MINNESOTA 5, MILWAUKEE 2 IN MILWAUKEE (GAME 1 OF DOUBLEHEADER)
Date: Wednesday, August 22.
Batting stars: Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a triple, a double, and two RBIs. Houston Jimenez was 2-for-4 with two runs. Tom Brunansky was 1-for-4 with a home run, his twenty-sixth.
Pitching star: Mike Smithson pitched a complete game, giving up two runs on six hits and two walks and striking out two.
Opposition stars: Ben Oglivie was 2-for-3 with a home run (his tenth) and a walk. Cecil Cooper was 2-for-4 with a home run, his eighth. Mike Caldwell pitched a complete game despite allowing five runs on eight hits and a walk and striking out two.
The game: Oglivie homered in the second to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead. It didn't last long, as the Twins came back with two in the third. Jimenez singled and Puckett doubled, putting men on second and third with none out. Sacrifice flies by Dave Meier and Mickey Hatcher brought home the runs.
Milwaukee got a single, a walk, and a hit batsman in the fourth, but a double play took them out of the inning. In the seventh, Brunansky led off with a home run. The next two batter went out. Tim Laudner then struck out, but reached base on a wild pitch. Jimenez doubled and Puckett delivered a two-run triple, giving the Twins a 5-1 lead. Cooper homered with two out in the ninth, but the Brewers did not get the tying run up to bat or even come close to doing so.
WP: Smithson (13-9). LP: Caldwell (6-11). S: None.
Notes: Laudner was behind the plate, as you would expect. He and Dave Engle shared catching duties in 1984, with Engle playing in slightly more games (86-81). Neither hit all that well, with Engle providing a higher batting average and Laudner providing more power, but their OPS numbers were .661 (Engle) and .647 (Laudner).
Meier was in left field in this game. Hatcher was the regular left field, but he was the DH in this game, with regular DH Randy Bush out of the lineup.
Neither team made any substitutions and both pitchers threw complete games. I suspect that didn't happen very often even back then. Now, of course, it's nearly unheard of.
Hrbek led the team in batting at .318. He would finish at .311, a figure which would still lead the team. Hatcher was batting .311--he would finish at .302. Puckett, in his rookie season, was batting .305--he would finish at .296. The Twins were tied for sixth in batting at .265. Boston would lead the league at .283.
Brunansky would lead the team in home runs with 32. Hrbek was next at 27, followed by Tim Teufel (14), Bush (11), and Laudner (10). The Twins hit 114 home runs, which was next-to-last in the league. Detroit led with 187. I would not have guessed that the 1984 Twins were next-to-last in home runs.
Smithson led the team in starts with 39 and was one of three reliable starters the Twins had, going 15-13, 3.68, 1.19 WHIP. Frank Viola was the staff ace, going 18-12, 3.21, 1.16. John Butcher was 13-11, 3.44, 1.31. After that it was pray for rain, which doesn't work very well when your home field is a dome. Ken Schrom, who had pitched well the year before, was 5-11, 4.47, 1.44. Ed Hodge, in his rookie year (which turned out to also be his last year), was 4-3, 4.77, 1.45, and Al Williams, the Nicaraguan guerrilla fighter, was 3-5, 5.77, 1.41. If the Twins could've found even a fourth starter, they might well have won the division.
Of course, the bullpen wasn't much help, either. The two relievers who appeared in the most games were Ron Davis (7-11, 4.55, 1.45) and Pete Filson (6-5, 4.10, 1.35). Even the guys with better ERAs allowed a ton of baserunners: Rick Lysander (3.49 ERA, 1.57 WHIP), Len Whitehouse (3.16, 1.47), and Mike Walters (3.72, 1.55).
On the strength of their three good starters, the Twins were fourth in ERA at 3.85. Detroit led with 3.49. They were also fourth in WHIP at 1.32. Detroit led there, too, at 1.26.
Surprisingly, with players like Cooper, Oglivie, Robin Yount, and Ted Simmons, the Brewers finished last in home runs with just 96. Yount led the team with 16.
The Twins would sweep the doubleheader, their fifth win in six games.
Record: The Twins were 66-58, in first place in the American League West, five games ahead of California and Kansas City. They would finish 81-81, tied for third with California, three games behind Kansas City.
The Brewers were 52-73, in seventh (last) place in the American League East, 30.5 games behind Detroit. They would finish 67-94, in last place, 36.5 games behind Detroit.
Random Record: The Twins are 43-41 in Random Rewind games.