Tag Archives: quick hook

1991 Rewind: ALCS Game Three

MINNESOTA 3, TORONTO 2 IN TORONTO (10 INNINGS)

Date:  Friday, October 11.

Batting stars:  Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-5 with a double.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-5 with a double.  Mike Pagliarulo hit a pinch-hit home run.

Pitching stars:  David West struck out three in 2.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and three walks.  Carl Willis pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.  Rick Aguilera pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Jimmy Key pitched six innings, giving up two runs on five hits and a walk and striking out one.  Joe Carter was 1-for-3 with a walk.

The game:  With two out in the first inning Carter homered to get the Blue Jays on the board.  They weren't done, as John Olerud walked, Kelly Gruber singled, and Candy Maldonado delivered an RBI double, giving Toronto a 2-0 lead.

The Twins did not get a hit until the fourth, when Puckett hit a double.  Nothing came of it, and nothing came of the Blue Jays' fourth, when they opened the inning with a pair of walks.  The Twins got on the board in the fifth, when Shane Mack tripled and scored on a ground ball.

In Toronto's fifth, two more walks and a wild pitch put men on second and third, but again nothing came of it.  The Twins tied it in the sixth when Knoblauch hit a one-out double and Puckett drove him in with a single.  The Blue Jays threatened again in the seventh when Devon White singled, was bunted to second, and Carter was intentionally walked, but again they did not score.  There were no further threats through nine, so we went to extra innings.

Well, only one extra inning.  With one out in the tenth, Pagliarulo pinch-hit for Scott Leius and hit a 1-0 pitch over the fence to give the Twins their first lead at 3-2.  Aguilera came on and retired Toronto in order in the bottom of the tenth to give the Twins a victory.

WP:  Mark Guthrie.  LP:  Mike Timlin.  S:  Aguilera (2).

Notes:  Scott Erickson was the starting pitcher, so Junior Ortiz was behind the plate.  Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the ninth.  Al Newman came in to play shortstop.  Gene Larkin pinch-hit for Ortiz in the tenth.  Brian Harper came in to catch.  As stated above, Pagliarulo pinch-hit for Leius in the tenth and stayed in the game at third base.

Erickson pitched four innings, giving up two runs on three hits and five walks and striking out two.  He came out in the fifth after giving up a leadoff walk to Roberto Alomar.  It was a quick hook, in a way, but five walks (and three in the last inning-plus) will tend to make a manager do that.  The Twins bullpen came through in a big way, pitched six scoreless innings.  In addition to the pitchers listed under "pitching stars", Guthrie came in to retire the only man he faced, Rob Ducey.

Toronto stranded ten men and went 1-for-9 with men in scoring position.  The Twins were not a lot better, stranding six and going 1-for-7 with men in scoring position.  The Blue Jays drew eight walks, but could get only five hits.  It had to be a tough loss for Toronto--their first home game of the series, they had all kinds of chances to win, and yet they could not do it.

Record:  The Twins led the best-of-seven series 2-1 and regained home field advantage.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Fifty-two

CHICAGO 6, MINNESOTA 1 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, September 25.

Batting star:  Brian Harper was 3-for-4.

Pitching stars:  David West struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up a walk.  Tom Edens pitched a perfect inning.  Rick Aguilera pitched a scoreless inning, walking one and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Alex Fernandez pitched 7.2 innings, giving up one run on eight hits and six walks and striking out seven.  He threw 135 pitches.  Bo Jackson was 2-for-4 with a walk.

The game:  With two out and none on in the second, Lance Johnson walked and Mike Huff and Scott Fletcher hit back-to-back RBI doubles to give the White Sox a 2-0 lead.  In the bottom of the second, Kent Hrbek doubled, Chili Davis walked, and Harper singled, loading the bases with none out.  Shane Mack struck out but Mike Pagliarulo singled.  One run scored, but Harper was trapped off third and that pretty much killed the rally with the Twins still trailing 2-1.

Chicago put the game out of reach in the fourth.  A walk, a single, and a ground out put men on second and third with one out.  A sacrifice fly scored one, then Tim Raines had an RBI double, Robin Ventura walked, Frank Thomas reached on an error to score a run, and Jackson had an RBI single.  It was 6-1 White Sox, and that was where it would stay.  The Twins had two on in the third, two on in the fourth, two on in the fifth, and two on in the eighth, but they did not score again.

WP:  Fernandez (9-12).  LP:  Allan Anderson (5-10).  S:  None.

Notes:  Randy Bush pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the eighth, but after a pitching change Pedro Munoz pinch-hit for Bush.  Al Newman went to shortstop in the ninth.

Kirby Puckett was 1-for-4 and was batting .321.  Harper raised his average to .315.  Mack was 0-for-4 and was batting .306.

Carl Willis gave up two unearned runs in 1.2 innings.  His ERA went to 2.43.  Aguilera's ERA was 2.10.  Edens lowered his ERA to 5.57.

The Bo Jackson here is post-injury Bo Jackson.  He missed most of 1991, playing six minor league games and getting a September call-up.  He did not play at all in 1992, then was a part-time player in 1993 and 1994 before having to give it up.

Anderson pitched 3.1 innings, giving up four runs on four hits and three walks and striking out two.  He got a pretty quick hook--he was pulled in the fourth with the score 2-1, runners on second and third, and one out.  His line looks worse because Willis allowed both of the runners to score.

This was Alex Fernandez' first full year in the majors.  He's pretty much been forgotten about now, but he was a really good pitcher for several years.  From 1993-1997 he was 74-46, 3.53, 1.23 WHIP, averaging 220 innings per year.  He then got injured, missed all of 1998, and was able to make just 32 more starts from 1999-2000 before his career ended.  For five years there, though, he was about as good as anyone.

Record:  The Twins were 91-61, in first place in the American League West, eight games ahead of Chicago.

Toronto won and Boston did not play, so the Blue Jays' lead in the East was 2.5 games.

 

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-nine

MINNESOTA 7, KANSAS CITY 2 IN KANSAS CITY

Date:  Tuesday, September 10.

Batting stars:  Shane Mack was 3-for-5 with a stolen base, his tenth.  Dan Gladden was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Randy Bush was 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.  Pedro Munoz was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his fifth.

Pitching stars:  Allan Anderson pitched five shutout innings, giving up three hits and a walk and striking out two.  Rick Aguilera pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Mark Gubicza struck out five in five innings, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks.  Todd Benzinger was 2-for-4 with a double.  Brian McRae was 2-for-5.

The game:  Chuck Knoblauch reached third with one out in the first inning but did not score.  The Twins got the scoring underway in the third when Gladden hit a two-out double and Knoblauch singled him home.  In the fourth Chili Davis doubled and Mack singled him home, making it 2-0.

In the fifth Jorge Pedre led off with a double but nothing came of it.  In the bottom of the fifth Mack hit a two-out single and Munoz followed with a two-run homer to give the Twins a 4-0 lead.  In the sixth, a single and two walks loaded the bases for the Royals, but Jim Eisenreich struck out to end the inning.  In the seventh, Gagne and Gladden led off with singles and Bush hit a one-out double to put the Twins up 6-0.

Kansas City scored both of their runs in the eighth.  McRae led off with a single, went to second on a passed ball, and scored on a George Brett double.  Brett went to third on Benzinger's double and scored on a ground out to cut the margin to 6-2.  That was as much as the Royals would do.  The Twins added a run in the ninth when, with two out, Bush singled, Davis walked, and Brian Harper had an RBI single.

Kansas City did threaten in the bottom of the ninth.  Two walks and a single loaded the bases with none out.  But Aguilera came on to get a short fly ball, a strikeout, and another fly ball to end the game.

WP:  Anderson (5-8).  LP:  Gubicza (8-9).  S:  Aguilera (39).

Notes:  Bush was at first base in place of Kent Hrbek.  Kirby Puckett was also given a day off, with Mack moving to center and Munoz playing right.

Scott Leius pinch-hit for Mike Pagliarulo in the eighth, staying in the game to play third base.  Al Newman came in to play second base in the eighth, replacing Knoblauch.

Harper was 1-for-5 and was batting. 317.  Mack raised his average to .315.

Terry Leach allowed two runs in 1.2 innings to make his ERA 3.10.  Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.19.

I don't know why Anderson was pulled after five innings.  He made his next start, so injury is probably not a factor (although it's always possible he felt a slight twinge or something).  TK may have started looking at these games as tune-ups for the playoffs, since the Twins already had a big lead, or it could be that he felt like getting five shutout innings out of Anderson was a good thing that shouldn't be pushed.  He had thrown just sixty-six pitches, so it seems unlikely that was an issue.

I'm always a little intrigued when I run across a player I've never heard of.  This was the second career major league game for Jorge Pedre.  His fifth-inning double was the only double of his career.  A catcher, he played in ten games in 1991 and in four for the Cubs in 1992.  For his career he was 5-for-23, batting.217/.308/.348.  He was an eleventh-round draft choice for the Braves in 1986.  He hit well in Class A, but not much after that--.249/.303/.373 in AA, .228/.275/.351 in AAA.  He looks like your stereotypical good defensive catcher--I don't know how good his defense actually was, but you figure he must've done something to justify his presence on rosters.  Wikipedia indicates that he is now working at a refinery on their emergency response team.

The Royals used six pinch-hitters in this game.  Sadly, with expanded bullpens and the severe restrictions on September call-ups, this will probably never happen again.

The White Sox defeated Oakland 3-1 to avoid falling farther behind, but time was running out on them.

Record:  The Twins were 85-54, in first place in the American League West, 8.5 games ahead of Chicago.

In the East, Toronto led Boston by four games.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-four

CLEVELAND 8, MINNESOTA 4 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, September 4.

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a double.  Chili Davis was 2-for-4.  Dan Gladden was 2-for-5.  Kent Hrbek was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his sixteenth.

Pitching stars:  Allan Anderson pitched two shutout innings, giving up two hits and striking out one.  Mark Guthrie struck out three in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Alex Cole was 4-for-5 with a double.  Albert Belle was 2-for-5 with a home run (his twenty-fifth), a double, and five RBIs.  Willie Blair pitched eight innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and one walk and striking out one.

The game:  With one out in the first Chuck Knoblauch and Puckett singled and Hrbek followed with a three-run homer to put the Twins ahead 3-0.  That was as good as it got for them.  In the third, a walk, an error, and a bunt single loaded the bases for the Indians with none out.  A force out followed, but Carlos Baerga was hit by a pitch to force in a run and Belle followed with a bases-clearing double to give Cleveland a 4-3 lead.

The Indians added a run in the fourth when Jim Thome led off with a single, went to third on a pair of productive outs, and scored on Cole's single.  In the fifth Baerga led off with a single and Belle hit a two-run homer to make the score 7-3.  In the seventh, singles by Jose Gonzalez, Carlos Martinez, and Thome brought home another run to make it 8-3.

Meanwhile, the Twins did not get a man past first base in innings two through seven.  Puckett hit a two-out double in the eighth.  The Twins tried to get back into it in the ninth.  Singles by Davis and Brian Harper and a walk to Shane Mack loaded the bases with none out.  Mike Pagliarulo then hit into a double play, scoring a run but pretty much taking the Twins out of the inning.

WP:  Blair (2-2).  LP:  David West (4-4).  S:  Shawn Hillegas (7).

Notes:  The Twins used their standard lineup.  Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the seventh.  Al Newman then went in to play shortstop.  Gene Larkin pinch-hit for Newman in the ninth.

Puckett raised his average to .331.  Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .320.  Mack was 0-for-2 with two walks and was batting .308.

West started for the Twins.  He pitched well for two innings.  His line was 2.1 innings, four runs (three earned), two hits, two walks, and two strikeouts.  It seems like a pretty quick hook--again, the sequence in the third was walk, error, bunt single, ground out, hit batsman, double.  Only one hard-hit ball, although obviously the walk and the hit batsman weren't helpful.  Still, with a big lead in the division, Tom Kelly might have given West more of a chance to work out of trouble.  As it happened, the Twins burned through five relievers, including Carl Willis and Terry Leach, in a game they didn't win anyway.

Willis allowed two runs in one inning to raise his ERA to 2.29.  Leach gave up a run in one inning to make his ERA 2.88.

Tom Edens gave up a run in 1.2 innings to raise his ERA to 7.20.

People have forgotten what an awesome hitter Albert Belle was.  He had a reputation for being a jerk, and he way have been, but the jerk could hit.  1991 was his first season as a regular, and it was the first of ten consecutive seasons in which he hit twenty-three or more home runs.  He had eight consecutive seasons in which he hit thirty homers or more, and in three of them he hit forty-eight or more.  He had an OPS of over 1.000 four times and an OPS of over .900 two more times.  Injuries forced him to retire in 2000, after his age-thirty-three season, but his career numbers were .295/.369/.564 with 381 home runs in basically ten seasons.  Whatever else he may have been, Albert Belle was a great batter.

This was the last save of Shawn Hillegas' career.  He had ten total, seven of them in 1991.  Steve Olin is listed as the closer, but he had just seventeen saves, and Hillegas and Dave Otto each had seven.  He was not a particularly good pitcher:  in 181 major league games (62 starts) he was 24-38, 4.61, 1.47 WHIP.  He was substantially better as a reliever, although not a star or anything:  9-12, 3.77, 1.37 WHIP.  Given his lack of success as a starter, I don't know why teams kept giving him starts rather than putting him in the bullpen, but they did.  There was obviously something about him that convinced teams he could be a successful starting pitcher, even though the stats provide no evidence to back it up.

Chicago defeated Kansas City 4-1 and Oakland lost to Milwaukee 2-0, so the White Sox moved back into second place.

Record:  The Twins were 80-54, in first place in the American League West, eight games ahead of Chicago.

In the East, Toronto took a three game lead over Detroit.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Three

NEW YORK 8, MINNESOTA 3 IN NEW YORK

Date:  Thursday, August 1.

Batting stars:  Shane Mack was 2-for-3 with a home run (his twelfth) and a walk.  Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-4.  Chili Davis was 1-for-3 with a home run (his twenty-fourth) and a walk.

Pitching star:  Terry Leach pitched three shutout innings of relief, giving up three hits and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Greg Cadaret pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on six hits and three walks and striking out six.  Bernie Williams was 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs.  Matt Nokes was 2-for-4 with two home runs (his nineteenth and twentieth) and three RBIs.

The game:  Williams led off the bottom of the first with a walk and Don Mattingly got a one-out single, putting men on first and third.  Mel Hall hit a sacrifice fly to score one run and Nokes hit a two-run homer to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead.  It went to 6-0 in the second.  An error, a bunt, and a walk put men on first and third with one out.  Williams had an RBI single, and error scored another run, and a sacrifice fly brought home a third.

The Twins got on the board in the third as Greg Gagne led off with a double and Dan Gladden singled.  Gladden was caught stealing for the second time in the game, however, so the two singles that followed did not produce another run.  In the fourth Alvaro Espinoza singled, Williams walked, and Steve Sax singled to make it 7-1.  Nokes homered again in the fifth to make it 8-1.

The Twins got a couple more runs on solo homers to make the final score look a little better.  Davis homered leading off the sixth and Mack homered leading off the ninth.  At no point did it look like the Twins might get back into the game.

WP:  Cadaret (4-4).  LP:  Paul Abbott (3-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  It was a standard lineup.  Al Newman went into the game at shortstop in the seventh inning, replacing Gagne.

Kirby Puckett was 1-for-4 and was batting .331.  Brian Harper was 0-for-4 and fell to .311.  Leach lowered his ERA to 2.86.

Gladden stole fifteen bases in 1991, but was caught nine times.

Abbott lasted just 1.1 innings, giving up five runs (three earned) on two hits and two walks and struck out one.  Tom Kelly gave him a really quick hook.  Yes, he gave up three runs in the first, but it's not like they were smacking him all over the yard--the homer by Nokes is the thing that hurt him.  Then in the second, an error, a sac bunt, a walk, and he's gone.  It was the last start of the season for him.

Mack had an eight-game hitting streak.  He was 16-for-32 with three doubles, two triples, and three home runs.  He raised his average from .264 to .294 and his slugging average from .455 to .528.

Gladden also had an eight-game hitting streak.  He was 14-for-36 with three doubles and a home run.  He raised his average from .259 to .276.

This was Bernie Williams' rookie season.  I'd forgotten that he often batted leadoff when he first came up.  He wasn't all that good at it, batting just .219.  He did, however, draw a lot of walks, giving him an OBP of .328.  He would, of course, go on to have an excellent career.

Chris Berman's time has come and gone, but I did always like Greg "life is a"  Cadaret.

The White Sox defeated Texas 13-2 to move closer to the Twins.

Record:  The Twins were 61-42, in first place in the American League West, two games ahead of Chicago.

2019 Recap: Game Ninety

MINNESOTA 5, CLEVELAND 3 IN CLEVELAND

Date:  Friday, July 12.

Batting stars:  Nelson Cruz was 1-for-4 with a home run (his seventeenth) and a walk.  Mitch Garver was 1-for-4 with a home run, his fourteenth.

Pitching stars:  Trevor May retired all four men he faced, striking out two.  Zack Littell pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.  Ryne Harper pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.  Taylor Rogers struck out three in two shutout innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Mike Clevenger struck out six in five innings, giving up one run on four hits and two walks.  Jose Ramirez was 2-for-4.  Carlos Santana was 1-for-4 with a home run, his twentieth.

The game:  Cruz hit a two-out home run in the first inning to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  The Indians got a man to second base in each of the first two innings but did not break through until the fourth.  Santana homered to lead off the inning and tie the score.  Jason Kipnis walked and an error put men on first and third.  They were still on second and third with two out, but Roberto Perez singled to drive in two and give Cleveland a 3-1 lead.

It looked for a while like that might hold up.  The Twins put men on second and third with none out in the fifth, but a ground out and two strikeouts ended the inning.  They had men on first and second with one out in the sixth, but a double play ended that inning.

Then came the seventh.  An error and a walk put men on first and third with two out.  Max Kepler came up and hit a ground ball to shortstop.  He was called out at first and it looked like yet another Twins threat had come to nothing.  But the Twins challenged and a replay review determined that Kepler was safe, making the score 3-2.  Jorge Polanco then swatted a two-run double and the Twins had a 4-3 lead.  A Garver home run in the eighth made it 5-3.  The Indians did not get a man past first base after the fourth inning.

WP:  Littell (2-0).  LP:  Oliver Perez (2-2).  S:  Rogers (13).

Notes:  Marwin Gonzalez was in left, replacing Eddie Rosario.  Luis Arraez was at second base in place of Jonathan Schoop.  Ehire Adrianza was at first base, replacing C. J. Cron.

Arraez was 1-for-4 and is batting .386.  Polanco was 1-for-4 and is batting .311.  May has an ERA of 2.94.  Harper has an ERA of 2.84.  Rogers has an ERA of 1.73.

Just looking at the printed play-by-play, it seems like a very quick hook for Kyle Gibson.  They don't appear to have been hitting a lot of balls hard off him, and he certainly wasn't getting much help from his defense.  I'm not second-guessing the decision, because a) there are always things you can't tell from the printed play-by-play and b) it clearly worked.  The Much Maligned Twins Bullpen pitched 5.1 scoreless innings and really never even allowed Cleveland to put together a threat.

The quick hook showed that Rocco was not looking at this as just another game.  He thought it was an important game for the Twins to win, and he was going to give them every chance to win it.  It was a risk, because if the Twins hadn't come back he'd have used four or five relievers in a loss, which of course hurts you for the next game.  He had the advantage of a fully rested bullpen after the all-star break, but it was still a gamble that he won.

I think he was right to not look at it as just another game.  We said going in that by Sunday night the Twins' lead would either be 2.5, 4.5, 6.5, or 8.5 games, and that's obviously a big spread.  We can eliminate the "2.5" now, and that's a very good thing.  We'd all love to have it be one of the bigger numbers, but even if it's 4.5 it's not going to feel like things are falling apart, the way it would have had the Indians gotten a sweep.  With Odorizzi and Berrios pitching the next two games, the Twins should have a good chance to win at least one of them.  Of course, with Bauer and Bieber going, the Indians probably feel the same way.

One thing I like about Rocco is that he doesn't feel a need to make big announcements about what he's doing.  He just does it.  Rogers is clearly the closer now, even if he's not being used in the "traditional" way, but Rocco has never said he's the closer.  Littell is clearly a one-inning guy now (he's pitched one inning in each of his last six appearances), but Rocco has never said he's a one-inning guy.  He just uses him that way.  If you don't make an announcement about it, then you don't feel locked in to doing it that way.  You also don't have to explain to anyone if you do something differently from what you've announced.  Of course, you have to get players to buy in to the fact that they aren't going to know exactly what their role is every day, but Rocco seems to be able to do that, at least so far.

Record:  The Twins are 57-33, in first place in the American League Central, 6.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 129-33!