Tag Archives: Minnesota Twins

2002 Rewind: Game One Hundred Six

MINNESOTA 4, TORONTO 0 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Sunday, July 28.

Batting stars:  Torii Hunter was 3-for-4 with a double and a home run, his twenty-fourth.  David Ortiz was 2-for-4.  Corey Koskie was 1-for-4 with a double.

Pitching stars:  Johan Santana struck out thirteen in eight shutout innings, giving up two hits and three walks.  Eddie Guardado struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Carlos Delgado was 2-for-4 with a double.  Shannon Stewart was 1-for-4 with a triple.  Scott Eyre retired all four batters he faced.

The game:  Doubles by Cristian Guzman and Koskie gave the Twins a 1-0 lead in the first inning.  It stayed 1-0 until the sixth, when the Twins loaded the bases with one out and a Michael Cuddyer sacrifice fly and an A. J. Pierzynski singled made it 3-0.  Hunter added a home run in the eighth to round out the scoring.  The Blue Jays twice got a man to third base but did not score.

WP:  Santana (5-2).  LP:  Esteban Loaiza (4-6).  S:  None.

Notes:  Cuddyer started at first base, with Doug Mientkiewicz on the bench.  He was 0-for-2 with a walk and a sacrifice fly.

Denny Hocking was 1-for-3 in place of Luis Rivas.

Hunter raised his average to .315.

Bobby Kielty was 0-for-2 with two walks to make his average .328.

Pierzynski was 1-for-4 and was batting .303.

This was the best start of the season for Santana, at least by game scores.  He would then make two relief appearances before making his next start on August 6.

As you may have noticed, I kind of like checking out the careers of guys I don't remember.  Today it's Scott Cassidy, who pitched the last inning for Toronto in this game.  This was his rookie year.  He'd signed as a free agent with the Blue Jays in 1998.  He did well in a 2001 split between AA and AAA and started 2002 in the Toronto bullpen.  He appeared in 58 games and had a fine WHIP, 1.27, but posted an ERA of 5.73.  He gave up 12 home runs in 66 innings, which probably contributed to that.  He then spent the next two years in the minors, and when he got back to the big leagues it was with Boston in 2005.  He was called up in July appeared in one game, and was traded to San Diego.  He was sent back to AAA, but got a September call-up with the Padres.  He didn't do much, but he started 2006 with San Diego and did quite well, posting a 2.79 ERA in 37 appearances.  Then in mid-July, for no apparent reason, he was sent back to AAA, not coming back until September.  Still, his numbers that year were 6-4, 2.53, 1.36 WHIP, and it appeared that age thirty Scott Cassidy had finally figured it out.  Instead, he never got back to the majors again.  He appeared in forty games in AAA in 2007, then his career was done.  It seems like there must be more to the story than that, but a quick google search did not reveal it.  Scott Cassidy is currently the head baseball coach at LeMoyne College in Syracuse.

Record:  The Twins were 64-42, in first place, leading Chicago by fourteen games.

2002 Rewind: Game One Hundred Five

MINNESOTA 5, TORONTO 4 IN MINNESOTA (10 INNINGS)

Date:  Saturday, July 27.

Batting stars:  Corey Koskie was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Cristian Guzman was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Torii Hunter was 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base, his seventeenth.

Pitching stars:  Eric Milton struck out six in six innings, giving up two runs on five hits.  Bob Wells struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk.  J. C. Romero pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up two walks and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-5 with two doubles.  Josh Phelps was 2-for-4.  Dave Berg was 1-for-4 with a double.

The game:  The Twins scored four in the third to take a 4-0 lead.  Guzman had an RBI double, Koskie brought him home with a single, and Hunter delivered a two-run double.  The Blue Jays missed a chance in the fifth, stranding two runners, but broke through in the sixth on a Jose Cruz double and a run-scoring ground out.  LaTroy Hawkins, who was having an outstanding season, came on in the seventh and gave up consecutive singles.  He retired the next two batters on ground outs, one of which scored a run, but Stewart doubled to send home the tying run.  Berg led off the ninth with a double but did not advance past second.  In the tenth, Bobby Kielty led off with a single and was bunted to second.  Guzman was intentionally walked, but Koskie came through with a double to deep right-center to bring home the winning run.

WP:  Wells (1-1).  LP:  Kelvim Escobar (5-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Kielty was used as a pinch-hitter for Luis Rivas, who had gone 0-for-3.  Dustan Mohr started in right.

Hunter raised his average to .311.

Mohr went 0-for-4 and was batting .303.

Despite giving up two runs, Hawkins still had an ERA of just 1.59.  He had not given up a run since June 12.

Romero brought his ERA down to 1.95.

Kelvim Escobar was used as both a starter and a reliever at various points in his career.  He came up to the Blue Jays in 1997, a year which he began in Class A.  He made 27 appearances with Toronto, posting an ERA of 2.90 but a WHIP of 1.52, largely due to the fact that he walked 5.5 batters per nine innings.  He struck out 10.5, though.  He started 1998 in the Blue Jays bullpen but was pretty awful, and so he went down to AAA to get used to starting again, the role he had filled in his minor league career.  He came back in August to make ten starts and did pretty well.  He was in the Blue Jays' rotation for most of 1999-2000 and did not do well, however, so he started 2001 back in the bullpen.  He did fairly well as a setup man and was moved back into the rotation in August, where he did even better.  2002 found him installed as the Blue Jays' closer, and while he had 38 saves his other numbers were not good:  5-7, 4.27, 1.53 WHIP.  He was back starting in 2003, was not all that good there either, and after the season Toronto allowed him to become a free agent.  He signed with the Angels and had his best years there.  From 2004-2007 he went 43-35, 3.60, 1.26 WHIP.  The main difference seems to have been his control, as he went from walking 4.2 batters per nine innings before 2005 to walking just 3.0 after.  He missed much of 2005 and all of 2008 due to injury.  He tried to come back in 2009, but was able to make just one start.  He tried again in 2013, going to spring training with Milwaukee, but did not make the team.  He pitched in Mexico that season, but then his playing career was over.  He was still hoping to make a comeback in 2014, but could find no takers.  He was up and down, but overall his numbers are okay--101-91, 4.15, 1.38 WHIP.  He is a cousin of Alcides Escobar and Edwin Escobar.  At last report, Kelvim Esocbar was living in the Miami area.

Record:  The Twins were 63-42, in first place, leading Chicago by fourteen games.

2002 Rewind: Game One Hundred Four

MINNESOTA 10, TORONTO 5 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, July 26.

Batting stars:  Jacque Jones was 2-for-5 with two home runs (his sixteenth and seventeenth) and three RBIs.  Torii Hunter was 2-for-5 with a triple and a double.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-3 with three RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Tony Fiore struck out four in two perfect innings.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk and striking out one.  Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Vernon Wells was 2-for-4 with a home run, his fifteenth.  Carlos Delgado was 1-for-2 with two walks and a home run, his twenty-first.

The game:  Vernon Wells hit a two-run homer in a four-run wecond that gave the Blue Jays a 4-0 lead.  Hunter tripled and scored on a Mienkiewicz sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second to cut the lead to 4-1, but Delgado homered in the third to put it back up to four runs at 5-1.  The Twins got three consecutive singles in the fourth, the last an RBI hit by Luis Rivas, to make the score 5-2.  The Twins opened the fifth with four hits, a single by Corey Koskie, a double by David Oritz, a two-run double by Hunter, and an RBI single by Mientkiewicz, to tie the score 5-5.  The Twins then scored four in the sixth to take control of the game.  Jones hit a two-run homer and Ortiz and Mientkiewicz had RBI singles, giving the Twins a 9-5 advantage.  Jones closed out the scoring with another home run in the eighth.  Toronto did not get a hit after the third inning.

WP:  Tony Fiore (9-2).  LP:  Luke Prokopec (2-8).  S:  None.

Notes:  Hunter raised his average to .311.

Bobby Kielty was 1-for-3 with a walk to keep his average at .328.

A. J. Pierzynski was 3-for-4 to raise his average to .304.

Joe Mays started for the Twins and pitched five innings, giving up five runs on six hits and two walks and striking out four.  He actually lowered his ERA slightly, from 9.17 to 9.13.

This was the third time Fiore struck out four in a game, but the only time he did so in just two innings.

Hawkins lowered his ERA to 1.31.

The Blue Jays had two future Twins in their lineup, Shannon Stewart and Orlando Hudson.  Stewart was 0-for-3 with a walk.  Hudson was 1-for-4.

Toronto starter Steve Parris pitched four innings, giving up five runs on ten hits and two walks and striking out five.  I have no memory of Steve Parris, but he was in the majors for at least part of eight seasons.  He had been drafted by Philadelphia, picked up on waivers by the Dodgers, picked up on waivers by Seattle, and released before he came up with Pittsburgh in July of 1995.  He was in their rotation the rest of the season.  He didn't get a whole lot accomplished, but on the other hand he had come up from AA.  But on the other hand, he was already twenty-seven at this point.  He was apparently injured part of 1996, was released, and signed with Cincinnati.  He was in the minors for all of 1997 but gave the Reds two good seasons from 1998-1999, going 17-9, 3,60 in thirty-seven starts.  He struggled in 2000, however, and was traded to Toronto after the season.  he was with the Blue Jays for 2001-2002, going 10-11, 5.17.  He went to Tampa Bay for 2003 but was released in mid-June, ending his career.  His career numbers were 44-49, 4.75 in 129 starts.  Nothing remarkable, but he did have two good seasons for Cincinnati.  Plus, you have to give him marks for persistence.  A number of teams gave up on him, but for a long time there was always somebody who wanted him, too.  He was born in Joliet, Illinois and apparently has returned there, as we found a couple of recent articles about personal appearances he has made and clinics he has participated in around that area.

Record:  The Twins were 62-42, in first place, leading Chicago by fourteen games.

2002 Rewind: Game One Hundred Three

MINNESOTA 8, CHICAGO 1 IN CHICAGO

Date:  Wednesday, July 24.

Batting stars:  David Ortiz was 3-for-5 with a double and a three-run homer, his twelfth.  Torii Hunter was 3-for-5 with a double.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 1-for-2 with a home run (his sixth) and two walks.

Pitching stars:  Kyle Lohse pitched eight innings, giving up one run on eight hits and four walks and striking out four.  J. C. Romero pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Ray Durham was 3-for-5.  Kenny Lofton was 2-for-4.  Frank Thomas was 1-for-2 with two walks and a home run, his seventeenth.

The game:  Bobby Kielty hit a two-run homer in the second to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.  A. J. Pierzynski singled home a run in the fourth to make it 3-0.  The Twins took control in the fifth, getting a three-run homer from Ortiz and a two-run homer from Mientkiewicz to make it 8-0.  The White Sox missed all kinds of chances, stranding two runners in the first, third, fifth, eighth, and ninth and leaving the bases loaded in the second.  Their only run came in the sixth, when Thomas led off with a home run.  For the game Chicago stranded twelve and went 0-for-11 with men in scoring position.

WP:  Lohse (10-5).  LP:  Jon Garland (8-8).  S:  None.

Notes:  Hunter raised his average to .310.

Kielty was 1-for-3 with a walk and a two-run homer, his eighth.  He raised his average to .328.

This was the fourth consecutive strong start by Lohse.  In those starts, he gave up just three earned runs in twenty-seven innings for an ERA of 1.00.

Romero lowered his ERA to 2.00.

Chicago starter Garland pitched 4.1 innings and allowed seven runs on nine hits and three walks and struck out two.  This was his first full year as a rotation starter, a position he held through 2010.  He was pretty much a league average pitcher--his ERA+ was between 91 and 111 every year from 2002-2010 with the exception of 2005, when it was 128.  That was his best season--he went 18-10, 3.50, 1.17 WHIP.  He made his only all-star team that season and finished sixth in Cy Young balloting.  But in each season from 2002-2010 he made either thirty-two or thirty-three starts and pitched 192-221 innings.  That's a very valuable man.  He stayed with the White Sox through 2007, was with the Angels in 2008, played for Arizona and the Dodgers in 2009, and was with San Diego in 2010.  He signed with the Dodgers for 2011, but made only nine starts before needing shoulder surgery.  He missed all of 2012.  He tried to come back in 2013, but lasted just twelve starts for Colorado before being released.  It sounds as if he would like to have given it another try, but no one was interested in letting him do that.  In fact, an article last summer said that he had started throwing and was contemplating a comeback, although it does not appear that anything came of it.  He's thirty-eight, so it wouldn't be impossible, although it would certainly be quite a story.

Record:  The Twins were 61-42, in first place, leading Chicago by fourteen games.

Happy Birthday–January 15

Johnny Nee (1890)
Ray Chapman (1891)
Steve Gromek (1920)
Georges Maranda (1932)
Dr. Mike Marshall (1943)
Bobby Grich (1949)
Rance Mulliniks (1956)
Jerry Narron (1956)
Don Cooper (1956)
Delino DeShields (1969)
Ray King (1974)
Matt Holliday (1980)
Armando Galarraga (1982)
Mitch Garver (1991)

Johnny Nee was a long-time minor league manager and scout.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 15

2002 Rewind: Game One Hundred Two

CHICAGO 8, MINNESOTA 7 IN CHICAGO

Date:  Tuesday, July 23.

Batting stars:  Cristian Guzman was 2-for-4 with two doubles, a walk, and a stolen base, his seventh.  Michael Cuddyer was 2-for-5 with a double.  Denny Hocking was 2-for-4 with a double.

Pitching stars:  Bob Wells retired all seven men he faced.  LaTroy Hawkins struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Magglio Ordonez was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer, his twentieth.  Aaron Rowand was 2-for-4 with a home run, his second.  Bob Howry struck out three in two perfect innings.

The game:  Corey Koskie singled in a run in the first to give the Twins a 1-0 lead but it was quickly erased, as Ordonez hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the first to give the White Sox a 3-1 lead.  It went to 8-1 in the fourth, as Frank Thomas and Rowand each hit two-run homers and Royce Clayton had an RBI single.  The Twins fought back.  They scored two in the fifth to make it 8-3 and Doug Mientkiewicz hit a three-run homer in the sixth to cut the lead to 8-6.  The Twins opened the seventh with two walks but could not score.  In the ninth, a single, a walk, and a double steal put men on second and third with one out.  David Ortiz grounded out, scoring one but making the second out, and Torii Hunter grounded out to end the game.

WP:  Mark Buehrle (13-7).  LP:  Johan Santana (4-2).  S:  Antonio Osuna (7).

Notes:  Hunter was 0-for-5 to drop his average to .306.

Cuddyer raised his average to .320.

Matthew LeCroy was the catcher in place of A. J. Pierzynski.  He was 1-for-4.

Hocking was again the second baseman, replacing Luis Rivas.  Rivas would return to the lineup the next day.

This was easily the worst start Santana had all season.  He lasted just 3.2 innings and allowed eight runs on seven hits and two walks.  He did strike out four.  His ERA went up by over a run, from 2.62 to 3.83.  He would make one more start, be skipped once in the rotation, make five more starts, and then be sent to the bullpen for September.

Wells had not pitched since June 11.  He would make ten consecutive scoreless appearances, dropping his ERA from 7.36 to 5.28, before giving up three on August 22.

The White Sox never did settle on a closer in 2002.  They had started the season with Damaso Marte.  At this juncture, it was Osuna.  Keith Foulke would eventually lead the team in saves with eleven.  Three other pitchers had one each.

Bob Howry pitched a lot longer than I remembered.  He came up with the White Sox in 1998 and was a mainstay in their bullpen, appearing in over sixty games each season from 1999-2002, when he was traded to Boston at the July deadline.  He was their closer in 1999, getting 28 saves, and was a set-up man thereafter.  He was injured much of 2003, appearing in only four games with the Red Sox, and was released after the season.  He went to Cleveland in 2004 and had two outstanding seasons there, going 11-6, 2.57, 0.99 WHIP.  He then signed with the Cubs and was solid for them in 2006-2007, but had a bad 2008.  He signed with San Francisco for 2009 and had a very good year with the Giants.  It was his last good year, though.  He had a bad 2010 split between Arizona and the Cubs and then his playing career ended.  It was a pretty good career, though:  45-52, 3.84, 66 saves, 1.25 WHIP.  For a set-up man, he was very consistent, having only two down years from 1998-2009.  At last report, Bob Howry was living in the Phoenix area and was helping coach high school baseball there.

Record:  The Twins were 60-42, in first place, leading Chicago by thirteen games.

2002 Rewind: Game One Hundred One

MINNESOTA 11, CHICAGO 6 IN CHICAGO

Date:  Monday, July 22.

Batting stars:  Jacque Jones was 5-for-6 with a home run (his fifteenth) and two doubles.  Dustan Mohr was 2-for-5 with a three-run homer, his ninth.  David Ortiz was 2-for-5 with a double and a stolen base.

Pitching star:  Tony Fiore pitched three innings, giving up one run on three hits and no walks and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Ray Durham was 3-for-5 with three doubles.  Carlos Lee was 2-for-4 with a home run (his sixteenth), a double, and a walk, driving in four.  Frank Thomas was 2-for-4 with a home run, his fifteenth.

The game:  The Twins took an early lead, as Bobby Kielty singled home a run in the first and Jones hit a two-run homer in the second to make it 3-0.  Three singles and a walk failed to produce a Twins run in the third, as they lost two men on the bases.  Ray Durham got the White Sox on the board in the bottom of the third with an RBI double, but the Twins got two in the fifth on a run-scoring double by Doug Mientkiewicz and an RBI single by Denny Hocking.  Chicago closed to 5-3 in the bottom of the fifth, as Lee hit a two-run homer.  The Twins took control of the game with a six-run sixth.  Ortiz brought home two with a double, one scored on a fielder's choice, and Mohr hit a three-run homer.  Thomas hit a solo homer in the sixth and Lee doubled home two in the ninth, but the White Sox did not get back into the game.

WP:  Rick Reed (8-5).  LP:  Todd Ritchie (5-14).  S:  None.

Notes:  Kielty again played center field, withi Torii Hunter out of the lineup.  Hunter would return the next day.  Kielty went 2-for-5 to make his average .328.

Hocking was again at second base, replacing Luis Rivas.  Rivas would miss one more game and then be back in the lineup.  Hocking went 1-for-4 with a walk.

Reed pitched five innings, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk, striking out one.

This was Ortiz' first stolen base of the season.  It was also his last stolen base of the season.  It came in the third inning with two out and no one else on.  He had seventeen stolen bases in his career, with a high of four in 2013, when he was thirty-seven.  He was caught stealing nine times.

I chose Rocky Biddle for today's profile for no reason other than his name is Rocky Biddle.  His given name is Lee Francis Biddle--I don't know why he was called Rocky, but Rocky Biddle sounds like a lot better ballplayer than Lee Biddle.   A right-handed pitcher, the White Sox drafted him in the first round in 1997.  He did not pitch very well in the low minors from 1997-98, then had Tommy John surgery and missed all of 1999.  He came back strong in 2000, having an excellent year in AA and getting four starts in August with Chicago.  He had his first full season in the majors in 2001, but was not very good--7-8, 5.39.  He moved to the bullpen in 2002 and did somewhat better, though nothing to get too excited about.  He was traded to Montreal for the 2003 season and took up space in their bullpen for a couple of years, posting a combined ERA of 5.83 and a combined WHIP of 1.60.  For some reason, the Expos made him their closer in 2003, and he picked up 34 saves despite an ERA of 4.65, a WHIP of 1.55, and an ERA plus of 97.  That's worse than Ron Davis.  He was in the majors for four full seasons and part of a fifth despite never posting an ERA under four and never posting a WHIP under 1.40.  His career numbers are 20-30, 5.47, 46 saves, 1.53 WHIP.  Some guys tear up the minors for years and never get a chance, other guys do nothing in the majors and get chance after chance and even get put in positions of prominence.  Nobody ever said baseball was fair.

Record:  The Twins were 60-41, in first place, leading Chicago by fourteen games.

2002 Rewind: Game One Hundred

MINNESOTA 4, DETROIT 2 IN DETROIT

Date:  Sunday, July 21.

Batting stars:  David Ortiz was 2-for-3 with a walk and a home run, his eleventh.  Dustan Mohr was 2-for-4.  Corey Koskie was 2-for-5.

Pitching stars:  Eric Milton pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and a walk and striking out six.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk and striking out one.  Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Shane Halter was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Ramon Santiago was 2-for-4 with a double.  Carlos Pena was 1-for-3 with a triple and a walk.

The game:  Doubles by Brandon Inge and George Lombard gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the third.  Ortiz homered in the fourth to tie it 1-1.  The Twins loaded the bases with none out in the fifth, but could only score once, on a sacrifice fly by Denny Hocking, to take a 2-1 lead.  They again loaded the bases in the sixth, this time with two out, and an error on shortstop Santiago allowed two runs to score, putting the Twins up 4-1.  Pena's RBI triple in the bottom of the sixth cut the margin to 4-2.  That was as close as they would come, though, as MiltonHawkins, and Guardado held off the Tigers the rest of the way.

WP:  Milton (12-7).  LP:  Steve Sparks (4-10).  S:  Guardado (32).

Notes:  Hocking played second base, replacing Luis Rivas.  He went 1-for-4.  He batted leadoff, as Jacque Jones was also given the day off.

Ortiz was at first base, replacing Doug Mientkiewicz.  Matthew LeCroy was the DH, going 0-for-4.

Ortiz hit his fourth home run in three games and his fifth in five games.

Michael Cuddyer was in right field, with Bobby Kielty in center as Torii Hunter was also not in the lineup.  Mohr completed the outfield in left.  Cuddyer was 0-for-2 with a walk.

Tom Prince was the catcher in place of A. J. Pierzynski.  He was 0-for-4.

Kielty was 0-for-1 with three walks and was batting .326.

Mohr raised his average to .303.

Milton got his ERA under five for the first time since May 26 at 4.98.

Hawkins lowered his ERA to 1.38.

Detroit starter Sparks struck out nine in 6.2 innings, giving up four runs (two earned) on five hits and five walks.

George Lombard was a highly touted outfield prospect when he was with Atlanta.  A very fast man, he stole 318 bases in the minors but only 23 in the majors.  He got a September call-up with the Braves in 1998 after a fine year at AA Greenville.  He had a poor year in 1999 with AAA Richmond, but got another September call-up anyway.  He had a solid AAA season in 2000 and was promoted to the majors in late July.  He didn't get much of a chance, though, as he was used mostly as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement.  He played in 27 games but got only 39 at-bats.  He apparently was injured most of 2001, as he played in just thirteen games, all in AAA.  He got off to a good start in 2002 and was traded to Detroit in mid-June.  They placed him in their starting lineup and he stayed there the rest of the season, playing both left and center.  He batted .241/.300/.373.  He was twenty-six that season, and he would never get another real chance.  The Tigers waived him and he was claimed by Tampa Bay for 2003.  He had a solid season in AAA but was in the majors for only about three weeks, getting just 37 at-bats.  He was with Boston in 2004 and 2005, but never got called to the majors despite putting up good minor league numbers.  He moved on to the Nationals organization for 2006 and had a fine year, earning a September call-up.  He again did not get much of a chance, playing in 20 games but getting just 21 at-bats, and that was the end of his major league career.  He played a few more seasons in the minors, with Washington in 2007, the Dodgers and Florida in 2008, and Cleveland in 2009.  He hit .256/.356/.451 in 2271 AAA at-bats, but just .220/.281/.340 in 350 at-bats in the majors.  Basically, he got one chance to show what he could do and he didn't take advantage of it.  He remained in baseball, and has been the first base coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers the last two seasons.

Record:  The Twins were 59-41, in first place, leading Chicago by thirteen games.

2002 Rewind: Game Ninety-nine

MINNESOTA 14, DETROIT 4 IN DETROIT

Date:  Saturday, July 20.

Batting stars:  Bobby Kielty was 4-for-4 with a home run (his eighth), a triple, and a walk, scoring four times and driving in three.  David Ortiz was 3-for-5 with two home runs (his ninth and tenth), scoring three times and driving in three.  Michael Cuddyer was 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Joe Mays pitched six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and no walks and striking out two.  J. C. Romero struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Carlos Pena was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his eighth.  George Lombard was 2-for-5 with a home run, his fourth.  Damion Easley was 2-for-5.

The game:  The teams traded two-run homers in the second.  Kielty hit one for the Twins and Pena hit one for the Tigers, leaving the score 2-2.  Bobby Higginson singled home a run in the third to give Detroit a 3-2 lead.  The Twins came back in the fourth, with Kielty tying the game with an RBI triple and scoring on Cuddyer's run-scoring single to put Minnesota up 4-3.  The Twins took control of the game in the fifth.  With two out and a man on first, Ortiz hit a two-run homer.  Two walks followed, then Cuddyer hit a three-run home run to give the Twins a 9-3 lead.  The Twins scored four more in the seventh, with Ortiz hitting his second home run, to make the score 13-3.  Lombard homered in the seventh for the Tigers and the Twins scored their last run in the eighth on an error.

WP:  Mays (1-2).  LP:  Adam Bernero (2-6).  S:  None.

Notes:  Torii Hunter was given the day off, as Kielty played center field.  Cuddyer was in right.

Kielty raised his average to .328.  As you see above, he started with a home run, then tripled, then had a walk and two singles.  It does not look like there was any chance that he could've stretched the last single to a double to get the cycle--it's described as a "Ground Ball through Short RF" and Denny Hocking, who had been on first, stopped at second.

Cuddyer raised his average to .316.

Romero's ERA fell to 2.04.

Mays made his first start since April 14.  While it was nothing great, one assumes that at the time it was considered a success.  He was able to go six innings and throw ninety pitches.  He would remain in the rotation the rest of the season.

I have no memory that there was once a major league pitcher called Adam Bernero, but he actually played in at least part of seven major league seasons.  He was drafted twice, but did not sign either time and was signed as a free agent by the Tigers in May of 1999.  He had less than a year and a half in the minors before making his major league debut on August 1, 2000.  The Tigers, of course, were terrible in those years, and were giving a shot to anyone who even looked like he might be a major league pitcher.  He appeared in twelve games, four of them starts, and did as well as could be expected--4.19 ERA, 1.34 WHIP.  He went back to AAA for 2001 and had a bad year in Toledo (6-11, 5.13, 1.61 WHIP), despite which he was given a September call-up.  He came back to pitch extremely well in nine starts for AAA at the start of 2002, after which he was called up and spent the rest of the season in Detroit.  He was not very good, going 4-7, 6.20.  2003 was his only full season in the majors, and it was no better:  1-14, 5.87.  Not all of that was with the Tigers--he was traded to Colorado in mid-July.  If there's one thing a struggling pitcher probably doesn't need, it's to be traded to Colorado.  He did okay at AAA Colorado Springs, but when he was promoted to the Rockies at the start of July he was no better than he'd been before.  He moved on to Atlanta in 2005, to Philadelphia and Kansas City in 2006, to Boston in 2007, and to Pittsburgh in 2008.  His last major league appearance was for the Royals in 2006.  He pitched quite well in AAA throughout those years, which one assumes is why he kept getting signed.  His AAA stats are 25-25, 3.39, 1.27 WHIP.  In the majors, however, he was 11-27, 5.91, 1.50 WHIP.  He has remained in baseball, however, and in June of 2017 he was hired by the Toronto Blue Jays as a mental performance coach.

Record:  The Twins had won four consecutive games, six out of seven, and eight out of ten.  They were 58-41, in first place, leading Chicago by thirteen games.

2002 Rewind: Game Ninety-eight

MINNESOTA 5, DETROIT 1 IN DETROIT

Date:  Friday, July 19.

Batting stars:  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-4 with a home run, his fourth.  Corey Koskie was 2-for-4 with a home run, his ninth.  David Ortiz was 2-for-4 with a home run, his eighth.

Pitching stars:  Kyle Lohse pitched six innings, giving up one run on six hits and a walk and striking out one.  Johan Santana struck out four in three shutout innings, giving up two hits and no walks.

Opposition stars:  Carlos Pena was 2-for-4 with a double.  Bobby Higginson was 2-for-4.

The game:  Each team put two men on in the first but did not score.  The Twins broke through in the fourth, as Koskie and Ortiz opened the inning with back-to-back homers and Luis Rivas added an RBI single later in the inning.  The Tigers opened the fifth with three consecutive singles but could only score one run, cutting the lead to 3-1.  Mientkiewicz hit a home run in the sixth and Denny Hocking contributed a run-scoring single in the seventh to round out the scoring.

WP:  Lohse (9-5).  LP:  Brian Moehler (1-1).  S:  Santana (1).

Notes:  Hocking started at shortstop in place of Cristian Guzman.  He went 1-for-5 and hit into two double plays.

This was Lohse's third consecutive solid start.  He pitched nineteen innings and gave up just two earned runs on fifteen hits and seven walks with sixteen strikeouts.  His next start would also be a very good one.

The three-inning save was the only save of Santana's career.  He would make two more starts, two more relief appearances, and then five more starts before going to the bullpen for the month of September.  He wanted to start, but while he wasn't bad in that role he was better as a reliever in 2002:  ERA of 2.28 versus 3.34, WHIP of 1.12 versus 1.26.

Torii Hunter was 0-for-4 and was batting .310.

Dustan Mohr was 1-for-4 and was batting .302.

Detroit starter Brian Moehler struck out seven in six innings, but gave up four runs on nine hits and no walks.  This was one of three starts he would make for the Tigers in 2002.

Moehler had a pretty long career, especially considering that he wasn't all that good.  He came up to make two September starts in 1996 and then was a rotation starter for Detroit from 1997-2000.  He was good in 1998, going 14-13, 3.90, 1.25 WHIP.  He was not good in the other years, posting ERAs of 4.50 or higher and WHIPS above 1.4.  He made one start at the beginning of 2001, then was injured and missed the rest of the season.  He was still trying to make it back in 2002.  He had pitched well in his first two starts, and not that badly in this one.  This was his last appearance as a Tiger, however, as he was traded to Cincinnati.  He finished the year there, not pitching very well, and went to Houston as a free agent for 2003.  He was able to make just three starts for them, again missing most of the season due to injury.  He was in AA for Atlanta in 2004, making twenty starts, then spent 2005-2006 with Florida and 2007-2010 back with Houston.  He was a starter all but one of those years, 2007.  That was actually the best year of the bunch, as he posted an ERA of 4.07 and a WHIP of 1.41.  Those aren't great numbers, but they're better than his numbers as a starter.  In the other years he always had an ERA above 4.5, once over five and once over six.  His WHIP was over 1.5 every season except 2008, when it was 1.35.  For his career he was 84-107, 4.81, 1.46 WHIP.  It's hard to see why teams kept leaving him in their starting rotation, but they did--Brian Moehler made 252 major league starts.  At last report, he was a scout for the Boston Red Sox.

Record:  The Twins were 57-41, in first place, leading Chicago by twelve games.