Tag Archives: “defensive” replacements

1970 Rewind: Game Forty-nine


Date:  Sunday, June 7.

Batting stars:  Tony Oliva was 4-for-6 with a double and two runs.  Leo Cardenas was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-5 with a walk and two runs.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-5 with two doubles.  Rich Reese was 1-for-3 with a grand slam, his sixth home run.

Pitching star:  Bill Zepp pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Aurelio Rodriguez was 4-for-6 with three doubles and three runs.  Frank Howard was 2-for-3 with a double, four walks, and two RBIs.  Rick Reichardt was 2-for-5 with a walk and two RBIs.  Lee Maye was 2-for-5 with two walks.  Ed Stroud was 2-for-7 with a double, a stolen base (his eighteenth), and two runs.  Jim Shellenback pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.

The game:  Tovar led off the game with a double, was bunted to third, and scored on Killebrew's single.  Oliva and Rick Renick followed with singles, plating another run, and an RBI ground out made it 3-0 Twins.  The Senators put men on first and second in both of the first two innings, but did not score until the third, when singles by Stroud, Howard, and Reichardt brought home one run and an RBI ground out cut the lead to 3-2.

Dave Boswell led off the fifth with a double but was stranded at third.  In the bottom of the fifth Maye walked, Stroud doubled, and Howard was intentionally walked, loading the bases with none out.  All Washington got out of it was a sacrifice fly by Reichardt, but it tied the score 3-3.

The Twins had two out and none on in the sixth when Brant Alyea walked.  George Mitterwald singled and Frank Quilici walked, loading the bases.  Bob Allison then pinch-hit for Tom Hall, prompting Ted Williams to take out George Brunet and bring in Dick Bosman.  Bill Rigney then pinch-hit Reese for Allison, and Reese responded by hitting a grand slam, putting the Twins ahead 7-3.

Each team missed a chance to score in the seventh.  In the eighth Rodriguez led off with a double and scored on Eddie Brinkman's single.  Jim French walked and a passed ball moved the runners to second and third.  A sacrifice fly cut the lead to 7-5, but still, the Twins had a two-run lead going to the ninth with Ron Perranoski pitching.  But with one out in the ninth Rodriguez singled, Brinkman walked, and French singled, cutting the margin to 7-6.  Del Unser lined to second, but Maye delivered an RBI single, tying it 7-7 and sending the game to extra innings.

With one out in the eleventh, the Twins hit five consecutive singles to score three runs.  CardenasKillebrewOlivaCharlie Manuel, and Jim Holt all singled, giving the Twins a 10-7 lead.  Jim Kaat came in to pitch the bottom of the eleventh.  With one out, pitcher Joe Coleman walked.  The next man went out and there followed what appeared to be a game-ending grounder to third, but an error on Killebrew kept the game alive.  Howard then hit a two-run double to make the score 10-9.  Reichardt was intentionally walked, and Steve Barber came in to face Dave Nelson.  He got him to fly to center to end the game.

WP:  Zepp (2-0).

LP:  Joe Grzenda (2-3).

S:  Barber (2).

Renick was at third base, with Killebrew moving to first and Reese on the bench.  Reese remained in the game after his pinch-hit grand slam, with Killebrew moving to third.  Quilici was at second in place of Rod Carew.

Holt pinch-ran for Alyea in the sixth and stayed in the game in left field.  Minnie Mendoza pinch-hit for Zepp, but after a pitching change Charlie Manuel pinch-hit for Mendoza.

Oliva was batting .338.  Killebrew was batting .324.  Renick was batting .310.  Hall retired both men he faced and had an ERA of 2.52.  Stan Williams gave up two runs in two innings and had an ERA of 2.00.  Perranoski gave up two runs in 1.2 innings and had an ERA of 2.16.

Quilici was 0-for-4 and was batting .170.  Boswell allowed three runs in 4.1 innings and had an ERA of 7.13,

It's very rare that you see a pinch-hitter for a pinch-hitter these days, because teams just don't have enough players on the bench.  The Twins did it here twice in the same game, and both times it paid off.

The Killebrew error in the eleventh emphasizes why the Twins usually put in a defensive replacement for him when they had the lead.  In this game, however, they had no one left on the bench to use.  The Senators allowed Joe Coleman to bat in the eleventh for the same reason, and it paid off for them as he walked.

The Twins had done their best to make sure Frank Howard did not beat them, walking him four times.  He nearly beat them anyway, as they did pitch to him in the eleventh and he drove in two runs with a double.  The Twins did not walk him there because it would have brought the winning run to the plate in the person of Reichardt.  Reichardt was no Howard, but he did hit double-digit home runs six years in a row, with a high of 21 in 1968, so it's understandable that the Twins would not want him to come up as the winning run.

In the Twins connection report, Bernie Allen was 0-for-2, Johnny Roseboro was 0-for-1.  Shellenback pitched two shutout innings, and Joe Grzenda allowed three runs in 1.1 innings.

Kaat had pitched 5.1 innings on June 4.  This was his first relief appearance of the season, and it obviously did not go well.  He would next pitch June 9.  We'll see how well that one goes.

Record:  The Twins were 35-14, in first place in the American League West, three games ahead of California.


1970 Rewind: Game Forty-three


Date:  Saturday, May 30.

Batting stars:  Rich Reese was 4-for-5 with a home run (his third), a triple, three runs, and three RBIs.  Paul Ratliff was 2-for-4.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-5 with a double.  Rod Carew was 2-for-5 with a double.  Cesar Tovar was 1-for-5 with a home run, his sixth.

Pitching star:  Ron Perranoski pitched three innings, giving up one run on two hits and no walks and striking out none.

Opposition stars:  Danny Cater was 2-for-5 with a double and two runs.  Thurman Munson was 2-for-5 with a double.  Gary Waslewski pitched two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk.

The game:  The Twins took the lead early.  With one out in the first, Carew doubled and scored on an Oliva single.  Oliva was out trying to go to second on the throw home, but Harmon Killebrew walked and Reese hit a two-run homer, putting the Twins up 3-0.  The Yankees loaded the bases in the second but did not score.  With two out in the third, Killebrew singled and scored on a Reese triple.  Jim Holt followed with a single to make it 5-0 Twins.

But of course, against the Yankees, it couldn't be that easy.  In the fourth, Cater doubled, went to third on Munson's single, and scored on a ground out to make it 5-1.  In the fifth, Bobby Murcer singled, went to third on Roy White's double, and scored on a ground out to cut the lead to 5-2.  In the seventh, Gene Michael singled, Jim Lyttle walked, and two-out walks to Jerry Kenney and Murcer made it 5-3.  In the seventh Cater singled, Munson doubled, Ron Woods delivered a two-run single to tie it 5-5.  With two out, John Ellis singled and Woods scored from first to give New York the lead at 6-5.

But the Twins came back in the bottom of the seventh.  Tovar led off with a home run to tie the score.  With one out Oliva doubled, Killebrew was intentionally walked, and Rich Reese reached on an error, loading the bases.  Then came consecutive singles by Rick RenickLeo Cardenas, and Ratliff, scoring four runs and giving the Twins a 10-6 advantage.  New York did not get a baserunner after that.

WP:  Perranoski (4-2).

LP:  Steve Hamilton (3-3).

S:  None.

Notes:  Holt was in left in place of Brant Alyea.  Ratliff was behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald.

Renick pinch-hit for Holt in the seventh and stayed in the game in left field.  Frank Quilici replaced Killebrew at third base in the ninth.

Carew was batting .394.  Oliva was batting .333.  Renick was 1-for-2 and was batting .333.  Killebrew was 1-for-2 and was batting .324.  Ratliff was batting .300.  Perranoski had an ERA of 1.89.

Dick Woodson allowed two runs in two-thirds of an inning and had an ERA of 10.80.

Bill Zepp started and pitched 5.1 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and two walks and striking out two.  He would go back to the bullpen after this start, rejoining the rotation on July 6.

Stan Bahnsen started for the Yankees.  He pitched three innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and a walk and struck out none.

Bill Rigney replaced Killebrew with Quilici a lot, which of course is a perfectly understandable move.  It's interesting, though, that I don't think he has yet replaced him until Killebrew was unlikely to get another at-bat, no matter how big the Twins' lead was.  In this game, for example, the Twins took a 10-6 lead in the seventh.  But with Killebrew likely to bat in the eighth, Rigney left him at third, and did not make the defensive move until the ninth.

Reese was 7-for-12 in the last three games he started.  He raised his average from .225 to .258.

Record:  The Twins were 30-13, in first place in the American League West, 2.5 games ahead of California.

1970 Rewind: Game Four


Date:  Wednesday, April 15.

Batting stars:  Brant Alyea was 1-for-2 with a grand slam (his third homer) and a walk.  Leo Cardenas was 1-for-4 with a home run.  Cesar Tovar was 1-for-5 with a home run.

Pitching star:  Jim Perry pitched a complete game, giving up two runs on five hits and no walks and striking out five.

Opposition stars:  Jay Johnstone was 2-for-4 with a home run.  Alex Johnson was 2-for-4 with a stolen base.

The game:  The Angels put two on with two out in the first, but nothing came of it.  They broke through in the fourth, though.  Johnson singled and stole second.  Johnstone had an infield single and Roger Repoz grounded out, bringing Johnson home for a 1-0 Angels lead.

That changed in the sixth.  The Twins had managed only one hit through the first five innings, but Tovar led off the sixth with a home run to tie it 1-1.  Rod Carew reached on a two-base error and scored on Tony Oliva's single to put the Twins up 2-1.  Harmon Killebrew walked, Rich Reese was hit by a pitch, and Alyea hit a grand slam to make it 6-1 Twins.  The grand slam did not kill the rally, although it did knock starter Andy Messersmith from the game.  Mel Queen came in and gave up a single to George Mitterwald and a two-run homer to Cardenas to increase the lead to 8-1.

That was pretty much it.  Jim Fregosi hit a one-out double in the sixth but was stranded at second.  Johnstone led off with a homer in the seventh to make it 8-2.  But that was the last baserunner California got, and it ended 8-2.

W:  Perry (2-0).

L:  Messersmith (2-1).

S:  None.

NotesJim Holt replaced Alyea in left field in the sixth.  Frank Quilici pinch-ran for Killebrew in the seventh and stayed in the game at third base.

Alyea was batting .600.  Carew was 1-for-5 and was batting .375.  Mitterwald was 1-for-4 and was batting .375.  Oliva was 1-for-5 and was batting .350.  Quilici was 0-for-1 and was batting .333.  Holt was 0-for-1 and was batting .333.  Killebrew was 1-for-3 and was batting .308.

Perry had an ERA of 1.00.

Reese was 0-for-3 and was batting .133.

Alyea must have been endearing himself to Twins fans with that kind of start.  6-for-10 with three home runs and eleven RBIs.  Hard to do much better than that.

I wonder, though, if Alyea was a butcher in the field.  In all three of those games he was replaced for defense with Holt.  It's a long time ago, of course, and to be honest I don't understand defense stats very well.  But I certainly don't recall Holt being regarded as some sort of defensive wizard.  I don't doubt that he might have been better than Alyea--I'm just thinking that might have been a low bar, sort of like when Pedro Munoz replaced Gene Larkin for outfield defense under Tom Kelly.

The Twins did not keep to their one-day-on, one-day-off schedule.  Instead, they had three days off before their fourth game.  I assume it was some combination of bad weather and planned off days.

It's very early, obviously, but this was a matchup between the first and second place teams in the division.

Wally Wolf pitched a scoreless ninth for the Angels.  It was one of 7.2 major league innings that he pitched.  2.1 of them were in 1969 and 5.1 in 1970.  He would appear in three more major league games one in April and two in May.  He had basically topped out in AA--his career AAA numbers are 1-12, 6.66, 1.81 WHIP in 104 innings.  He had a strong AA season in 1969, which got him a September call-up and a chance to open 1970 in the majors, but that was as good as it would get for him.  1970 was his last professional season.  But, hey, he got 7.2 major league innings, which is 7.2 more than I'll ever get.

Record:  The Twins were 4-0, in first place in the American League West, a half game ahead of California.

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.