Tag Archives: Justin Morneau

2003 Rewind: Game Seventy-four

MINNESOTA 8, MILWAUKEE 3 IN MILWAUKEE

Date:  Sunday, June 22.

Batting stars:  Denny Hocking was 3-for-4 with a home run, a triple, a walk, and three runs.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-4 with two doubles.  Corey Koskie was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer, his eleventh.  Torii Hunter was 1-for-5 with a home run, his tenth.  Justin Morneau was 1-for-1 with a pinch-hit home run, his second.

Pitching stars:  Johan Santana pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  LaTroy Hawkins retired all four men he faced, striking out one.  Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Eddie Perez was 3-for-4.  Geoff Jenkins was 3-for-5 with a home run (his sixteenth), a double, two runs, and two RBIs.

The game:  With one out in the first Hocking walked and Koskie hit a two-run homer to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.  The Brewers got one back in the bottom of the first when Scott Podsednik tripled and scored on a Jenkins single.  The Twins scored in the second when Dustan Mohr walked, went to third on a Tom Prince double, and scored on a ground out.  They got one more in the third on two singles and a double play, leaving the score 4-1.

Jenkins homered in the fourth to cut the lead to two, but Hocking homered in the fifth to build it back to three.  In the sixth Jenkins doubled, went to third on a Richie Sexson single, and scored on a sacrifice fly to cut it to two again at 5-3.

It was all Twins after that.  In the seventh Bobby Kielty walked, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on Jacque Jones' double to make it 6-3.  Milwaukee put men on second and third with one out in the bottom of the seventh but did not score.  Hunter homered in the eighth and Morneau homered in the ninth to bring us to the final of 8-3.

WP:  Kenny Rogers (6-3).  LP:  Matt Kinney (5-6).  S:  None.

Notes:  Prince was behind the plate in place of A. J. Pierzynski.  Hocking was at short in place of Cristian Guzman.  There was no DH.  Kielty and Morneau were used as pinch-hitter for pitchers.

Morneau was batting .353.  Mientkiewicz was batting .306.  Jones was at .303.  Koskie was up to .302.

Rogers pitched five innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and one walk and striking out none.  His ERA was at 5.16.

Santana's ERA was 2.15.  Hawkins fell to 2.02.  Guardado was down to 2.93.

Ex-Twin Matt Kinney started for the Brewers.  He lasted 6.1 innings but allowed six runs on seven hits and three walks and struck out five.

The Twins managed to salvage one game of the three-game series.  They would now go home to face the White Sox.

Morneau's first two career home runs were pinch-hit home runs.  That can't be terribly common.

Record:  The Twins were 40-34, in first place in the American League Central, one game ahead of Kansas City.

2003 Recaps: Game Sixty-nine

KANSAS CITY 14, MINNESOTA 7 IN KANSAS CITY

Date:  Tuesday, June 17.

Batting stars:  Dustan Mohr was 2-for-4 with a home run (his eighth), a double, a walk, and two runs.  Denny Hocking was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Tom Prince was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer, his second.  Justin Morneau was 1-for-1 with a home run.

Pitching star:  LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Ken Harvey was 4-for-5 with three doubles and five RBIs.  Raul Ibanez was 3-for-5 with three runs and two RBIs.  Mike Sweeney was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, two runs, and two RBIs.  Jeremy Affeldt pitched five innings, giving up one run on five hits and five walks and striking out three.

The game:  The Royals scored in the third when Carlos Beltran walked and scored from first on Harvey's double.  The Twins loaded the bases in the third but did not score.  They did tie it in the fifth when Lew Ford walked, went to third on Hocking's double, and scored on a sacrifice fly.  They took the lead in the sixth.  Bobby Kielty singled, stole second, and scored on a Luis Rivas triple.  Hocking's RBI single then made it 3-1 Minnesota.

Kansas City then exploded for twelve runs in the bottom of the sixth.  Two walks and a single loaded the bases.  Consecutive singles by Beltran, Ibanez, and Harvey plated four runs.  A bunt gave the Twins their first out, but singles by Brent Mayne and Carlos Febles scored two more.  Two consecutive hit batsmen brought home another run, Sweeney hit a three-run double, Ibanez had an RBI single, and Harvey had a run-scoring double.  It was 13-3, and the game was pretty much over at that point.

The Twins scored two in the seventh on Prince's two-run homer and one in the eighth on a solo shot by Morneau.  Harvey doubled home a run in the bottom of the eighth and Mohr homered in the ninth to bring us to the final score of 14-7..

WP:  Kris Wilson (3-0).  LP:  Kenny Rogers (5-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  This was the B lineup.  Prince was behind the plate in place of A. J. Pierzynski.  Matthew LeCroy was at first base in place of Doug Mientkiewicz.  Hocking was at short in place of Cristian Guzman.  Ford was in left in place of Jacque Jones.  Kielty was the DH.

Mientkiewicz came in for defense in the sixth inning in place of LeCroy.  Morneau pinch-hit in the eighth and stayed in the game at first base.

Ford was 1-for-4 and was batting .455.  Morneau was 1-for-1 and is batting .364.

Hocking raised his average to .190.

Rogers pitched five innings, allowing seven runs on six hits and four walks and striking out three.  His ERA was 5.14.  Hawkins lowered his ERA to 2.16.  Eddie Guardado allowed a run in one inning to raise his ERA to 3.03.

The Twins stranded 12 runners and were 2-for-9 with men in scoring position.  The Royals stranded 5 and were 8-for-14 with men in scoring position.

This was Morneau's first major league home run.

I wonder what the most runs scored against the Twins in one inning is.  I doubt that it's twelve, but that can't be too far down the list.

The Twins only had two guys who played in this game whose averages were above .300, and they were both guys who hadn't batted much.  However, they had four players who were in the .290s:  Mientkiewicz (.299), LeCroy (.298), Mohr (.297), and Corey Koskie (.291).

The Royals were rapidly gaining ground on the Twins.

Record:  The Twins were 38-31, in first place in the American League Central, two games ahead of Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game Sixty-three

MINNESOTA 7, COLORADO 4 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, June 11.

Batting stars:  Corey Koskie was 4-for-4 with two doubles and a walk.  Justin Morneau was 3-for-4 with a walk.  Jacque Jones was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and two runs.  Luis Rivas was 2-for-4 with a double.  Cristian Guzman was 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Kyle Lohse struck out seven in six innings, giving up one run on six hits and a walk.  LaTroy Hawkins struck out two in 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit.  Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Preston Wilson was 3-for-5.  Jay Payton was 2-for-5 with a home run (his eighth), two runs, and two RBIs.  Todd Helton was 2-for-5.  Larry Walker was 2-for-5.

The game:  Guzman singled, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on Morneau's single to put the Twins on the board in the first inning.  It went to 4-0 in the third.  Rivas led off the inning with a single, Jones doubled, Guzman delivered a two-run single, Koskie singled, and Torii Hunter knocked in a run with a ground out.

Payton homered leading off the fourth to cut the lead to 4-1.  The Twins put two on with two out in the bottom of the fourth, but did not score.  In the fifth, however, the Twins started the inning with consecutive singles by KoskieMorneauHunter, and Doug Mientkiewicz, plus a wild pitch, taking a 6-1 lead.

The Rockies loaded the bases with two out in the sixth but did not score.  The Twins added a run in the bottom of the sixth on doubles by Jones and Koskie to go ahead 7-1.

Colorado came back in the seventh.  Charles Johnson walked, Juan Uribe hit a one-out double, and Payton singled to drive in a run.  Helton also had an RBI single, and Walker delivered a two-out single, cutting the lead to 7-4.

But that was as close as the Rockies would come.  They got a single in each of the last two innings, but did not bring the tying run to the plate.

WP:  Lohse (6-4).  LP:  Aaron Cook (2-6).  S:  Guardado (18).

Notes:  Morneau was again at DH.  There were no in-game lineup substitutions.

Morneau made an immediate impact, going 5-for-8 in his first two games for a .625 batting average.  Jones raised his average to .312.

Lohse lowered his ERA to 2.91.  This was the last time it would be under three--within a month it would be over four and in about six weeks it would be over five.  He sure kept the rotation afloat for the first two and a half months of the season, though.

Micheal Nakamura pitched again, so he started his career pitching in four consecutive games.  I wonder if that's close to some kind of record.  I'm sure it would take more time to figure that out than I'm willing to take, but if someone wanted to do the work, it would be appreciated.

Hawkins lowered his ERA to 2.35.  Guardado cut his ERA to 2.60.

I had forgotten that there was a pitcher named Nelson Cruz.  He pitched in parts of six seasons, 1997 and 1999-2003.  He was pretty good for two of those seasons, going 5-2, 3.07, 1.27 WHIP for Detroit in 2000 and 3-3, 4.15, 1.17 WHIP for Houston in 2001.  This was his last season, and he was not very good:  3-5, 7.21, 1.42 WHIP.  He gave up a run in two innings in this game.

Despite going 3-for-5, Preston Wilson did not drive in a run in this game.  I mention that simply because he led the league in RBIs in 2003, with 141.

Cook was the starter for Colorado.  He pitched four innings, giving up six runs on eleven hits and three walks and striking out two.

Justin Speier finished the game on the mound for the Rockies.  He is the son of Chris Speier, who played for the Twins briefly in 1984.

Record:  The Twins were 36-27, in first place in the American League Central, 4.5 games ahead of Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game Sixty-two

COLORADO 5, MINNESOTA 0 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Tuesday, June 10.

Batting star:  Justin Morneau was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Tony Fiore pitched a perfect inning.  Micheal Nakamura pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Jason Jennings pitched 7.2 scoreless innings, giving up three hits and four walks and striking out seven.  Greg Vaughn was 2-for-4 with a home run and a double.  Charles Johnson was 1-for-3 with a home run, his seventh.  Preston Wilson was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his fifteenth.

The game:  Singles by Juan Uribe and Jay Payton and a three-run homer by Wilson put the Rockies up 3-0 in the first inning.  Johnson homered leading off the second to make it 4-0.  Vaughn homered with two out in the sixth to make it 5-0.

And that was that.  The Twins put runners on first and second with one out in the second, but a strikeout and a ground out stranded them.  They put men on first and second with two out in the fifth, but a fly out ended that inning.  A pair of walks put runners on first and second with two out in the eighth, but a ground out took care of that threat.

WP:  Jennings (5-5).  LP:  Brad Radke (5-6).  S:  None.

Notes:  Bobby Kielty was in right field.  Morneau made his major league debut at DH.  The Twins made no in-game lineup substitutions.

Morneau was, of course, batting .500.  Jacque Jones was 0-for-4 and was batting .309.

Radke had the first inning trouble we came to expect from him.  For the game he struck out eight in seven innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and a walk.  His ERA was 5.61.  He would have one more bad game, then start the process of gradually bringing his ERA down to a more respectable level.

Nakamura has now appeared in three games in a row.  His ERA came down to 6.00.  Fiore had an ERA of 5.06.

Jason Jennings was a mainstay in the Rockies rotation for five seasons.  He was the Rookie of the Year in 2002, going 16-8, 4.52, 1.46 WHIP.  We assume people looked at the won-lost record and attributed the ERA and WHIP to pitching in Denver.  It also didn't hurt that in his first game, he pitched a complete game shutout and had three hits, including a home run.  He would post ERAs over five each of the next three seasons, but remained in the Rockies' rotation.  His best season as a Rockie was actually his last one, 2006, when he went 9-13, 3.78, 1.37 WHIP.  He was traded to Houston after that season and was awful for them, going 2-9, 6.45.  He became a free agent and signed with Texas.  He appeared in just six games for them in an injury-plagued 2008, not pitching well, but had a half-way decent season for them out of the bullpen in 2009.  He again dealt with injuries in 2010.  He had an excellent season with independent Grand Prairie in 2011, but then decided to call it a career.  At last report he was living in Frisco, Texas and operating a baseball training center there.

Record:  The Twins were 35-27, in first place in the American League Central, 3.5 games ahead of Kansas City.

Random Rewind: 2005, Game Thirty-seven

TORONTO 10, MINNESOTA 3 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Tuesday, May 17.

Batting stars:  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-4.  Luis Rivas was 2-for-4.  Torii Hunter was 1-for-2 with a two-run homer (his fifth) and two walks.  Justin Morneau was 1-for-4 with a home run (his seventh) and two runs.

Pitching stars:  None.

Opposition stars:  Reed Johnson was 3-for-4 with a double, a hit-by-pitch, and three runs.  Shea Hillenbrand was 3-for-5 with three RBIs.  Alex Rios was 3-for-5 with a double and two runs.  Vernon Wells was 2-for-5 with a home run (his sixth) and three RBIs.  Orlando Hudson was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his second.

The game:  Rios led off the game with a double and scored on Johnson's single.  Wells hit a two-run homer and it was 3-0 Blue Jays before the Twins even came to bat.  The Twins did very little on offense for the first three innings, but in the fourth Joe Mauer singled and Hunter hit a two-run homer to cut the lead to 3-2.

That was as good as it got for the Twins.  in the fifth Ken Huckaby walked, Johnson doubled, and Hillenbrand delivered a two-run single.  The Twins loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth but did not score.  In the sixth Frank Menechino doubled and Hudson hit a two-run homer to make it 7-2 Toronto.

Morneau homered leading off the sixth for the Twins, but that was the end of the good news.  The Blue Jays opened the seventh with singles by Rios, Johnson, and Hillenbrand to make it 8-3.  In the ninth Johnson was hit by a pitch, Hillenbrand singled, Wells had an RBI single, and a pair of wild pitches brought home another run to make it 10-3.

WP:  Josh Towers (5-1).  LP:  Johan Santana (5-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Luis Rivas was at second base.  He would eventually be replaced by Nick Punto as the starter.  Juan Castro was at short--he would eventually be replaced as the starter by Jason Bartlett.  Lewwwwww Ford was the DH--he and Matthew LeCroy shared the position, although LeCroy played there more often.

Terry Tiffee pinch-hit for Stewart in the ninth.

Morneau was batting .375--he would finish at .239.  Mauer was batting at .321--he would finish at .294.

We've been through the 2005 team's stats a few times recently, so there's no real need to repeat them here.  I'll just note that Morneau batted .439 in April and did not bat more than .237 in any other month.

Record:  The Twins were 21-16, in second place in the American League Central, 5.5 games behind Chicago.  They would finish 83-79, in third place, 16 games behind Chicago.

The Blue Jays were 21-18, in third place in the American League East, 4.5 games behind Baltimore.  They would finish 80-82, in third place, 15 games behind New York.

Random Record:  The Twins are 59-53 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 2004, Game One Hundred Seven

ANAHEIM 8, MINNESOTA 3 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Thursday, August 5.

Batting stars:  Torii Hunter was 2-for-4 with a home run (his fourteenth) and a double.  Michael Cuddyer was 1-for-2 with a double and a walk.

Pitching stars:  Jesse Crain struck out two in 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits.  Aaron Fultz pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk.  J. C. Romero struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Aaron Sele pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits and two walks and striking out one.  Garret Anderson was 4-for-5.  Josh Paul was 3-for-4 with a double and two runs.  David Eckstein was 1-for-3 with two walks and two runs.

The game:  The first two innings passed by quietly.  Then in the third, Tim Salmon and Paul singled and Eckstein walked, loading the bases with none out.  Chone Figgins was retired on a short fly ball, but Anderson and Vladimir Guerrero each hit an RBI single and a sacrifice fly made it 3-0.  The Angels had another big inning in the fourth.  Robb Quinlan singled and scored from first on Paul's one-out double.  Eckstein followed with an RBI single.  With two out Anderson singled, an error loaded the bases, and Jose Guillen delivered a two-run single to make the score 7-0.

The Twins offense had done very little to this point, getting only one hit through the first four innings.  Hunter changed that with a home run to lead off the fifth.  Corey Koskie had a one-out single, Matthew LeCroy walked, and with two out Shannon Stewart singled home a run to make it 7-2.

That was as close as the Twins would come.  Each team scored a run in the seventh, but neither threatened to put together a big inning.  The Twins took an 8-3 defeat.

WP:  Sele (7-0).  LP:  Terry Mulholland (3-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  Justin Morneau had only recently become the regular first baseman with the trade of Doug Mientkiewicz.  Stewart had injury problems in 2004 and was the DH in this game, with Lew Ford in left field.

Cuddyer pinch-hit for Jacque Jones in the fifth and stayed in the game in right field.  LeCroy pinch-hit for Henry Blanco in the fifth and stayed in the game behind the plate.

Jason Bartlett was at shortstop in place of Cristian Guzman.  This was the second major league game and first start for Bartlett.  He would be sent down after the game, but would come back as a September call-up and would begin 2005 as the team's starting shortstop.

Stewart was the batting average leader at .312.  He would finish at .304.  Ford was batting .301.  He would finish at .299.

Mulholland pitched just 3.2 innings, allowing seven runs (five earned) on nine hits and a walk and striking out one.  It was not his worst start of the season--that would come on August 26, when he would again allow seven runs in 3.2 innings, but all the runs would be earned.  He was forty-one, and was really not a good pitcher anymore.  He really hadn't been very good for some time, but teams kept sending him out there.  I assume it was a case where, as Bill James once put it, he would pitch well just often enough to fool teams into pitching him some more.

Despite Sele's 7-0 record, he didn't have all that good a year.  At this point he was 7-0 with an ERA of 4.60.  He would finish 9-4, 5.05, 1.62 WHIP.  He started his career well, but after 1995 he only had one season with an ERA of lower than 4.20 and six seasons with an ERA of over 5.00.  Despite that, he pitched until he was thirty-seven and had a fifteen-year major league career.  It's always amazing to me how some guys keep getting chance after chance, long after they've proven they're not good enough, and other guys dominate AAA and at most get one brief shot.

The Twins had won four in a row and eight out of nine coming into this game.

Record:  The Twins were 61-46, in first place in the American League Central, six games ahead of Chicago.  They would finish 92-70, in first place, nine games ahead of Chicago.

The Angels were 58-50, in third place in the American League West, three games behind Texas.  They would finish 92-70, in first place, one game ahead of Oakland.

Random Rewind: 2013, Game Forty-one

ATLANTA 5, MINNESOTA 1 IN ATLANTA

Date:  Monday, May 20.

Batting stars:  Justin Morneau was 2-for-4.  Josh Willingham was 1-for-3 with a home run, his sixth.

Pitching stars:  Ryan Pressley pitched two shutout innings, giving up a walk and striking out one.  Caleb Thielbar struck out three in two shutout innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Julio Teheran pitched 8.1 innings, giving up one run on five hits and a walk and striking out four.  Juan Francisco was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Justin Upton was 2-for-4.  Dan Uggla was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his eighth.

The game:  With one out in the bottom of the first, the Braves got consecutive singles from Jason Heyward, Upton, and Freddie Freeman to go ahead 1-0.  Gerald Laird flied out, but Uggla hit a three-run homer to put Atlanta up 4-0.

The game was basically over at that point, but of course they played it out.  The Twins put two on with one out in the fourth but did not score.  In the fifth, Francisco doubled and Melvin Upton walked.  A bunt moved them to second and third and Andrelton Simmons hit a sacrifice fly to make it 5-0 Braves.

The Twins got on the board in the ninth when Willingham hit a home run.  They tried to get back into it, getting one-out singles from Trevor Plouffe and Chris Parmelee, but a pair of fly balls ended the game.

WP:  Teheran (3-1).  LP:  Kevin Correia (4-4).  S:  Cody Gearrin.

Notes:  The Twins used pretty much their standard lineup, without a DH because they were in Atlanta.  Wilkin Ramirez pinch-hit for Correia in the fifth.  Eduardo Escobar went into the game at shorstop in the seventh, replacing Pedro Florimon as part of a double switch.  Ryan Doumit pinch-hit for Thielbar in the ninth.  Oswaldo Arcia pinch-hit for Aaron Hicks in the ninth.

Joe Mauer was batting .333.  He would finish at .324.  Justin Morneau was batting .304.  He would finish at .259.  He would also finish in Pittsburgh, as he was traded at the August deadline for Alex Presley and a player to be named later (Duke Welker).  Not one of the Twins' best trades.

Aaron Hicks was batting .144 at this point.  As you probably remember, the Twins had traded Denard Span during the off-season and handed the job to the twenty-three-year-old Hicks on the strength of a good year in AA.  He clearly wasn't ready, although he did improve his average to .192 by the end of the season.

Correia settled down after the first inning, but still allowed five runs on eight hits and a walk in four innings.  He did not strike out anyone.

Parmelee is listed as the starting right fielder in 2013, but he played just sixty-eight games there.  Doumit, Arcia, and Chris Herrmann also saw significant time in right field.

Record:  The Twins were 18-23, in fifth (last) place in the American League Central, seven games behind Cleveland.  They would finish 66-96, in fourth place, twenty-seven games behind Detroit.

The Braves were 26-18, in first place in the National League East, 3.5 games ahead of Washington.  They would finish 96-66, in first place, ten games ahead of Washington.

August 10, 2016: Fielder

For all the media talk about Prince Fielder's stardom, I thought this was pretty interesting:

Dude Seasons rWAR fWAR
Justice1440.540.4
Hrbek1438.437.6
D Lee1434.334.5
T Martinez1628.828.7
Konerko1827.623.2
Morneau1427.122.8
M Vaughn1227.031.1
Klesko1626.930.1
Fielder1223.826.8
Brunansky1421.823.3

I don't have any particular conclusion in mind (and I don't mean to diminish Prince's career), but I doubt many observers would have perceived Fielder's value to be as limited as it was – by whichever flavor of WAR you like. That contract was a disaster on more than one level.

My Favorite Non-Twins

Things have been a little down around here lately, and not necessarily without reason. But let's not lose sight of the fact that, at it's heart, baseball is fun. And in that spirit, here is my lineup of my favorite non-Twins. Here are my guidelines:

  1. Players cannot currently employed by the Twins
  2. Players can be either NL or AL players
  3. One each of LF-CF-RF (Sorry Adam Jones & Cutch)
  4. As we support an AL team, there is a DH
    • This DH can be any player whatsoever

These are just my favorite players to watch. Not the best, not who I would build a team around, just guys who in their own way bring me some measure of joy when I watch them play ball. And of course, there is no accounting for taste. So y'all should share your favorites too. Follow my rules or don't, it's up to you. I'm not your mother.

WARNING: GIFs abound after the jump
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