Tag Archives: bad starters

2003 Rewind: Game One

MINNESOTA 3, DETROIT 1 IN DETROIT

Date:  Monday, March 31.

Batting stars:  Dustan Mohr was 2-for-3 with a two-run homer.  A. J. Pierzynski was 1-for-3 with a home run.

Pitching stars:  Brad Radke pitched 6.2 innings, giving up one run on three hits and one walk and striking out three.  J. C. Romero pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit.  Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition star:  Mike Maroth pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits and no walks and striking out three.

The game:  Michael Cuddyer hit a one-out single in the second and Mohr hit a two-out two-run homer to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.  After that, neither team got a baserunner until the fifth and neither team got a man to second until the sixth.

The Twins missed a chance to add to their lead in that sixth inning.  Jacque Jones led off with a double and Cristian Guzman singled to put men on first and third.  With the contact play on (my assumption), Torii Hunter grounded to third and Jones was thrown out at the plate.  Matthew LeCroy then grounded into a double play and the chance was gone.

It looked like it might cost them.  In the seventh, Omar Infante singled with one out.  With two down, Bobby Higginson walked and Dean Palmer delivered an RBI single, cutting the lead to 2-1.  The go-ahead run was on and the tying run was in scoring position, but Craig Paquette grounded out to end the threat.

In the eighth Pierzynski homered to give the Twins an insurance run.  The Tigers did not get a man past first base after that.

WP:  Radke (1-0).  LP:  Maroth (0-1).  S:  Guardado (1).

Notes:  Michael Cuddyer was at third base in place of Corey Koskie.  Cuddyer would mostly play right field when he played, but he would spend much of the season in Rochester, as we will see as this series progresses.  Sorry if I should've spoilered that.

Other than that, the Twins used what would be their regular lineup for 2003.  Denny Hocking went to third base in the seventh, replacing Cuddyer for defense.  Chris Gomez pinch-ran for LeCroy in the ninth.

This was the year Detroit lost 119 games and Maroth lost 21 games.  This one was a tough luck loss, but overall he did not pitch well in 2003--5.73 ERA, 1.45 WHIP.  Still, he made 33 starts and pitched nearly 200 innings, due mostly to the fact that the Tigers had no one better to replace him with.  Of the six Detroit pitchers who started ten or more times, only one had an ERA under five (Nate Cornejo) and two had ERAs over six.  Remarkably, they were not last in the league in ERA--they were next to last at 5.30, but Texas was dead last at 5.67.

Maroth was actually in the Twins farm system for a time in 2010.  Most of that time was spent on the disabled list.  Another Tiger in this game with a Twins connection is Eric Munson, who went to spring training with the Twins in 2005.

Record:  The Twins were 1-0, tied for first place in the American League Central with Kansas City.

Random Rewind: 1996, Game One Hundred Forty-four

OAKLAND 7, MINNESOTA 0 IN MINNESOTA

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.

Random Rewind: 1995, Game Seventy

MINNESOTA 11, NEW YORK 4 IN NEW YORK

Date:  Friday, July 14.

Batting stars:  Pedro Munoz was 3-for-4 with a double and four RBIs.  Marty Cordova was 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs.  Jeff Reboulet was 2-for-4 with a hit-by-pitch and four runs.  Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-4 with a triple, a stolen base (his twenty-first), a walk, and two runs.  Dan Masteller was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-5 with a double and a stolen base, his third.

Pitching stars:  Mark Guthrie pitched three shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out two.  Dave Stevens pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Jim Leyritz was 2-for-5 with a home run, his fifth.  Luis Polonia was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Don Mattingly was 2-for-4.

The game:  In the first inning Reboulet reached on an error, went to second on Puckett's single, took third on a wild pitch, and scored on a sacrifice fly to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  It lasted until the bottom of the first.  Polonia singled and scored on a double by Dion James.  James went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.  The Twins tied it in the top of the second on singles by Scott Leius and Matt Walbeck and another sacrifice fly, but New York again took the lead in the bottom of the second when Leyritz led off the inning with a home run.

The Twins wasted a leadoff triple by Knoblauch in the third.  In the fourth, however, Cordova led off with a double, went to third on a ground out, and scored on Masteller's single to tie it 3-3.  The Twins took the lead in the fifth when Knoblauch singled, Reboulet was hit by a pitch, and Munoz delivered a two-run double.  The Yankees cut the lead to 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth when Wade Boggs doubled and scored on a Paul O'Neill single.

The Twins took control of the game in the sixth.  Walbeck led off with a single, but was still on first with two out.  Knoblauch walked.  Reboulet had an RBI single, Puckett hit a run-scoring double, Munoz drove in a run with a single, and Cordova hit a two-run double.  It was 10-4 Twins.

The Twins got their last run in the eighth on singles by RebouletMunoz, and Cordova.  The Yankees did not threaten to get back into the game.

WP:  Brad Radke (6-7).  LP:  Sterling Hitchcock (3-6).  S:  None.

Notes:  Masteller was at first base.  Twins first basemen in 1995 included Scott Stahoviak (69 games), Masteller (48), Ron Coomer (22), David McCarty (18), Reboulet (17), and Jerald Clark (11), along with four others who played less than ten games there.  It was Coomer's rookie season, and he did not come up until August 1.  it's saying something that he would be the best player out of that group.

Reboulet was at shortstop in place of Pat Meares.  Reboulet played all over the infield in 1995--39 games at shortstop, 22 at third base, 17 at first base, and 15 at second base.  This was his best season in the majors:  .292/.373/.398 in 246 plate appearances.

Knoblauch was leading the team in batting at .319.  He would finish at .333.  Munoz was batting .303.  He would finish at .301.

Radke pitched five innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and one walk and striking out none.  It was his rookie season, and at age 22 he was not ready, going 11-14, 5.32 in 28 starts.  That was actually above average for Twins starters in 1995, though--others who had a significant number of starts were Kevin Tapani (6-11, 4.92), Mike Trombley (4-8, 5.62), Frankie Rodriguez (5-6, 5.38), Scott Erickson (4-6, 5.95), and Jose Parra (1-5, 7.95).  The Twins had thirteen pitchers start games in 1995--other than Tapani, the only one to have an ERA below five was Rich Robertson, who only made four starts.

Hitchcock pitched just four innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits, with no walks and no strikeouts.  Other Yankee pitchers were Scott Bankhead, Dave Pavlas, and Bob MacDonald.  Ah, the good old days.

The 1995 season did not start until late April due to a strike or a lockout, I forget which.  Thus, the Twins were only on their seventieth game on July 14.

Record:  The Twins were 23-47, in fifth (last) place in the American League Central, 25.5 games behind Cleveland.  They would finish 56-88, in fifth place, 44 games behind Cleveland.

The Yankees were 32-37, in fourth place in the American League East, 7.5 games behind Boston.  They would finish 79-65, in second place, seven games behind Boston, but winning the wild card.