-run double to increase the lead to 4-0.  The Tigers cut the lead in half in the fifth.  Eric Munson singled and scored on a one-out double by Matt Walbeck.  With two out, Bobby Higginson hit an RBI single and it was 4-2.

And there it stayed.  Detroit did not get a hit after the fifth inning.  They did get a pair of two-out walks in the seventh, but Santana came in to retire Carlos Pena on a fly ball.  Detroit did not get a baserunner after that.

WP:  Reed (1-2).  LP:  Adam Bernero (0-3).  S:  Guardado (6).

Notes:  Kielty was at DH in this game.

The Twins made no in-game lineup substitutions.

Kielty was 1-for-3 and was batting .370.  Jones raised his average to .358.  Guzman raised his average to .341.  Koskie raised his average to .311.

Dustan Mohr was 0-for-4 and was batting .125.  Hunter was 0-for-4 and was batting .137.

Juan Rincon pitched two-thirds of an inning without giving up a run.  He and Santana each had an ERA of zero.  Guardado lowered his ERA to 1.35.

Tiger players with a Twins connection are Walbeck and Munson.  Craig Paquette was drafted by them but did not sign.

Bernero pitched 5.2 innings, giving up four runs on ten hits and two walks.  He struck out none.  Detroit had a 1-12 record at this point in the season.

The Twins had won three, lost six, and now had won five.  They would go for the series sweep the next day.  If they got it, it would be the fifth consecutive series sweep they had been involved in to start the season.

Record:  The Twins were 8-6, tied for second with Chicago in the American League Central, 3.5 games behind Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game Nine

NEW YORK 2, MINNESOTA 0 IN NEW YORK

Date:  Thursday, April 10.

Batting stars:  Chris Gomez was 2-for-4.  A. J. Pierzynski was 0-for-1 with two hit-by-pitches.

Pitching stars:  Rick Reed pitched four innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits and two walks and striking out two.  Johan Santana struck out eight in four shutout innings of relief, giving up four hits.

Opposition stars:  David Wells pitched a complete game shutout, giving up three hits and striking out six.  Hideki Matsui was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.  Bernie Williams was 3-for-4.  John Flaherty was 2-for-4 with a double.

The game:  The Yankees had men on first and second with two out in the first and second and third with one out in the second, but did not score either time.  That changed in the third.  With one out, Jason Giambi walked and went to third on Williams' single-plus-error.  Matsui then delivered a two-run double to give New York a 2-0 lead.

And that was it for the scoring.  The Twins got a one-out double from Gomez in the fourth, but he was stranded on second.  They put two on with two out in the fifth and did nothing with them.  They did not get a man past first after that, managing only a pair of singles over the next four innings.

WP:  Wells (2-0).  LP:  Reed (0-2).  S:  None.

NotesGomez was at short in place of Cristian Guzman.  Dustan Mohr was in left in place of Jacque Jones.  Michael Cuddyer was in right.

Gomez was batting .364.

The Twins had five starters in this game with batting averages below .200.  At the bottom was Rivas at .091.  Matthew LeCroy was batting .125.  Torii Hunter was batting .129.  Cuddyer was batting .143.  Mohr was batting .158.

The Twins made no lineup substitutions.

I don't know why Reed came out after just four innings.  He had thrown seventy pitches, which is a lot for four innings but doesn't seem like a lot for a game.  He would not miss his next start.  Santana obviously did an excellent job, which didn't help in this game but did save the rest of the bullpen for the next one.

You probably remember that Wells threw a perfect game against the Twins.  For his career, he was actually better against them than Mussina was:  19-6, 2.34, 1.01 WHIP in 200.1 innings (38 games, 25 starts).

After sweeping Detroit to start the season, the Twins had now been swept by Toronto and New York.  In the Yankee series, they were outscored 11-4.  In the losing streak they were outscored 30-10.  They would next travel to Toronto to take another shot at the Blue Jays.

Record:  The Twins were 3-6, in fourth place in the American League Central, five games behind Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game Eight

NEW YORK 2, MINNESOTA 1 IN NEW YORK

Date:  Wednesday, April 9.

Batting stars:  A. J. Pierzynski was 3-for-3.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-4 with a double.  Bobby Kielty was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Pitching star:  Kyle Lohse pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk and striking out five.

Opposition stars:  Mike Mussina struck out eight in eight innings, giving up an unearned run on six hits and two walks.  Jorge Posada was 1-for-2 with a home run (his third) and a walk.  Raul Mondesi was 1-for-3 with a home run.

The game:  With one out in the second, Kielty got to second on a single-plus-error and scored on Pierzynski's two-out single to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  The Twins missed a chance to add to their lead in the fifth.  Kielty led off with a walk.  Pierzynski hit a one-out single and Luis Rivas walked, loading the bases.  But Jacque Jones hit back to the pitcher for a force at home and Cristian Guzman grounded out, ending the inning.

It cost the Twins, as the Yankees took the lead in the bottom of the fifth.  Posada hit a one-out homer and Mondesi hit a two-out homer, putting New York ahead 2-1.

And that's where it stayed.  Mientkiewicz hit a two-out double in the sixth.  Pierzynski singled with one out in the seventh and was erased by a double play.  Mientkiewicz hit a one-out single in the ninth.  But the Twins could not tie it up, and it was another loss.

WP:  Mussina (2-0).  LP:  Lohse (1-1).  S:  Juan Acevedo (2).

Notes:  Kielty was the DH in place of Matthew LeCroy.

The Twins made no lineup substitutions.

Kielty was batting .368.  Jones was 1-for-4 and was batting .344.  Corey Koskie was 0-for-4 and was batting .300.

Rivas was 0-for-2 and was batting .105.  Hunter was 0-for-4 and was batting .148.

By game scores this was Lohse's fourth-best game of the season, topped by his first game, a game in May, and one in September.

If you were around at that time, you remember how the Twins struggled against Mussina.  For his career, Mussia was 22-9 against the Twins with an ERA of 3.09 and a WHIP of 1.17.  He struck out 186 batters in 230.1 innings (33 starts) against the Twins.  But the Twins were not the only team that struggled against him, because Mussina was just a darn good pitcher.  He actually won more games against Toronto (23) and had a lower ERA against Detroit (2.91) and Kansas City (3.00).  He also had a lower ERA against several National League teams, although just in a few starts.  He had a lower WHIP against several teams, too.  He wasn't hard on the Twins because he had some sort of hex on them or something.  He was hard on the Twins because he was really good.

After winning their first three, the Twins had now lost their next five.  They would have one more chance to break their losing streak against the Yankees.

Record:  The Twins were 3-5, in fourth place in the American League Central, four games behind Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game Seven

NEW YORK 7, MINNESOTA 3 IN NEW YORK

Date:  Tuesday, April 8.

Batting stars:  Torii Hunter was 1-for-2 with a double, a walk, and two RBIs.  Jacque Jones was 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two runs.  Cristian Guzman was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Pitching star:  Tony Fiore pitched three shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Nick Johnson was 2-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base.  Robin Ventura was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his third.  Hideki Matsui was 1-for-3 with a grand slam, a walk, and two runs.  Antonio Osuna struck out three in 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up a walk.

The game:  The Yankees opened the scoring in the second.  Jorge Posada hit a one-out double and Raul Mondesi delivered a two-out single, putting New York up 1-0.  The Twins tied it in the fourth.  Jones led off with a double, Corey Koskie drew a one-out walk, and Hunter hit a run-scoring double.  The Twins still had men on second and third with one out, but Matthew LeCroy hit a grounder to third and Koskie was thrown out at the plate on what we assume was the contact play.  Doug Mientkiewicz grounded out and the threat was over.

It cost them, because the Yankees went into the lead to stay in the bottom of the fourth.  Matsui led off the inning with a walk and Ventura hit a one-out two-run homer, making the score 3-1 New York.  With one out in the fifth Johnson singled and Jason Giambi singled Johnson to third, with Giambi moving to second on the throw.  Bernie Williams was intentionally walked and Matsiu followed with a grand slam, making it 7-1 Yankees.

The Twins tried to get back into it in the sixth.  Jones and Guzman led off the inning with walks.  A forceout put men on first and third and Hunter's sacrifice fly scored a run.  A passed ball moved Guzman to second and he scored on LeCroy's single.  Mientkiewicz singled and a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third.  A hit could've moved the Twins to within two, but Michael Cuddyer struck out to end the inning and leave the score 7-3.

That was pretty much it.  The Twins had only one baserunner the rest of the game, a two-out walk to Hunter in the eighth.

WP:  Andy Pettitte (2-0).  LP:  Joe Mays (1-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Cuddyer was in right field, as he was for most of the month of March.  The Twins did not make any lineup substitutions.

Koskie was batting .375.  Jones was batting .357.

The Twins had five regulars batting below .200 in the young season.  Hunter was at .174.  A. J. Pierzynski was also at .174.  Cuddyer was batting .167.  LeCroy was batting .143.  Luis Rivas was at .118.  You don't win many games that way, and of course this was the Twins' fourth loss in a row.  But that's why you don't make judgments after seven games.

After a solid first outing, Mays again lasted five innings, but this time allowed seven runs on eight hits and two walks.  He struck out three.  He did fairly well except for the home runs, but that's a little like saying the Titanic did fairly well except for that big hole in the side.  Fiore did an excellent job of saving the bullpen, though, and that should not be overlooked.

Yankee starter Andy Pettitte pitched 5.2 innings, giving up three runs on five hits and three walks and striking out two.

The Twins had started with three wins, but now had four losses.

Record:  The Twins were 3-4, in third place in the American League Central, three games behind Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game Four

TORONTO 7, MINNESOTA 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, April 4.

Batting stars:  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-3 with a home run, a double, a walk, and two runs.  Bobby Kielty was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Pitching stars:  Johan Santana struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  Mike Fetters pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Tanyon Sturtze pitched 6.2 innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks and struck out one.  Josh Phelps was 2-for-3 with a home run and a walk.  Vernon Wells was 2-for-4 with two home runs and four RBIs.  Frank Catalanotto was 2-for-5 with a home run.  Jeff Tam pitched two shutout innings, giving up a hit.

The game:  The Twins missed a chance in the first.  Jacque Jones led off with a single, was bunted to second, and stole third with one out.  Torii Hunter then hit back to the pitcher and Jones was thrown out at the plate, presumably on a contact play.  It cost them, because Phelps led off the second with a home run, putting the Blue Jays up 1-0.  It went to 2-0 in the second, as Toronto scored on singles by Carlos Delgado and Phelps and an error.

The Twins got on the board in the fifth.  Mientkiewicz walked and went to second on a ground out.  Luis Rivas then reached on an error and Mientkiewicz scored, cutting the lead to 2-1.  The Blue Jays responded immediately, with Catalanotto and Wells leading off the sixth with back-to-back homers to give Toronto a 4-1 lead.

The Blue Jays put it out of reach in the seventh.  Mike Bordick and Shannon Stewart walked and Wells hit a two-out three-run homer, putting Toronto up 7-1.  Mientkiewicz homered leading off the eighth, but the Twins never threatened to get back into the game.

WP:  Sturtze (1-0).  LP:  Rick Reed (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Michael Cuddyer was at third base in place of Corey Koskie.  Bobby Kielty was in right field.

The Twins did not make any lineup substitutions.

Reed pitched pretty well for five innings, but the back-to-back homers gave him a line of six innings, four runs, six hits, one walk, and two strikeouts.   The big seventh came off Tony Fiore.  Fiore had pitched well for the Twins in 2002, but would not repeat that in 2003.

I remembered Vernon Wells as a Twins killer.  He wasn't, really.  He did fine against them, but not that much differently from the way he hit against everyone.  Against the Twins he batted .290/.321/.446, for an OPS of .767.  For his career, he batted .270/.319/.459, for an OPS of .778.

Tanyon Sturtze pitched a long time for someone who wasn't very good.  He had a good game here, obviously.  Maybe he was one of those guys who, in Bill James' phrase, pitched well just often enough to fool people into pitching him some more.  He was in the majors for parts of twelve seasons and went 40-44, 5.19, 1.53 WHIP in 797 innings.  He appeared in 272 games, starting 84 of them.  Excluding "seasons" in which he pitched fewer than ten innings, his lowest season ERA was 4.42.  He had only three seasons in which he had an ERA under five.  His numbers in AAA were 38-30, 4.71, 1.49 WHIP, so it's not like he just couldn't make the jump to the bigs.  In fact, his numbers in AA are 13-18, 4.33, 1.49 WHIP.  Even in high-A, he had an ERA of 3.84, but a WHIP of 1.45.  I've written this so many times you're probably tired of reading it, but it just frustrates me that guys like this get chance after chance after chance, long after they've proven they're never going to be good enough, while other guys put up great numbers in the high minors and get a cursory look or none at all.  I guess nobody said baseball, or life itself, was going to be fair.

Despite my hopes, the Twins would not go 162-0 in 2003.

Record:  The Twins were 3-1, in second place in the American League Central, one game behind Kansas City.

Random Rewind: 1984, Game One Hundred Twenty-four

MINNESOTA 5, MILWAUKEE 2 IN MILWAUKEE (GAME 1 OF DOUBLEHEADER)

Date:  Wednesday, August 22.

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a triple, a double, and two RBIs.  Houston Jimenez was 2-for-4 with two runs.  Tom Brunansky was 1-for-4 with a home run, his twenty-sixth.

Pitching star:  Mike Smithson pitched a complete game, giving up two runs on six hits and two walks and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Ben Oglivie was 2-for-3 with a home run (his tenth) and a walk.  Cecil Cooper was 2-for-4 with a home run, his eighth.  Mike Caldwell pitched a complete game despite allowing five runs on eight hits and a walk and striking out two.

The game:  Oglivie homered in the second to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead.  It didn't last long, as the Twins came back with two in the third.  Jimenez singled and Puckett doubled, putting men on second and third with none out.  Sacrifice flies by Dave Meier and Mickey Hatcher brought home the runs.

Milwaukee got a single, a walk, and a hit batsman in the fourth, but a double play took them out of the inning.  In the seventh, Brunansky led off with a home run.  The next two batter went out.  Tim Laudner then struck out, but reached base on a wild pitch.  Jimenez doubled and Puckett delivered a two-run triple, giving the Twins a 5-1 lead.  Cooper homered with two out in the ninth, but the Brewers did not get the tying run up to bat or even come close to doing so.

WP:  Smithson (13-9).  LP:  Caldwell (6-11).  S:  None.

Notes:  Laudner was behind the plate, as you would expect.  He and Dave Engle shared catching duties in 1984, with Engle playing in slightly more games (86-81).  Neither hit all that well, with Engle providing a higher batting average and Laudner providing more power, but their OPS numbers were .661 (Engle) and .647 (Laudner).

Meier was in left field in this game.  Hatcher was the regular left field, but he was the DH in this game, with regular DH Randy Bush out of the lineup.

Neither team made any substitutions and both pitchers threw complete games.  I suspect that didn't happen very often even back then.  Now, of course, it's nearly unheard of.

Hrbek led the team in batting at .318.  He would finish at .311, a figure which would still lead the team.  Hatcher was batting .311--he would finish at .302.  Puckett, in his rookie season, was batting .305--he would finish at .296.  The Twins were tied for sixth in batting at .265.  Boston would lead the league at .283.

Brunansky would lead the team in home runs with 32.  Hrbek was  next at 27, followed by Tim Teufel (14), Bush (11), and Laudner (10).  The Twins hit 114 home runs, which was next-to-last in the league.  Detroit led with 187.  I would not have guessed that the 1984 Twins were next-to-last in home runs.

Smithson led the team in starts with 39 and was one of three reliable starters the Twins had, going 15-13, 3.68, 1.19 WHIP.  Frank Viola was the staff ace, going 18-12, 3.21, 1.16.  John Butcher was 13-11, 3.44, 1.31.  After that it was pray for rain, which doesn't work very well when your home field is a dome.  Ken Schrom, who had pitched well the year before, was 5-11, 4.47, 1.44.  Ed Hodge, in his rookie year (which turned out to also be his last year), was 4-3, 4.77, 1.45, and Al Williams, the Nicaraguan guerrilla fighter, was 3-5, 5.77, 1.41.  If the Twins could've found even a fourth starter, they might well have won the division.

Of course, the bullpen wasn't much help, either.  The two relievers who appeared in the most games were Ron Davis (7-11, 4.55, 1.45) and Pete Filson (6-5, 4.10, 1.35).  Even the guys with better ERAs allowed a ton of baserunners:  Rick Lysander (3.49 ERA, 1.57 WHIP), Len Whitehouse (3.16, 1.47), and Mike Walters (3.72, 1.55).

On the strength of their three good starters, the Twins were fourth in ERA at 3.85.  Detroit led with 3.49.  They were also fourth in WHIP at 1.32.  Detroit led there, too, at 1.26.

Surprisingly, with players like Cooper, Oglivie, Robin Yount, and Ted Simmons, the Brewers finished last in home runs with just 96.  Yount led the team with 16.

The Twins would sweep the doubleheader, their fifth win in six games.

Record:  The Twins were 66-58, in first place in the American League West, five games ahead of California and Kansas City.  They would finish 81-81, tied for third with California, three games behind Kansas City.

The Brewers were 52-73, in seventh (last) place in the American League East, 30.5 games behind Detroit.  They would finish 67-94, in last place, 36.5 games behind Detroit.

Random Record:  The Twins are 43-41 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 2010, Game Seventy-six

DETROIT 7, MINNESOTA 5 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Monday, June 28.

Batting stars:  Jim Thome was 2-for-3 with a home run (his seventh), a triple, a walk, two runs, and two RBIs.  Justin Morneau was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Delmon Young was 2-for-4.  Orlando Hudson was 2-for-5 with a double.

Pitching star:  Jesse Crain struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Ramon Santiago was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Miguel Cabrera was 2-for-4 with two doubles, a walk, and two RBIs.  Austin Jackson was 2-for-4 with a hit-by-pitch and three runs.  Danny Worth was 2-for-4.  Gerald Laird was 1-for-4 with a home run, his second.

The game:  The Tigers jumped out early, scoring four runs in the first before a man was retired and never trailing after that.  Jackson was hit by a pitch.  Singles by Santiago and Ryan Raburn loaded the bases, and Cabrera and Brandon Boesch each hit a two-run double, giving Detroit a 4-0 lead.

The Twins got one back in the bottom of the first when Denard Span was hit by a pitch, went to third on Hudson's double, and scored on a sacrifice fly.  One was all they got, though, and the Tigers moved their lead back to four in the second when Jackson singled, stole second, went to third on Santiago's single, and scored on a ground out.

The Twins started getting back into it in the fourth.  Michael Cuddyer led off with a single, Thome tripled, and Young singled, cutting the lead to 5-3.  In the sixth Thome homered, narrowing the margin to 5-4.

In the seventh Jackson singled, was bunted to second and scored on a Raburn single.  The Twins got the run back in the bottom of the seventh when Hudson singled, went to second on a pickoff error, and scored on Jason Kubel's single, bringing the margin again down to one at 6-5.

But that was as good as it got for the Twins.  Laird homered in the eighth to make it 7-5.  The Twins went down in order in both the eighth and the ninth and went down to defeat.

WP:  Jeremy Bonderman (4-5).  LP:  Francisco Liriano (6-6).  S:  Jose Valverde (18).

Notes:  Justin Morneau was at first base.  As you probably recall, he was having an awesome year until he was injured in early July, bringing his season to a premature end and affecting his entire career.  Cuddyer actually played the most games at first base that season, 84 to 77.

Nick Punto was at shortstop in place of J. J. Hardy, who was out due to injury.  Cuddyer was at third base in place of Danny Valencia, who was out for a few games.

The Twins did not make any position player substitutions.

Morneau was batting .350.  He would end the season at .345.  Mauer was batting .300.  He would finish at .327.  Valencia batted .311.  The Twins were third in batting at .273.  Texas led the league at .276.

Thome led the team with 25 home runs.  Kubel and Young were tied for second with 21.  Others in double figures were Morneau (18) and Cuddyer (14).  The Twins were ninth in home runs with 142.  Toronto led the league with 257, which was 46 more than the second place team (Boston).

Liriano pitched six innings and allowed six runs on nine hits and two walks.  He struck out six.  He had a fine year in 2010, even if you couldn't tell it from this game:  14-10, 3.62, 1.26 WHIP.  He and Carl Pavano (17-11, 3.75) were clearly a step above the others in the rotation:  Scott Baker (12-9, 4.49), Kevin Slowey (13-6, 4.45), and Nick Blackburn (10-12, 5.42).  Brian Duensing joined the rotation in late July and did very well--as a starter he was 7-2, 3.05.  The Twins were fifth in the league in ERA at 3.95--Oakland led at 3.56.  They were fourth in WHIP at 1.29--Tampa Bay led there, at 1.26.

Detroit used two pitchers with connections to the Twins, Brad Thomas and Joel Zumaya.  Thomas was in his second act in MLB.  He had last pitched in the majors with the Twins in 2004.  He then went to Japan and to Korea before making it back to the big leagues with Detroit in 2010.  He made the most of the opportunity, going 6-2, 3.89 in 49 apperaances (69.1) innings.  It was the only good year he would have.  He kept pitching, though, going to his native Australia and to Taiwan before ending his playing career in 2014.  He has going back to Australia and appears to have a number of successful business interests there, some related to baseball and some not.

This was the middle of a three-game losing streak for the Twins.  They were in a stretch where they would win just two of eight.  This game was a battle for first place in the division at the time, as you'll see below.

Record:  The Twins were 41-35, in second place in the American League Central, a half game behind Detroit.  They would finish 94-68, in first place, six games ahead of Chicago.

The Tigers were 41-34, in first place in the American League Central, a half game ahead of Minnesota.  They would finish 81-81, in third place, 13 games behind Minnesota.

Rewind Record:  The Twins are 39-38 in Random Rewind games.