Tag Archives: clutchiness

1991 Rewind: Game Ninety-seven


Date:  Friday, July 26.

Batting stars:  Chili Davis was 2-for-3 with a home run (his twenty-second), a double, a walk, and two RBIs.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Mike Pagliarulo was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Kevin Tapani pitched eight innings, giving up three runs on five hits and no walks and striking out six.  Rick Aguilera pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition star:  Chris Bosio pitched 6.1 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and six walks and striking out five.

The game:  Davis homered in the second inning to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  It went to 2-0 in the third when Puckett singled, Kent Hrbek walked, and Brian Harper delivered an RBI single.

The Brewers had only two hits through five innings, both singles.  The Twins loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but Harper hit into a double play to end the inning.

It cost the Twins, as Milwaukee took the lead in the sixth.  With one out Dale Sweum doubled, Paul Molitor doubled, and Darryl Hamilton tripled to tie it.  Hamilton then scored on a ground out to put the Brewers up 3-2.

The Twins tied it in the seventh.  Randy Bush singled, Puckett walked, and Davis came through with a two-out RBI double to make it 3-3.  In the eighth Pagliarulo singled, Greg Gagne reached on an error, a fielder's choice loaded the bases, and Dan Gladden delivered a bases-clearing double, giving the Twins a 6-3 lead.  The Brewers went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Tapani (7-7).  LP:  Darren Holmes (1-2).  S:  Aguilera (26).

Notes:  Bush was in right field in place of Shane Mack.  He batted second.  Al Newman was at second base, replacing Chuck Knoblauch.  Knoblauch pinch-ran for Pagliarulo in the eighth and stayed in the game at second base, with Newman moving to third.

Puckett raised his average to .337.  Harper was 1-for-3 with a walk and was batting .319.  Tapani's ERA was 3.05.  Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.86.

Milwaukee had just five hits.  Three of them were for extra bases and all three came in the sixth inning.  They had only two singles other than that, and had no hits after the sixth.  They had only one man left on base and were 2-for-3 with men in scoring position.  The Twins, on the other hand, stranded ten men and went 3-for-13 with men in scoring position.

I remembered that Chili Davis had a good year in 1991, but I had not remembered just how important he was.  He was second on the team in runs (to Puckett), first in doubles, first in home runs, first in RBIs, first in walks (by a long way--he had 95, second was Hrbek with 67), first in OBP, second in slugging and OPS (to Mack), first in OPS+, and first in total bases.  That's almost every significant offensive category.  He was certainly the most valuable player on the offense, and maybe the MVP of the team.  He was fourteenth in MVP voting that season, behind (among others, obviously) Jack Morris (13th) and Puckett (7th).

The White Sox did not play, so the Twins gained a half game on them in the standings.

Record:  The Twins were 57-40, in first place in the American League West, 4.5 games ahead of Chicago.

Game Recap #55: Unclutch Batters 2, Beer Makers 6

It's tempting to blame the offense for this one, and on one level that's true.  You're not going to win very many games scoring just two runs.  On the other hand, the Twins had twelve hits, three of them doubles, and drew two walks.  It's not easy to get fourteen baserunners and score only twice, especially when three of the baserunners put themselves into scoring position.

This would, of course, lead easily into a discussion of clutch hitting and its importance, except that discussion has been had numerous times and I don't know how to add anything to it.  I'll just make a prediction that if the Twins can keep getting fourteen baserunners every game, they will, on average, score more than two runs.

Gibson wasn't great, but he wasn't terrible, either.  With better luck and better defense, he might have given up two or three runs rather than four.  He kept them in the game for six innings.  I really think the whole home/road split for Gibson is a product of small sample size.  He had a few really bad outings, and they happened to be on the road.  That happens sometimes.  But he's had a couple of really good games on the road, too.  As long as the Twins don't start harping on it, so that it gets in his head, I don't think it's anything to worry about.

We once again saw Santana in center field.  I didn't have time to check whether this is developing into a platoon arrangement or if this just Gardy being Gardy and going with his gut.  If it is a platoon, though, it means Santana is going to get most of the at-bats.

I can certainly see why you don't want Hicks in the lineup on offense, but age twenty-three is awfully young to be riding the bench.  Again, you get better at baseball by playing baseball.  If you're going to give Santana the bulk of the playing time anyway, then send Hicks to Rochester and make Santana the centerfielder.  Yes, Santana will make plenty of mistakes--it's tough to learn a new position in the big leagues--but if that's your decision then you understand that living with mistakes is part of it.  He'll learn, eventually.  Let Hicks go to Rochester and learn how to hit.  Maybe he can do that and maybe he can't, but he's not going to learn to hit while sitting on the bench.

So tonight we move to game two of this odd four-game series.  Samuel Deduno and His Magical Zoomball go against Yovani Gallardo, who started the season very well but has struggled some more recently.  Let's get those fourteen baserunners, guys, and let's turn them into more than two runs!  Tonight we start our season-ending one hundred seven-game winning streak!  We'll just have to settle for 133-29!