Tag Archives: good hitter for a pitcher

1970 Rewind: Game Fifty-four


Date:  Sunday, June 14.

Batting stars:  Harmon Killebrew was 3-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-4 with a walk.  George Mitterwald was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Jim Holt was 2-for-5 with a home run, a triple, two runs, and three RBIs.  Rod Carew was 2-for-5 with two runs.  Rich Reese was 2-for-5 with two runs.  Leo Cardenas was 2-for-5.

Pitching stars:  Bert Blyleven struck out seven in five innings, giving up two runs on six hits and two walks.  Stan Williams pitched four shutout innings, giving up two hits and three walks and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  George Thomas was 3-for-5 with a double.  Billy Conigliaro was 2-for-4 with a triple and a double.  Jose Santiago struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk.

The game:  The Red Sox scored in the first inning as Thomas singled and scored from first on a Carl Yastrzemski double.  The Twins tied it in the bottom of the first when Cesar Tovar singled, stole second, went to third on a ground out, and scored on a wild pitch.

It stayed 1-1 until the fourth.  Boston took the lead when, with one out, Rico Petrocelli and George Scott singled and Conigliaro delivered an RBI double.  Tom Satriano was intentionally walked, loading the bases with still only one out, but Sonny Siebert and Mike Andrews struck out to end the inning.  It cost the Red Sox, as the Twins responded with four runs in the bottom of the fourth.  Cardenas led off the inning with a single and scored on a Holt triple.  Mitterwald followed with an RBI single and was bunted to second.  With two out Carew singled home a run and went to second on the throw home, which enabled him to score on an Oliva single and put the Twins up 5-2.

The Twins added a run in the fifth, although they missed a chance for more.  Reese and Cardenas led off the inning with singles.  With one out, Mitterwald walked and then pinch-hitter Rick Renick walked, forcing in a run to make the score 6-2.  The bases were still loaded, but a pair of force outs thwarted the Twins.

Boston loaded the bases with two out in the sixth with two walks and an error, but Thomas flied out to end the inning.  That was the last time the Red Sox threatened to get back into the game.  The Twins added four runs in the ninth.  CarewOliva, and Killebrew all singled, bringing home one run.  A ground out brought home another, and Holt hit a two-run homer to round out the scoring.

WP:  Blyleven (2-1).

LP:  Siebert (5-4).

S:  Williams (3).

Notes:  Holt was again in left in place of Brant Alyea.  Renick pinch-hit for Blyleven in the sixth.  Frank Quilici pinch-ran for Killebrew in the ninth and stayed in the game at third base.

Carew was batting .373.  Oliva was batting .333.  Killebrew was batting .324.  Blyleven had an ERA of 2.37.  Williams had an ERA of 1.90.

Pitchers batting does lead to some interesting managerial decisions sometimes.  Leading 2-1 in the fourth, the Red Sox had the bases loaded with one out and Siebert up to bat.  Boston manager Eddie Kasko allowed him to bat, he struck out, so did Mike Andrews, and the inning was over.  The Twins scored four in the bottom of the fourth and the Red Sox never led again.  On the other hand, leading 5-2 in the fifth, the Twins had the bases loaded with one out and Blyleven up to bat.  Renick pinch-hit and walked, forcing in a run.  I'm really not in a position to say either decision was right or wrong, I just find them interesting.  I suspect if the Twins pitcher had been one with a reputation of being a good hitter, say Jim Kaat or Jim PerryBill Rigney might have allowed him to bat.

And if you're wondering, Siebert did fall into the "good hitter for a pitcher" category, with a lifetime average of .173.  His best year at-bat would be 1971, when he batted .266 with six home runs in 79 at-bats.  Blyleven had a career average of .131 with no home runs and only seven doubles in 451 at-bats.

The four ninth-inning runs were given up by ex-Twin Lee Stange.  Future Twin Ken Brett pitched one inning, giving up two walks but no runs.

As you can see above, seven of the Twins' batters had two or more hits.  They had sixteen for the game, so they were spread pretty evenly.  The Red Sox stranded twelve men and were 1-for-15 with men in scoring position.

Record:  The Twins were 36-18, in first place in the American League West, 3.5 games ahead of California.  They had the best record in the American League, but trailed National League leader Cincinnati, who was 44-17.

1970 Rewind: Game Forty-five


Date:  Tuesday, June 2.

Batting stars:  Jim Perry was 2-for-2.  Rich Reese was 2-for-4 with two doubles.

Pitching star:  Dick Woodson pitched three shutout innings, giving up three hits and two walks and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Mike Andrews was 4-for-5 with a double.  Tom Satriano was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Billy Conigliaro was 1-for-2 with a home run (his third), a walk, and two runs.  Ray Culp struck out nine in a complete game, giving up one run on eight hits and three walks.

The game:  Andrews led off the first with a single, Carl Yastrezemski walked, and Rico Petrocelli hit an RBI double to put the Red Sox up 1-0.  They missed a chance to get more, however, as they left the bases loaded.

The Twins missed chances to tie it, wasting a leadoff double in the second and stranding two runners in the third.  Conigliaro led off the fourth with a home run.  With one out, Satriano and Culp singled and Andrews had an RBI double to make 3-0.  Again, Boston missed a chance to get more, as they again left the bases loaded.

The Twins got on the board in the fifth when Perry singled, Cesar Tovar walked, and Rod Carew hit an RBI double.  Again, though, the Twins stranded two men.  Boston got the run back in the bottom of the inning when Conigliaro was hit by a pitch and scored on a Luis Alvarado double.

Reese again had a leadoff double in the sixth and went nowhere.  The Red Sox added one more run in the bottom of the sixth when Andrews, Yastrzemski, and George Scott singled.  The Twins did not get a hit after the Reese double leading off the sixth.

WP:  Culp (4-6).

LP:  Perry (6-5).

S:  None.

Notes:  Paul Ratliff was again behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald.  Mitterwald entered the game in the sixth as part of a double switch.  Charlie Manuel pinch-hit for Woodson in the ninth.

Carew was 1-for-4 and was batting .390.  Tony Oliva was 1-for-4 and was batting .328.  Harmon Killebrew was 0-for-2 and was batting .325.

Perry was "a good hitter for a pitcher".  His lifetime batting numbers are .199/.228/.247.

Teams were trying to avoid pitching to Killebrew when they could.  He had drawn at least one walk in each of his last five games, and in thirteen of fourteen.  He had drawn nine walks in his last five games.

The 1970 Red Sox would've score a lot of points in Scrabble.  Yastrzemski, Petrocelli, Conigliaro, Alvarado, and Satriano were all in their lineup in this game.  At one time, one of the marks of a true fan was being able to spell "Yastrzemski".

This was the first of a seven-game road trip which would take the Twins to Boston, Washington, and New York.

Record:  The Twins were 31-14, in first place in the American League West, 1.5 games ahead of California.

1970 Rewind: Game Nine


Date:  Tuesday, April 21.

Batting stars:  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-3 with a triple, a walk, and a stolen base (his fourth).  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer, his second.

Pitching star:  Jim Kaat pitched 7.2 innings, giving up three runs (one earned) on seven hits and no walks.

Opposition stars:  Carlos May was 2-for-4 with a double.  Tommy John pitched six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and two walks and striking out one.

The game:  The White Sox opened the game with singles by Ken Berry and Luis Aparicio.  An error then allowed Berry to score and put Chicago up 1-0.  The Twins did not threaten until the fifth, when Rick Renick singled and George Mitterwald drew a one-out walk, but Kaat hit into a double play.  Chicago added a run in the sixth when John singled, went to second on an error, and scored on May's single.

The Twins took the lead in the sixth.  Tovar walked, Rod Carew doubled, and Killebrew hit a three-run homer to make it 3-2.  The Twins added a run in the seventh when Kaat reached on an error and scored on a triple by Tovar.

The White Sox pulled back within one in the eighth when May hit a two-out double and scored on a Bill Melton single.  Syd O'Brien led off the ninth with a single and was bunted to second, but a strikeout and a line out ended the game.

WP:  Kaat (2-1).

LP:  John (0-4).

S:  Perranoski (3).

Notes:  Renick was at third, with Killebrew moving to first and Reese on the bench.  In the eighth Frank Quilici replaced Renick and Jim Holt replaced Brant Alyea in left.  In the ninth Reese replaced Killebrew.

Alyea was 1-for-3 and was batting .444.  Carew was 1-for-4 and was batting .359.  Oliva was 0-for-4 and was also batting .359.  Tovar was batting .350.  Renick was 1-for-3 and was batting .333.  Holt was 0-for-1 and was batting .333.  Killebrew was batting .321.

Kaat had an ERA of 2.70.  Stan Williams pitched two-thirds of an inning and had an ERA of zero.  Perranoski retired both men he faced and had an ERA of 2.08.

Mitterwald was 0-for-2 and was batting .188.

It's fun to second-guess manager's decisions from games that were played over fifty years ago.  In the fifth the Twins were down 1-0, had men on first and second with one out, and Kaat up to bat.  Manager Bill Rigney did not have Kaat bunt, but rather allowed him to swing away, and he hit into a double play to end the inning.  Kaat was considered a good batter, but it was in the sense of "a good batter for a pitcher" rather than an actual good batter.  His lifetime slash line was .185/.227/.267.  In the prior year, 1969, he had batted .207/.247/.368.  So a bunt, with Tovar on deck and Carew in the hole, would seem to have been the play.  It's easy to say that now, of course, after we know what actually happened.  Had Kaat gotten a hit we probably wouldn't even have the discussion.  But again, it's always fun to second-guess a manager.

Perranoski now had saves in three consecutive games.  There was a day off before this one, of course, but he had still pitched 6.2 innings in three games.

Syd O'Brien was a mostly-regular in 1970, starting 105 games.  65 were at third, 38 at second, and 2 at short.  He got 441 at-bats; his next-highest total was 263.  He really wasn't up to the task, batting .247/.285/.340.  He was traded to California after the season, then finished up his career with Milwaukee, to whom he was traded in mid-1972 (a trade which involved ex-Twins Ron Clark and Paul Ratliff).

Record:  The Twins were 7-2, in first place in the American League West by winning percentage, but even with 9-4 California in games.


Random Rewind: 1961, Game Twenty-nine


Date:  Tuesday, May 16.

Batting stars:  Pedro Ramos was 3-for-3 with a home run (his second) and three runs.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs.

Pitching star:  Pedro Ramos pitched a complete game despite allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits and four walks and striking out five.

Opposition stars:  Cam Carreon was 2-for-4.  Minnie Minoso was 1-for-3 with a home run (his fifth), a walk, and two RBIs.  Early Wynn pitched a complete game, giving up four runs on six hits and five walks and striking out seven.

The game:  Ramos led off the third with a home run, putting the Twins up 1-0.  In the bottom of the third, Carreon singled, Al Smith reached on an error, and walks to Nellie Fox and Minoso forced home a run to tie it 1-1.

In the fifth Ramos singled, Lenny Green drew a two-out walk, a wild pitch moved the runners up, and Killebrew delivered a two-run single to give the Twins a 3-1 lead.  Once again the White Sox tied it in the bottom of the inning.  Wynn walked, Smith singled, and Fox hit a two-run triple to make it 3-3.

Ramos led off the seventh with a single, was bunted to second, and scored on Green's double.  But once again, Chicago tied it in the bottom of the inning, as Minoso hit a two-out home run to make the score 4-4.

The White Sox took their only lead of the game in the eighth. Jim Landis walked, Carreon singled, and Wynn delivered a two-out RBI single to make the score 5-4 Chicago.  The Twins went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Wynn (4-1).  LP:  Ramos (3-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  Billy Gardner was the second baseman in this game.  We've discussed the 1961 Twins' second base situation a couple of times, and there's no need to do so again.

Reno Bertoia was at third.  He was the regular third baseman until he was traded at the end of May.  Eventually, Bill Tuttle took over at third base.

Dan Dobbek went to left field in place of Jim Lemon in the seventh.  Don Mincher pinch-hit for Bertoia in the ninth.  Elmer Valo pinch-hit for Ramos in the ninth.  I suppose that last move made sense, but given how he had done, it would've been nice to see Ramos get one more chance to bat.

Killebrew was batting .371 on the young season.  He would finish at .288.  Ramos was batting .364.  He would finish at .172.  Earl Battey was batting .333.  He would end up leading the team in batting at .302.  Green was batting .314.  He would finish at .285.  The Twins were seventh in batting at .250.  Cleveland and Detroit tied for the league lead at .266.

Killebrew led the team in home runs with 46.  Bob Allison hit 29, Battey 17, and Lemon 14.  The Twins were four in home runs with 167.  New York led the league with 240.

Ramos led the staff in starts, and while his won-lost record doesn't look good he had a fairly good season.  He went 11-20, 3.95 ERA, 1.30 WHIP.  Camilo Pascual was the ace of the staff, going 15-16, 3.64, 1.21.  Jack Kralick was 13-11, 3.61, 1.33.  Jim Kaat rounded out the rotation at 9-17, 3.90, 1.35.  The only other pitcher with double-digit starts was Don Lee with exactly ten.  He went 3-6, 3.52, 1.11.  The Twins had a poor bullpen, though, and that left them seventh in team ERA at 4.28.  Baltimore led at 3.22.  The Twins were fifth in WHIP at 1.39.  Baltimore led there, too, at 1.25.

Despite his big day, Ramos was not a particularly good batter, going .155/.182/.240 for his career.  He hit 15 home runs in 703 at-bats.  Wynn was a better batter, going .214/.274/.285 in 1704 at-bats.  He hit 17 home runs.

It was kind of an odd game, in that each time the Twins would score in the top of the inning, the White Sox would score the exact same number of runs in the bottom of the inning.  In the end, of course, Chicago cheated and scored in an inning when the Twins did not score, and that was the difference in the game.

This game snapped a four-game winning streak by the Twins.

Record:  The Twins were 16-13, in third place in the American League, five games behind Detroit.  They would finish 70-90, in seventh place, 38 games behind New York.

The White Sox were 12-16, in eighth place in the American League, 8.5 games behind Detroit.  They would finish 86-76, in fourth place, 23 games behind New York.

Random Record:  The Twins are 43-42 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 1964, Game One Hundred Twenty


Date:  Sunday, August 16.

Batting stars:  Zoilo Versalles was 3-for-5 with a home run (his fourteenth), a stolen base (his eleventh), and four RBIs.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and three runs.  Bob Allison was 2-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base (his seventh), and two RBIs.  Rich Rollins was 2-for-5 with a double and two runs.  Don Mincher was 2-for-5 with a double.  Jerry Kindall was 2-for-5.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer (his forty-second), a walk, and two runs.

Pitching star:  Mudcat Grant pitched a complete game, giving up two runs on six hits and a walk and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Sonny Siebert pitched six innings, giving up three runs on six hits and no walks and striking out five.  Chico Salmon was 2-for-4 with a double.  Woodie Held was 1-for-1 with a two-run homer, his sixteenth.

The game:  It was close most of the way.  Versalles started the scoring by leading off the third inning with a home run.  In the fourth Oliva led off with a double and Killebrew hit a two-run homer to make it 3-0.

It stayed 3-0 until the seventh.  The Indians had four hits, but never more than one in an inning.  The Twins put the game away in the seventh inning.  Grant walked and scored from first on a two-out double from Rollins.  Oliva was intentionally walked and Killebrew was accidentally walked to load the bases.  Mincher hit a two-run single.  Allison then walked to re-load the bases.  Versalles hit a two-run single, and with men on first and third Allison and Versalles pulled off a double steal of second and home, making the score 9-0.

Cleveland got on the board in the eighth.  Joe Azcue singled and Held hit a two-run homer.  The Twins got the runs back with interest in the bottom of the eighth.  Grant led off with a double, followed by singles by Jerry KindallRollins, and Oliva.  A couple of popups followed, but then Allison had a two-run single and Versalles had an RBI single, making the final score 13-2.

WP:  Grant (10-9).  LP:  Siebert (3-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Jerry Zimmerman was behind the plate in place of Earl Battey, who missed five or six games.  Allison usually played first base in 1964, but he was in right field in this game, with Mincher at first.  Oliva, normally in right field, was in center in place of Jimmie Hall, who appears to just have been given the day off.  Kindall was at second base in place of Bernie Allen, who was battling injuries.  Hall came in to play center in the ninth, with Oliva moving to right, Allison to left, and Killebrew, who had been in left, leaving the game.

Oliva was the only Twin over .300, at .339.  He finished at .323.  This was his rookie season and, as you probably know, he was Rookie of the Year.  It's interesting that he was inserted into the third spot in the order very early in the season, after batting second 33 times.  It's rare these days to see a rookie put in an important batting order spot like that--I don't know if it was more common then.

Grant had only been with the Twins for a couple of months at this point.  He was acquired at the June trade deadline for George Banks and Lee Stange.  He would be instrumental in the Twins AL Championship team in 1965.  While Stange went on to have some good years, I think it's fair to see the Twins came out well on that trade.

Despite his good day at the plate, Grant falls into the "good hitter for a pitcher" category, rather than actually being a good hitter.  His numbers were .178/.216/.240. in 853 plate appearances.

It's interesting that the Twins chose to play Killebrew in left field and Allison primarily at first base, rather than the other way around.  Not that Allison won any Gold Gloves, but I have to think that he covered more ground in the outfield than Killebrew.  Harmon had played well over a hundred games at first in his career at this point, so it's not like he was unfamiliar with the position.

Record:  The Twins were 59-60, in sixth place in the American League, 14.5 games behind Baltimore.  They would finish 79-83, tied for sixth with Cleveland, 20 games behind New York.

The Indians were 54-64, in seventh place in the American League, 19 games behind Baltimore.  They would finish 79-83, tied for sixth with Minnesota, 20 games behind New York.

And you say, this was game 120, but the Twins record was 59-60.  59 plus 60 is only 119.  What gives?  Well, the Twins played 163 games in 1964.  Their game on June 22 with Cleveland was a ten-inning tie.  I guess it's fitting that two teams that ended up tied would play a tie game.