Tag Archives: aggressive baserunning

1991 Rewind: World Series Game Seven

MINNESOTA 1, ATLANTA 0 IN MINNESOTA (10 INNINGS)

Date:  Sunday, October 27.

Batting stars:  Dan Gladden was 3-for-5 with two doubles.  Brian Harper was 2-for-4.

Pitching star:  Jack Morris pitched ten shutout innings, giving up seven hits and two walks and striking out eight.  He threw 126 pitches.

Opposition stars:  John Smoltz pitched 7.1 scoreless innings, giving up six hits and a walk and struck out four.  Lonnie Smith was 2-for-4 with a walk.

The game:  Obviously there was no score through nine innings, so we'll detail the threats.  In the second, the Twins got a pair of two-out singles.  With one out in the third, Rafael Belliard singled and Smith walked.  Gladden hit a one-out double in the bottom of the third but did not advance.

The Braves had a significant threat in the fifth.  Mark Lemke led off with a single, was bunted to second, and went to third on Smith's infield single.  But Terry Pendelton popped up and Ron Gant struck out to end the inning.

The big threat came in the eighth.  Smith singled and Pendleton doubled, putting men on second and third with none out.  This was the famous Chuck Knoblauch deke play, where he fooled Smith by pretending to field a ground ball and throw to second.  Still, Atlanta had the middle of their order coming to bat.  But Gant grounded out, David Justice was intentionally walked, and Sid Bream hit into a 3-2-3 double play to keep the game scoreless.

The Twins had a threat of their own in the ninth.  Chili Davis and Brian Harper led off with singles.  Shane Mack hit into a double play, but pinch-runner Jarvis Brown was still on third with two out.  But pinch-hitter Paul Sorrento struck out and the game continued.

The Braves went down in order in the top of the tenth.  Gladden led off with a bloop double in the bottom of the tenth.  Knoblauch bunted him to third.  Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek were both intentionally walked, loading the bases.  With the outfield drawn in, pinch-hitter Gene Larkin then hit a fly ball to left-center, which fell for a hit and won the game and the series for the Twins.

WP:  Morris (4-0).  LP:  Alejandro Pena (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Randy Bush pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the eighth.  Al Newman then pinch-ran for Bush and stayed in the game at shortstop.  In the ninth, Brown pinch-ran for Davis and Sorrento pinch-hit for Newman.  Scott Leius came into the game in the tenth at shorstop.  Larkin pinch-hit for Brown in the tenth.

What a game.  If you've watched it, there's probably not much I can tell you about it that you don't know.  If you haven't, I probably can't do it justice.

Morris pitched about as good a game as you will ever see anyone pitch in that situation.

Gladden gets a lot of credit for aggressive baserunning in the tenth, and I guess he deserves it, but I remember thinking as I saw the ball dropping in that it should be a double.

I always think about how close Jarvis Brown came to being a World Series hero.  When he pinch-ran in the ninth, he came that close to scoring the deciding run.  But, of course, it didn't happen.

The Braves eighth was amazing.  Even with Smith's baserunning blunder, I still thought they would score at least once and probably win.  I can still remember how awesome that 3-2-3 double play was.

The only bench player the Twins had left was Junior Ortiz.  Had the game continued, there would've have been almost no moves for Tom Kelly to make beyond pitching changes.

I don't remember if the Twins had anyone warming up to come in to pitch the eleventh or if Morris would've gone back out there.

So, the Twins were World Series champions.  We'll do a couple of statistical wrap-up posts before we let go of 1991 Rewind.  Thanks for reading!

Record:  The Twins won the best-of-seven series four games to three.

2019 Recap: Game Fourteen

TORONTO 6, MINNESOTA 5 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Tuesday, April 16.

Batting stars:  Marwin Gonzalez was 2-for-4 with a home run.  Jorge Polanco was 1-for-3 with a home run (his third) and a walk, scoring twice.  Eddie Rosario was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his fourth.

Pitching star:  Tyler Duffey struck out three in two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Eric Sogard was 3-for-5 with two runs.  Justin Smoak was 1-for-3 with two walks and two RBIs.  Randal Grichuk was 0-for-2 with three walks and two runs.

The game:  The Twins threatened in the second, getting one-out singles from Gonzalez and Jake Cave, but did not score.  They got on the board in the third, however, as Polanco hit a two-out home run that gave the Twins a 1-0 lead.

Twins starter Kyle Gibson sailed through the first five innings, giving up just one hit.  He hit the wall in the sixth, however.  Danny Jansen led off with a single and Sogard doubled.  Freddy Galvis struck out, but a walk to Grichuk loaded the bases and Smoak delivered a two-run single that put the Blue Jays up 2-1.  Ryne Harper came in and got Teoscar Hernandez to fly out, but then gave up RBI singles to Rowdy Tellez and Alen Hanson to make the score 4-1.

The Twins came right back in the bottom of the sixth.  Walks to Max Kepler and Polanco opened the frame, and Rosario followed with a three-run homer to tie the score 4-4.  Unfortunately, the tie was also short-lived.  Trevor May started the inning for the Twins.  A Sogard single and walks to Grichuk and Smoak loaded the bases with two out.  The Twins brought in their designated Bases Loaded Pitcher, Trevor Hildenberger, but this time he could not get it done.  Hernandez singled, scoring two runs and putting Toronto back on top 6-4.

To their credit, the Twins did not roll over.  Gonzalez started the ninth with a home run to cut the lead to 6-5.  Nelson Cruz walked, but a force out and a strikeout left C. J. Cron on first with two out.  Byron Buxton delivered a double to deep left, but Cron was thrown out trying to score from first and the game was over.

Notes:  Polanco is batting .415.  Mitch Garver was 0-for-1 and is batting .407.  Harper gave up a pair of run-scoring singles, but neither run was charged to him, so his ERA is still zero.  Hildenberger and Duffey, who was making his season debut with the Twins, also have ERAs of zero.

Rosario was the DH in this game, with Jake Cave in left and Cruz on the bench.  Willians Astudillo was at first base, with Cron on the bench.  Ehire Adrianza was at second base, with Schoop on the bench.  While this may have been overdoing it a little, I like the fact that Rocco is using his entire roster.  Yes, it lessens your chances of winning that particular game, but it keeps everybody fresher, more rested, more ready to play, and should result in more wins down the line.  That's the theory, anyway.

I don't know if anyone has been able to discern any particular pattern in who catches each game.  I haven't had time to examine it--is he using certain catchers with certain pitchers, going by opposing pitcher matchups, or what?  I think there must be a pattern--I don't believe Rocco's just choosing at random.  I just don't know what it is and haven't had time to try to find out.

I wasn't able to pay attention to last night's game, so I don't know if we had Nibbly Gibson or not.  If we did, it was pretty darned effective nibbling for five innings.  I know the e coli excuse starts to wear thin for people, but it's a pretty severe thing, and some people take longer to recover from illness than others.  Given that he was cruising for five innings and then just suddenly lost it in the sixth, I don't think it's unreasonable to think that fatigue might have been a factor.

On the play at the plate to end the game--well, again, I wasn't watching at the time, and it's pretty easy to second-guess after you know the outcome.  As a general principle, though, I don't have a problem with aggressive baserunning, as long as there's a reasonable chance for success.  Sometimes you have to force the other team to make a play.  When you do, sometimes they'll be able to make it.  And when that happens, you just give them credit and move on.

No team ever went through the whole season without a two-game losing streak, and the Twins won't be the first.  The trick is to keep the losing streaks short.

Record:  The Twins are 8-6, in second place in the American League Central, a half game behind Cleveland.

Projected record:  We'll just have to settle for 156-6!