Tag Archives: losing streak

Random Rewind: 2011, Game Thirty-two

BOSTON 9, MINNESOTA 5 IN BOSTON

Date:  Sunday, May 8.

Batting stars:  Jason Kubel was 3-for-4 with two RBIs.  Danny Valencia was 2-for-4 with a home run (his third), a stolen base (his second), and three RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Alex Burnett pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and striking out one.  Joe Nathan struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Adrian Gonzalez was 3-for-5 with a home run (his fourth), two runs, and two RBIs.  Jacoby Ellsbury was 3-for-5 with a double and a stolen base (his tenth).  Kevin Youkilis was 2-for-4 with a double and four runs.  David Ortiz was 2-for-4.

The game:  It started well.  Denard Span led off with a single and Trevor Plouffe walked.  With one out Kubel had an RBI single.  A ground out moved men to second and third, and Valencia delivered a two-run single to put the Twins up 3-0.

It wouldn't stay that way for long.  The Red Sox got on the board in the second when Youkilis led off with a double and scored on a pair of ground outs.  They took the lead in the third.  Carl Crawford led off with a triple and scored on a ground out, making it 3-2.  Ellsbury singled, Dustin Pedroia walked, and Gonzalez singled in a run to tie it.  An RBI ground out put Boston ahead, Ortiz singled, and J. D. Drew had a run-scoring single to give the Red Sox a 5-3 lead.

The Twins got a run back in the fourth when Valencia led off with a home run.  In the fifth, however, Gonzalez homered to make it 6-4, Youkilis and Ortiz singled, and another RBI ground out increased the Red Sox lead to 7-4.

Boston put the game away with two in the seventh.  Gonzalez singled, Youkilis reached on an error, and Jed Lowrie hit a two-run double.  The Twins scored one more in the eighth when Plouffe doubled and scored on a Kubel single, but the Twins did not threaten to get back into the game.

WP:  Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-3).  LP:  Carl Pavano (2-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  Joe Mauer was injured much of the season, so Drew Butera was the regular catcher.

The Twins used a variety of players at shortstop, none of whom really got the job done.  Tsuyoshi Nishioka played the most games there (66), as he held the job for most of the second half of the season.  Plouffe, who was the shortstop in this game, played 45 games there.  Others to see time there were Alexi Casilla (36 games) and Matt Tolbert (31).

Span was the centerfielder when healthy, but he also missed a lot of the season due to injury, so Ben Revere played the most games there.  In this game Span was in center, with Revere in left.  Delmon Young played the most games in left.  Michael Cuddyer was in right.

Kubel was the DH.  Jim Thome played the most games at DH with 59--Kubel was second at 37.  The Twins used a total of 18 different players at DH for at least one game.

Tolbert came in to play shortstop in place of Plouffe in the ninth.  Rene Tosoni pinch-hit for Butera in the ninth.

Kubel was batting .351.  He would finish at .273.  Plouffe was batting .300--he would finish at .238.  Among players with a significant number of at-bats, Mauer led the team at .287.  Cuddyer led the team in home runs with twenty.

Pavano started and pitched five innings.  He allowed seven runs on ten hits and a walk and struck out none.  Pavano was very up-and-down in 2011, and this was obviously one of his down stretches.  His ERA at this point of the season was 6.44, but it would end up at 4.30.

This was the second of a nine-game losing streak for the Twins.  They would go 8-19 in May.

Record:  The Twins were 12-20, in fourth place in the American League Central, 9.5 games behind Cleveland.  They would finish 63-99, fifth (last) in the American League Central, 32 games behind Detroit.

The Red Sox were 16-18, in third place in the American League East, four games behind New York.  They would finish 90-72, in third place, seven games behind New York.

Random Rewind: 1989, Game Eighty-four

SEATTLE 7, MINNESOTA 5 IN SEATTLE

Date:  Thursday, July 6.

Batting stars:  Wally Backman was 3-for-5.  Jim Dwyer was 2-for-3.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer (his eighth) and two runs.  Randy Bush was 2-for-5.

Pitching star:  Randy St. Claire pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, walking one and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Jerry Reed pitched four shutout innings, giving up four hits and striking out one.  I guess when you're hot, you're hot.  Edgar Martinez was 2-for-3.  Darnell Coles was 2-for-4 with a double, two runs, and two RBIs.  Dave Valle was 2-for-4 with a double.  Jeffrey Leonard was 2-for-4.  Harold Reynolds was 2-for-5.

The game:  It looked good early.  The Twins got on the board in the second when Hrbek and Dwyer singled, a ground out advanced both runners, and Tim Laudner delivered a two-out two-run double.  The Mariners got one of the runs back in the bottom of the inning when Coles doubled and scored on a Martinez single.  The Twins took what appeared to be a commanding lead in the third.  Backman and Bush singled and Hrbek hit a three-run homer, putting the Twins up 5-1.

But that was as good as it would get.  The Twins had men on first and second with one out in the fifth, but were taken out of the inning when Gary Gaetti was caught stealing third.  In the bottom of the inning, Omar Vizquel and Reynolds started the inning with singles, Henry Cotto hit an RBI double, a run scored on a ground out, Leonard drove in a run with a single, cutting the margin to 5-4.

The Twins held the lead until the eighth.  Leonard led off the inning with a single and Ken Griffey reached on an error, putting men on second and third.  Jeff Reardon came in and gave up a two-run single to Coles.  A bunt again put men on second and third, and Valle singled home a run to make the scored 7-5 Seattle.

The Twins went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Mike Jackson (3-2).  LP:  Gary Wayne (3-1).  S:  Mike Schooler (20).

Notes:  Laudner was behind the plate in place of Brian Harper.  Both caught a significant number of games, Harper 101 and Laudner 68.

Al Newman was in left field in place of Dan Gladden, who was out with an injury.  It was one of four times that Newman played left field in 1989.

Johnny Moses was in center field in place of Kirby Puckett.

Harper pinch-hit for Dwyer in the eighth.  Gene Larkin pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the eighth.  Puckett came in for defense, with Moses moving to left, Newman to shortstop, and Larkin leaving the game.

Puckett was leading the team in batting at .333.  He would finish at .339.  Dwyer was batting .331.  He would finish at .316.  Harper was batting .289, but would finish at .325.

Shane Rawley started for the Twins and pitched five innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and a walk and striking out one.  This was the last year of his career and he was, to put it simply, not very good.  He went 5-12, 5.21, 1.57 WHIP in 25 starts.

This was Reardon's seventh blown save of the season, although admittedly this was a tough save situation.  He would finish with 31 saves and eight blown saves, with the last one coming July 16.  This would be his last season with the Twins.  He became a free agent after the season and signed with Boston.

Mike Schooler had 63 saves for the Mariners from 1989-1990.  He was injured in August of 1990, however, and while he did all right in limited action in 1991 he never really got back to being the pitcher he had been.  By 1993 he was done.

We again caught the Twins in the middle of a losing streak.  This was the third of eight consecutive defeats for the Twins.

Record:  The Twins were 41-43, in fifth place in the American League West, 9.5 games behind Oakland.  They would finish 80-82, in fifth place, 19 games behind Oakland.

The Mariners were 40-43, in sixth place in the American League West, 10 games behind Oakland.  They would finish 73-89, in sixth place, 26 games behind Oakland.

Random Rewind: 1985, Game Forty

MILWAUKEE 5, MINNESOTA 2 IN MILWAUKEE

Date:  Friday, May 24.

Batting stars:  Gary Gaetti was 1-for-3 with a home run (his sixth) and a walk.  Tom Brunansky was 1-for-3 with a home run (his twelfth) and a walk.

Pitching star:  Curt Wardle struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up two hits.

Opposition stars:  Ray Burris pitched 6.2 innings, giving up one run on three hits and three walks and striking out five.  Rick Manning was 3-for-4 with two doubles.  Cecil Cooper was 2-for-4.  Ernie Riles was 2-for-4.  Paul Molitor was 1-for-4 with a home run (his second) and a stolen base (his seventh).

The game:  Gaetti opened the scoring with a home run in the second.  In the fourth, however, Robin Yount singled, stole second, and scored on a Ted Simmons single to tie it.  Singles by Ben Oglivie and Manning brought Simmons home to give the Brewers a 2-1 lead.  In the fifth, Charlie Moore walked, Cooper singled, Yount had an RBI single, and Simmons hit a sacrifice fly, making it 4-1 Milwaukee.

The Twins' best chance to come back came in the seventh.   Brunansky and Randy Bush drew one-out walks and Gaetti walked with two out.  But pinch-hitter Mike Stenhouse flied to center and the inning was over.  Molitor hit a home run leading off the seventh and Brunansky homered leading off the ninth to complete the scoring.

WP:  Burris (2-4).  LP:  Mike Smithson (4-4).  S:  Rollie Fingers (5).

Notes:  Roy Smalley was at shortstop in place of Greg Gagne.  Gagne had some injury problems in May--he was on the disabled list for a couple of weeks, and while he was back on the active roster at this point he was not yet at full speed.  Smalley was a mostly-regular, but he had more time at DH than at shortstop.  Randy Bush was the DH in this game.

As noted above, Stenhouse pinch-hit for Tim Teufel in the seventh inning, with Ron Washington then going to second base.  Stenhouse was with the Twins for all of 1985 but was mostly used as a pinch-hitter and part-time DH.  He had just 209 plate appearances, batting .223 with an OPS of .665.

Brunansky was batting .345.  He would finish at .242.  Mark Salas was batting .327.  He would finish at .300.  Mickey Hatcher was batting .303.  He would finish at .282.  Kirby Puckett was batting .300.  He would finish at .288.

Smithson started and pitched six innings, allowing five runs on ten hits and three walks and striking out one.  He had pitched well in 1984 but slipped in 1985.  He wasn't terrible--15-14, 4.34--but it was the start of a downhill slide that never really stopped for him.  He pitched over 250 innings in 1984 and 1985, which may have contributed to his slide.  He led the league in starts in both of those seasons.

This was one of the few good games of Wardle's career.  As a Twin, he was 1-3, 5.43 in 53 innings.  For his career, he was 8-9, 6.13 in 119 innings.

This was the third of a ten-game losing streak for the Twins.

Record:  The Twins were 21-19, in third place in the American League West, two games behind California.  They would finish 77-85, tied for fourth, 14 games behind Kansas City.

The Brewers were 16-21, in sixth place in the American League East, 8.5 games behind Toronto.  They would finish 71-90, in sixth place, 28 games behind Toronto.

It's remarkable how many times a team stays in more-or-less the same place they were early in the season.

Random Rewind: 1982, Game Thirty-three

MINNESOTA 10, BOSTON 6 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Tuesday, May 11.

Batting stars:  Gary Ward was 3-for-4 with a home run (his third) and three runs).  Bobby Mitchell was 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs.  Butch Wynegar was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two runs.  John Castino was 2-for-5 with a double and three RBIs.

Pitching stars:  None.

Opposition stars:  Dwight Evans was 3-for-5 with two triples and three RBIs.  Dave Stapleton was 2-for-5 with three RBIs.  Tony Perez was 2-for-5 with a double.  Carney Lansford was 2-for-5.

The game:  The Twins took the lead in the second.  Kent Hrbek led off the inning with a single and Ward had a one-out single-plus-error, putting men on second and third.  A wild pitch scored one run and a sacrifice fly scored another, putting the Twins up 2-0.

The Red Sox got on the board in the fourth, but missed a chance for a big inning.  Jim Rice reached on an error, and singles by Perez and Lansford loaded the bases with one out.  Stapleton delivered an RBI single, but Twins starter Brad Havens escaped further damage by retiring Glenn Hoffman and Gary Allenson on foul popups and striking out Reid Nichols.  It appeared to be just a temporary reprieve, however, as Boston scored three in the fifth to take the lead.  Jerry Remy led off with a single, and with one out Rice walked and Perez had an RBI double.  Lansford struck out, but Stapleton came through with a two-run single, giving the Red Sox a 4-2 advantage.

But the Twins came right back in the bottom of the fifth.  Wynegar led off with a double, Mitchell had a one-out RBI single, and Castino delivered a two-out run-scoring double, tying it 4-4.  The Twins took the lead in the sixth.  Their first two batters were retired, but they then put together six consecutive singles, by WardWynegarRandy BushMitchellRon Washington, and Castino, producing five runs and giving the Twins a 9-4 advantage.  Ward hit a solo homer in the seventh to make it 10-4.

Boston must have been stunned.  They scored a pair of runs in the eighth, when Rick Miller and Remy walked and Evans hit a two-run triple, but that was it.  The Twins took the 10-6 victory.

WP:  Bobby Castillo (1-1).  LP:  Bob Ojeda (1-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  It was kind of a strange lineup for the Twins.  Washington was at second base, with Castino playing left field, one of five times in his career that he played there.  The DH was Jesus Vega.  Mitchell had taken over center field from Jim Eisenreich.  Ward, normally in left, moved to right.

Havens pitched 5.2 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on nine hits and two walks and striking out four.  Red Sox starter Ojeda pitched 5.2 innings as well, allowing six runs on seven hits and a walk and striking out five.

Bush pinch-hit for Lenny Faedo in the sixth inning.  He then went to left field, with Castino moving to second base and Washington going to shortstop.

The leading batter in the Twins lineup was Vega, who was batting .349.  He would end the season at .266.  Hrbek was batting .314.  He would end at .301.  Washington was batting an even .300.  He would finish at .291.

On the other end of the scale, Mitchell was batting .164.  He would finish at .249.  Faedo was batting .196.  He would end up at .243.

Ojeda was not the Bob Ojeda he would become.  He was twenty-four, but had still not had a full season in the majors.  He would finish this season 4-6, 5.63, 1.58 WHIP in 22 games, 14 starts.  He'd had ten solid starts in 1981, which had gotten him third place in the Rookie of the Year voting (behind Dave Righetti and teammate Rich Gedman).  He would improve from 1982, but would not really become a star until his trade to the Mets after the 1985 season.

The Twins win snapped a five-game losing streak.  They had lost nine of ten before this game.

Record:  The Twins were 11-22, in sixth (not last) place in the American League West, 9.5 games behind California.  They would finish 60-102, in seventh (last) place), thirty-three games behind California.

The Red Sox were 21-10, in first place in the American League East, three games ahead of Detroit.  They would finish 89-73, in third place, six games behind Milwaukee.

1991 Rewind: Game Seventy-eight

TORONTO 4, MINNESOTA 3 IN TORONTO

Date:  Tuesday, July 2.

Batting star:  Mike Pagliarulo was 2-for-3 with a walk.

Pitching star:  Kevin Tapani pitched 6.1 innings, giving up two runs on eleven hits and one walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Mike Timlin pitched five innings of relief, giving up one run on three hits and a walk and striking out two.  Greg Myers was 3-for-4 with a double.  Devon White was 3-for-5 with a stolen base, his nineteenth.  Manny Lee was 2-for-4 with a double.  Roberto Alomar was 2-for-4 with a walk.  John Olerud was 2-for-4.  Rene Gonzales was 1-for-4 with a home run.

The game:  The Twins took a 1-0 lead in the second when Shane Mack scored from first on Pagliarulo's single-plus-error.  It went to 2-0 in the third when Chuck Knoblauch walked, went to second when Pedro Munoz was hit by a pitch, went to third on a fly out, and scored on a Chili Davis sacrifice fly.  The Blue Jays got on the board in the fourth when Gonzales hit a home run, but the Twins got the run back on singles by Mack and Pagliarulo and a run-scoring ground out by Greg Gagne, making the score 3-1.

Each team had threats, but it stayed 3-1 until the seventh.  Singles by Lee, White, and Alomar loaded the bases with one out.  Terry Leach came in and allowed one run to score on a ground out, but no more, so the Twins still led 3-2.  In the eighth, however, Derek Bell singled, stole second, and scored on Lee's double to tie it 3-3.

Leach remained in the game to start the tenth.  He gave up singles to White and Alomar, putting men on first and third.  Joe Carter was intentionally walked, filling the bases.  Leach was finally replaced by Steve Bedrosian, who gave up a single to Rance Mulliniks to end the game.

WP:  Duane Ward (2-3).  LP:  Leach (0-1).  S:  None.

NotesMack was again in left, replacing Dan Gladden.  Munoz was in right.  With Gladden out, Knoblauch batted first, with Munoz second.  Sorrento was at first base, replacing Kent Hrbek.  Hrbek would miss the next game as well and would not start again until July 5.

Jarvis Brown entered the game in right field in the fifth inning, replacing Munoz.  This was Brown's major league debut, and he went 0-for-2.  Munoz would miss the next game, play each game from July 4-7, play again on July 14, and then not come back until September.

Puckett was 0-for-3, making his average .329.  Harper was 0-for-4 to drop to .318.  Tapani's ERA was at 3.04.

Leach was pretty clearly left in the game too long.  He got out of the jam in the seventh, but gave up the tying run in the eighth and was still left in to load the bases in the ninth.  Tom Kelly apparently thought it was worth risking this game in order to preserve his bullpen.  That may sound critical--I don't mean it to be.  My memory isn't good enough, and I don't have time to go back through the games, to know what the state of the bullpen was at this point.  TK may well have made the right decision.  This is simply an observation, not a criticism.  If this was a post-season game, or even a game in a September pennant race, Kelly would almost certainly have gotten Leach out of there sooner.  In a game in early July, it may well have been prudent to leave him in as long as he did.

The Twins had now lost six of seven.  Their division lead was shrinking.  Could they pull out of the tailspin?

Record:  The Twins were 45-33, in first place in the American League West, one game ahead of California.

1991 Rewind: Game Seventy-seven

CHICAGO 5, MINNESOTA 4 IN MINNESOTA (10 INNINGS)

Date:  Monday, July 1.

Batting star:  Kirby Puckett was 4-for-5 with a home run (his eleventh) and two RBIs.

Pitching star:  Paul Abbott pitched six innings, giving up one run on three hits and four walks and striking out seven.

Opposition stars:  Carlton Fisk was 2-for-4 with a home run (his sixth), a double, a walk, two runs, and two RBIs.  Lance Johnson was 2-for-5 with a double and three RBIs.  Bobby Thigpen pitched 2.2 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and a walk and striking out one.

The game:  The White Sox got a man to second in each of the first two innings, but there was no score until the fourth.  Dan Pasqua led off with a double, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Johnson's single.  The Twins tied it in the bottom of the fourth when Puckett homered to  make it 1-1.

The Twins took the lead in the sixth.  Greg Gagne walked, went to third on Knoblauch's single, and scored on a Pedro Munoz sacrifice fly.  A wild pitch moved Knoblauch to second and he scored on Puckett's single, making the score 3-1 Twins.

Chicago came back in the eighth.  With two out, Frank Thomas and Dan Pasqua walked.  Rick Aguilera came in and gave up back-to-back doubles to Fisk and Johnson, giving the White Sox a 4-3 lead.  The Twins tied it in the bottom of the eighth when Pedro Munoz drew a one-out walk, Puckett had a bunt single, and Kent Hrbek singled.

The Twins came close in the ninth.  Brian Harper reached on an error, was bunted to second, and went to third on a ground out.  Randy Bush was intentionally walked, but Knoblauch grounded out to end the inning.

Fisk hit a two-out homer in the tenth to give Chicago a 5-4 lead.  The Twins threatened in the bottom of the tenth.  Puckett and Paul Sorrento had one-out singles, putting men on first and third.  But Puckett was thrown out trying to score on a grounder to the pitcher (presumably the contact play) and Scott Leius flied out to end the game.

WP:  Bobby Thigpen (5-2).  LP:  Carl Willis (2-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Shane Mack was again in left field in place of Dan Gladden.  Gene Larkin was in right.

Tom Kelly again made liberal use of his bench.  Munoz replaced Larkin in right field after the first inning, presumably due to injury.  Larkin would not play again until July 18.  Al Newman pinch-hit for Mike Pagliarulo in the seventh and stayed in the game at third base.  Pitcher Mark Guthrie pinch-ran for Kent Hrbek in the eighth, with Sorrento coming into the game to play first.  Leius pinch-ran for Harper in the ninth and stayed in the game at third base, with Newman moving to shortstop and Junior Ortiz going behind the plate.  Bush pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the ninth.

Puckett raised his average to .332.  Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .324.  Abbott lowered his ERA to 2.88.  Aguilera gave up a run in 1.1 innings, making his ERA 2.92.  Willis gave up a run in one inning, making his ERA 3.21.

This was Sorrento's first game with the Twins this season.  He would be with the Twins for about two weeks, then come back as a September call-up.  He'd had two really good years in AAA Portland and was clearly ready to play in the majors, but with Hrbek at first and Chili Davis at DH there was just no spot for him.  The Twins would trade him to Cleveland at the end of 1992 spring training for Curtis Leskanic and Oscar Munoz, and Sorrento would go on to have a solid career for the Indians and Seattle.

If I ran a ball club, especially with thirteen-man pitching staffs, I would put a couple of my pitchers through baserunning drills on a regular basis, so I could use them as pinch-runners when needed.

The Twins had now lost five out of six.  Would they be able to hold on to first place?

Record:  The Twins were 45-32, in first place in the American League West, two games ahead of California.

1991 Rewind: Game Seventy-five

CHICAGO 8, MINNESOTA 4 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Saturday, June 29.

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (his tenth) and a double.  Chili Davis was 2-for-4 with a home run, his nineteenth.  Kent Hrbek was 1-for-4 with a home run, his seventh.

Pitching star:  Terry Leach pitched a scoreless inning, giving up two hits.

Opposition stars:  Dan Pasqua was 4-for-5 with a home run (his seventh), a triple, and three RBIs.  Ozzie Guillen was 3-for-4 with a stolen base (his thirteenth) and two RBIs.  Robin Ventura was 2-for-3 with a double and two walks.  Lance Johnson was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs.  Tim Raines was 2-for-5 with a double, two runs, and two RBIs.  Greg Hibbard pitched a complete game, giving up four runs on seven hits and a walk and striking out one.

The game:  The White Sox opened the game with singles by Raines, Ventura, and Frank Thomas, taking a 1-0 lead.  A strikeout and a double play prevented further damage, and the Twins bounced back in the bottom of the first.  Chuck Knoblauch singled, Puckett hit a two-run homer, and Davis homered, putting the Twins up 3-1.

It stayed 3-1 until the fourth, when Pasqua led off with a homer to make it 3-2.  It stayed 3-2 until the seventh, when Chicago exploded for five runs.  Singles by Matt Merullo and Johnson started the inning.  With one out, Guillen had an RBI single to tie it and Raines' two-run double put the White Sox ahead.  Ventura was intentionally walked, and with two out Pasqua hit a two-run triple, giving Chicago a 7-3 lead.

It was pretty much over at that point.  Hrbek homered in the seventh to cut the lead to 7-4, but the White Sox got the run back in the eighth when Johnson doubled and scored on a Guillen single.  After the Hrbek homer the Twins got only one baserunner, a Davis single in the ninth.

WP:  Hibbard (6-6).  LP:  Scott Erickson (12-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  Shane Mack was in left replacing Dan Gladden.  Pedro Munoz was in right.  With Erickson pitching, Junior Ortiz was behind the plate in place of Brian Harper.

Puckett raised his average to .322.  Erickson pitched 6.1 innings, allowing seven runs on eleven hits and two walks and striking out one.  His ERA went up to 1.83.  Leach lowered his ERA to 3.16.

Erickson pitched well for six innings.  He would not pitch again, however, until July 15 and was not really the same pitcher the rest of the season.  He obviously could not be expected to keep up the pace of a 1.39 ERA, which he had going into this game, but it seems logical to think overuse played a part in his pitching.  He was twenty-three years old in 1991 and this was his sixteenth start.  He pitched 122.2 innings, never pitching fewer than six and only three times pitching fewer than seven.  He threw a hundred pitches or more eleven times, more than 110 seven times, one hundred twenty or more three times, and over 130 once (134).  Erickson would go on to have some good years in his career, but he was never the dominant pitcher he was for the first half of 1991.  Maybe he'd have gotten hurt at some point anyway, or maybe he wouldn't have remained dominant, but one has to wonder what his career might have looked like if the Twins had taken batter care of him.

Greg Hibbard was a solid major league starter for five seasons.  He came up with the White Sox in 1989 at age twenty-four and had his best season in 1990, when he went 14-9, 3.16, 1.22 WHIP.  He was with the White Sox through 1992, but they left him unprotected in the expansion draft and he was chosen by Florida.  They immediately traded him to the Cubs, for whom he pitched in 1993.  He became a free agent after the season and signed with Seattle in 1994.  He immediately began to have shoulder problems, tried to pitch through it with awful results, and was done after the 1994 season.  He has been a minor league pitching coach since 1999, most recently for the Frisco RoughRiders in the Rangers organization.  For his career he was 57-50, 4.05, 1.35 WHIP in 990 innings.  Not a superstar, but in his good years he was someone you'd be happy to have to fill out your rotation.

Their hot streak ended, the Twins had now lost four in a row, all at home, and their best pitcher was now injured.  Was their hot month just an illusion?  We'll see.

Record:  The Twins were 44-31, in first place in the American League West, two games ahead of California.

1991 Rewind: Game Seventy-four

CHICAGO 4, MINNESOTA 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, June 28.

Batting stars:  Pedro Munoz was 2-for-3 with a home run, his third.  Shane Mack was 1-for-4 with a home run, his eighth.

Pitching star:  Allan Anderson pitched a complete game, giving up four runs (three earned) on eight hits and no walks and striking out five.

Opposition stars:  Charlie Hough pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits and three walks and striking out two.  Craig Grebeck was 2-for-4.  Sammy Sosa was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his ninth.  Cory Snyder was 1-for-4 with a home run (his third) and two runs.

The game:  The White Sox got all the runs they needed in the second inning when Grebeck singled, Snyder reached on an error, and Sosa hit a three-run homer.  The Twins had only two hits in the first four innings.  They got on the board in the fifth, however, when Mack led off with a home run and Munoz hit a two-out homer, cutting the lead to 3-2.

The Twins threatened in the eighth when Kirby Puckett was hit by a pitch and went to third on a one-out single by Brian Harper, but a popup and a strikeout ended the inning.  Chicago got an insurance run in the ninth when Snyder homered.

The Twins threatened again in the ninth.  Pinch-hitter Scott Leius led off with a walk and was replaced at first base by Randy Bush via a forceout.  Munoz and pinch-hitter Kent Hrbek singled, loading the bases.  It looked promising, with arguably the Twins' two best batters, Puckett and Chili Davis, coming to bat.  But Puckett struck out and Davis hit a long fly to left to end the game.

WP:  Hough (5-3).  LP:  Anderson (4-6).  S:  Bobby Thigpen (15).

Notes:  Gene Larkin was at first base in place of Hrbek.  That was the only change from the regular starting lineup, but Tom Kelly made liberal use of his bench in this game.

At the start of the fourth, Dan Gladden came out of the game and was replaced by Munoz, who went to right with Mack going to left.  Gladden left due to injury, and would not return until July 25.  Al Newman pinch-ran for Harper in the eighth and then came out of the game, with Junior Ortiz coming in to catch.  Leius pinch-hit for Pagliarulo, Bush pinch-hit for Greg Gagne, and Hrbek pinch-hit for Chuck Knoblauch.

Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .332.  Puckett was 1-for-3 and was batting .319.  Munoz raised his average to .301.

Bush lowered his batting average to .194.

I had completely forgotten that Charlie Hough pitched for the White Sox.  He did so for two seasons, 1991 and 1992.  This was his age forty-three season, but he was still a good pitcher, posting an ERA of 4.02 and a WHIP of 1.31.  He was actually a little better the next year, with an ERA of 3.93 and a WHIP of 1.28.  He would then pitch for Florida for two years before retiring at age forty-six.

I'd also forgotten that Cory Snyder played for the White Sox.  This one is more understandable, as he only played fifty games for them.  He'd been a good player for Cleveland from 1986-1988, but then had two poor years and was traded to the White Sox prior to the 1991 season.  He played poorly, was traded to Toronto in mid-July, and continued to play poorly.  He bounced back with the Giants in 1992 and had a decent season for the Dodgers in 1993.  He slipped back in 1994, however, and was done after that.

This was the Twins' third straight loss.

Record:  The Twins were 44-30, in first place in the American League West, two games ahead of California.

1991 Rewind: Game Eleven

CALIFORNIA 2, MINNESOTA 1 IN CALIFORNIA

Date:  Saturday, April 20.

Batting star:  Chili Davis was 1-for-3 with a home run, his second.

Pitching star:  Allan Anderson pitched an eight-inning complete game, giving up two runs on four hits and a walk.  He did not strike out anyone.

Opposition stars:  Kirk McCaskill pitched eight innings, giving up one run on three hits and a walk with two strikeouts.  Dave Gallagher was 2-for-2.

The game:  Not a lot of offense--the two teams combined for just seven hits.  The Angels started the scoring in the third inning, when Donnie Hill doubled, was bunted to third, and scored on a sacrifice fly.  The Twins did not have any kind of threat for seven innings, but Davis led off the eighth with a home run to tie it 1-1.  It was immediately untied in the bottom of the eighth.  Gallagher singled, went to second on a ground out, and scored on a Luis Polonia single to make it 2-1 California.  The Twins went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  McCaskill (2-1).  LP:  Anderson (1-2).  S:  Bryan Harvey (3).

Notes:  Randy Bush was in right field, with Kirby Puckett moving to center and Shane Mack on the bench.

No Twins batters got out of their slumps in this game, as the team only had three hits.  Puckett was 0-for-3 and was batting .333.  Gene Larkin pinch-hit and went 0-for-1 and was also batting .333.

Dan Gladden was 0-for-4 and was batting .032.  Kent Hrbek was 1-for-3 to raise his average to .125.  Bush was 0-for-3 and was batting .167.

This was the second consecutive game in which a Twins pitcher got a complete game loss.  I wonder when the last time is that happened.

The Twins had lost seven in a row.  They had scored twelve runs in their last six games and four runs in their last four games.  The pitching staff had allowed just eleven runs in the last four games but the team had not won any of them.

Outfielder Dave Gallagher actually had a pretty decent career.  He made the Cleveland roster coming out of spring training in 1987 but lasted only a month.  He was traded to Seattle after the season, released, and signed with the White Sox, He came up to the majors in mid-May and was their starting center fielder through 1989.  He finished fifth in Rookie of the Year voting in 1988, when he batted .303.  He only batted .266 in 1989, though, and as he had no power that wasn't good enough.  He was a reserve the rest of his career, but it was a substantial one, lasting through 1995.  He bounced around a lot, playing for Baltimore, California, the Mets, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and California again.  His best average and OPS came in his last season, when he batted .306 with an  OPS of .769.  He was only thirty-five at that point, and you'd think someone would've wanted him, but no one did and his playing career was over.  Over nine seasons he batted .271/.331/.353 in 794 games and 2343 plate appearances.  He coached in high school and community college.  He also invented an instructional device called the Stride Tutor.  He currently operates the Dave Gallagher Baseball Academy in North Trenton, New Jersey.

Record:  The Twins were 2-9, in seventh (last) place in the American League West, 5.5 games behind California and Oakland, and three games behind sixth-place Texas.

1991 Rewind: Game Ten

CALIFORNIA 2, MINNESOTA 0 IN CALIFORNIA

Date:  Friday, April 19.

Batting stars:  None.  The Twins had just two hits.

Pitching star:  Jack Morris pitched an eight-inning complete game, giving up two runs on seven hits and three walks and striking out six.

Opposition stars:  Chuck Finley pitched a complete game shutout, giving up two hits and two walks and striking out nine.  Wally Joyner was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Junior Felix was 2-for-3.

The game:  For the first six innings only one man got as far as third base.  That happened in the third, when Felix singled, was bunted to second, and advanced to third on a ground out.  The game stayed scoreless, however, until the seventh.  The first two Angels went out that inning, but singles by Donnie Hill, Jack Howell, and Felix made the score 1-0.  California added a run in the eighth when Joyner led off with a double, went to third on a ground out, and scored on a wild pitch.

The Twins did nothing on offense the entire game.  The only man to reach second base was Greg Gagne, who hit a one-out double in the sixth.  He did not advance.

WP:  Finley (3-0).  LP:  Morris (0-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  Dan Gladden was back in the lineup in left field.  Shane Mack remained in center and Kirby Puckett in right.

Puckett was 1-for-4 and was batting .359.  Brian Harper was 0-for-3 and was batting .333.  Gagne was 1-for-3 and was batting .304.

Gladden was 0-for-3 with a walk and was batting .037.  Kent Hrbek was 0-for-3 and was batting .108.  Mack was 0-for-3 and was batting .143.  Scott Leius was 0-for-2 with a walk and was batting .154.  I did not remember that so many regulars started off the season in batting slumps.

Morris had a fine game, but his ERA was still a very high 6.38.  Also, while again it was a fine game, it was not even in his top ten for the season as judged by game scores.

Not only did each pitcher throw a complete game, but neither team substituted at all.  The same ten players started and ended the game for each team.  That's pretty much unheard of today, but I suspect it was rather unusual even then.

It was the sixth straight loss for the Twins, in their last five games, they had scored just eleven runs and had been shut out twice.

Record:  The Twins were 2-8, in seventh (last) place in the American League West, 5.5 games behind Oakland.