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Random Rewind: 2005, Game Ninety-eight


Date:  Sunday, July 24.

Batting stars:  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-4.  Joe Mauer was 1-for-4 with a home run, his seventh.

Pitching star:  Matt Guerrier pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Jeremy Bonderman pitched eight innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks and striking out six.  Magglio Ordonez was 3-for-4 with two doubles and a walk.  Chris Shelton was 3-for-5 with two doubles.  Curtis Granderson was 2-for-3 with a home run (his second), a triple, a walk, and two RBIs.  Ivan Rodriguez was 2-for-4.  Carlos Guillen was 2-for-5 with a home run, his third.

The game:  With two out in the first, Shelton singled and scored from first on Ordonez' double, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead.  The Twins tied it in the third when Michael Cuddyer tripled and scored on a Stewart single.

Detroit went back in the front in the fourth when Rodriguez singled and Granderson delivered a two-out RBI triple.  The Tigers extended their lead in the fifth.  Guillen led off the inning with a home run, Shelton followed with a double, and Ordonez had a run-scoring single, making the score 4-1.  Granderson homered leading off the sixth, increasing the lead to 5-1.

The Twins did very little offensively from the fourth through the seventh.  They put two men on with one out in the eighth, but a pair of strikeouts ended the threat.  Mauer led off the ninth with a home run.  Torii Hunter then singled and Jacque Jones walked, bringing the tying run to the plate.  But Matthew LeCroy hit into a double play and Justin Morneau grounded out, and the game was over.

WP:  Bonderman (13-6).  LP:  Kyle Lohse (7-9).  S:  Kyle Farnsworth (5).

Notes:  Bret Boone was at second base in one of the fourteen games he played for the Twins.  Luis Rivas started the season at second, but the Twins had lost patience with him by this point and he lost the job.  Nick Punto played the most games at second, with 73.  Rivas had 53, Luis Rodriguez 40, Brent Abernathy 17, Boone 14, and Michael Cuddyer 11.

Juan Castro was at shortstop.  He was the regular there for the first half of the season, but at this point he was just about to lose the job to Jason Bartlett.  Castro played a few more games at short, 73 to 68.  Punto played 34 games there and Rodriguez 10.  One of those ten is this game, as will be seen below.

Lew Ford pinch-hit for Castro in the eighth.  Rodriguez then entered the game at shorstop.

Mauer was batting .311.  He would finish at .294.  The Twins did not have a .300 hitter unless you count players with fewer than 150 at-bats.  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.  LeCory hit 17, Hunter 14, Cuddyer 12, and Stewart 10.  The Twins were 12th in the league in home runs with 134.  Texas led with 260.

Lohse pitched 5.2 innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on eleven hits and three walks.  He struck out two.  Johan Santana was clearly the staff ace, going 16-7, 2.87, 0.97 WHIP.  Along with Brad Radke (9-12, 4.04, 1.18) and Carlos Silva (9-8, 3.34, 1.17), the Twins had three pretty good starters.  Lohse wasn't awful as a fourth, going 9-13, 4.18, 1.43.  Joe Mays was the fifth starter pretty much all season even though he was awful, going 6-10, 5.65, 1.56 WHIP.  There were only three other pitchers who started games for the Twins, Scott Baker with nine, Francisco Liriano with four, and Dave Gassner with two.  The Twins were fifth in the league in ERA at 3.71; Cleveland led at 3.61.  They were second in WHIP at 1.23; Cleveland led at 1.22.

The Twins had a very good bullpen, with three relievers with ERAs under three, Joe NathanJesse Crain, and Juan Rincon.  Two more were under four, Guerrier and J. C. Romero.  I know ERA isn't all that in evaluating relivers, but still, that's pretty good.

Chris Shelton had a couple of pretty good years as a part-time first baseman, batting .299/.360/.510 in 388 at-bats in 2005 and .273/.340/.466 in 373 at-bats in 2006.  Despite that, the Tigers chose to go with Sean Casey (.296/.353/.393) at first base in 2007.  Shelton spent the entire 2007 season in Toledo and never did get another real chance in the majors.

This game started a stretch in which the Twins would lose eight of nine.

Record:  The Twins were 53-45, in second place in the American League Central, 11.5 games behind Chicago.  They would finish 83-79, in third place, 16 games behind Chicago.

The Tigers were 49-49, in fourth place in the American League Central, 15.5 games behind Chicago.  They would finish 71-91, in fourth place, 28 games behind Chicago.

Rewind Record:  The Twins are 39-39 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 2007, Game Fifty-one


Date:  Tuesday, May 29.

Batting stars:  Justin Morneau was 3-for-4 with a home run (his sixteenth), two doubles, a walk, and four RBIs.  Michael Cuddyer was 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, and three runs.  Luis Castillo was 3-for-5 with a walk and a stolen base, his third.  Jason Bartlett was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Jeff Cirillo was 2-for-5 with a double.  Jason Kubel was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer (his second), a walk, and two runs.

Pitching stars:  Boof Bonser pitched 6.2 innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on seven hits and three walks and striking out six.  Carmen Cali pitched a perfect inning.  Ramon Ortiz pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Alex Cintron was 2-for-5.  Boone Logan pitched 1.2 perfect inning.

The game:  The White Sox scored first.  In the first inning Darin Erstad and Jim Thome singled and Jermaine Dye walked, loading the bases with one out.  Paul Konerko hit a sacrifice fly to put Chicago up 1-0.

The Twins took over from there.  With two out in the second, Jason Kubel walked and Bartlett and Castillo each singled to tie it 1-1.  Cuddyer led off the third with a double and Morneau hit a two-run homer.  That worked so well the Twins did it again later in the inning:  with two out Cirillo doubled and Kubel hit a two-run homer to give the Twins a 5-1 lead.

The Twins added a run in the fourth when Cuddyer singled, Morneau doubled, and Torii Hunter walked, loading the bases, and Mike Redmond hit a sacrifice fly.  They put it away in the fifth.  With two out and none on Castillo and Nick Punto singled, Cuddyer walked, a wild pitch brought home a run, and Morneau doubled home two more.  It was a 9-1 lead for the Twins.

The White Sox made one last attempt to get back in the game in the seventh.  Juan Uribe hit a one-out single, Andy Gonzalez reached on an error, and Cintron singled, loading the bases.  Dye drew a two-out walk to make it 9-2, but that was all Chicago could do.  Their last seven batters were retired.

WP:  Bonser (4-1).  LP:  John Danks (3-5).  S:  None.

Notes:   Redmond was behind the plate in place of Joe Mauer, who was out with an injury.

Cirillo was the DH.  The Twins did not have a regular DH in 2007, with eight players seeing double digit games there.  Kubel had the most with 36.  Others were Jason Tyner (26), Cirillo (24), Mauer (19), Rondell White (19), Redmond (18), Morneau (14), and Garrett Jones (13).

Lew Ford pinch-hit for Hunter in the seventh and stayed in the game in center field.  Chris Heintz pinch-ran for Redmond in the eighth and stayed in the game at catcher.

Castillo was the leading batter for the Twins at .335.  He finished at .304 as a Twin; he actually finished as a New York Met, traded there at the July deadline.  Redmond was batting .320--he finished at .294.  Hunter was batting .314--he finished at .287.

On the other hand, Ford was batting just .184.  He finished at .233.  This would be his last year as a Twin.  He bounced around, played independent ball for a while, and battled his way back to play 25 games for Baltimore in 2012.

Morneau hit 31 homers to lead the team and Hunter 28.  Cuddyer had 16 homers and Kubel 13.  They still were next-to-last in team home runs with 118.

Bonser did not have a good year in 2007.  He did well in this game, but for the season he was 8-12, 5.10, 1.53 WHIP.  The Twins had a pretty good rotation:  Johan Santana (15-13, 3.33), Matt Garza (5-7, 3.69), Carlos Silva (13-14, 4.19), and Scott Baker (9-9, 4.26).  The struggled to find a fifth starter, though, with Kevin Slowey doing the best of the rest at 4-1, 4.73.

This was the third of a five-game winning streak for the Twins.

Record:  The Twins were 26-25, in fourth place in the American League Central, 5.5 games behind Cleveland.  They would finish 79-83, in third place, 17 games behind Cleveland.

The White Sox were 24-23, in third place with Minnesota in the American League Central, 5.5 games behind Cleveland.  They would finish 72-90, in fourth place, 24 games behind Cleveland.