Tag Archives: long season

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.

2019 Recap: Game Seventy-four


Date:  Thursday, June 20.

Batting stars:  C. J. Cron was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Jorge Polanco was 1-for-4 with a home run, his eleventh.

Pitching star:  Kohl Stewart pitched four shutout innings, giving up two hits and no walks and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Glenn Sparkman pitched seven innings, giving up one run on five hits and one walk and striking out three.  Jorge Soler was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Lucas Duda was 2-for-4.  Nicky Lopez was 2-for-4.

The game:  Polanco homered in the first inning and it looked like it might be a big night for the Twins.  Instead, it was the only run they scored.  The Royals came right back in the bottom of the first, Their first three batters reached base:  Whit Merrifield doubled, Lopez singled, and Alex Gordon doubled to give Kansas City a 2-1 lead.  Duda had an RBI single later in the inning to make it 3-1 Royals.  They added a run in the fourth on a Martin Maldonado RBI double.

Meanwhile, the Twins weren't really doing much of anything at bat.  They got a pair of two-out singles in the fourth, putting men on first and third, but Jonathan Schoop fanned to end the inning.  They got a couple of harmless singles later in the game, but their last ten batters were retired.  Kansas City only got two hits after the fourth inning as well, but they already had all the runs they needed.

WP:  Sparkman (2-3).  LP:  Jake Odorizzi (10-3).  S:  Ian Kennedy (9).

Notes:  Jake Cave was in right field, with Max Kepler remaining in center.  Luis Arraez was at shortstop, with Polanco at DH and Nelson Cruz on the bench.  Willians Astudillo was at third base, with Miguel Sano on the bench.  Mitch Garver started at catcher but left the game in the eighth, with Astudillo moving to catcher and Sano entering the game at third.

Arraez was 1-for-4 and is batting .375.  Polanco is batting .325.  Odorizzi gave up four runs in four innings and has an ERA of 2.58.

Odorizzi had his second poor start in a row.  He hasn't been dreadful, but he certainly hasn't been good.  There's some regression to the mean, but that's a phrase that describes things without actually explaining them.  Either he was just lucky before and his luck has run out, he's doing something differently from what he was doing before, or the Royals figured out what he was doing and adjusted to it.  The Twins need him to be, not necessarily a Cy Young winner like he was through his first thirteen starts, but a good, reliable pitcher.

The batters have also been in a slump.  But just like "regression to the mean", "in a slump" describes without explaining.  Again, it's either a matter of luck, their doing something differently, or other teams have adjusted.  My opinion, as I said the other day, is that we have too many batters who are trying to hit home runs on every pitch.  Nothing wrong with home runs, but some pitches are not capable of being hit out of the park.  My unsolicited amateur advice is to get back to just trying to hit the ball hard and let the home runs take care of themselves.

The baseball season is long.  You're going to have times when you're not playing well, for a variety of reasons.  It's not as much fun when it happens, but it does.  It happens to every team.  You just have to keep the faith and ride it out.  The thing not to do is to go all StatFreak when we hit one of those times.  If we do that,  we're no better than Yankee fans.

The Twins again try to avoid losing three in a row, this time with Martin Perez on the mound.  That doesn't fill me with confidence, but hey, the guy is 7-3.  Maybe he's due.  Maybe tonight the Twins break out of their slump and score ten runs.  After all, it's baseball.  All kinds of things are possible.

Record:  The Twins are 48-26, first in the American League Central, nine games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We'll just have to settle for 136-26!

2019 Recap: Game Fifty-five


Date:  Thursday, May 30.

Batting stars:  Ehire Adrianza was 2-for-3.  Jason Castro was 2-for-3.

Pitching star:  Mike Morin pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Avisail Garcia was 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, and three runs.  Tommy Pham was 2-for-2 with a double, a walk, and two runs.  Brandon Lowe was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs.  Austin Meadows was 2-for-5 with a double, two runs, and four RBIs.  Christian Arroyo was 2-for-5 with two doubles, two runs, and two RBIs.  Charlie Morton pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits and no walks and striking out six.

The game:  Well, it was good for two innings.  In the bottom of the third, a single and two walks loaded the bases and Meadows delivered a three-run double.  A single, a double, and a single made it a six-run inning, leaving the Twins down 6-0.  The fourth was no better:  a single, a double, two singles, a walk, and two doubles added up to five runs and a score of 11-0.

The Twins scored single runs in the fifth and sixth, but the Rays came back with three in the seventh.  The Twins added one more in the eighth.  Yes, this is a much less thorough recap of the game than we typically do, but there seems no point in going into detail on this one.

WP:  Morton (6-0).  LP:  Martin Perez (7-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Adrianza was at shortstop in place of Jorge Polanco, who was not feeling well.  Marwin Gonzalez was at third base in place of Miguel Sano.  Luis Arraez was at second base in place of Jonathan Schoop, who was used as the DH.

Arraez was 1-for-4 and is batting .375.  Morin has an ERA of 0.87.

A baseball season is long.  One hundred sixty-two games.  Out of that many games, you're bound to have a clunker in there once in a while.  The trick is, of course, to not have very many of them.  If you do, that's a problem.  For now, though, the thing to do is simply to turn the page and move on.

It seems, though, that we should acknowledge the service done by Zack Littell last night.  Yes, his line looks terrible:  eight runs on ten hits and one walk in 4.1 innings.  But the point is that he pitched 4.1 innings.  Even when he was getting hit hard, he was not afraid to throw the ball over the plate.  That kept his pitch count low enough that he was able to fill 4.1 innings, saving the rest of the bullpen.  He actually settled down to pitch fairly well after the fourth.  I'm not saying he deserves to be player of the game or anything--in fact, as suggested in the game log, his reward may well be a ticket back to Rochester.  Still, the job he did may be important in the next couple of games, and it should be appreciated.

Also, kudos to Rocco Baldelli for leaving Littell in the game to pitch those 4.1 innings and save the bullpen.  It's one of those things that seems obvious, but it's amazing how many major league managers don't see it.  Many managers, including some recent Twins managers, would've thought they had to take Littell out in the fourth, and then would've burned through three or four relievers in a game the Twins weren't going to win anyway.  Good job by Rocco for not doing that.

After a horrible April, Adrianza is batting .313/.393/.521 in May.  If you throw out the 0-for-16 that he started May with, those numbers go to .469/.526/.694.  Obviously he's not going to sustain either of those sets of numbers.  But his season numbers are now .256/.351/.415 which, while they'd be career highs, do not seem so unsustainable.  At any rate, he's sure making those of us, including me, who were calling for the Twins to release him look pretty stupid at the moment.

It should be noted that the Twins still have the best record in baseball, and we have Jose Berrios going tonight.  Plus, Cleveland lost, so we still lead the division by 9.5 games.  That makes it a little easier to turn the page and move on.

Record:  The Twins are 37-18, first in the American League Central, 9.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We'll just have to settle for 144-18!

Game 135: Minnesota at Texas

And so we enter the last month of the season.  It somehow seems like it should be later in the season than it is.  Maybe it's because football has started, maybe it's because the minor league seasons are nearly over, maybe it's because the Twins have been out of the race for quite a while now.  But the fact is that we still have a month of the season to play.

That's all right.  The off-season is too long as it is--I'm certainly not wishing for it to be longer.  Let's enjoy this last month of the season.  We have Jose Berrios going tonight, and we can hope that he'll actually pitch like Jose Berrios.  The Rangers counter with Yovani Gallardo.  Let's win tonight and give ourselves a chance for a sweep tomorrow.  Go Twins!