Tag Archives: hot starts

2003 Rewind: Game Three


Date:  Thursday, April 3.

Batting stars:  Corey Koskie was 2-for-4 with a triple and a double.  A. J. Pierzynski was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk.

Pitching stars:  Kyle Lohse pitched eight shutout innings, giving up two hits and no walks and striking out five.  Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Adam Bernero pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits and one walk and striking out one.  Omar Infante was 1-for-3 with a double.

The game:  With one out in the first inning Cristian Guzman tripled and scored on a ground out to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  With two out in the fourth, Koskie tripled and scored on a Bobby Kielty single.

Meanwhile, the Tigers did not have a baserunner for the first five innings.  The streak ended with one out in the sixth when Infante doubled, but he did not advance past second.  They got another hit in the seventh when Dmitri Young got a one-out single.

The Twins added a run in the eighth when Jacque Jones and Torii Hunter walked, Jones stole third, and Koskie hit into a force out to bring home a run.  Shane Halter hit a two-out single in the ninth and stole second (one suspects hometown scoring in giving him a stolen base rather than defensive indifference), but Bobby Higginson flied out to end the game.

WP:  Lohse (1-0).  LP:  Bernero (0-1).  S:  Guardado (1).

Notes:  Chris Gomez was at second base in place of Luis Rivas.  Kielty was the DH.  He had the second-most games at DH on the team, behind Matthew LeCroy.

Denny Hocking pinch-ran for Koskie in the eighth and remained in the game at third base.

Small sample size stats are fun.  Koskie was batting .571 with an OPS of 1.143.  Pierzynski was batting .400 with an OPS of 1.335.  Hocking was batting .333 with an OPS of 1.000.

As with Joe MaysKyle Lohse could not sustain the success he had in this first game.  By game scores, this would be the best game he would pitch all season, narrowly beating out a complete game shutout against Tampa Bay in May.

This was also one of the best games Adam Bernero would pitch all season, even if he didn't get rewarded for it.  For the season he would go 1-14 with a 5.87 ERA.  He would also be traded to Colorado for Ben Petrick.  Overall, he pitched in parts of seven major league seasons and never had a good one.  His career record was 11-27, 5.91, 1.50 WHIP in 376 innings.  He appeared in 150 games, starting 37 of them.  He was pretty good in AAA--25-25, 3.39, 1.27--which is probably why he kept getting chances.  But for whatever reason, he simply could not make the jump to the majors.

We probably got excited about the Twins sweeping this opening series, especially with the Twins pitchers giving Detroit just two runs.  We could not have realized just how awful the Tigers would turn out to be.  On the other hand, Detroit fans probably realized very quickly that getting swept at home, and being outscored 14-2, was a sign that this was going to be a long season.

Record:  The Twins were 3-0, tied for first place in the American League Central with Kansas City.

2020 Game Log Twelve: Minnesota Twins at Pittsburgh Pirates

The Twins move to Pittsburgh for what I'm calling the third of a four game series. Let's keep the momentum going and get that four-game-two-city sweep.

Cruz continues to break MLB records as a 40 year old; an inspiration to us all.

Dobnak grew up around and took in games in Pittsburgh. He now makes a start there for a depleted Twins rotation. Let's hope he can also help give the bullpen a bit of a breather.

9-2 ties a franchise record for best start to a season (the 2001 Twins and 1930 Senators also accomplished). Let's go for the record. Naturally in a cursed season, this is one of the best teams in its history.

Random Rewind: 1970, Game Nine


Date:  Tuesday, April 21.

Batting stars:  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-3 with a triple, a walk, and a stolen base.  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 and striking out one.

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 scored in the first inning.  Ken Berry and Luis Aparicio opened the game with singles, and an error put Chicago up 1-0 before a man was retired.  A pickoff and two fly balls ended the inning with no further damage.

The Twins did little for the first five innings, getting a few singles but never putting more than one man on base.  The White Sox added to their lead in the sixth when John singled, an error put men on first and second, and May delivered a two-out single, making the score 2-0.

The Twins took their first lead in the bottom of the sixth.  Tovar led off with a walk, and Rod Carew doubled.  With first base open, Chicago pitched to Killebrew and he came through with a three-run homer, putting the Twins up 3-2.  The White Sox put two on with two out in the seventh, but could not tie the score.  With two out in the bottom of the seventh, Kaat reached on an error and Tovar tripled, making the score 4-2.

Chicago got one back in the eighth.  With two out, May doubled and Bill Melton singled him home to cut the lead to 4-3.  In the ninth, Syd O'Brien led off with a single and was bunted to second.  But Ron Perranoski came in to retire the next two batters and preserve the victory.

WP:  Kaat (2-1).  LP:  John (0-4).  S:  Perranoski (3).

Notes:  Killebrew was at first in this game.  He mostly played third in 1970, with Rich Reese at first.  That obviously hurt the defense--was it worth it on offense?  It's hard to say.  Reese wasn't that great on offense, batting .261 but with an OPS of just .703.  On the other hand, had Killebrew played first, it would've left Rick RenickDanny Thompson, or Frank Quilici at third, all of whom would most likely have been worse at the bat than ReeseRenick, in fact, was the third baseman in this game.  The Twins won the division, so it's certainly hard to say it was a bad move to play Harmon there.

Carew missed much of the season with injuries, playing just forty-five games at second base.  Thompson and Quilici shared the second base position, and saying there was a bit of a dropoff on offense is like saying there's a bit of a dropoff when come to the edge of the Grand Canyon.  Quilici batted .227/.297/.291, for an OPS of .588.  Thompson batted .219/.234/.248 for an OPS of .482.  It's hard to believe the Twins couldn't find someone better to play second.  Or, alternatively, that they couldn't find someone to play center and move Tovar to second.  But they couldn't, or at least they didn't.

The Twins used some defensive replacements.  Quilici went to third in the eighth in place of Thompson.  Jim Holt went to left in place of Brant Alyea in the eighth.  Reese went to first in place of Killebrew in the ninth.

This early in the season, of course, you're going to have some extreme batting averages, but it's still kind of remarkable that the first six batters in the Twins lineup were batting over .300:  Tovar (.350), Carew (.359), Killebrew (.321), Tony Oliva (.359), Alyea (.444), and Renick (.333).  The only ones who would stay at .300 were Tovar, who batted exactly .300, and Carew, who batted .366 in 191 at-bats.  The Twins batted .262, which was tied for first in the league with Boston.

Killebrew led the team with 41 home runs.  Oliva was second with 23.  Alyea hit 16, George Mitterwald 15, Leo Cardenas 11, Reese 10, and Tovar 10.  The Twins hit 153 home runs, fifth in the league.  Boston led with 203.

The Twins had two excellent starters in Jim Perry (24-12, 3.02) and Kaat (14-10, 3.56).  Luis Tiant was supposed to be the third starter and he did well when he was healthy, but he could make just 17 starts (7-3, 3.40).  Bert Blyleven came up to take his place and also did quite well, going 10-9, 3.18.  Dave Boswell was supposed to be the fourth starter, but he battled injuries and was ineffective when he could pitch, going 3-7, 6.42.  His place was taken by Bill Zepp, who went 9-4, 3.22.  Tom Hall also made eleven starts and went 11-6, 2.55 (including his relief appearances, obviously).  Perranoski was the closer with 34 saves, although Stan Williams got some chances, too, notching 15 saves.  Four other pitchers had saves as well:  Hall (4), Zepp (2), Steve Barber (2), and Dick Woodson (1).  The Twins had an ERA of 3.23, second only to Baltimore at 3.15.  Their WHIP of 1.25 was fourth in the league.  The Orioles led there, too, at 1.21.

Kaat made an error in this game.  I mention that simply because, as you probably know, he won sixteen Gold Gloves in his career.  He made 65 errors in his career, but then the man played for 25 years, so it's not like that's a lot.  His career high in errors was eight, in 1969, and he still won the Gold Glove that season.

I mentioned a pickoff in the first inning.  The White Sox had men on first and third with none out when Aparicio was picked off third.  What's interesting is that the scoring on the play is pitcher to shortstop.  I don't know why the shortstop was covering third on a pickoff from the pitcher.  It seems like there must have been some sort of trick play there.

This was the third of a four-game winning streak for the Twins.  The Twins won their first four, lost two, then won their next four.

Record:  The Twins were 7-2, in first place in the American League West, percentage points ahead of California.  They would finish 98-64, in first place, nine games ahead of Oakland.

The White Sox were 4-7, in fifth place in the American League West, four games behind Minnesota.  They would finish 56-106, in sixth (last) place, 42 games behind Minnesota.

Random Record:  The Twins are 48-46 in Random Rewind games.

1991 Rewind: Game Sixteen


Date:  Thursday, April 25.

Batting stars:  Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Gene Larkin was 2-for-4.  Brian Harper was 2-for-4.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-5.  Chili Davis was 1-for-2 with two walks and a hit-by-pitch.

Pitching star:  Allan Anderson pitched seven innings, giving up one run on five hits and four walks and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Erik Hanson pitched seven innings, giving up one run on eight hits and three walks and striking out one.  Edgar Martinez was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch.  Jay Buhner was 2-for-4 with a double.

The game:  In the first inning, Ken Griffey, Jr. drew a two-out walk and scored on Martinez' double to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead.  They got a man to third in the second and again in the third, but couldn't score him.  Meanwhile, the Twins did not get a man past first base for five innings.  They threatened in the sixth, putting men on first and third, but remained scoreless.

That changed in the seventh.  Davis and Harper opened the inning with singles and Larkin delivered a one-out single to tie the score.  The Twins would load the bases with two out, but could do no more damage.  Seattle got the lead back in the eighth, as Martinez singled and Buhner had an RBI double.  The Twins tied it in the eighth.  Kent Hrbek singled and Davis was hit by a pitch.  With two out, Mike Pagliarulo came through with an RBI single, but Davis was thrown out at third to prevent the Twins from taking the lead.  It remained 2-2 through ten.

The Mariners took the lead in the tenth without getting a hit.  Martinez was hit by a pitch with one out and Alvin Davis walked.  A ground out moved the runners to second and third, an intentional walk to Pete O'Brien loaded the bases, and a wild pitch brought home the go-ahead run.  But the Twins were not done.  In the bottom of the tenth, Knoblauch singled and Al Newman doubled, putting men on second and third.  An intentional walk to Davis loaded the bases with one out.  A wild pitch tied the score, and when pitcher Mike Jackson missed the return throw from the catcher the winning run scored.  The Twins had scored two runs on a walkoff wild pitch-plus-error to win the game.

WP:  Steve Bedrosian (2-0).  LP:  Jackson (1-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Shane Mack's slow start and Larkin's hot start meant that Larkin was again in right field, with Kirby Puckett in center.  Mack pinch-ran for Larkin in the ninth and stayed in the game in center, with Puckett moving to right.

Newman was in the game to hit the double in the tenth because he pinch-ran for Hrbek in the eighth.  He played shortstop, with Randy Bush entering the game at first base to replace Greg Gagne.

My recollection is that Larkin was a really bad outfielder.  Memory is a funny thing, of course, but I remember him playing a few steps in front of the warning track, because he couldn't go back on the ball.  He also played somewhat facing the right field foul line, because he couldn't go to his left.

He was batting .438 at this point in the season, though, and .438 will make up for a lot of defensive mistakes.  Harper raised his average to .359.  Puckett was up to .328.  Knoblauch raised his average to .321.  Gagne was 1-for-3 and was batting .302.

Gladden was 0-for-4 and was batting .111.  Bush was 0-for-1 and was batting .136.  Newman was 1-for-1 and was batting .154.  Hrbek was 1-for-4 and was batting .164.

After a 2-9 start, the Twins had won four out of five games.

Record:  The Twins were 6-10, in seventh (last) place in the American League West, 4.5 games behind Chicago, two games behind Kansas City, Seattle, and Texas, who were tied for fourth.