Tag Archives: good bullpen

2003 Rewind: ALDS, Game One


Date:  Tuesday, September 30.

Batting stars:  Corey Koskie was 2-for-4 with a double.  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-5 with a double.

Pitching stars:  Johan Santana pitched four shutout innings, giving up three hits and two walks and striking out three.  J. C. Romero pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.  LaTroy Hawkins struck out four in two shutout innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Derek Jeter was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Aaron Boone was 2-for-4 with a double.  Bernie Williams was 2-for-4.  Alfonso Soriano was 2-for-5 with a double and a stolen base.  Mike Mussina pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and three walks and striking out six.

The game:  Stewart opened the game with a ground-rule double, but was stranded at third base.  The Twins got on the board in the third, however.  One-out singles by Cristian Guzman and Stewart put men on first and third, and Luis Rivas hit a sacrifice fly, putting the Twins up 1-0.

The Yankees got a pair of two-out walks in the third but stranded them.  The Twins loaded the bases with two out in the fourth but also stranded them.  New York got a two-out double in the fifth but again could score.

The Twins added to their lead in the sixth.  Matthew LeCroy led off with a single.  With one out, Torii Hunter circled the bases on a triple-plus-error, giving the Twins a 3-0 lead.  The Yankees had men on first and second with none out in the seventh and did not score.  The Twins had men on first and second with one out in the eighth but were also turned aside.  It was still 3-0 going to the ninth.

New York did not go away quietly.  Williams led off with a single.  With one out, Boone doubled, putting men on second and third and bringing the tying run up to bat.  Ruben Sierra flied out, but Soirano singled, making it 3-1, putting the tying run on base, and bringing the deciding run up to bat.  But Nick Johnson grounded to third and game one belonged to the Twins.

WP:  Hawkins (1-0).  LP:  Mussina (0-1).  S:  Eddie Guardado (1).

Notes:  No spring training lineup here.  All the regulars played the whole game.  It was Stewart in left, Jacque Jones in right, and LeCroy at DH.

Santana had a hamstring injury which limited him to four innings.  The bullpen stepped up and came through.  Rick Reed was the first man out of the pen, and while the Twins might have hoped he would fill up some innings he pitched to just three batters, retiring the first two before giving up a double to Soriano.  First Romero and then Hawkins picked up the slack.  Closer Eddie Guardado had the worst game of any of the pitchers, but managed to get the job done.

Mussina had gone 2-0, 1.20 against the Twins in two starts (15 innings).  For his career he was 22-6, 3.09.  The Twins didn't exactly knock him all over the park, but they scored enough runs to win.

The Twins stranded 8 and were 1-for-6 with men in scoring position.  The Yankees stranded 10 and were 1-for-10 with men in scoring position.

Ah, those wonderful, innocent days of youth, when we actually thought the Twins had a chance to beat the Yankees in a playoff series.

Record:  The Twins were 1-0 in the best-of-five playoff series.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-four


Date:  Friday, August 29.

Batting stars:  Doug Mientkiewicz was 4-for-5.  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-5 with a double, two runs, and two RBIs.  Matthew LeCroy was 1-for-3 with a home run (his fifteenth) and a walk.

Pitching stars:  Carlos Pulido pitched two shutout innings, giving up two hits and striking out one.  Grant Balfour pitched two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.  LaTroy Hawkins struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up two hits.  Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Mark Teixeira was 2-for-4 with a triple.  Todd Greene was 2-for-4.  Hank Blalock was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Laynce Nix was 1-for-3 with a three-run homer (his fifth) and a walk.

The game:  LeCroy had the game's first hit in the second inning and it was a home run, putting the Twins up 1-0.  The Rangers tied it in the bottom of the second when Teixeira hit a two-out triple and scored on Greene's single.  Texas took a big lead in the third.  Michael Young led off with a double, went to third on a ground out, and scored on a sacrifice fly.  With two out and none on, Rafael Palmeiro doubled, Shane Spencer walked, and Nix hit a three-run homer to put the Rangers ahead 5-1.

The Twins started their comeback in the fifth.  Singles by Torii Hunter and Cristian Guzman were followed by a ground out, putting men on second and third with two down.  Stewart delivered a two-run single, cutting the lead to 5-3.  The Twins sent just three men to the plate in each of the sixth and seventh innings, however, leaving the score 5-3 as we went to the eighth.

In the eighth, Stewart doubled, but was still on second with two out.  Mientkiewicz had an RBI single to make the score 5-4.  Walks to LeCroy and Jacque Jones loaded the bases and a Dazzle Special (wild pitch) tied the score.  Hunter was then intentionally walked to load the bases and A. J. Pierzynski was hit by a pitch to put the Twins up 6-5.  Twins Baseball!!!!

Texas put men on first and third in the eighth but did not score.  In the ninth, Chris Gomez and Luis Rivas singled to put men on first and second.  Mientkiewicz then came through again, getting a two-run single-plus-error to give the Twins an 8-5 lead.  The Rangers went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Balfour (1-0).  LP:  John Thomson (12-11).  S:  Guardado (30).

Notes:  Denny Hocking remained at third in place of Corey Koskie.  Jones was in left and Stewart in right.

Michael Ryan pinch-hit for Guzman in the eighth.  Gomez went in at shortstop in the ninth.  Dustan Mohr pinch-ran for LeCroy in the eighth.

Ryan was 0-for-1 and was batting .375.  Stewart was batting .314.  Jones was 0-for-3 and was batting .308.  Mientkiewicz raised his average to .303.

Joe Mays lasted just three innings, allowing five runs on five hits and two walks and striking out one.  His ERA was 6.37.  This was his last start of the season.  He would make just one more appearance, then be shut down for the rest of the season.  The bullpen bailed the Twins out, pitching six shutout innings and giving up five hits and a walk and striking out five.

This was Pulido's first appearance in the majors since 1994, a gap of nine years.  In between he played for a few different organizations and also played in Japan, Taiwan, and independent ball.

This was Balfour's first major league win.  In a pennant race, Ron Gardenhire used two pitchers who people had no reason to have much confidence in, and they rewarded him with four shutout innings and a win.

Pulido's ERA was zero.  Balfour's ERA was 1.76.  Hawkins had an ERA of 2.10.

Kansas City and Chicago both lost, so the Twins gained ground on both.

Record:  The Twins were 70-64, in third place in the American League Central, a half game behind both Chicago and Kansas City, who were tied for first.

2003 Rewind: Game Fifty-one


Date:  Wednesday, May 28.

Batting stars:  Doug Mientkiewicz was 3-for-4 with a three-run homer (his fourth), a double, and two runs.  Jacque Jones was 1-for-4 with a home run, his fourth.  Dustan Mohr was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his sixth.

Pitching star:  Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Aaron Harang pitched four shutout innings of relief, giving up one hit and two walks and striking out two.  Mark Ellis was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Scott Hatteberg was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs.  Erubiel Durazo was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Terrence Long was 2-for-5.  Chris Singleton was 1-for-3 with a home run and a walk.

The game:  The Athletics jumped on starter Joe Mays for three runs in the first inning.  With one out, Hatteberg and Eric Chavez singled, Miguel Tejada hit an RBI double, and Durazo walked to load the bases.  A sacrifice fly brought home a second run and Long's RBI single brought home the third.

The Twins tied it with three in the second.  Bobby Kielty reached on an error, Torii Hunter singled, and Mientkiewicz hit a three-run homer to make it 3-3.  The Twins took the lead in the third when Jones homered, but Singleton homered leading off the fourth to tie it again at 4-4.  The Twins took the lead again in the bottom of the fourth when Mientkiewicz singled and Mohr hit a two-run homer.  It was 6-4 Twins.

Oakland did not threaten again until the seventh.  Hatteberg led off with a double, but was still on second with two out.  Durazo then hit an RBI single to cut the lead to 6-5.  Ramon Hernandez singled, moving the tying run to second, but Long flied out to end the inning.

The Athletics threatened again in the eighth.  Ellis singled, Singleton walked, and Hatteberg was hit by a pitch, loading the bases with one out.  But a foul out and a ground out ended the inning.  Durazo had a leadoff single in the ninth, but a double play took them out of the inning and the game.

WP:  Mays (6-3).  LP:  John Halama (2-4).  S:  Guardado (15).

Notes:  Denny Hocking was at second base in place of Luis Rivas.  Chris Gomez was at shortstop in place of Cristian Guzman.  Kielty was the DH.

Jones was 1-for-4 and was batting .333.  Mohr was 1-for-4 and was batting .316.  Hocking was 0-for-3 and was batting .163.

Mays pitched six innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and two walks and striking out two.  His ERA was 5.48.  Johan Santana gave up a run in two-thirds of an inning to make his ERA 2.88.  LaTroy Hawkins was unscored upon in two-thirds of an inning to drop his ERA to 1.52.  J. C. Romero retired both men he faced to make his ERA 2.82.  Guardado's ERA dropped to 1.59.

Halama pitched four innings, giving up six runs (five earned) on five hits and no walks and striking out five.

This was Harang's first major league appearance in 2003.  He had pitched in sixteen games in 2002.   It was his only relief appearance of the season.

The Twins had won four in a row, six out of seven, nine of eleven, eleven of fourteen, and seventeen of twenty-two.

Record:  The Twins were 31-20, in first place in the American League Central, 4.5 games ahead of Kansas City.

Random Rewind: 2005, Game Twenty-four


Date:  Sunday, May 1.

Batting star:  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-4 with a home run, his second.

PItching stars:  Johan Santana pitched eight innings, giving up two runs on two hits and two walks and striking out seven.  Juan Rincon pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Bartolo Colon pitched 7.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and no walks and striking out seven.  Vladimir Guerrero was 1-for-4 with a home run, his sixth.  Jose Molina was 1-for-3 with a home run.

The game:  There were no hits on either side until the fourth, when Guerrero hit a two-out home run to give the Angels a 1-0 lead.  The Twins got their first hit in the fifth when Stewart led off with a single, but nothing came of it.  Molina led off the sixth with a home run to make it 2-0.

The Twins threatened in the eighth.  With one out, Jacque Jones singled, Michael Cuddyer singled, and pinch-hitter Joe Mauer walked, loading the bases.  PInch-hitter Matthew LeCroy hit into a double play, and the inning was over.  The Twins got on the board when Stewart led off the ninth with a home run, but the next three batters went out and the game was over.

WP:  Colon (4-2).  LP:  Santana (4-1).  S:  Francisco Rodriguez (6).

Notes:  Mike Redmond was behind the plate in place of Joe Mauer.

Luis Rivas was at second base.  He was still the regular second baseman at this point, but was about at the end of the run.  By the end of the season, Nick Punto would be the regular second baseman.

Juan Castro was at shortstop.  He did end up playing the most games there, 73, but by the end of the season would be replaced by Jason Bartlett.

Lewwwwww Ford was in right field, with Jones moving to DH.  LeCroy and Ford did most of the DHing in 2005, playing 63 and 44 games there, respectively.

Justin Morneau was batting .400.  He would finish at .239.  This was his first full season.  Jones was batting .352--he would finish at .249.  Mauer was batting .304--he would finish at .294, which led the team.  LeCroy was batting .302--he would finish at .260.  The Twins batted .259, which was next-to-last in the league.  Boston led at .281.

Jones led in home runs with 23, with Morneau right behind at 22.  LeCroy hit 17, Torii Hunter 14, Cuddyer 12, and Stewart 10.  The Twins hit 134 home runs, which was twelfth in the league.  Texas led with 260, well ahead of second-place New York at 229.

Santana was the clear ace of the staff, going 16-7, 2.87.  Carlos Silva was 9-8, 3.44--this was the year he walked an incredible 9 batters in 188.1 innings.  Two of the walks were intentional, so you could say he really only walked 7.  Brad Radke was 9-12, 4.04 and Kyle Lohse was 9-13, 4.18.  The weak link was Joe Mays, who was 6-10, 5.65.  The Twins kept him in the rotation until September, when he finally replaced by rookie Scott Baker.

The Twins had an excellent bullpen.  Joe Nathan was 7-4, 2.70, 43 saves.  The team's only other save went to Jesse Crain, who was 12-5, 2.71.  Juan Rincon was 6-6, 2.45 and J. C. Romero was 4-3, 3.47.  Matt Guerrier also contributed, going 0-3, 3.39.

The Twins were fifth in the league in ERA at 3.71.  Cleveland led at 3.61.  The Twins were second in WHIP at 1.23, just behind Cleveland's 1.22.

I wonder what the record is for most runs in a game where all the runs came by solo home runs.  I don't suppose this is all that close, but it would be interesting to know.

This loss snapped a five-game winning streak.  They would lose two more, then win the next four.

Record:  The Twins were 15-9, in second place in the American League Central, 2.5 games behind Chicago.  They would finish 83-79, in third place, 16 games behind Chicago.

The Angels were 14-11, in first place in the American League West, one game ahead of Oakland.  They would finish 95-67, in first place, seven games ahead of Oakland.

Rewind record:  The Twins are 55-50 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 2009, Game One Hundred Forty-seven


Date:  Friday, September 18.

Batting stars:  Jason Kubel was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs.  Delmon Young was 2-for-4 with a double.  Jose Morales was 2-for-4.  Michael Cuddyer was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his twenty-seventh.

PItching stars:  Brian Duensing pitched 6.1 scoreless innings, giving up four hits and one walk and striking out one.  Jon Rauch pitched a scoreless inning and struck out one.  Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Rick Porcello pitched six innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and a walk and striking out one.  Curtis Granderson was 2-for-4 with a double.  Marcus Thames was 2-for-4 with a double.

The game:  There were no threats until the bottom of the fourth, when Kubel hit a one-out single and Cuddyer followed with a two-run homer.  The Twins scored again in the sixth when Kubel led off with a double and Young scored him with a one-out double.

That was it for the scoring.  The Tigers got two men on base for the first time in the seventh inning when Thames and Brandon Inge hit consecutive one-out infield singles.  Jose Mijares relieved Duensing and retired the next two batters.  Rauch hit a batter in the eighth but was otherwise not in trouble.

Nathan came on in the ninth and made things interesting--with two out he walked Alex Avila and gave up a double to Granderson, bringing the tying run to the plate.  But Aubrey Huff hit a weak liner back to Nathan and the game belonged to the Twins.

Notes:  Denard Span was in center, with Young in left and Carlos Gomez on the bench.  Gomez was often in center field in 2009, with Span moving to left.  Kubel, often used at DH, was in right, with Cuddyer at first base and Justin Morneau on the bench.  Matt Tolbert was at third base, as Joe Crede's season had ended at this point.  Nick Punto was at second base, a position he shared that year with Alexi Casilla.  Jose Morales was the DH.

Gomez came in to play center in the eighth inning, with Span moving to right.  Casilla pinch-ran for Kubel in the eighth.

The leading batter was Joe Mauer at .373.  He would finish at .365 and win the Most Valuable Player award.  Morales was batting .368.  He would finish at .311, going just 5-for-32 after this game.  Span was batting .307; he would finish at .311.  Kubel was batting .303; he would finish at .300.

The Twins had a really good bullpen.  In addition to Nathan, they had Mijares (2-2, 2.34, 1.18 WHIP), Matt Guerrier (5-1, 2.36, 0.97), and Rauch (5-1, 1.72, 1.21).  Rauch, of course, didn't join the team until late August, acquired from Arizona for Kevin Mulvey.

This was a pretty big game at the time.  The Twins were trying to chase down the Tigers for the division championship.  As you'll recall, they went to a game 163 before finally winning the division.  Our game today was the Twins' fifth consecutive win.  They closed the season winning seventeen of their last twenty-one games.

Record:  The Twins were 75-72, in second place in the American League Central, three games behind Detroit.  They would finish 87-76, in first place, one game ahead of Detroit.

The Tigers were 78-69, in first place in the American League Central, three games ahead of Minnesota.  They would finish 86-77, in second place, one game behind Minnesota.

1991 Rewind: Game Forty-three


Date:  Sunday, May 26.

Batting stars:  Gene Larkin was 2-for-4.  Chili Davis was 2-for-4.  Chuck Knoblauch was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Pitching stars:  Carl Willis pitched three shutout innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.  Steve Bedrosian pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk.  Rick Aguilera pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Bret Saberhagen pitched a complete game, giving up one run on eight hits and two walks and striking out two.  Brian McRae was 3-for-5 with a home run (his fourth), a stolen base (his fourth), two runs and two RBIs.  Brent Mayne was 2-for-4.  George Brett was 2-for-4.  Kirk Gibson was 2-for-5 with a double.

The game:  The Royals jumped on Twins starter Kevin Tapani for three runs in the first inning.  They got the first two of them before anyone was retired:  McRae singled, Gibson had an RBI double, Brett singled, and Danny Tartabull had an RBI single.  Following a pop up, Mayne singled home the third run of the inning.  Kansas City added another run in the second when McRae led off the inning with a homer to make the score 4-0.  They got their final run in the fourth when Terry Shumpert doubled and scored on McRae's single.

Meanwhile, the Twins were not doing much of anything off Saberhagen.  They got a man to second base in the third, when Knoblauch and Shane Mack drew two-out walks.  They did it again in the seventh when Davis reached on an error and Larkin had a two-out single.  They actually got two hits in the same inning in the eighth, when Knoblauch singled with one out and Kirby Puckett singled with two out.

The Twins did get on the board in the ninth, when they opened the inning with consecutive singles by DavisBrian Harper, and Larkin.  Another hit would've brought the tying run to the plate, but instead a strikeout and a double play ended the game.

WP:  Saberhagen (5-3).  LP:  Tapani (2-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  With a day game, Mack was in left, replacing Dan Gladden.  He batted second, with Knoblauch moving up to the leadoff spot.  Larkin was in right field.  Al Newman was at short, replacing Greg Gagne.

Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .368.  Puckett was 1-for-4 and was batting .326.  Davis raised his average to .313.

Tapani lasted just four innings, giving up five runs on nine hits and a walk and striking out one.  It was his first really bad game of the season, but he hadn't been pitching as well lately.  His ERA went up steadily from 2.10 on April 27 to now 3.79.

The Twins bullpen did really well.  Five shutout innings, giving up two hits and a walk.  Much of that was Willis, as set forth above.  His ERA was now 3.48.  Aguilera's ERA went to 1.69.

George Brett was off to a very slow start, and in fact would not have a particularly good year.  He had won the batting title in 1990, batting .329.  At this point in 1991, however, he was batting just .224.  He would end the season at .255 with an OPS of .729.  Well, he was thirty-eight.  He would play for two more seasons at about the same level of production, then retire at age forty.  He was mostly a DH at this point, with Bill Pecota having taken over at third base.  Pecota would bat .286 with an OPS of .756--I don't know how this compared to his PECOTA projection.

This was an odd-numbered year, so naturally Saberhagen was having a good season.  Actually, when you look at the stats, the odd-even thing is not nearly as pronounced as legend has made it out to be.  It shows up in his won-lost record more than anywhere else, indicating that it may have been a function of luck as much as anything.  It's true that, throughout most of his career, his ERA was lower in odd-numbered years than in even, but most of the time the difference is not all that great.  It made for a good story, though.

The Twins had now lost six of seven and eight of eleven.  One suspects people were saying "same old Twins".

Record:  The Twins were 20-23, sixth in the American League West, 6.5 games behind Texas.  They remained a half game behind fifth-place Chicago.  They were one game ahead of last-place Kansas City.

2019 Recap: Game Fifty-two


Date:  Sunday, May 26.

Batting stars:  Max Kepler was 2-for-4 with a home run (his twelfth), a double, two runs, and four RBIs.  Eddie Rosario was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his sixteenth.

Pitching stars:  Jake Odorizzi struck out nine in 5.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and one walk.  Tyler Duffey struck out six in two shutout innings, giving up three hits and a walk.

Opposition star:  Charlie Tilson was 2-for-4.

The game:  The White Sox put men on first and second with two out in the third, but Yoan Moncada struck out to end the threat.  With one out in the bottom of the third, Byron Buxton singled, went to third on a stolen base-plus-error, and scored on Kepler's double.  Jorge Polanco walked, and with two out Rosario hit a three-run homer to give the Twins a 4-0 lead.  While you can never put a game in the bank in the third inning, it really did feel like the game was over at that point.

They kept playing, of course.  There were no threats, however, until the seventh, when Jose Abreu walked and Yonder Alonso doubled, putting men on second and third with none out.  But Eloy Jimenez lined to right, Jose Rondon fanned, and Yolmer Sanchez flied out, leaving Chicago off the board.  In the bottom of the seventh, one-out singles by Willians Astudillo and Juan Castro and a two-out home run by Kepler gave Minnesota a 7-0 lead.  The White Sox put two men on in the ninth but did not score.

WP:  Odorizzi (7-2).  LP:  Dylan Covey (0-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  Marwin Gonzalez was in left field, with Rosario at DH.  Luis Arraez was at second and Astudillo at third, with Jonathan Schoop and Miguel Sano on the bench.

Arraez was 0-for-3 and is batting .389.  Polanco was 0-for-3 with a walk and is batting .335.  Odorizzi has an ERA of 2.16.  Matt Magill retired both men he faced and has an ERA of 1.54.  Taylor Rogers retired the only man he faced and has an ERA of 1.31.  Duffey has an ERA of 2.63.

With Nelson Cruz out, Rocco seems to be using the DH spot to give various starting players a rest.  That makes sense.  They don't have anyone on the bench who's really a DH-type, and they've got a couple of guys who, as Gordo used to say, "can play around", so you might as well take advantage of that.

The Twins used four relief pitchers yesterday, three of them for less than an inning.  Rocco seems to have done that sort of thing a lot lately, using multiple relief pitchers for one or two batters.  As a general rule I'm not a huge fan of that, but it certainly appears to be working.  The Twins have five relief pitchers with ERAs under two (six if you count Zack Littell).  I know ERA isn't necessarily the best way to evaluate a relief pitcher, but that still is pretty darn good.

It's been nice to see the Twins bring in some mopup relievers who can actually get the job done in the last few games.

We've reached Memorial Day, one of the traditional markers of how the season is going.  The Twins are 36-16, twenty games over  .500, and are in the lead by ten games.  I said early on that the Twins had a chance this year, but I most definitely did not expect this.

Record:  The Twins are 36-16, first in the American League Central, leading Cleveland by ten games.  They have won six in a row and eleven of their last twelve.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 146-16!