Tag Archives: Minnesota Twins

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Two

MINNESOTA 12, NEW YORK 3 IN NEW YORK

Date:  Wednesday, July 31.

Batting stars:  Mike Pagliarulo was 4-for-5 with two runs.  Shane Mack was 3-for-5 with two home runs (his tenth and eleventh) and three RBIs.  Kent Hrbek was 3-for-5 with a grand slam (his eleventh), two runs, and five RBIs.  Randy Bush was 2-for-2.  Dan Gladden was 2-for-4.  Greg Gagne was 2-for-4.  Chili Davis was 2-for-5 with a home run, his twenty-third.

Pitching star:  Kevin Tapani pitched seven innings, giving up one run on five hits and no walks and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Steve Sax was 2-for-4 with a double.  Pat Sheridan was 2-for-4 with a double.

The game:  It was scoreless in the first inning, but the Twins' offense exploded in the second.  With one out Davis hit a home run.  With two out Mack hit a home run.  There followed singles by PagliaruloGagneGladden, and Chuck Knoblauch, the latter two RBI singles.  Kirby Puckett walked to load the bases and Hrbek then hit a grand slam to make the score 8-0.

It was never close after that.  Alvaro Espinoza and Steve Sax doubled in the third to cut the lead to 8-1.  In the sixth, Puckett reached on a three-base error, Hrbek singled him home, and Mack hit a two-run homer to make it 11-1.  The Twins scored once in the top of the ninth and the Yankees got two in the bottom of the ninth.

WP:  Tapani (8-7).  L{P:  Scott Sanderson (10-7).  S:  None.

Notes:  It was a standard lineup.  Gene Larkin pinch-ran for Puckett in the sixth, something that probably didn't happen very often.  He then went to right field, with Mack moving to center.  Al Newman went to short in the sixth, replacing Gagne.   Bush pinch-hit for Gladden in the seventh and then went to left field.  Junior Ortiz replaced Brian Harper at catcher in the eighth.

Puckett was 1-for-3 with a walk and remained .332.  Harper was 0-for-5 and dropped to .315.  Tapani's ERA fell to 2.97.

Willie Banks made his major league debut in this game, pitching the last two innings.  He allowed two unearned runs on three hits and two walks and struck out three.  Banks would go on to pitch in nine major league seasons.  He was with the Twins through 1993, pitching in the starting rotation for two months of 1992 and all of 1993.  He also pitched for the Cubs, the Dodgers, Florida, the Yankees, Arizona, and Boston.  His best major league season was his last one, 2002, when he went 2-1, 3.23, 1.18 WHIP in 29 games (39 innings) pitching out of the Red Sox bullpen.  He pitched in AAA in 2003 and in the Atlantic League from 2004-2005 and 2009-2010.

There was no great Scott in this game, either.  Sanderson lasted just 1.2 innings, allowing eight runs on eight hits and a walk.  Sanderson had a fine year in 1991, going 16-10, 3.81 and making the all-star team for the only time in his career.  By game scores, this was his worst game of the year, but just barely.  This one was a six.  He had a seven on April 27, when he allowed seven runs on eleven hits in two innings.

The White Sox won again, beating Texas 10-8, so the Twins again did not gain any ground.

Record:  The Twins were 61-41, in first place in the American League West, three games ahead of Chicago.

Happy Birthday–January 18

Eddie Moore (1899)
Danny Kaye (1913)
Mike Fornieles (1932)
Chuck Cottier (1936)
Satch Davidson (1936)
Curt Flood (1938)
Carl Morton (1944)
Billy Grabarkewitz (1946)
Sachio Kinugasa (1947)
Scott McGregor (1954)
Dave Geisel (1955)
Brady Anderson (1964)
Mike Lieberthal (1972)
Wandy Rodriguez (1979)
Michael Pineda (1989)

Entertainer Danny Kaye was one of the original owners of the Seattle Mariners.

Satch Davidson was a National League umpire from 1969-1984.

Sachio Kinusaga played in 2,215 games in Japan from 1970-1987.

Six players born on this day made their major league debuts in 2017:  Jaycob Brugman, Max Fried, Jarlin Garcia, Kyle Martin, Alex Mejia, and Gift Ngoepe.  I don't know, but I suspect this may be a record.

We would also like to wish a happy birthday to Scot's oldest son.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 18

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred One

MINNESOTA 9, DETROIT 7 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Tuesday, July 30.

Batting stars:  Shane Mack was 4-for-5 with two doubles.  Scott Leius was 3-for-4 with a double, two runs, and two RBIs.  Gene Larkin was 2-for-3 with two walks.  Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-6 with a triple, a double, and two RBIs.

Pitching star:  Carl Willis pitched 4.1 scoreless innings of relief, giving up three hits and no walks and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Lloyd Moseby was 3-for-5 with two doubles and three runs.  Mickey Tettleton was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Tony Phillips was 2-for-5.

The game:  It was wild early.  With one out in the top of the first, Scott Livingstone singled, Moseby doubled, and Cecil Fielder hit a two-run double to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.  The Twins came back with three in the bottom of the first.  Dan Gladden walked, Knoblauch singled, Puckett hit a two-run triple, and a wild pitch gave the Twins a 3-2 lead.  It went to 4-2 in the second when Greg Gagne doubled, went to third on Gladden's single, and scored on a sacrifice fly.

Detroit went back in front in the third.  Moseby and Tettleton singled, Travis Fryman had an RBI double, and Rob Deer hit a two-run single to give the Tigers a 5-4 advantage.  The Twins got the lead back in the bottom of the third.  Larkin singled and scored from first on Leius' double.  An RBI single from Knoblauch put the Twins up 6-5.  They added two more in the fourth.  Mack singled and went to second on a wild pitch.  With two out, Leius singled and Junior Ortiz tripled to make it 8-5 Twins.  There was no more scoring until the seventh, when Chili Davis walked and scored from first on a Mack double, putting the Twins up 9-5.

The Tigers tried to mount a comeback in the ninth.  Tony Phillips led off with a single.  With one out Moseby had an RBI double to make it 9-6.  A wild pitch moved him to third and he scored on a ground out to cut the lead to 9-7.  But the tying run did not come to bat, as Tettleton grounded out to end the game.

WP:  Willis (6-2).  LP:  John Cerutti (1-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  Larkin was at first base in place of Kent Hrbek.  Junior Ortiz was behind the plate in place of Brian Harper.  Al Newman pinch-hit for Leius in the eighth and stayed in the game at third base.

Puckett was batting .332.  Leius raised his average to .303.  Willis lowered his ERA to 2.16.

There were no Great Scotts in this game, as neither starter lasted long.  Scott Erickson pitched three innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and two walks and striking out one.  His ERA went to 2.34.  Detroit starter Scott Aldred went only one-third on an inning, allowing three runs on three hits and two walks and striking out one.

Willis was really an unsung hero for the 1991 Twins.  When we think of that team, we think of Morris and Tapani and Erickson.  We think of Puckett and Hrbek and Chili Davis.  But Willis had fifteen games in which he pitched three innings or more out of the bullpen.  In those fifteen games, he allowed one or zero runs in twelve of them, two runs in two, and three runs in one.  In other words, in those fifteen games in which pitched three or more innings, he had an ERA of 1.95.  Saving the bullpen, keeping the Twins in games, allowing them to win some games they would not otherwise have won.  I'm not saying he was the team MVP, but he was certainly an important contributor.

The White Sox defeated Toronto 8-7, so the Twins did not gain any ground.

Record:  The Twins were 60-41, in first place in the American League West, three games ahead of Chicago.

Happy Birthday–January 17

Louis Santop (1890)
Hank Leiber (1911)
Lum Harris (1915)
Mayo Smith (1915)
Don Zimmer (1931)
Keith Lieppman (1949)
Antonio Munoz (1949)
Pete LaCock (1952)
Darrell Porter (1952)
Mark Littell (1953)
Jerry Turner (1954)
Doug Simunic (1956)
T. R. Bryden (1959)
Chili Davis (1960)
SBG (1965)
Tyler Houston (1971)
Rob Bell (1977)
Randy Dobnak (1995)

Catcher Louis Santop was a star in the Negro Leagues, hitting .349 over fifteen seasons.

Keith Lieppman has been Oakland's Director of Player Development since 1992.

Antonio Munoz was a long-time star in Cuba, winning eight home run titles and becoming the all-time leader in walks.

Doug Simunic was the manager of the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks from 1996-2017.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 17

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred

MINNESOTA 6, DETROIT 3 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Monday, July 29.

Batting stars:  Shane Mack was 2-for-3 with a triple, a double, a hit-by-pitch, and three runs.  Dan Gladden was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Greg Gagne was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.  Brian Harper was 2-for-4.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-5.

Pitching stars:  David West pitched 7.1 innings, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks and striking out seven.  Rick Aguilera retired all four batters he faced, striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Mickey Tettleton was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Tony Phillips was 2-for-5 with a home run (his tenth) and a double.  Rob Deer was 1-for-4 with a home run (his twentieth).

The game:  Phillips led off the game with a double but only got to third base.  In the bottom of the first Gladden singled, went to second on a ground out, and scored on a Puckett single.  The Tigers tied it in the second on Deer's home run, but the Twins took the lead back in the bottom of the second when Mack doubled and scored on Gagne's single.

Detroit took its only lead in the third.  Phillips led off with a home run to tie the score.  Travis Fryman doubled and scored on Tettleton's two-out single to put the Tigers up 3-2.  The Twins tied it in the third on singles by Chuck KnoblauchPuckett, and Kent Hrbek.

It stayed 3-3, with neither team getting a man past second, until the bottom of the sixth.  Harper got a one-out single and scored on Mack's triple.  Gagne then delivered a two-out RBI single to give the Twins a 5-3 advantage.  The Twins added one more in the eighth when Harper singled, Mack was hit by a pitch, Scott Leius had an infield single, and Gladden drew a bases-loaded walk.

The only Tiger threats after the third were mild ones.  Tettleton hit a one-out double in the sixth but did not advance.  A pair of walks gave them men on first and second with two out in the eighth.  But that was it.

WP:  West (2-2).  LP:  Bill Gullickson (13-6).  S:  Aguilera (27).

Notes:  The Twins went with a standard lineup.  The only substitution was when Leius pinch-hit for Mike Pagliarulo in the eighth and remained in the game at third base.

Puckett raised his average to .332.  Harper went up to .321.  Aguilera's ERA was 2.72.

Gullickson pitched 5.2 innings, allowing five runs on twelve hits and a walk and striking out three.

Gladden was 10-for-24 with three doubles and a home run since coming off the disabled list.  He raised his average from .259 to .274.

The Twins had now won eight out of their last eleven games.

The White Sox defeated Toronto 12-4, so the Twins did not gain any ground on this day.

Record:  The Twins were 59-41, in first place in the American League West, three games ahead of Chicago.

1991 Rewind: Game Ninety-eight

MINNESOTA 7, MILWAUKEE 4 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Saturday, July 27.

Batting stars:  Chuck Knoblauch was 3-for-3 with a triple, a double, a walk, and a stolen base (his twelfth).  Dan Gladden was 2-for-5 with a three-run homer (his fifth) and two runs.

Pitching starPaul Abbott pitched four innings of relief, giving up two runs on five hits and a walk and striking out three.  Carl Willis retired all four batters he faced, striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Candy Maldonado was 3-for-4 with a two-run homer, his third.   Dale Sveum was 2-for-4 with a home run (his fourth) and two RBIs.  Paul Molitor was 2-for-5 with a double.  Dante Bichette was 2-for-5 with two runs.

The game:  The Twins scored two in the first inning.  Gladden singled and Knoblauch followed with a double.  A pair of productive out made the score 2-0.  Sveum hit a home run in the second to cut the lead to 2-1.  In the fourth the Brewers got two singles, a bunt, and a sacrifice fly to tie the score 2-2.

The Twins took the lead back in the bottom of the fourth.  Kent Hrbek walked, and Chili Davis and Brian Harper each singled, loading the bases with none out.  A fielder's choice/error scored one run and a force out scored another, and the Twins led 4-2.

It stayed 4-2 until the eighth.  Abbott had pitched three scoreless innings, but he gave up a leadoff single to Bichette followed by Maldonado's two-run homer, and the score was tied 4-4.

No problem.  Milwaukee starter Bill Wegman was still in the game to start the ninth.  He retired Mike Pagliarulo on a grounder, but gave up singles to Shane Mack and Randy Bush.  Now approaching one hundred twenty pitches, he remained in the game to face Gladden.  It was a mistake, as Gladden hit a walkoff three-run homer down the left field line.

WP:  Willis (5-2).  LP:  Wegman (6-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  This is the first time in a long time where the Twins completely used what one would call their standard lineup.  No one injured, no one being rested.  Bush pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the ninth and Al Newman pinch-ran for Bush.

Kirby Puckett was 0-for-4 and was batting .333.  Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .318.  Abbott's ERA was 3.43.  Willis lowered his ERA to 2.36.

It seems really strange that Tom Trebelhorn left Wegman in to pitch a complete game.  It's true that he hadn't given up a run since the fourth, but he wasn't exactly blowing people away, either.  He'd given up a hit in each of the last three innings.  He didn't have a low pitch count--he ended at one hundred twenty-two pitches.  He was their best starter that year, and apart from Doug Henry their bullpen was nothing to brag about.  Still, it was well-rested, and if you're not going to use them then there's no point in having them.

Gladden was 5-for-15 with two doubles and a home run since his return.

The Twins had won three in a row and seven out of nine.  The White Sox won, so the Twins neither gained nor lost ground.

Record:  The Twins were 58-40, in first place in the American League West, four games ahead of Chicago.

1991 Rewind: Game Ninety-seven

MINNESOTA 6, MILWAUKEE 3 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, July 26.

Batting stars:  Chili Davis was 2-for-3 with a home run (his twenty-second), a double, a walk, and two RBIs.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Mike Pagliarulo was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Kevin Tapani pitched eight innings, giving up three runs on five hits and no walks and striking out six.  Rick Aguilera pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition star:  Chris Bosio pitched 6.1 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and six walks and striking out five.

The game:  Davis homered in the second inning to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  It went to 2-0 in the third when Puckett singled, Kent Hrbek walked, and Brian Harper delivered an RBI single.

The Brewers had only two hits through five innings, both singles.  The Twins loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but Harper hit into a double play to end the inning.

It cost the Twins, as Milwaukee took the lead in the sixth.  With one out Dale Sweum doubled, Paul Molitor doubled, and Darryl Hamilton tripled to tie it.  Hamilton then scored on a ground out to put the Brewers up 3-2.

The Twins tied it in the seventh.  Randy Bush singled, Puckett walked, and Davis came through with a two-out RBI double to make it 3-3.  In the eighth Pagliarulo singled, Greg Gagne reached on an error, a fielder's choice loaded the bases, and Dan Gladden delivered a bases-clearing double, giving the Twins a 6-3 lead.  The Brewers went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Tapani (7-7).  LP:  Darren Holmes (1-2).  S:  Aguilera (26).

Notes:  Bush was in right field in place of Shane Mack.  He batted second.  Al Newman was at second base, replacing Chuck Knoblauch.  Knoblauch pinch-ran for Pagliarulo in the eighth and stayed in the game at second base, with Newman moving to third.

Puckett raised his average to .337.  Harper was 1-for-3 with a walk and was batting .319.  Tapani's ERA was 3.05.  Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.86.

Milwaukee had just five hits.  Three of them were for extra bases and all three came in the sixth inning.  They had only two singles other than that, and had no hits after the sixth.  They had only one man left on base and were 2-for-3 with men in scoring position.  The Twins, on the other hand, stranded ten men and went 3-for-13 with men in scoring position.

I remembered that Chili Davis had a good year in 1991, but I had not remembered just how important he was.  He was second on the team in runs (to Puckett), first in doubles, first in home runs, first in RBIs, first in walks (by a long way--he had 95, second was Hrbek with 67), first in OBP, second in slugging and OPS (to Mack), first in OPS+, and first in total bases.  That's almost every significant offensive category.  He was certainly the most valuable player on the offense, and maybe the MVP of the team.  He was fourteenth in MVP voting that season, behind (among others, obviously) Jack Morris (13th) and Puckett (7th).

The White Sox did not play, so the Twins gained a half game on them in the standings.

Record:  The Twins were 57-40, in first place in the American League West, 4.5 games ahead of Chicago.

1991 Rewind: Game Ninety-five

DETROIT 6, MINNESOTA 3 IN DETROIT

Date:  Wednesday, July 24.

Batting star:  Chili Davis was 3-for-4 with a three-run homer (his twenty-first) and a double.

Pitching stars:  None.

Opposition stars:  Bill Gullickson pitched 7.2 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and three walks and striking out two.  Tony Phillips was 3-for-4 with a walk.  Lou Whitaker was 2-for-2.  Travis Fryman was 2-for-3 with a triple, a double, a stolen base (his seventh), a walk, and three runs.

The game:  Each team squandered an early threat.  The Tigers opened the first with two singles and did nothing with them.  Davis doubled to lead off the second, and with one out Shane Mack singled and Mike Pagliarulo walked, but Greg Gagne hit into a double play to end the inning.  Detroit broke through in the second inning.  Walks to Fryman and Milt Cuyler put two on with two out and a double steal moved them to second and third.  Phillips then got an infield single to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.

It stayed 1-0 until the sixth.  Rob Deer led off with a double.  He was still on second with two out, but Fryman doubled him home and scored on John Shelby's RBI single to make it 3-0 Detroit.  It went to 4-0 in the seventh when Cuyler walked and Phillips and Whitaker singled.

The Twins got back into the game in the eighth.  Randy Bush led off with a walk.  With two out Kent Hrbek singled and Davis followed with a three-run homer, cutting the Tigers lead to one run.  But just as quickly, they were back out of it.  In the bottom of the eighth, Fryman circled the bases on a triple-plus-error.  With two out Cuyler doubled and Whitaker singled, making the score 6-3.  The Twins got a one-out double in the ninth from Pagliarulo, but nothing more.

WP:  Gullickson (13-5).  LP:  David West (1-2).  S:  Mike Henneman (15).

Notes:  Mack was again in left in place of Dan Gladden, with Bush in right.  Bush batted leadoff.  The only substitution was that Gene Larkin pinch-hit for Gagne in the ninth.

Puckett was 1-for-3 and was batting .331.  Harper was 0-for-4 and was batting .320.  Terry Leach gave up a run in a third of an inning to make his ERA 3.44.  Steve Bedrosian retired the only man he faced and had an ERA of 3.33.

David West started and struck out eight in 5.2 innings, but allowed three runs on six hits and two walks.

The Tigers starting third baseman in this game was Skeeter Barnes.  1991 was the best year of his career--.289/.325/.491 in 171 plate appearances.  He was thirty-four years old, and before this season had a total of 122 plate appearances in seventy-five games spread over five seasons.  He was a utility player for the Tigers from 1991-1994 and actually did pretty well, at least at bat: .281/.319/.420 in 553 plate appearances.  You'll take that from a utility player any time.  He retired after the 1994 season and was a minor league coach for many years.

The White Sox lost, Texas did not play, and Oakland won, leaving those three teams in a three-way tie for second.

Record:  The Twins were 55-40, in first place in the American League West, four games ahead of Chicago, Texas, and Oakland.

1991 Rewind: Game Ninety-four

DETROIT 6, MINNESOTA 3 IN DETROIT

Date:  Tuesday, July 23.

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-3.  Chili Davis was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.

Pitching star:  Carl Willis pitched 2.2 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Frank Tanana pitched six innings, giving up two runs on four hits and no walks and striking out two.  Lou Whitaker was 2-for-3 with two runs.  Cecil Fielder was 2-for-4 with two home runs (his twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth) and five RBIs.  Tony Phillips was 2-for-4 with a double.

The game:  Scott Leius and Chuck Knoblauch opened the game with singles.  Puckett bunted them up and a ground out scored a run, putting the Twins up 1-0.  That lead didn't last long.  In the bottom of the first, Whitaker singled and Fielder hit a two-run homer, putting the Tigers ahead 2-1.

The Twins tied it in the fourth, but could've had more.  Puckett singled and Davis doubled, putting men on second and third with none out.  Brian Harper hit a sacrifice fly to make it 2-2, but a strikeout and a fly out ended the inning.  Once again, the Tigers went right back in front.  In the bottom of the fourth, Rob Deer walked and scored from first on a Travis Fryman double to give Detroit a 3-2 advantage.

The Tigers took control in the fifth.  Phillips and Whitaker singled and Fielder hit a three-run homer, making the score 6-2.  The Twins got one back in the eighth.  Chuck Knoblauch walked, Puckett singled, and Davis had an RBI single.  The tying run was at bat with one out, but Harper and Shane Mack each grounded out to end the threat.

WP:  Tanana (7-6).  LP:  Allan Anderson (4-8).  SL  Mike Henneman (14).

Notes:  Mack remained in left field in place of Dan GladdenGene Larkin was in right.  Leius batted first.

In the seventh, Randy Bush pinch-hit for Greg Gagne, but due to a pitching change Al Newman pinch-hit for Bush.  He stayed in the game at shortstop.  Mike Pagliarulo pinch-hit for Leius in the ninth.

Puckett raised his average to .331.  Harper was 0-for-3 and fell to .321.  Willis lowered his ERA to 2.44.  Rick Aguilera pitched a third of an inning to drop his ERA to 2.93.

Jack Morris started, but pitched just 1.2 innings, allowing two runs on four hits and no walks and striking out one.  His ERA was 3.47.  I assume he came out due to injury.  The play-by-play on the play before he came out says "Single (line drive to P's right).  I don't know if it went off him or if perhaps he tweaked something trying to field it.  At any rate, he did not miss a start.  Anderson came in and pitched the next 3.1 innings, doing well until the three-run homer in the fifth.

It seems strange that, after starting the game with two singles, Puckett would then bunt.  My guess is that he did that on his own, but it still doesn't make a lot of sense to me.  They had a chance for a big inning, and he was at least arguably their best batter.  Bunting, even if he was bunting for a hit, does not seem like a good strategy at that point.

Willis came in to start the sixth.  He had gotten into some trouble int he seventh, but a double play ended the inning.  He then retired the first two batters in the eighth, and was removed for no obvious reason in favor of Aguilera.  Aguilera hadn't pitched since July 19, so I could understand the idea that he might need some work.  But then, why not give him an inning, rather than bringing him in with two out and none on in the last inning?  He threw six pitches, and could very well have just thrown one.  That's getting him some work?  It really seems strange.

The Twins did pretty well against  Frank Tanana for his career.  His record against them was 19-20, 4.49, 1.37 WHIP.  For his career he was 240-236, 3.66, 1.27 WHIP.  In 1991, however, Tanana did well against the Twins in two starts:  1-1, 3.86, 1.07 WHIP.  His season in 1991 was 13-12, 3.77, 1.36 WHIP.

Texas and Chicago each won, so they remained tied for second and each gained a game on the Twins.

Record:  The Twins were 55-39, in first place in the American League West, four games ahead of Chicago and Texas.