Tag Archives: Minnesota Twins

Random Rewind: 2005, Game Twenty-four


Date:  Sunday, May 1.

Batting star:  Shannon Stewart was 2-for-4 with a home run, his second.

PItching stars:  Johan Santana pitched eight innings, giving up two runs on two hits and two walks and striking out seven.  Juan Rincon pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Bartolo Colon pitched 7.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and no walks and striking out seven.  Vladimir Guerrero was 1-for-4 with a home run, his sixth.  Jose Molina was 1-for-3 with a home run.

The game:  There were no hits on either side until the fourth, when Guerrero hit a two-out home run to give the Angels a 1-0 lead.  The Twins got their first hit in the fifth when Stewart led off with a single, but nothing came of it.  Molina led off the sixth with a home run to make it 2-0.

The Twins threatened in the eighth.  With one out, Jacque Jones singled, Michael Cuddyer singled, and pinch-hitter Joe Mauer walked, loading the bases.  PInch-hitter Matthew LeCroy hit into a double play, and the inning was over.  The Twins got on the board when Stewart led off the ninth with a home run, but the next three batters went out and the game was over.

WP:  Colon (4-2).  LP:  Santana (4-1).  S:  Francisco Rodriguez (6).

Notes:  Mike Redmond was behind the plate in place of Joe Mauer.

Luis Rivas was at second base.  He was still the regular second baseman at this point, but was about at the end of the run.  By the end of the season, Nick Punto would be the regular second baseman.

Juan Castro was at shortstop.  He did end up playing the most games there, 73, but by the end of the season would be replaced by Jason Bartlett.

Lewwwwww Ford was in right field, with Jones moving to DH.  LeCroy and Ford did most of the DHing in 2005, playing 63 and 44 games there, respectively.

Justin Morneau was batting .400.  He would finish at .239.  This was his first full season.  Jones was batting .352--he would finish at .249.  Mauer was batting .304--he would finish at .294, which led the team.  LeCroy was batting .302--he would finish at .260.  The Twins batted .259, which was next-to-last in the league.  Boston led at .281.

Jones led in home runs with 23, with Morneau right behind at 22.  LeCroy hit 17, Torii Hunter 14, Cuddyer 12, and Stewart 10.  The Twins hit 134 home runs, which was twelfth in the league.  Texas led with 260, well ahead of second-place New York at 229.

Santana was the clear ace of the staff, going 16-7, 2.87.  Carlos Silva was 9-8, 3.44--this was the year he walked an incredible 9 batters in 188.1 innings.  Two of the walks were intentional, so you could say he really only walked 7.  Brad Radke was 9-12, 4.04 and Kyle Lohse was 9-13, 4.18.  The weak link was Joe Mays, who was 6-10, 5.65.  The Twins kept him in the rotation until September, when he finally replaced by rookie Scott Baker.

The Twins had an excellent bullpen.  Joe Nathan was 7-4, 2.70, 43 saves.  The team's only other save went to Jesse Crain, who was 12-5, 2.71.  Juan Rincon was 6-6, 2.45 and J. C. Romero was 4-3, 3.47.  Matt Guerrier also contributed, going 0-3, 3.39.

The Twins were fifth in the league in ERA at 3.71.  Cleveland led at 3.61.  The Twins were second in WHIP at 1.23, just behind Cleveland's 1.22.

I wonder what the record is for most runs in a game where all the runs came by solo home runs.  I don't suppose this is all that close, but it would be interesting to know.

This loss snapped a five-game winning streak.  They would lose two more, then win the next four.

Record:  The Twins were 15-9, in second place in the American League Central, 2.5 games behind Chicago.  They would finish 83-79, in third place, 16 games behind Chicago.

The Angels were 14-11, in first place in the American League West, one game ahead of Oakland.  They would finish 95-67, in first place, seven games ahead of Oakland.

Rewind record:  The Twins are 55-50 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 1993, Game One Hundred Fifty-one


Date:  Tuesday, September 21.

Batting stars:  Pedro Munoz was 3-for-4 with two home runs (his eleventh and twelfth) and all five RBIs.  Brian Harper was 3-for-4.  Dave Winfield was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs.  Jeff Reboulet was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Willie Banks struck out six in five innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on three hits and five walks.  Carl Willis struck out two in two perfect innings.

Opposition stars:  Danny Tartabull was 2-for-3 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch.  Bobby Munoz pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out two.

The game:  Dion James hit a one-out double in the first, went to third on a ground ball, and scored on a wild pitch to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead.  It stayed 1-0 until the fourth.  With one out, Winfield and Harper singled and Munoz hit a three-run homer, putting the Twins in front 3-1.

The Yankees got one back in the bottom of the fourth when Mike Stanley walked, Bernie Williams singled, and Wade Boggs reached on an error.  It stayed 3-2 until the sixth, when Winfield doubled and Munoz delivered a two-out two-run homer to make it 5-2 Minnesota.

It couldn't come easy, of course.  New York cut the margin to 5-3 in the bottom of the sixth when Mike Gallego doubled and scored on a Jim Leyritz single.  It stayed 5-3 until the ninth.  Rick Aguilera retired the first two Yankees, but Tartabull singled, Matt Nokes singled, and Stanley hit an RBI single, cutting the margin to 5-4 with Williams coming up to bat.  But Williams grounded out to first, and the game was over.

WP:  Banks (10-11).  LP:  Jim Abbott (10-13).  S:  Aguilera (31).

Notes:  Terry Jorgensen was at first base in place of Kent Hrbek.  Jorgensen was primarily a third baseman--he played just nine games at first in this season, starting only three.  Jeff Reboulet was at third in place of Mike Pagliarulo.  Pags played 79 games at third, Jorgensen 45, and Reboulet 34.

David McCarty was in right field.  Kirby Puckett played the most games in right, 47 (compared to 95 in center).  Munoz played 41, McCarty 34, and Winfield 31.  Munoz was in left in this game, a place he played 64 games (tied with Shane Mack.  Mack played 67 games in center).

Harper was batting .305--he would finish at .304 and was the only .300 hitter on the team.  Puckett came close--he was at .293 and finished at .296,  The Twins batted .264, ninth in the league.  New York and Toronto led at .279.

Hrbek led the team with 25 home runs.  Puckett was second at 22 and Winfield followed at 21.  Munoz hit 13, Harper 12, and Mack 10.  The Twins hit 121 home runs, twelfth in the league.  Texas led at 181.

It was a hitters' year, but even allowing for that the Twins' rotation wasn't very good.  Kevin Tapani led in starts and went 12-15, 4.43.  Scott Erickson was 8-19, 5.19.  Banks led the starters in ERA, going 11-12, 4.04.  Jim Deshaies was 11-13, 4.41.  They never really found a fifth starter.  Rookie Eddie Guardado started 16 games and went 3-8, 6.18.  Mike Trombley made 10 starts and went 6-6, 4.88, stats which obviously include his relief appearances.  Aguilera was solid in the bullpen, posting 34 saves with an ERA of 3.11.  Willis was 3-0, 3.10 with 5 saves and Larry Casian was 5-3, 3.02.  The Twins were next-to-last in ERA at 4.71.  Chicago led at 3.70.  The Twins were twelfth in WHIP at 1.46.  Boston led with 1.33.

In winning this game, the Twins used probably their best starter (Banks) and their three best relievers (Casian, Willis, and Aguilera).  And they did manage to beat the Yankees, even if just barely.

This was the first game of a stretch in which the Twins would win eight out of nine.

Record:  The Twins were 63-88, in sixth place in the American League West, 22.5 games behind Chicago.  They would finish 71-91, tied for fifth place with California, 23 games behind Chicago.

The Yankees were 83-69, in second place in the American League East, 5 games behind Toronto.  They would finish 88-74, in second place, 7 games behind Toronto.

Random record:  The Twins are 55-49 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 2016, Game Twelve


Date:  Sunday, April 17.

Batting stars:  Trevor Plouffe was 3-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Oswaldo Arcia was 3-for-5 with a walk.  Miguel Sano was 2-for-4 with a double.  Joe Mauer was 2-for-4 with two walks.

Pitching stars:  Kyle Gibson pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks and striking out four.  Kevin Jepsen pitched a perfect inning, striking out one.  Trevor May pitched a perfect inning, striking out two.  Michael Tonkin struck out four in two perfect innings.

Opposition stars:  Nick Tropeano pitched 5.2 innings, giving up one run on five hits and two walks and striking out three.  Fernando Salas struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up a walk.  Albert Pujols was 1-for-5 with a two-run homer, his second.

The game:  Yunel Escobar led off with a walk and Pujols hit a two-out two-run homer in the first inning, giving the Angels a 2-0 lead.  For a while it looked like that would be enough, as the Twins managed just one single in the first three innings.  In the fourth, however, Sano and Plouffe hit back-to-back doubles to get the Twins on the board at 2-1.  The Twins got a pair of two-out singles in the sixth, but nothing came of it.  In the seventh the Twins got three two-out singles, but Eduardo Nunez was thrown out trying to score from second on the last one, so the score remained 2-1 heading to the eighth.

Sano and Plouffe opened the inning with back-to-back singles, putting men on first and third (Byron Buxton had pinch-run for Sano).  Arcia hit into a double play, but it scored a run to tie it 2-2.  The Twins loaded the bases in the ninth but did not score, sending the game to extra innings.

The pitchers were in control until the bottom of the twelfth.  Mauer led off with a walk.  Buxton bunted into a forceout, but it had the advantage of making Buxton the runner.  He stole second with two out and Arcia delivered a run-scoring single to put the Twins in the win column.

WP:  Tonkin (1-0).  LP:  Cory Rasmus (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  John Ryan Murphy was behind the plate in place of Kurt Suzuki.  Eduardo Nunez was at shortstop.  He and Eduardo Escobar shared the position, with Escobar playing more games there (71-51), but Jorge Polanco took over the position in August.

Oswaldo Arcia was in left in place of Eddie Rosario.  Rosario was planned to be the regular left fielder, but he missed time due to injury and also filled in at center, as he did in this game, due to the ineffectiveness at bat of Buxton,   Robbie Grossman actually spent the most time in left field, 75 games to 57 for Rosario.

Sano was in right field.  You probably remember the brilliant plan of the Twins' brain trust to put him out there regularly.  Plouffe was the incumbent third baseman and the Twins refused to either trade him or move him to another position.  I know Twins fans loved Plouffe, and I liked him, too, but he was nothing special as a ballplayer and certainly not worth forcing Sano to the outfield.  Had they traded him prior to the season they might have gotten something worth having for him--not a superstar or anything, but a useful player of some sort.  As it happened, he had a mediocre season for a terrible team, he became a free agent after the season, and the Twins got nothing for him.  Thank you, Terry Ryan.  Max Kepler would eventually take over in right field.

I always love the extreme batting averages you get early in the season.  Nunez was batting .556--he would finish at 2.96.  Mauer was batting .372--he would finish at .261.  Plouffe was batting .302--he would finish at .260.  On the low end, Murphy was batting .056--he would finish at .146.  Rosario was batting .146--he would finish at .269.  Buxton was batting .154--he would finish at .225.  Brian Dozier was batting .167--he would finish at .268.  ByungHo Park was also batting .167--he would finish at .191.  Sano was batting .179--he would finish at .236.  The Twins batted .251 as a team, eleventh in the league.  Boston led at .282, fifteen points higher than second-place Detroit.

Dozier led the team with 42 home runs.  Sano was second with 25.  Remarkably, the Twins had eleven players with double-digit home runs:  Kepler 17, Plouffe 12, Park 12, Nunez 12, Mauer 11, Grossman 11, Buxton 10, Rosario 10, and Kennys Vargas 10.  The Twins hit 200 home runs, which was eighth in the league.  Baltimore led with 253, thirty more than second-place Seattle.

Ervin Santana was the ace of the staff despite a 7-11 record, as he posted an ERA of 3.38 and a WHIP of 1.22.  The rest of the rotation was, well, not good:  Tyler Duffey, 9-12, 6.43, Gibson, 6-11, 5.07, Ricky Nolasco, 4-8, 5.13, Jose Berrios, 3-7, 8.02, Tommy Milone, 3-5, 5.71, Hector Santiago, 3-6, 5.58, and Phil Hughes, 1-7, 5.95.  They weren't all in the rotation at the same time, obviously, but I don't have the time or, frankly, the interest to figure out all the comings and goings of the rotation that year.  Other than Santana it was pretty much garbage in, garbage out.

They did have a few decent pitchers in the bullpen, at least.  Brandon Kintzler had 17 saves and posted an ERA of 3.15.  Ryan Pressly was 6-7, 3.70 with a save.  Taylor Rogers was 3-1, 3.96.  On the other hand, Kevin Jepsen, who was supposed to be the closer, went 2-5, 6.16.  He did get seven saves.

The Twins were dead last in the league in ERA at 5.08, well behind the next worst team (Oakland, 4.51).  They were also dead last in WHIP at 1.45, again well behind the next worst team (Los Angeles, 1.39).

It's amazing how much a team's personnel changes in four years.  Granted, this was a terrible team, so there should have been lots of changes.  But of the seventeen players the Twins used in this game (six pitchers, eleven position players), only four remain with the team:  SanoBuxtonRosario, and May.

There were two future Twins who played for the Angels:  C. J. Cron and Mike Morin.

You may recall that the Twins opened with nine losses, then won their next four.  This was the third of the four wins.  It's rather remarkable that random.org got us a win out of this team.

Record:  The Twins were 3-9, in fifth (last) place in the American League Central, already five games behind Chicago.  They would finish 59-103, in fifth place, 35.5 games behind Cleveland.

The Angels were 5-7, tied for third in the American League West, 1.5 games ahead of Texas.  They would finish 74-88, in fourth place, 21 games behind Texas.

Random record:  The Twins are 54-49 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 1967, Game One Hundred Sixty-one


Date:  Tuesday, September 26.

Batting stars:  Bob Allison was 3-for-3 with a home run (his twenty-fourth), a triple, a walk, and three runs.  Rod Carew was 3-for-4 with a stolen base, his fifth.  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-4 with two home runs (his forty-second and forty-third) and three RBIs.

Pitching star:  Jim Kaat struck out thirteen in a complete game.  He gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks.

Opposition stars:  Bobby Knoop was 1-for-3 with a walk.  Aurelio Rodriguez was 1-for-4 with two RBIs.

The game:  Allison hit a one-out triple in the second and scored on Carew's single to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  It didn't last long, as the Angels scored all three of their runs in the third.  Knoop singled, Bob Rodgers walked, and an error loaded the bases with none out.  Rodriguez then singled in two runs to put California ahead.  After a ground out Rick Reichardt walked to reload the bases and Bubba Morton singled home the third run.  Kaat then struck out Don Mincher and Woodie Held to limit the damage.

Allison homered in the fourth to cut the lead to 3-2.  Then came the sixth.  Cesar Tovar singled and Killebrew followed with a two-run homer to put the Twins in front.  With one out Allison walked and Carew singled.  Ted Uhlaender hit into a force out, but an error allowed Allison to score and make it 5-3.  Jerry Zimmerman was intentionally walked and Kaat reached on an error, increasing the lead to 6-3.

That was pretty much it.  The Angels managed only a single single in the last three innings.  Killebrew homered in the seventh to make the final score 7-3.

WP:  Kaat (16-13).  LP:  Jim McGlothlin (11-8).  S:  None.

Notes:  Tovar was at third, which was one of his two primary positions (the other was center field).  He played 72 games at third and 64 in center--I wonder if anyone else has ever played more than sixty games at each of those two positions in the same season.  If so, I suspect it's a pretty short list.  Rich Rollins played the most games at third with 97 and Uhlaender played the most in cetner at 118.  As I mentioned before, Tovar played in every Twins game this year (which was 164 thanks to two ties) without having a regular position.

I've been through the stats of the 1967 team fairly recently, so I won't do it again.

I suppose walking Zimmerman to face Kaat was the thing to do, but there really wasn't much to choose between the two at bat.  Zimmerman batted .167/.243/.192.  Kaat batted .172/.226/.253.  Zimmerman was intentionally walked twelve times in his career, a direct result of always batting ahead of the pitcher.  In fact, he had a lower OPS than three of the Twins pitchers in 1967, KaatJim Perry, and Dave Boswell.

Kaat, of course, would be injured later that week in the season's penultimate game, an injury which would contribute to the Twins not winning the pennant.

Record:  The Twins were 91-68, in first place in the American League, one game ahead of Chicago and Boston.  They would finish 91-71, tied for second with Detroit, one game behind Boston.

The Angels were 81-75, in fifth place in the American League, 8.5 games behind Minnesota.  They would finish 84-77, in fifth place, 7.5 games behind Boston.

Random record:  The Twins are 53-49 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 1986, Game One Hundred Thirty-three


Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 4-for-5 with a two-run homer (his twenty-seventh), a double, a stolen base (his sixteenth), and two runs.  Gary Gaetti was 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs.  Tom Brunansky was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (his twenty-first) and a walk.  Steve Lombardozzi was 2-for-4 with two runs.  Al Woods was 1-for-1 with a three-run homer.

Pitching stars:  Mike Smithson pitched seven innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and no walks and striking out six.  Roy Lee Jackson retired all four batters he faced.

Opposition stars:  Robin Yount was 3-for-5 with a home run, his fifth.  Jim Gantner was 2-for-4.  Ernie Riles was 2-for-4 with a double.  Bill Schroeder was 1-for-1 with a two-run homer, his fourth.  Mike Birkbeck pitched three shutout innings of relief, giving up two hits and two walks and striking out two.

The game:  Yount led off the game with a home run, but the Twins took over after that.  In the bottom of the first, Puckett singled, stole second, and scored on Gaetti's single to tie it at one.  Brunansky then hit a single-plus-error that scored Gaetti from first and put the Twins up 2-1.

The Twins took a commanding lead in the second.  Mickey Hatcher drew a one-out walk and went to third on Lombardozzi's single.  A wild pitch scored a run and Puckett hit a two-run homer to make it 5-1. Gaetti then doubled and Brunansky hit a two-run homer, giving the Twins a 7-1 lead.

The Twins kept adding on.  In the fourth, Lombardozzi singled and scored from first on Gaetti's two-out double.  In the fifth, Kent Hrbek and Mark Salas led off with singles and Woods hit a three-run homer to put the Twins ahead 11-1.

The Brewers got the rest of their runs in the eighth.  A tiring Smithson gave up singles to Gantner and Yount and a two-run double to Charlie Moore.  Allan Anderson came in and gave up a two-run homer to Schroeder before retiring the side.  Milwaukee went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Smithson (12-10).  LP:  Teddy Higuera (17-9).  S:  None.

Notes:  Tim Laudner started at catcher in this game, with Salas pinch-hitting in the fifth.  Laudner, Salas, and Jeff Reed divided the catching duties almost evenly:  Salas caught in 69, Laudner in 68, and Reed in 64.

Billy Beane was in left in place of Randy Bush.  Beane actually played quite a bit of left field in 1986--64 games, with Bush playing 90 and Hatcher 45.  Hatcher was the DH in this game, playing in place of Roy Smalley.

With the blowout game, the Twins made quite a few substitutions.  i already mentioned Salas replacing Laudner.  Woods pinch-hit for Beane in the fifth, with Mark Davidson then taking over in left.  Smalley pinch-hit for Hatcher in the fifth and stayed in the game at DH.  Alvaro Espinoza came in at short to replace Greg Gagne in the seventh.

I must confess that I had no memory that the Twins once had a player named "Al Woods" and in checking it appears that I completely missed him in the birthday list.  His birthday is August 8, so I'll try to include him next month.  In checking on him, I do remember him playing for Toronto as "Alvis Woods".  He was an outfielder for them from 1977-1982 and had a few pretty good years.  He had a poor year in 1982, though, and then spent three and a half years in AAA before resurfacing with the Twins for about a month and a half in 1986.  He did well for them, batting .321/.375/.571 in 28 at-bats, nearly all of them as a pinch-hitter.  It was pretty much his swan song, though--he played in Mexico in 1987 and then was done.

Puckett was batting .349 at this point.  He would finish at .328.  He was the team's only .300 hitter (other than Woods).  The Twins batted .261, which was seventh in the league.  Cleveland led at .284, well ahead of second-place Boston at .271.

Gaetti led the team in homers with 34.  Puckett had 31 homers and Hrbek 29.  Also in double figures were Brunansky (23), Smalley (20), Gagne (12), and Laudner (10).  The Twins hit 196 home runs, second in the league to Detroit (198).

Frank Viola led the team in starts and went 16-13, but with a 4.51 ERA.  Bert Blyleven was 17-14, 4.01 and Smithson was 13-14, 4.77.  Neal Heaton actually had the lowest ERA among the starters, going 4-9, 3.98, but he made just 17 starts, as he was traded to the Twins from Cleveland in June.  Also making double-digit starts were Mark Portugal (6-10, 4.31), Anderson (3-6, 5.51), and John Butcher, who was traded for Heaton (0-3, 6.30).

Six different pitchers had saves.  Keith Atherton led the team with 10, going 5-8, 3.75.  George Frazier had six saves with a 4.39 ERA.  Frank Pastore (4.01) and Ron Davis (9.08) each had two saves, with Roy Lee Jackson (3.86) and Juan Agosto (8.85) each getting one.

The Twins were dead last in ERA at 4.77.  Leading the league was Kansas City at 3.82.  The Twins were twelfth in WHIP at 1.45.  California lead at 1.26.

I remembered Yount as more of a power hitter than he actually was.  He only had four seasons of over 20 homers, with a high of 29 in 1982.  He had nine seasons in which he did not even reach ten.  Maybe I remember him as more of a power threat because of all the doubles and triples--he hit 583 doubles, twice leading the league, and 126 triples, also twice leading the league.  He did hit 251 homers in his career, and I don't mean this as a criticism of him.  He was a great player.  He just wasn't a big home run guy.

Teddy Higuera was a fine pitcher, and 1986 was one of his best years, but you sure couldn't tell it by this game.  He allowed seven runs on seven hits and a walk in just 1.2 innings.  For the season he was 20-11, 2.79 and finished second in Cy Young voting to Roger Clemens.  From 1985-1990 he was 89-54, 3.34.  He then had injury troubles and was never the same pitcher.  He's largely forgotten now, but for several years he was a pitcher you'd have been very happy to have on your team.

This was one of the last games Ray Miller managed for the Twins.  He would be replaced by Tom Kelly a little over a week later.

This was the last of a three-game winning streak.  The Twins would drop their next five.

Record:  The Twins were 58-75, in seventh (last) place in the American League West, 18 games behind California.  They would finish 71-91, in sixth place, 21 games behind California.

The Brewers were 64-68, in seventh (last) place in the American League East, 14.5 games behind Boston.  They would finish 77-84, in sixth place, 18 games behind Boston.

Random Record:  The Twins are 52-49 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 1981, Game Ninety-six


Date:  Saturday, September 19.

Batting stars:  Sal Butera was 1-for-3.  Hosken Powell was 1-for-4.  Those were the only two hits the Twins had.

Pitching star:  Bob Veselic pitched 6.2 scoreless innings of relief, giving up four hits and two walks and striking out four.

Opposition stars:  Doc Medich pitched a two-hit shutout, giving up two hits and a walk and striking out four.  Mickey Rivers was 3-for-5.  Al Oliver was 2-for-4.

The game:  All the runs were scored in the second inning.  Twins starter Darrell Jackson struck out Leon Roberts to start the inning.  Then Jim Sundberg and Bill Stein singled, with Stein taking second on a throw to third.  That led to an intentional walk to Billy Sample.  Then Mark Wagner had an RBI single, Bump Wills had a two-run single, Rivers had an RBI single, and Oliver had a run-scoring single.  Veselic then came in and gave up a two-out double RBI double to Roberts, making the score 6-0.

And that was it.  The Twins, as stated above, had just two hits, and both were singles.  Butera broke up the no-hitter in the eighth inning.  Powell singled leading off the ninth.

WP:  Medich.  (9-5).  LP:  Jackson (3-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  Tim Corcoran was at first base.  The Twins didn't really have a regular first baseman.  Danny Goodwin played 40 games there, Ron Jackson 36, Corcoran 16, Kent Hrbek (a September call-up) 13, and Pete Mackanin 10.

Ron Washington was at shortstop.  Roy Smalley had been the regular shortstop, but missed a month due to injury and was the DH when he came back.

Gary Ward, who normally was the left fielder, was in center in place of Mickey Hatcher, who was given the day off.  Rick Sofield was in left.  Powell was in right in place of Dave Engle, who was given the day off.

The Twins didn't have anyone come remotely close to batting .300.  John Castino led the team in batting at .268.  As I recall, Bill James referred to him as the team's "least inadequate player".  The Twins finished next-to-last in batting at .240.  Toronto was last at .226.  Boston led the league at .275.

Smalley led the team in home runs with seven.  That's right, seven.  Yes, it was a strike year, and the Twins only played 109 games (that's why game 96 is in September).  But seven?  I suspect you'd have to go back to the deadball era to find another time someone led their team in home runs with seven.  I suspect that even with a sixty-game schedule this year (assuming it's actually played), every team will have someone who hits more than seven home runs.  That's embarrassing.  Remarkably, the Twins were only next-to-last in home runs with 47.  Cleveland was last with 39 (their leader in home runs was Bo Diaz, who also had seven).  Oakland led the league in home runs with 104.

Jackson lasted just 1.1 innings, allowing all six runs on seven hits and a walk and striking out one.  The Twins' rotation really wasn't awful, although it was nothing to shout about.  Pete Redfern was 9-8, 4.07; Al Williams 6-10, 4.08; Fernando Arroyo 7-10, 3.93; Roger Erickson 3-8, 3.84; Jerry Koosman 3-9, 4.20; and Brad Havens 3-6, 3.58.  The bullpen had Doug Corbett, who posted an ERA of 2.57, a WHIP of 1.30, and 17 saves.  Koosman had five saves--for reasons I forget now, the Twins put him in the bullpen in August before trading him to Chicago in September. Veselic, who pitched so well in this game, was a September call-up who went 1-1, 3.18 in five games (22.2 innings).  He would never get another chance, though--he pitched poorly in AAA in 1982 and again in 1983 and was done.

The Twins were next-to-last in ERA at 3.98.  Seattle was last at 4.23.  New York led the league at 2.90.  The Twins were last in WHIP at 1.43.  New York led there, too, at 1.18.  I hadn't remembered that 1981 was such a pitchers' year, but apparently it was.

Doc Medich has been pretty much forgotten about, but he was a pretty fair pitcher.  124-105, 3.78, 1.33 WHIP in just under two thousand innings.  1981 was probably his best year:  10-6, 3.08, 1.18 WHIP, led the league in shutouts with 4.  I'm not nominating him for the Hall of Fame or anything, but he was a solid major league pitcher for several years.

I have always considered 1981 the nadir of Twins baseball.  Yes, they've had teams with worse winning percentages, although not a lot of them.  But their other bad teams have had a star you could root for, or some young up-and-coming players to give you hope, or something.  The 1981 Twins had none of that until September, when they started calling up players like Hrbek and Gary Gaetti.  Here's the list of the nine players who played the most games for the Twins in 1981:  CastinoHatcherRob WilfongWardEnglePowellMackaninGlenn AdamsSal Butera.  A few of those guys weren't terrible, eventually, but none was good.  The highest OPS out of that group was Engle at .703.  Engle was also the only young player, at 24.  The rest were all 26-27 or older, and so were as good as they were likely to be (granted, Ward was able to develop into a good player for a few years).  It was just a really hard team to root for.

Record:  The Twins were 36-59 overall.  As you may recall, the strike resulted in the schedule being divided into two halves--the Twins were 19-22 in the second half at this point.  They would finish 24-29, in fourth place in the American League West, six games behind Kansas City.  Overall they would finish 41-68, in seventh (last) place, 23 games behind Oakland.

The Rangers were 49-42 overall.  They would finish 24-26 in the second half, in third place in the American League West, 4.5 games behind Kansas City.  Overall they would finish 57-48, in second place, five games behind Oakland.

Random record:  The Twins are 51-49 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 2008, Game One Hundred Twenty-five


Date:  Tuesday, August 19.

Batting stars:  Brian Buscher was 3-for-4 with a home run (his fourth), two runs, and five RBIs.  Justin Morneau was 3-for-4 with two doubles and three runs.  Brendan Harris was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.  Randy Ruiz was 2-for-4 with a walk, two runs, and two RBIs.  Nick Punto was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Carlos Gomez was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his sixth.

Pitching starsKevin Slowey struck out twelve in seven innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on five hits and no walks.  Brian Bass pitched two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Mark Ellis was 2-for-4.  Kurt Suzuki was 1-for-3 with a home run, his seventh.

The game:  Suzuki homered leading off the second to give the Athletics a 1-0 lead.  It was all Twins after that.  In the bottom of the second Jason Kubel singled, Buscher hit a two-run homer, Harris singled, and Denard Span tripled, giving the Twins a 3-1 lead.  In the third Joe Mauer singled, Morneau had an RBI double, Ruiz hit a run-scoring single, and Harris had an RBI double, putting the Twins up 6-1.

Oakland got one back in the fifth on a run-scoring double by Jack Hannahan.  In the fifth, however, Morneau doubled, Ruiz walked, Buscher had an RBI single, Harris hit a sacrifice fly, and Gomez delivered a two-run homer, making the score 10-2.  In the sixth, Punto doubled, Mauer walked, Morneau singled to load the bases, Ruiz had an RBI single, and Buscher drove in two with a single, bringing the score to 13-2.  The Twins apparently got tired of running around the bases at that point, because that's how the score ended.

WP:  Slowey (10-8).  LP:  Sean Gallagher (4-6).  S:  None.

Notes:  Punto was at second in place of Alexi Casilla, who was out for three weeks.  That put Harris at shortstop--Punto played 61 games at short and Harris 55, with Adam Everett playing 44.  Kubel was in left in place of Delmon Young, who was given the day off.  That put Ruiz at DH.

The only position-player substitution was Mike Lamb pinch-hitting for Morneau in the eighth.  He stayed in the game at first base.

Ruiz was batting .379 at this point (29 at-bats).  He would finish at .274.  Mauer was batting .324.  He would lead the team at .328.  Span was batting .318.  He would finish at .294.  Buscher was batting .314.  He would also finish at .294.  Morneau was batting .309.  He would finish at .300.  The Twins batted .279, which was third in the league.  Texas led at .283.

Morneau led the team with 23 homers.  Kubel was second with 20 and Young hit ten.  The Twins hit 111 homers, which was dead last in the league.  Chicago led with 235, more than twice the Twins' total.

Scott Baker was the staff ace, going 11-4, 3.45, 1.18 WHIP.  Slowey did well, going 12-11, 3.99, 1.15.  Nick Blackburn led in starts with 33 and went 11-11, 4.05, 1.36.  Glen Perkins was 12-4, 4.41, 1.47.  Livan Hernandez was 10-8, 5.48, 1.63.  Francisco Liriano did well when he could pitch, but made just 14 starts, going 6-4, 3.91, 1.40.  The only other starter was Boof Bonser, who was 3-7, 5.93, 1.48.

Joe Nathan had a tremendous year, posting an ERA of 1.33, a WHIP of 0,90, and 39 saves.  Dennys Reyes had a 2.33 ERA and a WHIP of 1.19.  Jesse Crain posted an ERA of 3.59 and a WHIP of 3.72.  The weak link was Matt Guerrier, who appeared in 76 games but went 6-9, 5.19, 1.59 WHIP.  He had started pretty well, but completely imploded in the last two months of the season, going 0-5 with an ERA over ten and a WHIP over two in 25 games.  Of course, some responsibility has to go to Ron Gardenhire for continuing to send him out there when he clearly wasn't getting the job done.

The Twins were seventh in ERA at 4.16.  Toronto led at 3.49, which was well ahead of second-place Tampa Bay (3.82).  The Twins were also seventh in WHIP at 1.35.  Toronto led there, too, at 1.24.

In addition to Suzuki, Oakland also used ex-Twin Rob Bowen.

Jack Cust was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.  It seems probable that Jack Cussed.

Athletics starter Sean Gallagher was allowed to go five innings, allowing ten runs on eleven hits and three walks.  They had used four pitchers for multiple innings over the last two games, so presumably Bob Geren just felt he needed some innings out of Gallagher whether he was getting anything accomplished or not.

I don't think I could've told you that the Twins once had a player called Randy Ruiz.

This was the first of a four-game winning streak and the sixth game of a stretch in which the Twins would win eight of nine.

Record:  The Twins were 71-54, in second place in the American League Central, a half game behind Chicago.  They would finish 88-75, in second place, one game behind Chicago after losing game 163,

The Athletics were 57-68, in third place in the American League West, 19.5 games behind Los Angeles.  They would finish 75-86, in third place, 24.5 games behind Los Angeles.

Random record:  The Twins are 51-48 in Random Rewind games.  This is the first time they've been three games over .500 for some time.

Random Rewind: 1967, Game Sixty-six


Date:  Friday, June 23.

Batting stars:  Bob Allison was 2-for-3.  Jerry Zimmerman was 2-for-3.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-3 with a home run, his twenty-second.

Pitching star:  Dean Chance pitched a complete game shutout, giving up three hits and one walk and striking out four.

Opposition star:  Joel Horlen pitched seven innings, giving up one run on six hits no walks and striking out two.  He was also 1-for-2 at the plate.

The game:  It was a pitchers' duel.  No one got past first base until the third, when Horlen singled with two out and went to second when Tommie Agee reached on an error.  Don Buford struck out to end the inning.  No one got past first after that until the sixth, when Agee hit a one-out double.  He was stranded on second.

With one out in the seventh Killebrew hit a home run to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  And that was pretty much it.  Chance retired the last eight men he faced and the Twins won 1-0.

WP:  Chance (10-5).  LP:  Horlen (8-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Cesar Tovar was at third base in place of Rich Rollins.  Rollins played 97 games at third compared to Tovar's 72, so this was not an unusual arrangement.  Tovar also played 64 games in center and 35 at second base, as well as a handful of games at short and each of the corner outfield positions.  He's mostly forgotten now, other than by old Twins fans, but you can make the argument that Tovar is among the greatest multi-position players ever.

Sandy Valdespino came in for defense in the ninth, replacing Allison in left field.

Carew was batting .319.  He would finish at .292, which still led the team.  On the other end, Zimmerman was batting .157.  He would finish at .167 with an OPS of .436.  He was the regular catcher this year due to injuries to Earl Battey.  He was reputed to be a superior defensive catcher, and I certainly hope he was, because he contributed nothing on offense.  The Twins batted .240, which was tied for third in the league.  Boston led at .255, well above second-place Detroit, which batted .243.

Killebrew naturally led the team with 44 home runs.  Allison hit 24 and Tony Oliva 17.  The Twins hit 131 home runs, tied for fourth in the league.  Boston led there, too, with 158.

We went through the 1967 pitching staff a couple of weeks ago, so we won't repeat that.  The Twins had 58 complete games in 1967.  Chance led with 18.  Jim Kaat had 13, and Jim Merritt and Dave Boswell each had 11.  Jim Perry, who made 11 starts and relieved 26 times, had three complete games.  Mudcat Grant, who battled injuries all season, still had two complete games.  Al Worthington was the relief ace, going 8-9, 2.84 with 16 saves.  Ron Kline went 7-1, 3.77 with 5 saves and Jim Roland posted a 3.03 ERA with 2 saves.  The Twins were second in ERA at 3.14, although that was well behind league-leading Chicago at 2.45.  The Twins were third in WHIP at 1.19.  Chicago led there, too, at 1.12.

In the sixth, with the game still scoreless, Zimmerman led off with a single and then was caught stealing second.  Zimmerman had one career stolen base, in his rookie year of 1961.  He had two stolen base attempts that season.  He had only one more stolen base attempt in his career, this one.  My guess is that the batter, Chance, was supposed to bunt and missed.  I have no real evidence for that, but I can't think of any other reason you'd have Zimmerman try to steal.  You'd have the element of surprise on your side, I guess, but that's about it.

I wonder if, in 1968, manager Cal Ermer made a statement to the effect that who they really missed was Jerry Zimmerman.

This was Horlen's best year.  He went 19-7 and led the league in ERA at 2.06.  He also led in shutouts with 6 and WHIP at 0.95.  It was the second time he'd led the league in WHIP (1964, 0.94).  He made the all-star team for the only time in his career.  He was second to Jim Lonborg in Cy Young voting.  You can make the argument that he should have won the award, but Lonborg won 22 games and played for the "Impossible Dream" Red Sox.  He finished fourth in MVP voting, ahead of Lonborg but behind Carl Yastrzemski, Killebrew, and Bill Freehan.

Record:  The Twins were 33-32, in fourth place in the American League, six games behind Chicago.  They would finish 91-71, tied for second with Detroit, one game behind Boston.

The White Sox were 38-25, in first place in the American League, three games ahead of Detroit.  They would finish 89-73, in fourth place, three games behind Boston.

People who read carefully may have noticed that this is the Twins 66th game, but their record was 33-32, which only adds up to 65.  Why, you ask?  Two days earlier they had played a tie game with Detroit, 5-5.  They would play another tie game on July 25 with New York, 1-1, so they actually played 164 games in 1967.  Tovar played in all 164 games despite not having a regular position.  The record is 165, by Maury Wills in 1962.  That total includes a best-of-three playoff.

Random record:  The Twins are 50-48 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 2018, Game Six


Date:  Thursday, April 5.

Batting stars:  Eddie Rosario was 1-for-2 with a home run.  Miguel Sano was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his third) and a walk.  Mitch Garver was 1-for-3 with a home run.

Pitching stars:  Kyle Gibson pitched 4.1 innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on seven hits and a walk.  He threw 80 pitches.  Taylor Rogers pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up only a walk.  Addison Reed struck out two in a perfect inning.  Fernando Rodney pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Daniel Vogelbach was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Jean Segura was 2-for-4 with a stolen base.  James Paxton struck out seven in five innings, giving up two runs on four hits and a walk.

The game:  The Mariners got both of their runs in the first inning.  Dee Gordon and Segura opened the game with singles.  With one out Mitch Haniger hit what might have been a double play ball, but a throwing error brought in a run and no one was retired.  Vogelbach delivered a two-out RBI single to make it 2-0 Seattle.

Each team threatened in the second and the third, and the Mariners got a pair of one-out walks in the fifth.  It was still 2-0 until the sixth, however, when Joe Mauer led off with a single and Sano followed with a two-run homer, tying the score.  The Mariners put men on first and third with none out in the seventh but failed to score, so Garver was able to put the Twins on top in the bottom of the seventh with a home run.

Rosario homered in the eighth to make it 4-2 Twins.  Gordon walked leading off the ninth and stole second, but the next three batters were retired and the Twins had the victory.

WP:  Zach Duke (1-0).  LP:  Dan Altavilla (0-1).  S:  Rodney (1).

Notes:  Ehire Adrianza was at shortstop in place of Jorge Polanco, who was suspended for the first half of the season.  Sano was at third base.  He was the regular third baseman when he was healthy, but he was only able to play 56 games there due to injuries.  Eduardo Escobar played the most games at third with 77.  Adrianza also saw substantial time at third (28 games).

Byron Buxton was in center field.  Again, he would have been the regular there, but injuries limited him to 27 games in center.  Jake Cave played the most games in center with 70.  Max Kepler was there for 55 games and Ryan LaMarre played 34 games in center.  LaMarre was in left field in this game, with Rosario given the day off.  Rosario pinch-hit for LaMarre in the sixth inning and remained in the game in left field.

The Twins did not have a .300 hitter unless you count Willians Astudillo, who had just 93 at-bats.  Polanco and Rosario each batted .288 to lead the team.  The Twins batted .250, which was sixth in the league.  Boston led at .268.

Rosario led the team with 24 home runs.  Kepler had 20, Brian Dozier 16, Escobar 15, Logan Morrison 15, Cave 13, and Sano 13.  The Twins hit 166 home runs, twelfth in the league.  New York led the league with 267.

We went through the Twins pitching staff when we did a 2018 game about a week and a half ago, so there's no need to repeat that.  The Twins were ninth in ERA at 4.50--Houston led at 3.11, which was more than half a run better than the second place team (Tampa Bay, 3.74).  The Twins were tenth in WHIP at 1.38--Houston led there, too, at 1.10.

As you can see, the Twins were clearly not a bomba squad yet.  Still, with all four runs coming on three homers, perhaps the beginnings were there.

The losing pitcher, Dan Altavilla, was actually having a solid season out of the bullpen until he got hurt in early June and had to miss the rest of the year.  He was 3-2, 2.61, 1.26 WHIP in 22 games (20.2 innings).  He had a poor year in 2019, leading one to think he may not have been fully healthy.  One hopes he can bounce back for 2020.

The Mariners were 2-for-17 with men in scoring position and stranded 11 runners.

It seems like more than two years ago that we had these guys:  MorrisonLogan ForsytheBobby WilsonGregorio PetitJohnny FieldTaylor MotterOliver DrakeTyler KinleyDavid Hale.

Record:  The Twins were 4-2, in first place in the American League Central, one game ahead of Chicago.  They would finish 78-84, in second place, 13 games behind Cleveland.

The Mariners were 3-3, in third place in the American League West, 2.5 games behind Houston.  They would finish 89-73, in third place, 14 games behind Houston.

Random record:  The Twins are 49-48 in Random Rewind games.


Happy Birthday–July 7

George Moriarty (1885)
Double Duty Radcliffe (1902)
Satchel Paige (1906)
Billy Herman (1909)
Sammy White (1927)
John Gordon (1940)
Bill Melton (1945)
Tommy Moore (1948)
Len Barker (1955)
Dan Gladden (1957)
Glenn Hoffman (1958)
Tim Teufel (1958)
Dave Burba (1966)
Jeff Shaw (1966)
Chuck Knoblauch (1968)
Matt Mantei (1973)
Cory Provus (1978)
John Buck (1980)
Brandon McCarthy (1983)

Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe played in the Negro Leagues for many years.  He got his nickname because he would sometimes catch one game of a doubleheader and pitch the other.  He played professionally until 1954, when he retired at age 52.  He is the oldest player to ever appear in a professional baseball game, throwing one pitch for the Schaumberg Flyers of the Northern League in 1999 when he was 96.  I'm no expert on the Negro Leagues, but it seems to me that he should be in the Hall of Fame.

John Gordon was a radio broadcaster for the Twins from 1987 through 2011.

Tommy Moore was drafted by Minnesota in the twenty-eighth round in 1966, but did not sign.

Cory Provus has been a radio broadcaster for the Twins since 2012.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–July 7