Tag Archives: platooning

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: 1979, Game Twenty-four


Date:  Friday, May 4.

Batting stars:  Rob Wilfong was 2-for-2 with a walk and two runs.  Roy Smalley was 2-for-3 with two walks.  Mike Cubbage was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs.  Willie Norwood was 2-for-4 with a stolen base (his third) and two runs.  Ron Jackson was 1-for-3 with a home run (his third) and a walk.  Glenn Adams was 1-for-4 with a home run, his second.

Pitching star:  Mike Marshall pitched 2.2 scoreless innings, giving up three hits and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Rusty Staub was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a walk, and two RBIs.  Ron LeFlore was 3-for-5 with three runs.  Steve Kemp was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.  Jerry Morales was 3-for-5 with a double.

The game:  The Twins gifted the Tigers a run in the top of the third:  LeFlore singled with one out, followed by a walk to Lou Whitaker.  With two out, walks to Jason Thompson and Staub made it 1-0 Detroit.  The Tigers gifted the run right back in the bottom of the third, as Norwood got an infield single, was bunted to second, went to third on a ground out, and scored on an error, making it 1-1 after three.

Detroit got an unearned run of their own in the fourth, as Morales singled, Alan Trammell reached on an error, LeFlore singled to load the bases, and Kemp had a two-run single, making it 3-1 Tigers.  But again the Twins came back in the bottom of the inning.  Butch Wynegar led off with a single.  With one out, Norwood singled and Wilfong walked, loading the bases.  Cubbage delivered a two-run single and Smalley had an RBI single, putting the Twins up 4-3.  Ron Jackson homered in the fifth, making it 5-3.

The Tigers came back to tie it in the sixth.  Singles by LeFlore and Kemp put men on first and third with one out.  A sacrifice fly scored a run and Staub doubled home another, making it 5-5.  Once again, the Twins countered in the bottom of the inning.  Wilfong singled and scored from first on a Cubbage double, giving the Twins a 6-5 lead.

Detroit tied it once more in the seventh when Morales doubled and scored on a pair of fly balls.  The Twins again took the lead back in the bottom of the inning, when Adams led off the inning with a home run and put the Twins up 7-6.

And that was it.  The Tigers threatened in the eighth, when Kemp doubled and Jason Thompson singled to put men on first and third with one out, but Staub hit into a double play.  Lance Parrish led off the ninth with a single, but he never advanced past first base.

WP:  Marshall (4-1).  LP:  Aurelio Lopez (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Norwood was in center.  He began the year as the regular center fielder, but lost the job in late May, with Ken Landreaux moving over from left to take over in center.  The Twins pretty much just mixed and matched their corner outfielders the rest of the season.  In left it was Bombo Rivera (61 games), Adams (45), and Dave Edwards (36).  In right it was Hosken Powell (85 games), Rivera (50), Norwood (28), Edwards (24), and Rick Sofield (22).

The DHs had a similar situation.  The most used was Jose Morales, with 77 games.  Others used were Adams (54), Danny Goodwin (51), Cubbage (22), Norwood (17), and Craig Kusick (12).

Cubbage was at third base in place of John Castino.  He was in somewhat of a platoon with Castino, but the right-handed Castino got the majority of the playing time.  Presumably Gene Mauch tried to spot Cubbage against right-handers he thought he could hit.

Rivera replaced Adams in right field in the eighth.  Castino pinch-hit for Cubbage in the eighth and stayed in at third base.

The Twins were hitting, at least for average, early in the season.  They had five players with averages of .300 or better.  They were led by Smalley, who was batting .396.  He would be over .400 as late as May 20 and was still batting .373 at the end of June.  He did a belly-flop in the second half, though, and finished at .271.  Wilfong was batting .338--he would finish at .313.  John Castino was batting .333--he would finish at .285.  Landreaux was batting .312--he would finish at .305.  Adams was batting .300--he would finish at .301.

Pete Redfern started for the Twins.  He struck out four in four innings, but allowed three runs (one earned) on five hits and four walks.  This would be one of just six starts for Redfern--he spent most of the year in the bullpen and had a fine season, going 7-3, 3.49, 1.30 WHIP.

As you probably know, it was not unusual for Marshall to pitch multiple innings.  He set a league record by appearing in ninety games and pitched 142 relief innings.  That was only his third-highest total of his career--he had pitched 179 relief innings for Montreal in 1973 and 208.1 for the Dodgers in 1974.  He had a fine season for the Twins in 1979 as well, going 10-15, 32 saves, 2.65 ERA, 1.26 WHIP.

This was the last of a six-game winning streak for the Twins.  They would lose one, then win five more, making them eleven of twelve.

Record:  The Twins were 17-7, in first place in the American League West, 1.5 games ahead of California.  They would finish 82-80, in fourth place, six games behind California.

The Tigers were 8-11, in fifth place in the American League East, 5 games behind Boston.  They would finish 85-76, in fifth place, 18 games behind Baltimore.


Random Rewind: 1970, Game Seventy-five


Date:  Sunday, July 5.

Batting stars:  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-3 with a home run (his twenty-fourth), two walks, two runs, and two RBIs.  Leo Cardenas was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and three RBIs.  Jim Holt was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-5.

Pitching star:  Stan Williams was perfect over 3.1 innings, retiring all ten men he faced.  He struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Duane Josephson was 2-for-4 with a triple.  Ken Berry was 1-for-3 with a walk.

The game:  The Twins took control early.  They got on the board in the second inning.  Killebrew walked, Rich Reese singled, and Paul Ratliff was hit by a pitch, loading the bases with none out.  They only scored once, on Cardenas' sacrifice fly, but the broke it open in the third.  Cesar Tovar and Holt singled, putting men on first and third with none out.  Oliva had an RBI single, a run scored on a wild pitch, and Killebrew had an RBI single.  A force out and a Ratliff single put men on first and second with one down.  Cardenas had an RBI single, and a sacrifice fly followed.  It was 6-0 Twins and it was never close again.

The Twins added some more in the fifth.  Killebrew led off with a home run.  Reese and Ratliff walked and Danny Thompson had an RBI single.  Cesar Tovar was hit by a pitch, loading the bases, and Holt delivered a two-run single to put the Twins up 10-0.

The White Sox got all of their runs in the sixth.  With one out, Walt Williams walked and Luis Aparicio doubled.  Tom McCraw drove in a run with a double, a ground out brought home a second run, and Josephson tripled in a third run, cutting the Twins' margin to 10-3.  Chicago did not get a baserunner after that, however.

The Twins added single runs in the sixth and seventh.  In the sixth Ratliff was again hit by a pitch and scored on scored on Cardenas' double.  In the seventh Tovar reached on an error, Oliva singled, and Killebrew was intentionally walked, loading the bases with two out.  Reese was then hit by a pitch (the fourth hit batsman of the game) to force in the game's final run.

WP:  Jim Kaat (7-6).  LP:  Bob Miller (3-4).  S:  Williams (7).

Notes:  Ratliff was behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald.

Holt was in left in place of Brant Alyea.  That's kind of misleading, though, because while Alyea is listed as the regular, Holt actually played a few more games in left (76 to 73).  I assume the left-handed batting Holt was somewhat platooned with the right-handed Alyea.

Herman Hill pinch-ran for Tovar in the seventh and replaced him in center field.  Frank Quilici pinch-ran for Killebrew in the seventh inning and went to second base, with Thompson moving from second to third.

Oliva was the Twins leading batter at .326.  He finished at .325.  Killebrew was batting .313.  He finished at .271.  Tovar was batting .311.  He finished at .300.

Thompson was the regular second baseman because Rod Carew missed much of the season due to injury.

Jim Kaat started for the Twins.  He pitched well for five innings, but his line was 5.2 innings, three runs, seven hits, two walks, and no strikeouts.  His ERA was 4.01.  He would finish strong, though, ending at 14-10, 3.56.

Ron Perranoski was the main closer, but Williams got his chances, too.  He had fifteen saves, going 15-for-19 in save opportunities.  He was also 10-1, 1.99, 1,03 WHIP.  That's a very good season in anyone's book.

This was the only triple of the season for Duane Josephson.  Remarkably, he hit six of them in 1968, half his career total.  That was his only year as a regular, and he made the all-star team.  I don't know how many people made he all-star team in their only year as a regular player, but I suspect the list is not very long.  He missed much of the 1969 season due to a blood clot, had to share catching chores with Ed Herrmann in 1970, and was traded to the Red Sox in spring training in 1971.  Injuries limited his playing time that season, and then some guy named Fisk came along.  Josephson was a backup in 1972, then his playing career was over.

The Bob Miller who started for the White Sox was, indeed, the Bob Miller who had pitched for the Twins in 1968-1969.  He was traded to Cleveland over the off-season in a deal that got the Twins Williams and Luis Tiant, but cost them Graig Nettles.  The Indians then shipped him on to Chicago in June.

This was the first game of a five-game winning streak for the Twins.  They had just had a five-game winning streak snapped the day before, so the Twins were in a stretch where they won ten of eleven.

Record:  The Twins were 49-26, in first place in the American League West, 4 games ahead of California.  They would finish 98-64, in first place, 9 games ahead of Oakland.

The White Sox were 28-52, in fifth place in the American League West, 23.5 games behind Minnesota.  They would finish 56-106, in sixth (last) place, 42 games behind Minnesota.


Game Recap #55: Unclutch Batters 2, Beer Makers 6

It's tempting to blame the offense for this one, and on one level that's true.  You're not going to win very many games scoring just two runs.  On the other hand, the Twins had twelve hits, three of them doubles, and drew two walks.  It's not easy to get fourteen baserunners and score only twice, especially when three of the baserunners put themselves into scoring position.

This would, of course, lead easily into a discussion of clutch hitting and its importance, except that discussion has been had numerous times and I don't know how to add anything to it.  I'll just make a prediction that if the Twins can keep getting fourteen baserunners every game, they will, on average, score more than two runs.

Gibson wasn't great, but he wasn't terrible, either.  With better luck and better defense, he might have given up two or three runs rather than four.  He kept them in the game for six innings.  I really think the whole home/road split for Gibson is a product of small sample size.  He had a few really bad outings, and they happened to be on the road.  That happens sometimes.  But he's had a couple of really good games on the road, too.  As long as the Twins don't start harping on it, so that it gets in his head, I don't think it's anything to worry about.

We once again saw Santana in center field.  I didn't have time to check whether this is developing into a platoon arrangement or if this just Gardy being Gardy and going with his gut.  If it is a platoon, though, it means Santana is going to get most of the at-bats.

I can certainly see why you don't want Hicks in the lineup on offense, but age twenty-three is awfully young to be riding the bench.  Again, you get better at baseball by playing baseball.  If you're going to give Santana the bulk of the playing time anyway, then send Hicks to Rochester and make Santana the centerfielder.  Yes, Santana will make plenty of mistakes--it's tough to learn a new position in the big leagues--but if that's your decision then you understand that living with mistakes is part of it.  He'll learn, eventually.  Let Hicks go to Rochester and learn how to hit.  Maybe he can do that and maybe he can't, but he's not going to learn to hit while sitting on the bench.

So tonight we move to game two of this odd four-game series.  Samuel Deduno and His Magical Zoomball go against Yovani Gallardo, who started the season very well but has struggled some more recently.  Let's get those fourteen baserunners, guys, and let's turn them into more than two runs!  Tonight we start our season-ending one hundred seven-game winning streak!  We'll just have to settle for 133-29!