Tag Archives: Mendoza Line

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-eight


Date:  Friday, September 20.

Batting stars:  Chili Davis was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Shane Mack was 2-for-4 with a double.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-5.

Pitching stars:  Denny Neagle pitched four innings, giving up two runs on six hits and two walks and striking out three.  Rick Aguilera struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Julio Franco was 3-for-5 with a double.  Dean Palmer was 2-for-4 with two home runs (his eleventh and twelfth) and three RBIs.  Jack Daugherty was 2-for-4.

The game:  Singles by Chuck KnoblauchHrbek, and Davis plated a run for the Twins in the first inning.  While each team missed a good chance, the score stayed 1-0 until the fourth, when Palmer homered to tie it 1-1.  The Rangers took the lead in the fifth when Brian Downing walked, went to third on Franco's double, and scored on a sacrifice fly.

The Twins went back in front in the sixth.  Hrbek walked, Davis singled, Brian Harper had an RBI single, and Mack had a run-scoring double.  A wild pitch brought home one more run to give the Twins a 4-2 advantage.  That advantage lasted until the next half-inning.  Franco singled and Palmer hit a two-out two-run homer to once again tie the score, this time a 4-4.

The Twins finally took the lead to stay in the eighth.  Mack led off with a single, followed by a sacrifice/fielder's choice and a walk to Randy Bush which left the bases loaded with one out.  With two down, Puckett delivered a two-run single to put the Twins up 6-4.  Texas went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Gary Wayne (1-0).  LP:  Wayne Rosenthal (1-3).  S:  Aguilera (40).

Notes:  Al Newman started at short in place of Greg Gagne.  Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for him in the eighth.  Bush pinch-hit for Dan Gladden in the eighth.  Gagne pinch-ran for him and stayed in the game at shortstop.  Jarvis Brown replaced Sorrento and went to right field, with Mack moving to left.

Puckett raised his average to .322.  Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .311.  Mack raised his average to .310.

Carl Willis allowed two runs in three innings to raise his ERA to 2.47.  Terry Leach pitched a third of an inning and allowed no runs to make his ERA 3.03.  Wayne retired both men he faced to make his ERA 3.38.  Aguilera's ERA fell to 2.13.

Newman was 1-for-15 and 2-for-26, dropping his average to .197.

The losing pitcher, Wayne Rosenthal, was with Texas for a little over half of 1991 and also appeared in six games in 1992.  That was his entire major league career.  His numbers were 1-4, 5.40, 1.56 WHIP in 42 games (75 innings).  He didn't pitch very well in AAA, either:  7-12, 4.36, 1.45 WHIP.  He was a reliever his entire career and pitched well at lower levels, but topped out at AA.

This would be Wayne's only win in 1991. He would have fourteen of them for his career.

This was the first time in Aguilera's career that he reached forty saves.  He would do it again in 1992, the only two seasons of his career in which he had forty saves.

The White Sox defeated California 3-2 in eleven innings to avoid losing ground, but as we've observed before, time was running out on them.

Record:  The Twins were 88-60, in first place in the American League West, six games ahead of Chicago.

In the East, Toronto lost and Boston won, so the Red Sox cut the Blue Jays' lead to 1.5 games.

1991 Rewind: Game Twenty-three


Date:  Friday, May 3.

Batting stars:  Chuck Knoblauch was 3-for-5 with two doubles.  Dan Gladden was 2-for-5.  Brian Harper was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his third.

Pitching stars:  None.

Opposition stars:  Paul Molitor was 4-for-4 with a triple and three runs.  Jim Gantner was 2-for-4.  Franklin Stubbs was 1-for-2 with a walk and a sacrifice fly.

The game:  Molitor led off the first with a single, went to second on a ground out, took third on a wild pitch, and scored on another ground out to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead.  The Twins responded with five in the second.  Chili Davis led off with a single and Harper hit a two-run homer.  It did not kill the rally, as the Twins strung together four consecutive one-out singles.  The hits came from Mike PagliaruloAl NewmanGladden, and Knoblauch and made the score 4-1.  A ground out brought home the fifth run of the inning and left the Twins with a 5-1 lead.

Unfortunately, that was as good as it got for the Twins.  After wasting a leadoff double by Greg Vaughn in the second, Milwaukee got back into the game in the third.  Molitor and Gantner led off with singles and Robin Yount walked to load the bases with none out.  Stubbs hit a sacrifice fly and Vaughn had an RBI ground out to cut the Twins' lead to 5-3.  Molitor struck again in the fifth, leading off with a triple and scoring on Gantner's single to make the score 5-4.

The Twins clung to that lead until the eighth.  Stubbs got a one-out single, driving Jack Morris from the game and bringing in Rick Aguilera.  He walked Vaughn, a passed ball moved the runners to second and third, and Dante Bichette tripled to bring them both home and give the Brewers a 6-5 advantage.  The Twins had just two hits after the second inning and they did not get one in the ninth, and so the game ended.

WP:  Jaime Navarro (2-0).  LP:  Aguilera (0-2).  S:  Edwin Nunez (3).

Notes:  Gene Larkin was once again in right, with Kirby Puckett in center.  Shane Mack came in for defense in the eighth, playing center with Puckett moving to right.  Newman was at shortstop, replacing Greg Gagne.

Knoblauch raised his average to .330.  Harper was batting .321.  Puckett was 0-for-4 and was batting .311.  Larkin was 0-for-4 and was 1-for his last-11.  He was batting .310.  Aguilera gave up a run on a hit and two walks in two-thirds of an inning, but still had an ERA of 2.16.

Newman was 1-for-3 with a walk and was batting .174.  Kent Hrbek was 1-for-4 and was batting .176.  Pagliarulo was 1-for-4 and was batting .192.  Gladden raised his average to .210 and left the Mendoza line behind permanently.  Morris pitched 7.1 innings, but was charged with five runs on eight hits and three walks.  He struck out five.  His ERA was 5.49.

Milwaukee starter Navarro pitched eight innings and allowed five runs on ten hits and no walks and struck out two.

Four runs in the game scored on productive outs.  Three of them scored on ground outs and one on a sacrifice fly.  The Brewers scored three runs on productive outs and the Twins scored one.  Thus, the teams were able to score eleven runs despite going 4-for-18 with men in scoring position.

Because batting average was considered so much more important back then, I didn't realize what a truly awful batter Al Newman was.  I knew he was bad in 1991, when he batted .191, but even his good years were bad.  He never had an OPS above .650, with his highest being .643 in 1989.  He did have an OBP of .341 that year, but that was the only year he had a positive OBP.  He only had one other year when his OPS was over .600 (.601 in 1987).  Yes, he could play a lot of positions, and he had a reputation as a good glove man all over the infield (although someone who understands defensive stats better than I do will have to say whether that reputation was justified).  He was also popular in the clubhouse.  But when he was up to bat, there was not much good that was likely to happen.

Edwin Nunez was pretty much the Brewers' closer at the start of the season, but he got hurt shortly after this game and missed much of the campaign.  Doug Henry, who made his big league debut in mid-July, led the team in saves with 15.  Nunez and Dan Plesac each had eight.  Plesac had been the team's closer from 1986-1990, but lost the job in 1990.  He regained it temporarily when Nunez got hurt, but then lost it to Henry.  The other ten Milwaukee saves were spread around four pitchers.

Record:  The Twins were 10-13, tied for fifth with Seattle in the American League West, 5.5 games behind Oakland.

Game 55: The Third Place Twins vs. The Where you Expect Them To Be Royals

Lake Deduderino (1-1, 5.11 ERA) vs. Mendoza (1-2, 4.63 ERA)

Hey, its Tuesday!

I just found out Deduno's middle name is Lake, which should make him a great fit for Minnesota because of lakes. Anyway, while I can't read his mind, I expect he'd like to build off of a pretty good start last week against Milwaukee in which he threw the most innings in a game a starter has thrown for the Twins since, I think and without looking this up, Johan Santana was with the team. Granted, it came against what is a very, very bad Brewers team, but on the bright side, this start is coming against a very bad Royals team. Plus, per Pos's recent column on the subject, they hate walks, which is good for Deduno.

More importantly, today marks the return of Clete Thomas. I know the anticipation was thick, and now all that waiting should finally pay off. Probably in the form of many, many strikeouts, though.

Hopefully, the power can continue and the Twins can do what they ought to be able to do against the lowly Royals.