Tag Archives: Drew Butera

Random Rewind: 2011, Game Thirty-two

BOSTON 9, MINNESOTA 5 IN BOSTON

Date:  Sunday, May 8.

Batting stars:  Jason Kubel was 3-for-4 with two RBIs.  Danny Valencia was 2-for-4 with a home run (his third), a stolen base (his second), and three RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Alex Burnett pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and striking out one.  Joe Nathan struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Adrian Gonzalez was 3-for-5 with a home run (his fourth), two runs, and two RBIs.  Jacoby Ellsbury was 3-for-5 with a double and a stolen base (his tenth).  Kevin Youkilis was 2-for-4 with a double and four runs.  David Ortiz was 2-for-4.

The game:  It started well.  Denard Span led off with a single and Trevor Plouffe walked.  With one out Kubel had an RBI single.  A ground out moved men to second and third, and Valencia delivered a two-run single to put the Twins up 3-0.

It wouldn't stay that way for long.  The Red Sox got on the board in the second when Youkilis led off with a double and scored on a pair of ground outs.  They took the lead in the third.  Carl Crawford led off with a triple and scored on a ground out, making it 3-2.  Ellsbury singled, Dustin Pedroia walked, and Gonzalez singled in a run to tie it.  An RBI ground out put Boston ahead, Ortiz singled, and J. D. Drew had a run-scoring single to give the Red Sox a 5-3 lead.

The Twins got a run back in the fourth when Valencia led off with a home run.  In the fifth, however, Gonzalez homered to make it 6-4, Youkilis and Ortiz singled, and another RBI ground out increased the Red Sox lead to 7-4.

Boston put the game away with two in the seventh.  Gonzalez singled, Youkilis reached on an error, and Jed Lowrie hit a two-run double.  The Twins scored one more in the eighth when Plouffe doubled and scored on a Kubel single, but the Twins did not threaten to get back into the game.

WP:  Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-3).  LP:  Carl Pavano (2-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  Joe Mauer was injured much of the season, so Drew Butera was the regular catcher.

The Twins used a variety of players at shortstop, none of whom really got the job done.  Tsuyoshi Nishioka played the most games there (66), as he held the job for most of the second half of the season.  Plouffe, who was the shortstop in this game, played 45 games there.  Others to see time there were Alexi Casilla (36 games) and Matt Tolbert (31).

Span was the centerfielder when healthy, but he also missed a lot of the season due to injury, so Ben Revere played the most games there.  In this game Span was in center, with Revere in left.  Delmon Young played the most games in left.  Michael Cuddyer was in right.

Kubel was the DH.  Jim Thome played the most games at DH with 59--Kubel was second at 37.  The Twins used a total of 18 different players at DH for at least one game.

Tolbert came in to play shortstop in place of Plouffe in the ninth.  Rene Tosoni pinch-hit for Butera in the ninth.

Kubel was batting .351.  He would finish at .273.  Plouffe was batting .300--he would finish at .238.  Among players with a significant number of at-bats, Mauer led the team at .287.  Cuddyer led the team in home runs with twenty.

Pavano started and pitched five innings.  He allowed seven runs on ten hits and a walk and struck out none.  Pavano was very up-and-down in 2011, and this was obviously one of his down stretches.  His ERA at this point of the season was 6.44, but it would end up at 4.30.

This was the second of a nine-game losing streak for the Twins.  They would go 8-19 in May.

Record:  The Twins were 12-20, in fourth place in the American League Central, 9.5 games behind Cleveland.  They would finish 63-99, fifth (last) in the American League Central, 32 games behind Detroit.

The Red Sox were 16-18, in third place in the American League East, four games behind New York.  They would finish 90-72, in third place, seven games behind New York.

Game 41: Twins 4, Brewers 16

After a very nice start to the roadtrip, I kind of expected the Twins to lay an egg here. I just didn't expect it to be an ostrich egg. Marquis hasn't exactly been a model of success and his mound opponent, Zack Greinke, hadn't lost a home start in Milwaukee (14-0). He wouldn't lose today either. The Twins managed to plate a run in the top of the 1st after a Revere double and Willingham RBI single, but it was all Brewers after that. Hart and Lucroy smashed solo shots in the home half of the 1st and Milwaukee added 6 more in the 2nd. To be honest, I mentally checked out after that, only tuning back in when I heard that Butters would be pitching in the 8th. I enjoyed this years installment of "The High Point of..." even more than last years. He also picked up an RBI today, taking a bases loaded walk in the 9th to push across the Twins' 4th run. Oh, yeah - the singles hitting pussy only managed to go 4-5 today, pushing his average back up to .293.

Game #70: Twins 5, Padres 4

Twins Record: 31-39
Fangraphs
MLB Game Wrap

Happy Father's Day to the WGOM Nation from Sunday Recap Central. Just imagine there's a picture of Butters Stotch hugging his dad or something right here.

Hitter of the Week: Even in a week during which the Twins win all their games, when two of those are 1-0 wins, picking this award gets a little tougher. Or, maybe it gets a little more obvious: Team MVP Michael Cuddyer seems to be the best candidate once again.
Pitcher of the Week: All the starters were good-to-great. I'll have to again pick Scott Baker as the best. He is this team's first half All-Star as far as I'm concerned.

2011 Game 33: Red Sox 2, Twins 1 (11)

Weather: 60°F, cloudy
Wind: 16 mph, in from CF
Attendance: 37,276
Time: 3:55

Twins record: 12-21 (tied for last in AL Central, 10.0 GB)
Fangraphs boxscore | MLB Game Wrap

Highlights:

  • Highest WPA, hitter: Span .150 (2-4, R, BB) | Highest WPA, pitcher: Mijares .299 (2.0 IP, H, BB)
  • Outfield defense - Revere's diving catch and Span's sliding catch

Lowlights:

  • Lowest WPA, hitter: Tolbert, -.346 (0-5, 1 SO) | Lowest WPA, pitcher: Hoey, -.350 (0.1 IP, H, BB, ER)
  • Tolbert: still batting second
  • MLB's continued employment of Angel Hernandez and Joe West

BOSTON -- The latest rumblings out of the Twins' clubhouse are something else indeed. General Manager Bill Smith accidentally ran his iPhone through the visitor's clubhouse washing machine in Chicago last week after spilling a Chicago-style hot dog on his pants. Smith immediately put the device in a box of rice, to no avail, and had to reluctantly borrow infielder Matt Tolbert's phone so he could make some calls and find a new catcher. Steve Holm wasn't quite Corky Miller bad in his brief appearance, but Bill Smith eventually figured out he wasn't an answer to any question worth asking. Tolbert reportedly told Smith he doesn't make enough for the Twins' GM to call 411 and ask for the Rangers' front office (more on this in a moment), but could swing a call to AAA Rochester as long as it happened on his plan's nights & weekends minutes.

Red Wings infielder Toby Gardenhire is apparently #3 on Tolbert's speed dial, right behind Voicemail (#1) and former teammate Nick Punto (#2). Smith accordingly placed his call to Gardenhire the Younger, who relayed the request for a catcher to Red Wings manager Tom Nieto. Nieto, himself a former Twin, initially volunteered his own services, but apparently requested a few days to iron the fungoes out of his swing, time that Smith just wasn't willing to waste.

In his first season with the Twins, Nieto briefly served as Tim Laudner's backup and outhit regular backup Sal Butera late in the season (.071/.188/.143 for Nieto vs. .063/.118/.125 for Butera in Sept/Oct) before being inexplicably left off the playoff roster. Nieto actually paced Twins catchers in hitting and on-base percentage that year, posting a .200/.276/.314 line to Laudner's .191/.252/.389 and Sal Butera's .171/.217/.243 mark. Overall, Nieto posted an OPS+ of 17 in his Twins career, which spanned 183 plate appearances between 1987-88. When reached for comment, Nieto said, "I out-hit Sal Butera in 1987, and I believe in the depths of my soul I can out-hit his son in 2011." Drew Butera currently owns a positively Buterian .172/.213/.251 line. "But the Twins value defense behind the plate," Nieto continued, "and I accumulated -0.2 dWAR in my Twins career, so Bill Smith elected to pursue other options."

So, that's why Rene Rivera is now with the Twins. But why Rivera instead of, say, Rangers catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli, who has only 63 at bats (but 6 HR) this season despite a career 119 OPS+ and a .238 ISO? Napoli, only 29, is likely still in his hitting prime, and despite whatever Mike Scioscia - Napoli's former manager - thinks, he appears to be a serviceable catcher. Unfortunately, Smith laundered his iPhone and apparently hasn't yet worked up the nerve to tell Jim Pohlad, Dave St. Peter, or Wade Navratil, the Twins' Senior Director of Technology. Of course, Smith could always look up Rangers GM Jon Daniels' number in his laptop's address book, or drop Daniels an email for that matter, but an unnamed source in the Twins' front office divulged that Smith has forgotten how to turn his laptop on. According to another source in the Twins' front office, former Twins GM Terry Ryan and former Twins manager Tom Kelly have offered to call former Twins GM Andy MacPhail, currently the Orioles' President of Baseball Operations, about the availability of Matt "Mauer with Power" Wieters, but Smith has repeatedly expressed the desire to put his own stamp on the club.

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This week's View from the Ballpark:

photo by Flickr user LugoLounge
I know at least 5 6 7 10 Hall of Famers played here. | photo by Flickr user LugoLounge

Remember, no embiggening.

2011 Game 16: Twins 5, Orioles 3

Weather: 67°F, partly cloudy
Wind: 2 mph, out to CF
Attendance: 13,138
Time: 2:50

Twins record: 6-10 (tied for last in AL Central, 6.0 GB)
Fangraphs boxscore | MLB Game Wrap

Highlights:

  • Highest WPA, hitter: Butera .224 (2-4, 1 2b, 3 RBI) | Highest WPA, pitcher: Hoey .236 (1.1 IP, K)
  • Jim Hoey's firefighting in his Twins debut
  • The Twins have now managed to string two wins together for the first time this season.

Lowlights:

  • Lowest WPA, hitter: Span, -.087 (0-5, 2 SO) | Lowest WPA, pitcher: Mijares, .020 (0.1 IP, HBP)
  • Top 5 hitters in the order: 2-21, R, 8 SO
  • Tolbert: still batting second
  • Chris Guccione's kaleidoscope eyes

Given the night the top five batters in the order had, there's no way the Twins could have expected to win this game. Not with one of the four remaining spots in the lineup featuring a middle infielder with a bat -34.7 runs above average in 1108 career plate appearances. Not with one of the three remaining slots featuring a backup catcher, forced into a starting role, whose bat was worth -10.3 runs above average in 2010. Yet that backup catcher knocked in three of the evening's five runs and secured the win with what, thanks to some shaky ninth inning relief, proved to be a key run-producing double late in the game.
Continue reading 2011 Game 16: Twins 5, Orioles 3