Tag Archives: below the Mendoza line

2003 Rewind: Game Fifteen


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 Ten


Date:  Friday, April 11.

Batting stars:  Luis Rivas was 3-for-4 with a triple, a stolen base, and two runs.  Matthew LeCroy was 2-for-4 with a double.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-4.  Cristian Guzman was 2-for-5.

Pitching stars:  LaTroy Hawkins struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  J. C. Romero struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up a walk.  Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition star:  Shannon Stewart was 3-for-5 with a triple, two doubles, and two RBIs.

The game:  It was scoreless until the third.  Tom Wilson led off with a double and Mike Bordick drew a one-out walk.  Stewart then delivered an RBI double and Frank Catalanotto added a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 Blue Jays.  The lead lasted just a half inning.  Jacque Jones and Guzman started the inning with singles.  Corey Koskie then hit a two-run double to tie it up.  The next two batters went out, but LeCroy hit a two-out run-scoring double to give the Twins a 3-2 lead.

Toronto came back in the fifth.  Bordick singled and Stewart hit an RBI triple to tie the score.  Catalanotto then singled to put the Blue Jays back in front at 4-3.

The Twins went into the lead to stay in the seventh.  Michael Cuddyer drew a one-out walk and scored on a Rivas triple to tie it 4-4.  Jones then hit a sacrifice fly to make it 5-4 Minnesota.  They added a run in the ninth.  Singles by Cuddyer and Rivas put men on the corners with none out, but Cuddyer was thrown out at the plate when Jones hit a grounder to second.  A Guzman infield single loaded the bases, and Koskie hit an RBI ground out.  Toronto got only one hit after the sixth, a one-out seventh inning double by Stewart.

WP:  Kenny Rogers (1-0).  LP:  Cory Lidle (1-2).  S:  Guardado (3).

Notes:  Cuddyer remained in right field.  He was replaced by Dustan Mohr in the ninth inning.  That was the only positional substitution the Twins made.

Jones was 1-for-4 and was batting .333.  He was the only regular over .300.

On the negative side, the Twins still had four regulars below .200.  Torii Hunter went 0-for-5 and was batting .111.  Cuddyer was 1-for-3 to raise his average to .167.  LeCroy went up to .179.  Rivas was up to .192.

Rogers pitched six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out five.  It was really a fairly typical performance for him in 2003.  He wasn't awful, but he wasn't really good, either.  He was generally good enough to keep the team in the game if they scored a decent number of runs.

Lidle pitched 6.1 innings for Toronto, allowing five runs on seven hits and a walk.  He struck out nine.  2003 was the worst year of his career, as he finished 12-15, 5.75, 1.43 WHIP.  It was his only year as a Blue Jay.  He never really had a good year after leaving Oakland, although he had a couple of not-terrible ones and pitched well for Philadelphia down the stretch in 2004.

The victory snapped a six-game losing streak for the Twins.  Could they get a winning streak going?  We shall see.  They did, at least, move up one spot in the standings.

Record:  The Twins were 4-6, in third place in the American League Central, five games behind Kansas City, which had started the season 8-0.

2003 Rewind: Game Seven


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.