Tag Archives: “defensive” replacements

2003 Rewind: Game Two


Date:  Wednesday, April 2.

Batting stars:  Corey Koskie was 2-for-3 with a double.  Jacque Jones was 2-for-4 with a home run, two runs, and four RBIs.  A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-4 with a double.  Torii Hunter was 2-for-5 with a triple and two RBIs.  Cristian Guzman was 2-for-5 with two runs.

Pitching stars:  Joe Mays pitched five innings, giving up a run on two hits and no walks and striking out four.  Johan Santana struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk.  Mike Fetters pitched a perfect inning.  Latroy Hawkins pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Eric Munson was 1-for-3 with a home run.  Wil Ledezma pitched two shutout innings, giving up a walk.

The game:  The Twins took control early.  In the first inning Guzman singled, went to second on a ground out, took third on a wild pitch, and scored on Koskie's single to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  In the second, Michael Cuddyer led off with a single and Jones hit a two-out two-run homer to put Minnesota up 3-0.

The Tigers got their lone run in the third when Munson led off with a home run.  The Twins responded with three in the fourth.  Pierzynski hit a ground-rule double with one out in the fourth and a balk moved him to third.  With two out, Jones laid down an RBI bunt single.  Guzman then singled and Hunter delivered a two-run triple, making the score 6-1 Twins.

Detroit never threatened after that.  They had only two singles and a walk the rest of the game and never advanced anyone past first base.  The Twins scored in the eighth when Cuddyer walked, went to third on Pierzynski's single, and scored on a sacrifice fly.  They got their final run in the ninth when Denny Hocking scored from first on a Doug Mientkiewicz double.

WPMays (1-0).  LP:  Jeremy Bonderman (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Cuddyer was in right field.  Dustan Mohr played the most games in right field, but Cuddyer was the regular for most of April.

Hocking replaced Koskie in the fourth inning.  That's really early for a defensive replacement.  On the other hand, Koskie played the next day, so if it was due to injury or illness it was minor.

Mays pitched really well in this game, but sadly he did not sustain it.  This was his second-best game of the season by game scores.  After this game, there would only be one time when his ERA was below five this season.

Bonderman lasted just four innings for the Tigers, giving up six runs on nine hits and a walk.  He did strike out five.

This was one of five games Fetters would pitch as a Twin.

Record:  The Twins were 2-0, tied for first in the American League Central with Kansas City.

Random Rewind: 1968, Game Thirty-five


Date:  Monday, May 20.

Batting stars:  Rich Reese was 2-for-3 with a three-run homer, his second.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-4 with a double.

Pitching star:  Jim Merritt pitched 9.2 innings, giving up four runs (one earned) on six hits and two walks and striking out six.

Opposition stars:  Denny McLain pitched a ten-inning complete game, giving up three runs on seven hits and no walks and striking out seven.  Willie Horton was 1-for-5 with a home run, his tenth.

The game;  With one out in the second Oliva and Rich Rollins hit consecutive singles and Reese followed with a three-run homer.  Unfortunately, that was all the Twins offense did.

For a while it looked like it would be enough.  The Tigers closed the gap in the fourth.  Mickey Stanley reached on an error and Jim Northrup singled, putting men on first and third with one out.  A force out scored a run, another error put men on first and second with two out, and Don Wert had an RBI single to cut the margin to 3-2.

It stayed 3-2 until the ninth, when Horton may not have heard a who, but he hit a homer to tie the score and send the game to an extra inning.  The first two Detroiters were retired in the tenth, but Al Kaline reached on a two-base error and scored on another error, putting the Tigers in front for the first time.  The Twins went down in order in the tenth and the game was gone.

WP:  McLain (6-1).  LP:  Merritt (3-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  Cesar Tovar was at shortstop.  Jackie Hernandez had the most games at shortstop with 79.  Ron Clark had 44, Rick Renick 40, and Tovar 35.  Tovar was the only one of them who could hit in 1968, and I suspect that, as good as he was at playing all over the field, he was somewhat stretched at shortstop.

Reese was in left field in place of Bob Allison.  I didn't remember Reese playing the outfield, but he played 74 games there over the course of his career.  He was,  of course, primarily a first baseman.

Hernandez came in for defense in the seventh.  He went to short, with Tovar moving to third and Rollins leaving the game.  Clark cae in for defense in the ninth.  He went to third, with Tovar moving to left and Reese leaving the game.  Allison was used as a pinch-hitter for the pitcher in the tenth.

Carew was leading the team in batting at .295.  He would finish at .273.  Oliva ended up leading the team in batting at .289.  I didn't check, but memory tells me that was second in the league to Carl Yastrzemski, who led at .301.

Merritt pitched a tremendous game and really deserved to win.  The Twins made four errors behind him, one each by TovarHernandezRollins, and Clark.  Two of those players, of course, were brought in for defense.  Well, nobody's perfect.

As you probably know, this was the year McLain won 31 games.  He also led the league in starts (41), complete games (28), innings (336) and batters faced (1288).  He would have another tremendous year in 1969, but would never have another one again.  Throwing 51 complete games and 661 innings over two years will do that to you.  He pitched through 1973, but he was basically done at age 25.

It was, of course the Year of the Pitcher, but the Twins' rotation numbers are still pretty impressive.  Dean Chance, 16-16, 2.53, 0.98 WHIP.  Jim Kaat, 14-12, 2.94, 1.12.  Merritt, 12-16, 3.25, 1.09.  Dave Boswell, 10-13, 3.32, 1.24.  When a fifth starter was needed, there was Jim Perry, 8-6, 2.27, 1.00.  Again, it was the Year of the Pitcher, but those are still good numbers.

Record:  The Twins were 18-17, tied for fourth in the American League, 5 games behind Detroit.  They would finish 79-83, in seventh place, 24 games behind Detroit.

The Tigers were 23-12, in first place in the American League, 2.5 games ahead of Cleveland.  They would finish  103-59, in first place, 12 games ahead of Baltimore.