Tag Archives: Momentum

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-six


Date:  Sunday, August 31.

Batting stars:  Denny Hocking was 4-for-4 with a home run (his third), a double, a walk, two runs, and three RBIs.  Torii Hunter was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.  A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Luis Rivas was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, a stolen base (his fourteenth), and three runs.  Matthew LeCroy was 2-for-5 with a walk and two RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Carlos Pulido pitched 2.2 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out two.  Grant Balfour pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.  Joe Mays pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Hank Blalock was 4-for-5 with a home run (his twenty-fourth), a double, and three runs.  Alex Rodriguez was 3-for-3 with a two-run homer (his fortieth), two walks, three runs.  Mark Teixeira was 3-for-5 with a three-run homer, his twentieth.  Rafael Palmeiro was 2-for-4 with a home run (his thirty-second), a walk, and two runs.  Laynce Nix was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Einar Diaz was 2-for-5.  Jason Jones was 1-for-3 with a home run (his third) and two runs.

The game:  LeCroy had an RBI single in the first to put the Twins up 1-0.  In the bottom of the first Blalock doubled and Rodriguez and Palmeiro hit back-to-back homers to make it 3-1 Rangers.  Jones homered in the second to make it 4-1.  In the third, two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out.  Nix singled home one and Jones hit a sacrifice fly, increasing the Texas lead to 6-1.

Hocking hit a two-run homer in the fourth to cut the margin to 6-3.  In the fifth, the Twins had men on first and second with two out.  Hunter doubled home one, an intentional walk loaded the bases, and accidental walks to Dustan Mohr and Hocking tied the score.  In the sixth Rivas led off with a double and scored on LeCroy's single to put the Twins in front 7-6.

The Rangers came back in the seventh.  Blalock led off with a home run to tie it.  Rodriguez walked Palmeiro singled, and Teixeira hit a three-run homer to give Texas a 10-7 lead.  But the Twins refused to go away.  In the eighth, LeCroy walked and Corey Koskie singled, putting men on first and third with one out.  Hunter singled home a run and Pierzynski hit a sacrifice fly to make it 10-9.  Hocking led off the ninth with a single, Stewart walked, a bunt moved the runners up, and Jacque Jones hit a sacrifice fly to tie it 10-10.

The momentum was all with the Twins, and it did them as much good as momentum usually does.  Nix led off the ninth with a single, was bunted to second, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Diaz' single to win the game for the Rangers.

WP:  Francisco Cordero (4-6).  LP:  Eddie Guardado (1-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Hocking remained at short in place of Cristian Guzman.  Stewart was in left with Mohr in right.  Michael Ryan pinch-hit for Mohr in the eighth and went to right field.  Jones pinch-hit for Doug Mientkiewicz in the ninth.  Hocking moved to first base, with Chris Gomez coming in to play short.

Ryan was 0-for-1 and was batting .333.  Stewart was 0-for-5 and was batting .310.  Jones was batting .308.  Pierzynski raised his average to .301.  Mientkiewicz was 1-for-5 and was batting .300.

Brad Radke started and lasted just 2.1 innings, allowing six runs on nine hits and a walk.  He struck out none and his ERA went back up over five at 5.02.  His game score of 14 was his second-lowest of the season, ahead of an 8 in his second start of the season.

Pulido's ERA remained zero.  Balfour had an ERA of 1.65.  J. C. Romero allowed four runs in two-thirds of an inning to raise his ERA to 5.20.  Mays lowered his ERA to 6.30.

Texas used three pitchers with connections to the Twins.  Starter R. A. Dickey pitched 4.2 innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on eight hits and four walks and striking out four.  Ron Mahay pitched 1.1 scoreless innings.  Aaron Fultz allowed two runs in a third of an inning.

There were six home runs in the game.  Five of them were hit by the Rangers.

Chicago won and Kansas City lost, so the Twins remained tied for second, but fell farther out of first.

Record:  The Twins were 71-65, tied for second in the American League Central with Kansas City, 1.5 games behind Chicago.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Twenty-six


Date:  Wednesday, August 20.

Batting star:  A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-3 with a walk.

Pitching stars:  Brad Radke pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and no walks and striking out four.  Eddie Guardado struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Jody Gerut was 3-for-4 with a double.  Ryan Ludwick was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer (his sixth) and a double.  Brian Anderson pitched seven innings, giving up four runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks and striking out five.

The game:  With one out in the first, Matt Lawton and Gerut singled and Ludwick hit a three-run homer, giving the Indians a 3-0 lead.  The Twins went down in order in the first two innings, but in the third, Pierzynski walked and Dustan Mohr reached on an error.  With one out Shannon Stewart reached on an error to bring home a run.  Luis Rivas had an infield single to drive home a second run, and with two out Matthew LeCroy delivered an RBi single to it 3-3.

Cleveland put men on second and third with one out in the third, but did not score.  That was the only threat until the seventh, when Hunter and Pierzynski led off the inning with singles.  Mohr' sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third.  Guzman then popped up to shallow center field.  It was caught by the second baseman, but Hunter tagged up and scored, giving the Twins a 4-3 lead.

The Indians got a two-out double in the seventh and again in the eighth but could do nothing with them.  They went down in order in the ninth and the victory was preserved for the Twins.

WP:  Radke (9-10).  LP:  Anderson (9-10).  S:  Guardado (28).

Notes:  LeCroy remained at first base in the absence of Doug Mientkiewicz.  Stewart remained in left, Mohr in right, and Jacque Jones at DH.  Denny Hocking replaced LeCroy at first base in the eighth inning.

Stewart and Jones were each 0-for-4 and each was batting .308.

Radke's ERA went to 5.04.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched a third of an inning without giving up a run and lowered his ERA to 2.20.

Ludwick was quite the Twins killer in 2003.  In 42 at-bats he batted .310/.356/.667 with four home runs and three doubles.  His total numbers that year were .247/.299/.438 with seven homers and eight doubles, meaning that more than half his home runs and nearly half his doubles came against the Twins.  For his career against the Twins he batted .264/.316/.560 with seven homers and six doubles in 91 at-bats.

On Guzman's sacrifice popup, the play-by-play simply says "Popfly: 2B/Sacrifice Fly (Short CF); Hunter Scores; Pierzynski to 3B"  I don't really know what happened.  It could be that Hunter simply made a heads-up baserunning play and caught Cleveland by surprise, and that Pierzynski alertly went to third when the Indians threw home.  Or, it could be that second baseman John McDonald made some sort of spectacular diving catch and could not get up in time to make a throw.  Or, it could be that he collided with center fielder Coco Crisp and couldn't make a throw.  I don't have time to look into it, and I certainly don't remember, but it would be interesting to know.

The Twins had a two-game sweep in Cleveland, giving them some "momentum" as they went into a big four-game series at home against first-place Kansas City.

Record:  The Twins were 65-61, in third place in the American League Central, a half game behind Chicago and Kansas City, who were tied for first.

2019 Recap: Game Fifty-eight


Date:  Sunday, June 2.

Batting stars:  Miguel Sano was 3-for-3 with two doubles and a walk.  C. J. Cron was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs.  Jorge Polanco was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.  Byron Buxton was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs.  Jonathan Schoop was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his eleventh.

Pitching stars:  Jake Odorizzi struck out nine in six shutout innings, giving up three hits and a walk.  Taylor Rogers struck out the side in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Ji-Man Choi was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two runs.  Austin Meadows was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.  Brandon Lowe was 2-for-5.  Christian Arroyo was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer.

The game:  The first threat came in the second inning, when Choi led off with a double, was bunted to third, but failed to score.  The Twins started the scoring in the third.  Sano opened the inning with a single and a one-out double by Buxton put men on second and third.  Mitch Garver then singled home a run and a sacrifice fly made it 2-0 Twins.  With two out in the fourth, Marwin Gonzalez singled and Sano followed with a run-scoring double to make it 3-0.

The Twins had a big inning in the fourth.  Buxton had a one-out single and advanced to third on a stolen base-plus-error.  Garver was hit by a pitch and Polanco had an RBI single.  A ground out moved the runners to second and third and Eddie Rosario walked to load the bases.  C. J. Cron unloaded them with a three-run double to give the Twins a 7-0 lead.

It looked like the Twins were in control, and they were as long as Odorizzi was pitching.  He came out after six, however, and in the seventh the Rays got back into the game.  Willy Adames and Choi singled to start the inning.  With one out, Kevin Kiermeier drove in a run with a single and a hit batsman loaded the bases.  A strikeout gave hope that the Twins might get out of the inning, but Meadows had a two-run single, Yandy Diaz walked, and Lowe had a two-run single to cut the Twins' lead to 7-5.

The Twins got two back in the top of the eighth.  With two out, Sano doubled and Schoop hit a two-run homer to make it 9-5 and again give the Twins a seemingly secure lead.  But the Rays got back into it again, as Choi walked leading off the bottom of the eighth and Arroyo hit a two-run homer to cut the lead to 9-7.  That was all the would get, though, as Rogers came in to strike out the side in the ninth and preserve the Twins' victory.

WP:  Odorizzi (8-2).  LP:  Ryan Yarbrough (4-2).  S:  Rogers (5).

Notes:  Gonzalez was in right field, with Max Kepler on the bench.  Willians Astudillo was the DH.

Polanco raised his average to .338.  Garver returned to the lineup and went 1-for-4, making his average .325.  Odorizzi's ERA is 1.96.  Blake Parker allowed two runs in 1.1 innings to raise his ERA to 2.61.  Rogers has an ERA of 2.06.

The bullpen meltdown was discouraging, of course.  Still, it should be pointed out that most of the damage came of Matt Magill, who would probably not have been in the game had the score been closer.  Magill has been pitching quite well, though, and almost everyone has a bad game once in a while.  It's the second poor outing out of three for Parker, but to his credit he did get the side out in order after giving up the two-run homer.  It is obviously easier to be forgiving about all this when the Twins win, but even though a lot of them have pitched pretty well I don't think anyone looks at this as a lockdown bullpen.

I like Cory Provus, but for some reason this year he seems to go on and on talking about "momentum".  When the Twins were ahead 7-0, they had momentum.  Then the Rays scored five in the seventh and they had momentum.  Then the Twins got a two-run homer in the eighth and they had momentum.  Then the Rays got a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth and they had momentum.  Confidence and enthusiasm are important in sports, of course, but it appears that the best way to acquire momentum in baseball is to bat well, pitch well, and field well, and the best way to stop the other team's momentum is to bat well, pitch well, and field well.  If you consistently do those things, momentum will probably take care of itself.

So, this team that supposedly can only beat up on bad teams took three out of four from Tampa Bay on the road.  After a day off, they go to Cleveland for a three-game series which it would appear is much more important to the Indians than it is for the Twins.  The Twins currently lead Cleveland by 11.5 games.  A Cleveland sweep would make us all unhappy, but the Twins would still have a comfortable lead.  If the Twins sweep, or even take two out of three, the Indians might be done.  As it stands now Cleveland is tied for second with Chicago, and when all is said and done it may be that the White Sox will be our toughest competition.  There's still a lot of season to go, however, so we shall see.

Record:  The Twins are 40-18, first in the American League Central, 11.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 144-18!

Game 126 Recap: Twins 5, Rays 3

Okay, everyone who a week ago, when the Yankees wrapped up their sweep of the Twins, thought the Twins would go on to win their next six games on the road, raise your hands.  Okay, now put your hands down, because you know you're lying.

Continue reading Game 126 Recap: Twins 5, Rays 3