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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: 1978, Game One Hundred Three


Date:  Wednesday, August 2.

Batting star:  Rob Wilfong was 2-for-3.

Pitching stars:  Geoff Zahn pitched six innings, giving up three runs on nine hits and a walk and striking out two.  Mike Marshall struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Jim Colborn pitched a complete game, giving up one run on six hits and one walk and striking out one.  Julio Cruz was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Bob Stinson was 2-for-3.  Leon Roberts was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his third.  Bob Robertson was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his sixth) and a walk.

The game:  With one out in the second Robertson walked, was bunted to second, and scored on a Juan Bernhardt single, putting the Mariners up 1-0.  The Twins tied it in the fourth when Roy Smalley walked, Rod Carew sent him to second with a double, and Butch Wynegar hit a sacrifice fly, making the score 1-1.

It stayed 1-1 until the sixth.  Roberts got on with a one-out single and Robertson hit a two-out two-run homer to put Seattle up 3-1.  And that was it.  The Twins got three singles in the last three innings, but never put a man past first base.

WP:  Colborn (3-8).  LP:  Zahn (8-10).  S:  None.

Notes:  Wilfong and Bobby Randall platooned at second base.  Randall actually played more games there, 115 to 80, but Wilfong got the call in this game.

The Twins also had a platoon at third base with Mike Cubbage and Larry Wolfe.  Again, Cubbage played more games, 115 to 81, but Wolfe got the call here.

Rich Chiles was in left in place of Willie Norwood.

Jose Morales pinch-hit for Wolfe in the eighth.  Randall went in to play third base.

Carew was leading the team in batting, of course, at .330.  He would finish at .333.  Dan Ford was batting .300.  He would finish at .274.  The Twins batted .267, which was tied for fourth in the league.  Milwaukee led at .276.

As we've seen in numerous years, the Twins did not have much power.  Smalley led the team with 19 homers.  The only other player in double figures was Ford, with 11.  The Twins hit 82 home runs, which was last in the league and 15 behind the next-lowest team.  Milwaukee led with 173, more than twice as many as the Twins had.

Zahn had a solid year, going 14-14, 3.03, 1.35 WHIP.  The staff ace was Dave Goltz, who went 15-10, 2.49, 1.25.  Roger Erickson, in his rookie year, went 14-13, 3.96, 1.31.  We really thought we had something in Erickson, and maybe we would have if he hadn't thrown 265.1 innings in his age 21 season.  Gary Serum joined the rotation in May and went 9-9, 4.10, 1.26.  The other starters were Darrell Jackson, 4-6, 4.48, 1.48, and Paul Thormodsgard, 1-6, 5.05, 1.49.  "Closer" Mike Marshall went 10-12, 2.45, 1.18 with 21 saves (the rest of the team had five).  The Twins pitched to a 3.69 ERA, good for tenth in the league.  New York led at 3.18.  The Twins were ninth in WHIP at 1.36.  New York led there, too, at 1.23.

This was Jim Colborn's last season.  He had been a good pitcher, but he no longer was one in 1978, going a combined 4-12, 5.24, 1.44 WHIP for Kansas City and Seattle.  This was his first game all season in which he had a game score over 50.

This was the second of a four-game losing streak.  The Twins were in a stretch in which they lost seven of eight, nine of eleven, and eleven of fourteen.

Record:  The Twins were 45-58, in fifth place in the American League West, 12.5 games behind Kansas City.  They would finish 73-89, in fourth place, 19 games behind Kansas City.

The Mariners were 38-69, in seventh (last) place in the American League West, 21.5 games behind Kansas City.  They would finish 56-104, in seventh place, 35 games behind Kansas City.

Random Record:  The Twins are 46-45 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 2000, Game Thirty-two


Date:  Sunday, May 7.

Batting stars:  Cristian Guzman was 1-for-3 with a triple, two walks, and two runs.  Jacque Jones was 1-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs.

Pitching star:  Joe Mays pitched a complete game shutout, giving up five hits and two walks and striking out five.

Opposition stars:  Willie Blair pitched 4.1 scoreless innings of relief, giving up two hits and two walks and striking out two.  Deivi Cruz was 2-for-3.

The game:  The first was a "Twins Baseball!" kind of inning.  Guzman led off with a walk and went to third on a single by Jay Canizaro.  A one-out sacrifice fly by Ron Coomer got the Twins on the board.  A wild pitch moved Canizaro to second, Corey Koskie walked, and Butch Huskey was hit by a pitch, loading the bases.  Jones then delivered a single, only the second hit of the inning, to put the Twins up 3-0.

The Tigers threatened in the third.  Cruz singled, and with two out Brad Ausmus and Juan Encarnacion walked, loading the bases.  But Juan Gonzalez flied out to end the inning.  The Twins added a run in the fourth when Guzman led off with a triple and scored on a Matt Lawton single.

That was it for the scoring.  Detroit had a chance to at least spoil the shutout when Encarnacion led off with a triple.  But Gonzalez hit a short fly ball, Bobby Higginson fouled to the catcher, and Dean Palmer flied out to end the game.

WP:  Mays (1-4).  LP:  Mark Johnson (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Marcus Jensen was the catcher.  The Twins used five catchers in 2000, none of whom got much accomplished at bat until A. J. Pierzynski came up in mid-August.  Jensen (.209/.663 OPS) and Matthew LeCroy (.174/.577) each caught 49 games, with Chad Moeller (.211/.534) right behind at 48.  They also used Danny Ardoin (.125/.550) for 15 games before Pierzynski (.307/.809) catching 32 games.  After that mess for the first four and a half months, he seemed like a Godsend.

Huskey was the DH.  He had signed with the Twins to be the DH, but at this point he was close to losing the job to David Ortiz.  Huskey batted just .223 with an OPS of .660 before being traded to Colorado in mid-July.

Matt Lawton was leading the team in batting at this point at .363.  He would finish at .305, which still led the team.  Jones was batting .337.  He would finish at .285.  Koskie, who was batting .270 at this point, would finish at .300.

On the other end, Canizaro was batting .185, although he would finish at .269.  The Twins had soured on Todd Walker at this point and would trade him to Colorado in the same deal that sent Huskey there.  Walker had batted .316 in 1998 and a still-respectable .279 in 1999, but when he got off to a slow start in 2000 the Twins benched him, sent him to AAA, and then traded him.  His defense was suspect, but as I recall this was a case where the main reason for trading him was that Tom Kelly just didn't like him.  Walker went on to have a very good major league career while the player the Twins got back in the deal, Todd Sears, played just forty major league games.  And it's not like the Twins had a hotshot second baseman knocking at the door to replace him--Canizaro was the regular for 2000 and they then went to Luis Rivas.  I think a lot of TK, but he had his blind spots, and this was one of them.

The Twins batted .270, which was tied for tenth in the league.  Cleveland and Kansas City led at .288.

Jones led the team in homers with 19.  Coomer had 16, Lawton 13, and Ortiz 10.  They finished dead last in home runs with 116, thirty-four behind the next lowest team.  Toronto led the league with 240.  When the juiced ball era came around, the Twins were conscientious objectors.

This was easily Mays' best game of the season.  It was his only shutout and one of two complete games, the other being an eight-inning loss.  He did not have a good year in 2000, going 7-15, 5.56, 1.62 WHIP.  It shows how bad the Twins' pitching was that he was allowed to make 28 starts.  Brad Radke was the staff ace, I guess, but he went 12-16, 4.45, 1.38.  Eric Milton was the other mainstay of the rotation, making 33 starts and going 13-10, 4.86, 1.25.  Others to make double-digit starts were Mark Redman (12-9, 4.76, 1.41), Sean Bergman (4-5, 9.66, 2.12--he made 14 starts!), and J. C. Romero (2-7, 7.02, 1.77).

The bullpen was better than that, but it wasn't particularly good either.  The Twins posted an ERA of 5.14, tied for eleventh in the league.  Toronto led at 4.23.  The Twins were actually eighth in WHIP at 1.50.  Boston led at 1.33.  It was definitely a hitters' year.

This was the year Guzman hit twenty triples.  He led the league, of course, one of three times he did so.

The was the second game of a stretch in which the Twins won five out of six.  They did not have very many of those stretches in 2000.

Record:  The Twins were 14-18, in fourth place in the American League Central, 4.5 games behind Chicago.  They would finish 63-93, in fifth (last) place, 26 games behind Chicago.

The Tigers were 9-21, in fifth (last) place in the American League Central, 8.5 games behind Chicago.  They would finish 79-83, in third place, 16 games behind Chicago.

Random Record:  The Twins are 46-44 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 1978, Game Thirty-eight


Date:  Saturday, May 20.

Batting stars:  Rod Carew was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his fourth.  Roy Smalley was 2-for-4 with two doubles.  Willie Norwood was 2-for-5 with a stolen base, his twelfth.

Pitching stars:  None.

Opposition stars:  Freddie Patek was 4-for-4 with two stolen bases, his eighth and ninth.  Hal McRae was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.  Amos Otis was 2-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base, his eighth.  George Brett was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Clint Hurdle was 2-for-4 with a double.  Rich Gale pitched 7.1 innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and two walks and striking out one.

The game:  Dan Ford drew a two-out walk in the first and scored from first on a Mike Cubbage double, putting the Twins up 1-0.  That would be their only lead of the game.

The Royals loaded the bases in the second and did not score.  In the third, however, Willie Wilson led off with a single, stole second, and scored on McRae's single.  McRae went to second on the throw home and later scored on an Otis single, giving Kansas City a 2-1 lead.

The Twins got two singles and a walk in the fourth but failed to produce a run with them.  It stayed 2-1 until the sixth, when Hurdle doubled and scored on Patek's single to make it 3-1.  The Royals then took over in the seventh. McRae singled, George Brett doubled, and Al Cowens singled to make it 4-1.  Otis walked to load the bases and Hurdle singled to give Kansas City a 5-1 advantage.

The Twins tried to get back into it in the eighth.  Norwood singled and Carew hit a two-run homer, cutting the lead to 5-3.  But the Twins gave a run back in the bottom of the sixth when Patek singled, stole second, and scored on McRae's double.  In the ninth Jose Morales walked and Smalley doubled, bringing the tying run to the plate with none out.  It came to nothing, however, as the next two batters fanned and a popup to the pitcher ended the game.

WP:  Gale (4-0).  LP:  Paul Thormodsgard (1-6).  S:  Al Hrabosky (5).

Notes:  Rob Wilfong was at second base.  He platooned with Bobby Randall, kind of, but the right-handed Randall still got more playing time.  One assumes Randall was considered the better defender, because there's not a lot to choose from offensively.

The Twins made liberal use of their bench, although it doesn't seem to have helped much.  Rich Chiles pinch-hit for Wilfong in the eighth, with Randall coming in to play second.  Larry Wolfe pinch-hit for Cubbage in the eighth and stayed in the game at third.  Morales pinch-hit for Glenn Adams in the ninth.  Bombo Rivera pinch-hit for Hosken Powell in the ninth.  Craig Kusick pinch-hit for Randall in the ninth.

Carew was batting .397.  He would falter, finishing the season at .333.  Rivera was batting .341.  He would finish at .271.  Morales was batting .333.  He would finish at .314.  Cubbage was batting .321.  He would finish at .282.  The Twins finished fifth in batting at .267.

Smalley led the team in home runs with 19.  The only other Twin in double figures was Dan Ford at 11.  The Twins cleanup hitter in this game was Cubbage, who finished the season with 7 homers and a slugging average of .401.  The Twins were dead last in home runs with 82, fifteen behind the next-to-last team.

Thormodsgard started and pitched 5.2 innings, giving up three runs on nine hits and a walk and striking out one.  The Twins' rotation wasn't bad:  Roger Erickson (14-13, 3.96), Geoff Zahn (14-14, 3.03), Dave Goltz (15-10, 2.49), and Gary Serum (9-9, 4.10).  Thor was the odd man out at (1-6, 5.05), but he would be replaced by Darrell Jackson (4-6, 4.48).

It was kind of fun hearing the names of those great Royals players of the seventies.

Clint Hurdle is regarded as a first-round bust, and I guess he was, but it was because of injuries, not a lack of ability.  In 1980, his age twenty-two season, he batted .294/.349/.458.  He then suffered a back injury and was never again the same player.  He was never able to play more than 78 games in a season and never had more than 184 plate appearances.  Had it not been for the back injury, he could have had a tremendous career.

This was the fifth game of a stretch in which the Twins won seven of eight.  Random.org gave us their only loss in that stretch.

Record:  The Twins were 14-24, in fifth place in the American League West, 9.5 games behind Oakland.  They would finish 73-89, in fourth place, 19 games behind Kansas City.

The Royals were 19-16, in third place in the American League West, 3 games behind Oakland.  They would finish 92-70, in first place, 5 games ahead of California and Texas.

Random record:  The Twins are 38-34 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 1999, Game One Hundred Seven


Date:  Friday, August 6.

Batting stars:  Corey Koskie was 3-for-4 with two RBIs.  Ron Coomer was 3-for-5 with a home run (his thirteenth), three runs, and three RBIs.  Cristian Guzman was 3-for-5 with a stolen base (his fifth) and two runs.  Chad Allen was 3-for-5.  Todd Walker was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.

Pitching stars:  Dan Perkins pitched two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk.  Travis Miller pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  Hector Carrasco pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk.  Mike Trombley allowed three walks but still pitched a scoreless inning, striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Jeremy Giambi was 3-for-5.  Mike Sweeney was 2-for-3 with a double, two walks, and two runs.  Rey Sanchez was 2-for-4.  Joe Randa was 2-for-5 with two doubles.  Johnny Damon was 2-for-5 with a walk and a stolen base, his twenty-second.  Carlos Febles was 1-for-2 with a two-run homer (his ninth) and a stolen base (his eighteenth).  Carlos Beltran was 1-for-6 with a home run, his seventeenth.

The game:  In the top of the first Guzman had a one-out single, went to second on a Walker walk, took third on a sacrifice fly, and scored on Koskie's single to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  The Royals came right back in the bottom of the first.  Damon led off with a single and Febles followed with a two-run homer, making it 2-1 Kansas City.

Kansas City added to their lead.  In the second Sanchez reached second on a single-plus-error and scored on Damon's single.  Beltran led off the third with a home run, Sweeney singled, Jermaine Dye walked, and Randa had an RBI double.  The first out followed, but then Giambi had an RBI single and a sacrifice fly plated another run.  The Royals led 7-1 after three innings.

The Twins did not start their comeback until the sixth.  Walker led off with a double and went to third on Coomer's single.  Koskie had a sacrifice fly for the first out, but Chad Allen singled and Matt Lawton walked, loading the bases.  Terry Steinbach had an RBI single and a ground out plated another run, cutting the margin to 7-4.

Kansas City scored a two-out run in the sixth when Sweeney doubled and scored on Dye's single.  The Twins came right back with two in the seventh.  Coomer homered for one run, and consecutive two-out singles by KoskieAllen, and Lawton made the score 8-6.  They took the lead for the first time since the first inning in the eighth.  Torii Hunter and Guzman had one-out singles.  With two down Coomer hit a two-run single to tie it.  Koskie singled him to second, and Allen had another single, bringing home the go-ahead run.

The Royals did not go away quietly.  In the bottom of the ninth, pinch-hitter Scott Pose walked and stole second.  With two out, Tom Kelly gave an intentional walk to Damon, putting the potential winning run on base.  An accidental walk to Jed Hansen (who?) loaded the bases, but Beltran struck out to end the game.

WP:  Miller (2-0).  LP:  Scott Service (4-4).  S:  Trombley (17).

Notes:  Jacque Jones was in center field, rather than Hunter.  Both had center field as their primary position in 1999, with Hunter playing 107 games then and Jones 82.  Clearly, then, there were games when each of them played in center field at some point, and that was the case in this game.  Jones started, but Hunter pinch-hit for him in the sixth and stayed in the game in center field.

Coomer was the DH rather than Marty Cordova.  This was one of only seven times Coomer was at DH in 1999.  He played 71 games at first base, which he shared with Doug Mientkiewicz, and 57 games at third base, which he shared with Koskie.  He was, of course, the Twins' "all-star" in 1999.

Cordova pinch-hit for Mientkiewicz in the sixth inning, with Denny Hocking then going to first base.  Brent Gates replaced Walker at second base in the eighth.

Terry Steinbach led the team in batting at .309.  He would finish at .284.  Koskie was batting .308.  He would finish at .310, which would lead the team at the end.  The Twins were eighth in team batting average at .264.

Coomer led the team in home runs at 16.  Koskie followed with 14.  Koskie had 11 and Allen 10.  The Twins were dead last in home runs with 105, forty below the thirteenth-place team, Tampa Bay.

Twins starter Eric Milton did not retire a man in the third inning.  In two official innings, he allowed seven runs (six earned) on seven hits and two walks.  He did strike out four.  You couldn't tell it from this game, but he actually pitched pretty well over the last four months of the season, going 5-7, 3.86, 1.10 WHIP.  Other than MiltonBrad Radke, and Joe Mays (6-9, 3.72 as a starter), the Twins' starters were pretty terrible.  LaTroy Hawkins (10-14, 6.66), Mike Lincoln (6-10, 6.84), and Dan Perkins (1-7, 6.54).  The Twins had 66 starts made by pitchers who had ERAs over 6.  It's hard to win very many games that way, and of course in 1999 the Twins didn't.

Trombley became the closer when Rick Aguilera was traded in May.  He did okay, saving 24 games and getting only one blown save.  He wasn't used the way closers are now, or even the way closers usually were then.  He came into a lot of tie games and came into a number of games in the eighth inning.  It was his only shot at being a closer--he signed with Baltimore in 2000.  The Twins didn't really have a closer in 2000, Hawkins was given the job in 2001, and eventually Eddie Guardado took over.

Jed Hansen played in parts of three seasons for the Royals, mostly at second base.  He played in 87 games, had 208 plate appearances, and batted .256/.342/.375.  Most of his positives were in his first season, 1997, when he batted .309/.394/.426 in 111 plate appearances--the rest of the time he was around the Mendoza line.  He was a good hitter in the low minors but basically topped out at AA.  In just over a thousand AAA games he batted .255/.342/.433.  Not embarrassing or anything, but not something that projects as a good batter in the majors, either.  Had he been a really good fielder he might have been able to have a career as a utility infielder, but one gets the impression that he was nothing special as a defender.  He kept playing until 2006, but 1999 was his swan song in the majors.

The was the first game of a three-game series which the Twins would sweep.  They were coming off a four-game losing streak.

Record:  The Twins were 45-62, in third place in the American League Central, 19.5 games behind Cleveland.  They would finish 63-97, in fifth (last) place, 33 games behind Cleveland.

The Royals were 45-63, in fourth place in the American League Central, 20 games behind Cleveland.  They would finish 64-97, 32.5 games behind Cleveland.

Rewind Record:  The Twins are 37-33 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 2011, Game One Hundred Nine


Date:  Tuesday, August 2.

Batting stars:  Michael Cuddyer was 2-for-4 with a double.  Jason Kubel was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Alex Burnett pitched a perfect inning, striking out one.  Matt Capps pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Ervin Santana pitched a complete game, giving up one run on eight hits and two walks and striking out seven.  He threw 121 pitches.  Vernon Wells was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Peter Bourjos was 2-for-3 with a double.  Mark Trumbo was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his twentieth.  Torii Hunter was 1-for-4 with a home run, his fourteenth.

The game:  The Angels started the scoring in the third.  Bourjos led off with a double, was bunted to third, and scored on a ground out to give Los Angeles a 1-0 lead.  The Twins got the run back in the fourth, as Cuddyer led off with a double and scored on a pair of ground outs, making it 1-1.

The Angels took control in the fourth.  Wells led off with a walk, Howie Kendrick doubled, and Trumbo hit a three-run homer to make it 4-1.  The Twins had a threat in the fifth, as Delmon Young led off with a walk followed by a Tsuyoshi Nishioka single, but Denard Span hit into a double play to take them out of the inning.  Hunter homered in the fifth to make it 5-1.

The Twins had one more threat, in the sixth, when Cuddyer and Kubel had one-out singles, but nothing came of it.  They did not advance a man past first after that.

WP:  Santana (7-8).  LP:  Brian Duensing (8-9).  S:  None.

Notes:  Joe Mauer was behind the plate for this game, one of just 52 times he was able to catch.  Drew Butera was actually the primary catcher, playing 93 games.  Rene Rivera caught 44.

Cuddyer was at first base, as Justin Morneau was out due to injury.  Morneau was able to play just 56 games at first base, with Cuddyer playing 46, Luke Hughes 36, Chris Parmelee 20, and Mauer 18.

Trevor Plouffe was at second base, as Alexi Casilla's season was effectively over due to injury.  Casilla was able to play just 56 games at second base.  Hughes played 37, Matt Tolbert 36, Cuddyer 17, Plouffe 17, and Brian Dinkelman 11.

Span was making his return to center field, having missed nearly two months due to injury.  He was able to play just 67 games in center.  Ben Revere played 89.

With Cuddyer at first base, Kubel was in right field.

Kubel was batting .306.  He would finish at .273.  Cuddyer was batting .300.  He would finish at .284.  Mauer would lead the team in batting at .287 in 333 plate appearances.  The Twins finished eleventh in batting at .247.

Cuddyer led the team in home runs with 20.  Then came Danny Valencia with 15, Jim Thome with 12, and Kubel with 12.  The Twins finished last in home runs with 103.  A Bomba Squad they were not.

Duensing pitched six innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and two walks and striking out three.  This would be his only season as a full-time starter.  Scott Baker was the only good starter they had, at 8-6, 3.14, but he was only able to make 21 starts due to injuries.  Carl Pavano made the most starts, 33, and went 9-13, 4.30.  Nick Blackburn was 7-10, 4.49 and Francisco Liriano was 9-10, 5.09.  The only other pitcher to make double-digit starts was Anthony Swarzak, who was 4-7, 4.32.

The 2011 team was really destroyed by injuries.  I didn't even mention the injury to Nishioka or Joe Nathan's struggles trying to come back.  Between guys playing out of position and guys who should have been in Rochester, it's no wonder they had a terrible year.

This was the last of a three-game losing streak.  They would win the next day, then go on a six-game losing streak.  Over the last two months of the season this team went 13-41.

Record:  The Twins were 50-59, in fourth place in the American League Central, 8 games behind Detroit.  They would finish 63-99, in fifth (last) place, 32 games behind Detroit.

The Angels were 60-50, in second place in the American League West, 1 game behind Texas.  They would finish 86-76, in second place, 10 games behind Texas.

Random record:  The Twins are 36-31 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 1976, Game One Hundred Forty-one


Date:  Wednesday, September 8.

Batting stars:  Lyman Bostock was 4-for-4 with a triple, a double, and two runs.  Larry Hisle was 2-for-2 with a walk and a stolen base, his twenty-ninth.

Pitching star:  Steve Luebber pitched a seven inning complete game, giving up one run on seven hits and no walks and striking out none.

Opposition stars:  Tommy Boggs pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and three walks and striking out none.

The game:  The Twins put men on first and third in the second inning but did not score.  The Rangers did score in the second, on a home run by Tom Grieve, but they also had the bases loaded with one out and were turned aside by a 1-2-3 double play, leaving the score 1-0.

The Twins tied it in the fourth.  Bostock singled, Hisle walked, and Butch Wynegar had an RBI single.  They still had men on first and second with none out, but could do more damage, leaving the score 1-1.  In the fifth, however, Steve Braun led off with a single, moved to third on a pair of outs, and scored on Bostock's triple.  Hisle delivered a run-scoring single to make it 3-1 Twins.

That was pretty much it.  Texas got a single in the fifth and another in the seventh, but did nothing with them.  The eighth started well for the Twins:  Bostock doubled and Hisle singled, putting men on first and third with none out.  But the game was called at that point.

WP:  Luebber (4-4).  LP:  Boggs (1-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Braun was the designated hitter and batted leadoff.  He and Craig Kusick mostly shared the DH job, with Kusick playing a few more games there (79 to 71).  Tony Oliva, in his last season, played 32 games at DH.

The Twins made no substitutions.  You could say that neither team did, really.  Reliever Craig Skok was apparently announced into the game two batters into the eighth inning, but the game was called before he could pitch to a batter.  Apparently he got credit for a game played, as he shows up in the box score and it's in his game log.

Bostock led the team in batting at this point at .331.  Carew was right behind him at .328.  Carew would overtake Bostock by season's end, winning the team batting championship .331 to .323.  This snapped a string of four consecutive league batting crowns by Carew, as George Brett took the crown at .333 and Hal McRae was right behind him at .332.  You may recall that there was kerfuffle at the end of the season, with McRae alleging that Twins outfielder Steve Brye had purposely allowed a Brett fly ball to fall for a hit so that Brett would win the batting title rather than McRae, and alleging that Gene Mauch had purposely made that happen for racial reasons.  Nothing ever came of the allegations.

The Twins home run leader was Disco Dan Ford with 20.  Hisle had 14, Kusick 11, and Wynegar 10.  A Bomba Squad they were not.  Surprisingly, they hit more homers than four other American League teams.

This was one of two complete games Luebber had in his career, and both were in 1976.  The other came on August 2, when he shut out Oakland.  Bert Blyleven was the ace of the staff until he was traded; then it was probably Dave Goltz (14-14, 3.36).  Pete Redfern had his one good year as a starter, going 8-8, 3.51.  Bill Singer pitched well after the trade, going 9-9, 3.77.  Other starters included Luebber (4-5, 4.00), Jim Hughes (9-14, 4.98), and Eddie Bane (4-7, 5.11).  The leader in wins, however, was reliever Bill Campbell, who went 17-5, 3.01 with 20 saves.  He pitched 167.2 innings of relief over 78 games.

There were no strikeouts in the game for either team.  Even granting that it was a seven-inning game, that's pretty unusual.

I assume the game was rained out in the top of the eighth, but the game log does not actually say that.

Record:  The Twins were 71-70, in third place in the American League West, 9.5 games behind Kansas City.  They would finish 85-77, in third place, 5 games behind Kansas City.

The Rangers were 63-75, in fourth place in the American League West, 16 games behind Kansas City.  They would finish 76-86, tied for fourth with California, 14 games behind Kansas City.

Random Record:  The Twins are 33-27 in Random Rewind games.