Tag Archives: johan santana

2003 Rewind: Game Thirty-four

MINNESOTA 5, BOSTON 0 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, May 9.

Batting stars:  Todd Sears was 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs.  Jacque Jones was 2-for-4 with two runs.  Cristian Guzman was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Johan Santana pitched five shutout innings, giving up four hits and a walk and striking out three.  LaTroy Hawkins struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up one hit.  J. C. Romero pitched a perfect inning.  Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Jason Shiell struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up a walk.  Jason Varitek was 1-for-2 with a walk.

The game:  Jones and Guzman opened the game with singles.  With one out, Sears singled to put the Twins up 1-0 in the first.

In the second, A. J. Pierzynski led off with a double and scored on a one-out single by Jones.  Guzman followed with a single.  With two out, Sears delivered a three-run homer to make it 5-0 Twins.

And that was it.  The Red Sox had some threats.  Nomar Garciaparra hit a two-out triple in the first.  Bill Mueller had a two-out double in the second.  With two out in the fourth, Shea Hllenbrand singled and Miller reached on an error.  But none of them came to anything, and the last ten Boston batters were retired.

WP:  Santana (2-0).  LP:  Pedro Martinez (3-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Sears was the DH.  There were no in-game lineup substitutions.

Jones raised his average to .338.  Sears was batting .308.

Luis Rivas was 1-for-4 and was batting .191.

Santana's ERA was 1.13.  Hawkins' ERA was 1.38.  Guardado's ERa was 0.66.

I remember that Sears hit a mammoth home run in his short career.  I'm wondering if this might have been it.  He only hit one other homer, so there's a fifty percent chance.  Memory tells me that it took out some lights on the scoreboard or something.  It was a big home run in the game, whether it was a monster homer or not.

Martinez pitched five innings, giving up five runs on eight hits and a walk and striking out five.  He only lost four games in 2003, so this was an unusual thing.  He went 14-4, 2.22, 1.04 WHIP.  He led the league in winning percentage, ERA, FIP, WHIP, hits per nine, homers per nine, and strikeouts per nine.  He finished third in Cy Young voting, behind Roy Halladay and Esteban Loaiza, and while both of them have fine seasons you can make an argument that Martinez should have won it.  The one thing that probably hurt him is that he only made 29 starts and pitched just 186.2 innings.  Nothing wrong with that, but Halladay made 36 starts and pitched 266 innings, and eighty more innings makes a difference.  On the other hand, Halladay's ERA was a full run higher and Martinez actually struck out two more batters even though he pitched eighty fewer innings.  At any rate, Martinez was an excellent pitcher, and it was quite a thing to beat him.

This was Santana's first start of the season.  He was taking the place of Rick Reed, who missed a start due to injury.  Despite his strong start, he would go back to the bullpen.  His next start came on June 7, and he would not join the rotation until July 11.

The Twins had won consecutive games by a 5-0 score.  They had won nine of out of ten.

Record:  The Twins were 19-15, in second place in the American League Central, 1.5 games behind Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game Nine

NEW YORK 2, MINNESOTA 0 IN NEW YORK

Date:  Thursday, April 10.

Batting stars:  Chris Gomez was 2-for-4.  A. J. Pierzynski was 0-for-1 with two hit-by-pitches.

Pitching stars:  Rick Reed pitched four innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits and two walks and striking out two.  Johan Santana struck out eight in four shutout innings of relief, giving up four hits.

Opposition stars:  David Wells pitched a complete game shutout, giving up three hits and striking out six.  Hideki Matsui was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.  Bernie Williams was 3-for-4.  John Flaherty was 2-for-4 with a double.

The game:  The Yankees had men on first and second with two out in the first and second and third with one out in the second, but did not score either time.  That changed in the third.  With one out, Jason Giambi walked and went to third on Williams' single-plus-error.  Matsui then delivered a two-run double to give New York a 2-0 lead.

And that was it for the scoring.  The Twins got a one-out double from Gomez in the fourth, but he was stranded on second.  They put two on with two out in the fifth and did nothing with them.  They did not get a man past first after that, managing only a pair of singles over the next four innings.

WP:  Wells (2-0).  LP:  Reed (0-2).  S:  None.

NotesGomez was at short in place of Cristian Guzman.  Dustan Mohr was in left in place of Jacque Jones.  Michael Cuddyer was in right.

Gomez was batting .364.

The Twins had five starters in this game with batting averages below .200.  At the bottom was Rivas at .091.  Matthew LeCroy was batting .125.  Torii Hunter was batting .129.  Cuddyer was batting .143.  Mohr was batting .158.

The Twins made no lineup substitutions.

I don't know why Reed came out after just four innings.  He had thrown seventy pitches, which is a lot for four innings but doesn't seem like a lot for a game.  He would not miss his next start.  Santana obviously did an excellent job, which didn't help in this game but did save the rest of the bullpen for the next one.

You probably remember that Wells threw a perfect game against the Twins.  For his career, he was actually better against them than Mussina was:  19-6, 2.34, 1.01 WHIP in 200.1 innings (38 games, 25 starts).

After sweeping Detroit to start the season, the Twins had now been swept by Toronto and New York.  In the Yankee series, they were outscored 11-4.  In the losing streak they were outscored 30-10.  They would next travel to Toronto to take another shot at the Blue Jays.

Record:  The Twins were 3-6, in fourth place in the American League Central, five games behind Kansas City.

Happy Birthday–March 13

Frank "Home Run" Baker (1886)
Patsy Gharrity (1892)
Alejandro Oms (1895)
C. Arnholt Smith (1899)
Doug Harvey (1930)
Bill Dailey (1935)
Steve Barber (1948)
Randy Bass (1954)
Terry Leach (1954)
Yoshihiko Takahashi (1957)
Luis Aguayo (1959)
Mariano Duncan (1963)
Will Clark (1964)
Jorge Fabregas (1970)
Scott Sullivan (1971)
Johan Santana (1979)
Mike Aviles (1981)

Outfielder Alejandro Oms was a star in Cuba and in the Negro Leagues.

C. Arnholt Smith was the original owner of the San Diego Padres.

Doug Harvey was a National League umpire from 1962-92.

Infielder Yoshihiko Takahashi has the longest hitting streak in Japanese professional baseball.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–March 13

2013 Father’s Day Game: Tigers at Twins

I have been to one Father's Day game in my life.

My memory lies, it turns out. The game in question was definitely against the Padres, and it was on Father's Day, 2005. However, I thought I remembered Johan getting ejected early in the game, allowing Jake Peavy to cruise to an easy win. However, Peavy didn't even pitch, while Darrell May cruised to a win. Johan gave up one run in the sixth, then a bases-clearing double with two outs in the seventh that got him pulled. The Padres went on to win, 5-1, and who has two thumbs and didn't see a Johan Santana win in person in Minnesota, ever? THIS guy! (I did, however, attend this game at Safeco, where two guys behind me were bemoaning the fact that they were "getting shut down by a no-name pitcher." A writer in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer essentially repeated that statement the next day, displaying an utter lack of respect for his own work).

As for that Padres game, I was to go with a nine-month-old Skim as well as the Milkmaid. It was Father's Day, Johan was pitching, we all had the day free and I hadn't yet started running Spookymilk Survivor so my schedule didn't revolve around it. However, the Milkmaid ended up being called in to work by her ruthless douchebag bosses, who told her Father's Day wasn't an important enough holiday for her to miss and they needed to add her to the schedule (I was not consulted for comment on their opinion). I watched the game with Skim and folks around us marveled at how quiet she was - a trend that she continued all throughout early childhood, where people would get up after dinner or event and remark that they had no idea they were sitting near a child.

The game sucked, though, and it was rainy afterward. And, me being me, I couldn't remember where the f*&^ I had parked. I knew it was in one of the ramps, but I hadn't written it down, since at 27 years old I was still trusting my never-good sense of direction and memory for landmarks. I walked around with Skim, who barely complained despite the light rain. Once the rain cleared, it got hot. Brutally hot. She still didn't complain but I felt like a heel. She fell asleep in the Baby Bjorn as I spent over two hours combing a four-block area (this is who I am) looking for my car. Finally, I found it in the first parking garage I'd searched, on a floor I'd walked at least twice. I laughed at my own uselessness in the arena of finding things and we drove home.

The Milkmaid, for her part, had only been on at work for two hours. They cut her when the rush died down, a further insult to our day. She asked if the game had gone ridiculously long. It was a rather short one, at 2:23, so I amused her with the postgame story. If she'd been with us, there would have been no problem. The way I remember the spelling of words and names is the way she remembers directions and landmarks.

I don't know how the rest of the day went, but as stupid as everything was, it remains my strangest Father's Day, and it was also my first.

April 11, 2004: Random Day in Twins History

I used a random number generator to pick a season from the past with the idea that I would quickly highlight the Twins history that occurred today in that year.  The generator sent me to the year 2004.

Detroit 6, Twins 5 (10 innings) - BR boxscore

The Tigers won the rubber-match of a three game series to improve to 5-1 on the early season defeating the Twins in 10 innings (after ending the previous season with just 43 wins).  The Twins rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to tie the game 5-5 before losing.  The Twins stranded at least two runners in the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth innings.  Henry Blanco tied the game in the eighth inning with an RBI double, but he was thrown out easily trying to reach third base.  Gleeman wrote, "The throw beat Blanco to the bag by about 10 feet and Blanco went 'sliding' into third with some sort of belly flow/somersault combination." The following batter, Cristian Guzman, doubled but was stranded when Nick Punto struck out to end the inning.

Asked about his aggressive baserunning after the game, Blanco explained, "I was out of gas. . . . I was trying to see what could happen.  Nothing happened."  He added, "Seems like every time you make a mistake on the bases, the next guy gets a hit and you pay for it."  Ron Gardenhire did not criticize Blanco's decision.  "The play's in front of him, and he's trying to play the game," Gardenhire said.  "We don't knock guys for trying to be aggressive."

In perhaps the least surprising quote in the history of quotes, Ron Gardenhire lamented, "We didn't get it done.  We were battling.  We were getting after it.  They were getting after it."  [ed. note: I swear on my life this is a verbatim quote from the Strib.]

The Tigers scored their first run when Craig Monroe scored all the way from first base when Lew Ford misplayed a Carlos Pena single.  Later, they scored the winning run when Joe Roa issued a one-out walk to Rondell White (aka The Insanity).  White was removed for pinch-runner Andres Torres who stole second base and then scored on Monroe's game-winning single.  "A game-winning single like that -- I can't describe how good it felt," Monroe said. "I'd never done anything like that before up here."

Joe Nathan did not pitch in the game, but he had pitched in four of the first five games of the season.  In fact, through the sixth game, Nathan, Roa, J.C. Romero, and Carlos Pulido had each appeared four times and Juan Rincon and Aaron Fultz had made five appearances.

Johan Santana lasted just five innings (and had thrown only nine innings in his first two starts).  He allowed a homerun to Pena in the fourth inning - his first homerun allowed to a left-handed batter in 70.1 innings dating back to the previous season.  Santana struggled to retire hitters once he reached two strikes.  In fact, Gleeman documented that Santana threw 32 pitches in his five innings after already having two strikes on the opposing batter.

Other Twins notes: The Twins signed Joe Beimel to a minor-league contract that day and assigned him to Rochester.  Beimel had a pathetic cup-of-coffee with the Twins in September, but then put together some pretty decent years after leaving the organization.  The loss was the team's third of the season.  In all three games, they had scored at least four runs.

A front-page story focused on the likely inability of the Twins and Vikings to contribute more than 25% to the cost of their new stadiums.  The Twins explained that paying for a large-chunk of the cost "could impair the club's ability to field a competitive team."  A stadium bill working its way through the legislature at the time would require the Twins to contribute one-third of the cost - an estimated $150 million - to the final stadium.

GM Terry Ryan expressed some concern that Joe Mays, after undergoing Tommy John surgery in September, was trying to rush his rehab.  "We've got to slow him down some," Ryan said.

Blanco was playing because Mauer had been attacked by the warning track behind the plate in the Metrodome and Matthew LeCroy strained his oblique.  Through his first fifteen plate appearances, Blanco somehow had hit 267/467/733.