Tag Archives: Groundskeeper Paul

1991 Rewind: Game Sixty-nine


Date:  Sunday, June 23.

Batting stars:  Randy Bush was 2-for-4 with two home runs.  Dan Gladden was 2-for-5 with a stolen base, his seventh.

Pitching stars:  None.

Opposition stars:  Scott Kamieniecki pitched 7.2 innings, giving up two runs on six hits and a walk and striking out three.  Roberto Kelly was 5-for-5 with a home run (his eighth), three stolen bases (his thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth), two runs, and three RBIs.  Hensley Meulens was 3-for-5 with a double, two runs, and two RBIs.  Steve Sax was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Bob Geren was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.

The game:  The Yankees took control early, scoring six runs in the second.  Consecutive one-out singles by Meulens, Alvaro Espinoza, and Geren plated the first run.  Pat Kelly was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  A ground out scored the second run, an error plated the third, and Roberto Kelly hit a three-run homer, putting the Yankees up 6-0.

The Twins got on the board in the third when Bush hit a home run.  Brian Harper hit a leadoff double in the fourth, but nothing came of it.  New York added a run in the bottom of the fourth when Pat Kelly singled, stole second, and scored on a Roberto Kelly single to make the score 7-1.  The Yankees added three more in the seventh on a two-run double by Meulens and an RBI double by Geren, increasing their lead to 10-1.

Bush hit his second home run in the eighth to cut the lead to 10-2.  New York got the run back in the bottom of the inning on Carlos Rodriguez' RBI single.

WP:  Kamieniecki (2-0).  LP:  Allan Anderson (4-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Surprisingly, Gladden was in the lineup for a day game.  He did well, although it obviously didn't help the Twins much.  Bush was at first base in place of Kent Hrbek, who apparently was dealing with a minor injury, as he would not play again until June 28.  Gene Larkin was in right field, with Shane Mack moving to center and Kirby Puckett out of the lineup.  Junior Ortiz come in to catch in the eighth inning, replacing Harper.

Harper was 1-for-3 and was batting .340.

Allan Anderson was the Twins starter.  He lasted just 1.2 innings, his shortest start of the season.  He allowed six runs (two earned) on six hits and a walk and struck out none.  His next start would actually be pretty good, but he would make only two more after that before being pulled from the rotation.

Paul Abbott pitched 5.1 innings of relief.  He did quite well until his fifth inning, when he allowed the three-run seventh.  Still, he saved the bullpen, as the only other pitcher used was Terry Leach in the eighth.

Tom Kelly did have a point about Gladden and day games, at least in 1991.  He batted .263/.321/.387 in night games, .192/.257/.250 during the day.  For his career, however, there's not much difference.  He batted .272/.319/.386 in night games, .266/.335/.375 during the day.

This was Kamieniecki's rookie year and just his second major league start.  He made nine starts for the Yankees in 1991 and did pretty well, really:  4-4, 3.90, 1.37.  He was already twenty-seven, but still managed to pitch in the majors for nine seasons.  He was with the Yankees through 1996, with Baltimore from 1997-1999, and with Cleveland and Atlanta in 2000.  For his career he was 53-59, 4.52, 1.49 WHIP in 975.2 innings.  He was never anything great, but he was a fairly solid rotation starter through 1997.

Record:  The Twins were 42-27, in first place in the American League West, three games ahead of Oakland.

1991 Rewind: Game Fifty-seven


Date:  Monday, June 10.

Batting stars:  Shane Mack was 3-for-5 with two runs.  Scott Leius was 2-for-2.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs, and two RBIs.  Brian Harper was 2-for-4 with a hit-by-pitch.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4.  Dan Gladden was 1-for-3 with two walks and two runs.

Pitching star:  Paul Abbott pitched four shutout innings, giving up three hits and no walks and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Felix Fermin was 4-for-5 with a double and a stolen base, his fourth.  Mike Huff was 2-for-5 with a home run, two runs, and two RBIs.  Luis Lopez was 2-for-4.

The game:  Huff led off the game with a home run.  The Twins got the run back in the bottom of the first when Gladden walked, went to second on a Mack single, and scored on a pair of sacrifice flies.  The Indians responded with three in the second.  Luis Lopez got a one-out single and went to second when Turner Ward walked.  With two out, Huff had a two-run single-plus-error and Fermin had an RBI single, putting Cleveland ahead 4-1.

The Twins got a pair of one-out walks in the second, but a double play took them out of the inning.  In the third, however, Mack and Puckett singled, putting men on first and third with none out.  A force out brought home one run and singles by Chili Davis and Harper plated another, cutting the lead to 4-3.  Another double play, however, took them out of the inning.

The Twins took the lead in the fifth.  Puckett and Hrbek opened the inning with singles.  With one out, Harper was hit by a pitch, loading the bases.  Mike Pagliarulo then delivered a three-run double, giving the Twins a 6-4 lead.  It went to 8-4 in the sixth.  It again started with a pair of singles, this time by Gladden and Mack.  Sacrifice flies by Puckett and Davis followed.

Fermin created a run in the seventh.  He singled, stole second, went to third on a fly ball, and scored on a ground out, making the score 8-5.  The Indians threatened in the ninth.  Alex Cole singled but was taken off the bases by a double play.  With two out, Fermin doubled and Jerry Browne singled, bringing the tying run to the plate.  Rick Aguilera then came in and retired Rick James on a deep fly ball to end the game.

WP:  Abbott (1-0).  LP:  Eric King (4-5).  S:  Aguilera (16).

Notes:  Al Newman started at second base in place of Chuck Knoblauch.  Mack took the second spot in the batting order.  Pagliarulo started at third base.  Leius batted for him in the seventh inning and remained in the game at third base.

Harper raised his average to .336.  Puckett raised his average to .323.  Abbott lowered his ERA to 2.45.  Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.20.  Terry Leach pitched 2.2 innings, giving up one run, to make his ERA 3.12.

Mark Guthrie started for the Twins and allowed four runs in two innings on five hits and a walk.  He struck out two.  King pitched 4.1 innings, allowing six runs on eight hits and four walks.  He struck out none.

This was not Abbott's longest relief stint--in fact, it's tied for third.  Each of his next two appearances would be longer.  It was, however, his longest scoreless appearance of the season.

Despite his four hits in this game, Felix Fermin was not a good batter.  For his career he batted .259/.305/.303.  He played for ten seasons and had over three thousand plate appearances, so one assumes he was a superior fielder.  He was thought to have been one, anyway.  His best offensive season was 1994, when he batted .317 in 411 plate appearances.  That sounds impressive, and in a way it is, but because he rarely walked and had little power, his OPS was still only .718.  That was the only season he got over. 700.  The next year he batted .195, and the following year he was done.  You'd have thought that, as a light-hitting shortstop, he might have been a good base stealer, but you'd have been wrong.  His high in stolen bases was six, in 1989.  For his career, he was 27-for-48 in stolen bases.  b-r.com says that his "main claim to fame in the US is that he was traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Seattle Mariners in return for Omar Vizquel, in what was arguably the worst trade in Mariners history."  He did, however, become a successful manager in the Mexican League, winning a league championship in 2007.

The Twins had now won nine a row and had swept series from Baltimore and Cleveland.  They were continuing to climb the standings.  Next, the Twins would host the Yankees.  The Yankees of this era were not "The Yankees", but they were still about a .500 team at this stage of the season.

Record:  The Twins were 32-25, in third place in the American League West, three games behind Oakland.  They were a half game behind second-place California and 1.5 games ahead of fourth-place Seattle.