Tag Archives: pinch-hitters

1970 Rewind: Game Sixty-two


Date:  Tuesday, June 23.

Batting star:  George Mitterwald was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his fifth.

Pitching stars:  Bert Blyleven struck out seven in six innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on eight hits and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Phil Roof was 2-for-3 with a home run, his sixth.  Roberto Pena was 2-for-4.  Bobby Bolin pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits and four walks and striking out three.  Dave Baldwin struck out two in two perfect innings.

The game:  The Twins loaded the bases in the second inning but did not score.  In the bottom of the second, Dave May singled, went to second on a passed ball, and scored on Pena's single to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead.

The Twins put two on with one out in the third but again did not score.  They got on the board in the fifth, as Cesar Tovar doubled and scored on a Jim Holt single.  The Twins took the lead in the sixth when Bob Allison singled and Mitterwald hit a two-out two-run homer, making it 3-1 MInnesota.

The Brewers had two on in the fifth and again in the sixth but did not score.  Roof homered leading off the seventh to cut the lead to 3-2.  It was still 3-2 in the ninth.  Roof was hit by a pitch with one out and Tommy Harper walked with two out.  Ron Perranoski then came in to face pinch-hitter Gus Gil.  Gil hit a double to left, scoring both runners, and Milwaukee took the win, 4-3.

WP:  Baldwin (2-0).

LP:  Tom Hall (2-2).

S:  None.

Notes:  Holt was again in right in place of Tony Oliva.  Allison was again in left in place of Brant Alyea.  Frank Quilici was at second base in place of Rod Carew.  So as not to spoiler it, I haven't checked if Bill Rigney continued to use the light-hitting Quilici to replace Carew or if he went a different direction.  We'll see as the series goes on.  With Quilici in the starting lineup, Rigney did not use a defensive replacement for Harmon Killebrew at third base.

Killebrew was 0-for-3 and was batting .301.  Hall gave up two runs in 2.2 innings and had an ERA of 2.70.

Quilici was 0-for-3 and was batting .172.

The Brewers used six pinch-hitters in the game:  Ted Savage, Gil, Danny Walton, Mike Hershberger, Tito Francona, and Jerry McNertney.  They also used a pinch-runner, Max Alvis.  I miss the days when teams had enough bench players that they could do stuff like that.

With the recent election, the 1970 Twins had five Hall-of-Famers:  BlylevenCarewKaatKillebrew, and Oliva.  I'm sure that's nowhere near the record, but it's still impressive.

The Twins were now 2-3 on their eleven-game road trip.

Record:  The Twins were 40-22, in first place in the American League West, 4.5 games ahead of California.

1970 Rewind: Game Fifty-eight


Date:  Friday, June 19.

Batting stars:  Rod Carew was 3-for-4.  Jim Holt was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Tom Hall struck out three in 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk.  Steve Barber pitched two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Amos Otis was 3-for-4 with a double.  Bob Oliver was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs.  Joe Keough was 2-for-4.  Dick Drago pitched a complete game, giving up an unearned run on seven hits and one walk and striking out five.

The game:  There was no score until the third, when Bobby Floyd led off with a walk, went to second on a ground out, and scored on a Cookie Rojas single.  The Royals added two in the fourth:  Oliver and Keough led off with singles and Lou Piniella followed with an RBI double.  Ed Kirkpatrick was intentionally walked, loading the bases with still none out.  All Kansas City could get out of that was one more, on a ground out, but it put the Royals up 3-0.  Kansas City added two more in the fifth.  Otis hit a one-out single and scored on Oliver's double.  Oliver went to third on Keough's single and scored on a ground out to make it 5-0 Royals.

The Twins didn't mount a lot of threats.  They had a walk and a single with two out in the second.  They got a pair of one-out singles in the seventh.  Their lone run scored in the eighth when Cesar Tovar reached on a two-base error and scored on a Carew single.

WP:  Drago (5-4).

LP:  Bert Blyleven (2-2).

S:  None.

Notes:  Holt was in left in place of Brant Alyea.  Charlie Manuel pinch-hit for Hall in the seventh.  Paul Ratliff pinch-hit for George Mitterwald in the ninth.

Carew was batting .373.  Tony Oliva was 0-for-4 and was batting .324.  Harmon Killebrew was 0-for-4 and was batting .310.  Hall had an ERA of 2.30.  Barber had an ERA of 2.87.

Manuel was batting .176.  Manuel had been with the Twins all season and had appeared in twenty games, all as a pinch-hitter.  That's a tough way to try to succeed.  He was in his age twenty-six season.  I'm sure he was happy to be in the majors, but it sure wasn't a way to try to develop a young-ish player.

This was Blyleven's first poor start.  He allowed five runs in 4.1 innings, giving up seven hits and two walks and striking out two.

I don't remember that I've ever heard of Bobby Floyd.  He played in parts of seven major league seasons, from 1968-1974, but only once got as many as a hundred at-bats in a season (134 in 1972).  He was an infielder, playing 98 games at shortstop, 56 games at second base, and 48 games at third base.  He batted .219/.264/.266 in 425 at-bats.  1970 was his best season at bat, as he batted .311/.360/.400 in 45 at-bats.  He was tied with me in major league career home runs, as we both hit zero.  He did have a lengthy career as a minor league manager and coach.

Record:  The Twins were 38-20, in first place in the American League West, five games ahead of California.

1970 Rewind: Game Thirty-one


Date:  Saturday, May 16.

Batting stars:  Rod Carew was 3-for-4 with a home run, a hit-by-pitch, three runs, and three RBIs.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-3 with two doubles, two walks, a stolen base (his eleventh), and four runs.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-5 with a home run (his seventh), two runs, and four RBIs.  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-5 with a home run, his eleventh.  Brant Alyea was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his seventh.

Pitching star:  Ron Perranoski struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up a walk.

Opposition stars:  Future Twin Phil Roof was 3-for-4 with a home run (his second), a walk, and two runs.  John Kennedy was 2-for-3 with a home run, his second.  Steve Hovley was 2-for-4 with a double.  Mike Hegan was 2-for-5 with a triple and a double.  Ted Kubiak was 2-for-5.  Russ Snyder was 1-for-5 with a three-run homer.

The game:  Cesar Tovar walked to open the game, stole second, and scored on a pair of ground outs to put the Twins up 1-0.  They took control of the game in the third when Tovar again started a rally.  He doubled and scored on a Rod Carew single.  Oliva and Killebrew then hit back-to-back home runs to give the Twins a 5-0 lead.

Kennedy homered in the bottom of the third to put the Brewers on the board.  The Twins came back in the bottom of the third as Tovar again stated a rally.  He walked and Carew followed with a two-run homer, making it 7-1.

Tovar started one more rally in the sixth.  He doubled and Carew was hit by a pitch.  Oliva had an RBI single, Rich Reese hit a sacrifice fly, and Alyea hit a two-run homer, bringing the score to 11-1.

Milwaukee tried to make a game of it.  In the sixth Hovley doubled and Max Alvis singled him in to make it 11-2.  In the seventh, Roof singled, Kubiak moved him to third, and Snyder hit a three-run homer to cut the lead to 11-5.  It did not kill the rally--Hegan doubled and future Twin Danny Walton singled, bringing the score to 11-6.  Roof homered in the eighth to cut the lead to 11-7, but that was all the Brewers could do.

WP:  Dave Boswell (1-5).

LP:  Gene Brabender (1-5).

S:  Ron Perranoski (9).

Notes:  Paul Ratliff remained behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald.  Jim Holt replaced Alyea in left in the sixth inning.  Frank Quilici replaced Killebrew at third in the eighth.

Carew was batting .408, the first time all year (and maybe in his career) that he was over .400.  Oliva was batting .333.  Killebrew was batting .330.  Alyea was batting .302.  Stan Williams gave up two runs in 1.2 innings and had an ERA of 1.80.  Perranoski had an ERA of 1.69.

Boswell pitched 6.1 innings, giving up five runs on ten hits and a walk and striking out three.  His ERA was 6.37.

Brabender started for Milwaukee.  He pitched just two innings, giving up five runs on five hits and two walks and striking out two.

Carew was 12-for-18 over his last four games, raising his average from .328 to .408.  He was 16-for-33 over his last eight games,

Bill Rigney must have considered Alyea to be an awful outfielder.  He has frequently done what he did here, replacing him with Holt in the sixth inning when he knew that spot in the batting order would have to come up at least one more time.

The Brewers used five pinch-hitters:  Hank Allen, Greg Goossen, Mike Hershberger, Jerry McNertney, and Ted Savage.  These days, of course, teams don't even have five substitutes available.

Record:  The Twins were 21-10, in first place in the American League West by winning percentage, but tied with California in games.

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-Four


Date:  Tuesday, September 9.

Batting stars:  Corey Koskie was 3-for-3 with a double, two walks, and two runs.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-4.

Pitching star:  Jesse Orosco pitched a scoreless inning despite giving up a hit and two walks.  He struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Carlos Lee was 3-for-4 with a home run (his twenty-eighth), a double, a stolen base (his seventeenth), two runs, and two RBIs.  Joe Crede was 2-for-4 with a double.  Magglio Ordonez was 2-for-5 with a home run (his twenty-seventh), two runs, and two RBIs.  Roberto Alomar was 1-for-4 with a home run (his fifth) and a walk.  Mark Buehrle pitched six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and three walks and striking out two.

The game:  The White Sox opened the scoring in the second inning.  Lee singled and Paul Konerko walked, putting two men on with one out.  Crede doubled home a run, a sacrifice fly brought in another, and Tony Graffanino singled in a third to make it 3-0 Chicago.

The Twins got back into it in the fourth.  Mientkiewicz and Koskie singled, Torii Hunter had an RBI double, and a ground out cut the lead to 3-2.  It went to 4-2 in the fifth when Ordonez homered.  The Twins had three baserunners in the sixth, but did not score because they lost two runners on the bases.

The White Sox took control in the seventh.  The first two batters went out, but then Alomar homered, Frank Thomas doubled, Ordonez had an RBI single, and Lee hit a two-run homer to give Chicago an 8-2 lead.

The Twins loaded the bases in the eighth but didn't score.  It cost them, because they did get back into the game in the ninth.  Lew Ford led off with a double, Denny Hocking had an RBI triple, and Justin Morneau drove in a run with a single.  With one out, walks to Koskie and Hunter loaded the bases.  A sacrifice fly made it 8-5 and Jacque Jones singled.  It was 8-6 with the tying run on base and the winning run at bat in Michael Cuddyer.  He struck out, however, and the game was over.

WP:  Buehrle (12-13).  LP:  Carlos Pulido (0-1).  S:  Tom Gordon (11).

Notes:  Chris Gomez was at second base in the continuing absence of Luis Rivas.  Shannon Stewart was in left with Dustan Mohr in right.

The Twins used five pinch-hitters.  Michael Ryan pinch-hit for Gomez in the seventh, with Hocking going in to play second base.  Cuddyer pinch-hit for Cristian Guzman in the eighth and stayed in the game at second base, with Hocking moving to short.  Ford pinch-hit for Stewart in the ninth.  Morneau pinch-hit for Mientkiewicz in the ninth.  Jones pinch-hit for Mohr in the ninth.

Ryan was 0-for-1 and was batting .375.  Ford was 1-for-1 and was batting .333.  Stewart was 0-for-3 and was batting .311.  Mientkiewicz was batting .305.  Jones was 1-for-1 and was batting .305.  A. J. Pierzynski was 1-for-3 and was batting .302.

With various Twins starters either injured or ineffective, the Twins turned to Pulido for the start in this game.  He pitched three innings, allowing three runs on four hits and two walks and striking out one.  His ERA was 2.38.  Rick Reed came in and pitched three solid innings but fell apart in his fourth inning, so his line is 3.2 innings, three runs, four hits, and a walk.  His ERA was 5.08.  Orosco's scoreless inning lowered his ERA to 7.47.

The Twins scored their runs in the ninth off Jose Paniagua.  This was his only major league appearance in 2003 and the last of his career.  A sad way to end:  one-third of an inning, four runs, three hits, one walk.  He continued to pitch for several more years--in the minors, in winter ball, in independent ball, in foreign countries--not ending his playing career until 2008.  In his major league career, he went 18-21, 4.49, 1.52 WHIP.  He pitched 357 innings in 270 games (14 starts).

It came as a surprise to me that Carlos Lee had 125 stolen bases in his career.  He had 18 in 2003, one shy of his career mark of 19 in 2006.  He had double-digit stolen bases in seven seasons.

The Twins had dropped two in a row to the division leaders.  Kansas City lost again, so the Twins had no worries about dropping to third.

Record:  The Twins were 76-68, in second place in the American League Central, two games behind Chicago.  They were 2.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.

Random Rewind: 1971, Game Thirty


Date:  Sunday, May 9.

Batting stars:  Jim Holt was 3-for-4 with two triples, a walk, and three runs.  Tony Oliva was 3-for-4 with two doubles.  Leo Cardenas was 1-for-5 with a home run, his second.

Pitching star:  Ray Corbin struck out four in four shutout innings of relief, giving up no hits and one walk.

Opposition stars:  Tim Cullen was 2-for-4 with a triple and two runs.  Del Unser was 1-for-5 with a home run, his second.

The game:  Unser led off the game with a home run, putting the Senators up 1-0.  In the second, walks to Joe Foy and Jim French and a single by Cullen loaded the bases with none out.  A 1-2-3 double play kept Washington off the board momentarily, but Denny McLain hit a two-run triple to give the Senators a 3-0 lead.

The Twins came back in the fourth.  Cardenas led off the inning with a home run.  Oliva doubled, followed by a run-scoring single-plus-error by Harmon Killebrew.  Holt then tripled to tie the score and Brant Alyea hit a sacrifice fly to put the Twins up 4-3.

The Senators went back in front in the sixth.  French singled, Cullen tripled, and Toby Harrah hit a sacrifice fly to give them a 5-4 advantage.  The lead only lasted until the Twins came up to bat, because Holt hit a one-out triple and Alyea followed with his second sacrifice fly to tie it 5-5.

It stayed tied until the tenth.  The first two Twins batters went out.  Holt and Alyea then singled, putting men on first and third.  Rich Reese was intentionally walked to load the bases and bring up George Mitterwald.  Mitterwald came through with an RBI single and the Twins won 6-5.

WP:  Corbin (3-1).  LP:  McLain (3-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Killebrew was at third base in this game, with Reese at first.  Killer played both first and third in 1971, with Steve Braun usually playing third when Harmon was at first.

Alyea was in left in place of Cesar Tovar, who missed a few days, presumably with a minor injury or illness.  Tom Tischinski caught in place of Mitterwald.

Paul Ray Powell pinch-ran for Oliva in the eighth.  He stayed in the game in center field, with Holt moving to right.  Charlie Manuel pinch-hit for Tischinski in the ninth, with Mitterwald entering the game to catch in the tenth.

Despite using three pitchers, the Twins did not pinch-hit for any of them.  Stan Williams batted twice (0-for-2) and Corbin batted twice (0-for-2).

There were four triples in this game.  While I'm sure that's nowhere near a record, it's still a lot of triples, especially when you think of the number of games that can go by where you don't even see one.  I imagine the record was set back in the dead ball era, and I'm sure it's a lot more than four, but four is still remarkable.

Holt hit two of the triples.  He had three for the season and ten in his career.  Cullen had four triples for the season and nine in his career.  This was one of two triples McLain had in his career.

Astonishingly, McLain pitched a complete game.  I know men were men back then, but it's not exactly like he was mowing them down.  He allowed six runs on thirteen hits and two walks.  His game score was forty-four.  They don't give pitch counts for games that old, but it had to be a lot.  It's not like their bullpen was terrible--they had Joe Grzenda (5-2, 1.92), Paul Lindblad (6-4, 2.58), Denny Riddleberger (3-1, 3.23), and Horacio Pina (1-1, 3.59).  After his two Cy Young seasons, 1968-1969, McLain fell off sharply and never had a good year again.  This was his last full season in the majors, and he went 10-22, 4.28, 1.41 WHIP.

1971 is somewhat analogous to 2011.  It's not a perfect analogy by any means, but in both cases you had a team that had been good for a while suddenly fall off a cliff.  The Twins had won the division in 1969 and 1970, and as is seen below, were nowhere close in 1971.

Record:  The Twins were 15-15, in fourth place in the American League West, five games behind Oakland.  They would finish 74-86, in fifth place, 26.5 games behind Oakland.

The Senators were 13-16, in fifth place in the American League East, six games behind Boston.  They would finish 63-96, in fifth place, 38.5 games behind Baltimore.