Tag Archives: Robin Yount

Random Rewind: 1986, Game One Hundred Thirty-three


Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 4-for-5 with a two-run homer (his twenty-seventh), a double, a stolen base (his sixteenth), and two runs.  Gary Gaetti was 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs.  Tom Brunansky was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (his twenty-first) and a walk.  Steve Lombardozzi was 2-for-4 with two runs.  Al Woods was 1-for-1 with a three-run homer.

Pitching stars:  Mike Smithson pitched seven innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and no walks and striking out six.  Roy Lee Jackson retired all four batters he faced.

Opposition stars:  Robin Yount was 3-for-5 with a home run, his fifth.  Jim Gantner was 2-for-4.  Ernie Riles was 2-for-4 with a double.  Bill Schroeder was 1-for-1 with a two-run homer, his fourth.  Mike Birkbeck pitched three shutout innings of relief, giving up two hits and two walks and striking out two.

The game:  Yount led off the game with a home run, but the Twins took over after that.  In the bottom of the first, Puckett singled, stole second, and scored on Gaetti's single to tie it at one.  Brunansky then hit a single-plus-error that scored Gaetti from first and put the Twins up 2-1.

The Twins took a commanding lead in the second.  Mickey Hatcher drew a one-out walk and went to third on Lombardozzi's single.  A wild pitch scored a run and Puckett hit a two-run homer to make it 5-1. Gaetti then doubled and Brunansky hit a two-run homer, giving the Twins a 7-1 lead.

The Twins kept adding on.  In the fourth, Lombardozzi singled and scored from first on Gaetti's two-out double.  In the fifth, Kent Hrbek and Mark Salas led off with singles and Woods hit a three-run homer to put the Twins ahead 11-1.

The Brewers got the rest of their runs in the eighth.  A tiring Smithson gave up singles to Gantner and Yount and a two-run double to Charlie Moore.  Allan Anderson came in and gave up a two-run homer to Schroeder before retiring the side.  Milwaukee went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Smithson (12-10).  LP:  Teddy Higuera (17-9).  S:  None.

Notes:  Tim Laudner started at catcher in this game, with Salas pinch-hitting in the fifth.  Laudner, Salas, and Jeff Reed divided the catching duties almost evenly:  Salas caught in 69, Laudner in 68, and Reed in 64.

Billy Beane was in left in place of Randy Bush.  Beane actually played quite a bit of left field in 1986--64 games, with Bush playing 90 and Hatcher 45.  Hatcher was the DH in this game, playing in place of Roy Smalley.

With the blowout game, the Twins made quite a few substitutions.  i already mentioned Salas replacing Laudner.  Woods pinch-hit for Beane in the fifth, with Mark Davidson then taking over in left.  Smalley pinch-hit for Hatcher in the fifth and stayed in the game at DH.  Alvaro Espinoza came in at short to replace Greg Gagne in the seventh.

I must confess that I had no memory that the Twins once had a player named "Al Woods" and in checking it appears that I completely missed him in the birthday list.  His birthday is August 8, so I'll try to include him next month.  In checking on him, I do remember him playing for Toronto as "Alvis Woods".  He was an outfielder for them from 1977-1982 and had a few pretty good years.  He had a poor year in 1982, though, and then spent three and a half years in AAA before resurfacing with the Twins for about a month and a half in 1986.  He did well for them, batting .321/.375/.571 in 28 at-bats, nearly all of them as a pinch-hitter.  It was pretty much his swan song, though--he played in Mexico in 1987 and then was done.

Puckett was batting .349 at this point.  He would finish at .328.  He was the team's only .300 hitter (other than Woods).  The Twins batted .261, which was seventh in the league.  Cleveland led at .284, well ahead of second-place Boston at .271.

Gaetti led the team in homers with 34.  Puckett had 31 homers and Hrbek 29.  Also in double figures were Brunansky (23), Smalley (20), Gagne (12), and Laudner (10).  The Twins hit 196 home runs, second in the league to Detroit (198).

Frank Viola led the team in starts and went 16-13, but with a 4.51 ERA.  Bert Blyleven was 17-14, 4.01 and Smithson was 13-14, 4.77.  Neal Heaton actually had the lowest ERA among the starters, going 4-9, 3.98, but he made just 17 starts, as he was traded to the Twins from Cleveland in June.  Also making double-digit starts were Mark Portugal (6-10, 4.31), Anderson (3-6, 5.51), and John Butcher, who was traded for Heaton (0-3, 6.30).

Six different pitchers had saves.  Keith Atherton led the team with 10, going 5-8, 3.75.  George Frazier had six saves with a 4.39 ERA.  Frank Pastore (4.01) and Ron Davis (9.08) each had two saves, with Roy Lee Jackson (3.86) and Juan Agosto (8.85) each getting one.

The Twins were dead last in ERA at 4.77.  Leading the league was Kansas City at 3.82.  The Twins were twelfth in WHIP at 1.45.  California lead at 1.26.

I remembered Yount as more of a power hitter than he actually was.  He only had four seasons of over 20 homers, with a high of 29 in 1982.  He had nine seasons in which he did not even reach ten.  Maybe I remember him as more of a power threat because of all the doubles and triples--he hit 583 doubles, twice leading the league, and 126 triples, also twice leading the league.  He did hit 251 homers in his career, and I don't mean this as a criticism of him.  He was a great player.  He just wasn't a big home run guy.

Teddy Higuera was a fine pitcher, and 1986 was one of his best years, but you sure couldn't tell it by this game.  He allowed seven runs on seven hits and a walk in just 1.2 innings.  For the season he was 20-11, 2.79 and finished second in Cy Young voting to Roger Clemens.  From 1985-1990 he was 89-54, 3.34.  He then had injury troubles and was never the same pitcher.  He's largely forgotten now, but for several years he was a pitcher you'd have been very happy to have on your team.

This was one of the last games Ray Miller managed for the Twins.  He would be replaced by Tom Kelly a little over a week later.

This was the last of a three-game winning streak.  The Twins would drop their next five.

Record:  The Twins were 58-75, in seventh (last) place in the American League West, 18 games behind California.  They would finish 71-91, in sixth place, 21 games behind California.

The Brewers were 64-68, in seventh (last) place in the American League East, 14.5 games behind Boston.  They would finish 77-84, in sixth place, 18 games behind Boston.

Random Record:  The Twins are 52-49 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 1979, Game One Hundred Fifty-four


Date:  Friday, September 21.

Batting stars:  Butch Wynegar was 2-for-4 with a home run, his seventh.  Ken Landreaux was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his fifteenth.

Pitching stars:  Jerry Koosman pitched eight innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and two walks and striking out six.  Mike Marshall pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Moose Haas pitched a complete game, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks and striking out five.  Ben Oglivie was 4-for-4.  Robin Yount was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Gorman Thomas was 1-for-3 with a home run (his forty-third) and a walk.

The game:  The Twins missed chances early, stranding a man on third in the first and men on first and second in the second.  Thomas started the scoring in the bottom of the second with a home run, putting the Brewers up 1-0, but they similarly left men on first and second.

There was really not much for threats from there until the seventh, when Oglivie hit a one-out single, Yount walked, and Charlie Moore delivered a two-out RBI single.  Milwaukee left men on first and third, but they still led 2-0, and that remained the score through eight.

Then came the ninth.  Roy Smalley led off with a walk.  A popup followed, but then Landreaux hit a two-run homer to tie the score.  Wynegar followed with a home run and the Twins took their only lead of the game at 3-2.

The Brewers did not give up.  Oglivie led off the ninth with a single, which brought Marshall into the game.  With one out Yount singled, putting men on first and second.  Moore hit into a force out at second, moving the tying run to third, but Paul Molitor popped up and the game belonged to the Twins.

WP:  Koosman (19-13).  LP:  Haas (11-10).  S:  Marshall (31).

Notes:  Rick Sofield was in center, with Landreaux moving to left.  Sofield had started the season with the Twins, but was sent to AAA in mid-May and came back as a September call-up.  Landreaux had played center most of the season.  Bombo Rivera is listed as the Twins' left fielder, but in fact they used a few players there:  Rivera (61 games), Landreaux (49), Glenn Adams (45), and Dave Edwards (36).

Adams was the DH in this game.  He spent 54 games at DH, sharing the position with Jose Morales (77), Danny Goodwin (51), Mike Cubbage (22), Willie Norwood (17), and Craig Kusick (12).

The Twins had three batters over .300 this late in the season.  Rob Wilfong was at .317--he would finish at .313.  Landreaux was at .304--he would finish at .305.  Adams was at .300--he would finish at .301.

Smalley led the team in home runs with 24.  Landreaux had 15 and Ron Jackson 14.  No one else had double digits in homers.

Koosman would go on to win twenty games for the second and last time of his career.  He finished 20-13, 3.38, 1.33 WHIP at age thirty-six.  This was his first season with the Twins, having been traded from the Mets with Greg Field for Jesse Orosco.

The Twins had three decent starters in Koosman, Geoff Zahn, and Dave Goltz.  They struggled to fill out the rotation, however, with Paul Hartzell and Roger Erickson each posting an ERA over five in more than twenty starts.

Robin Yount was batting eighth for Milwaukee.  He was in his sixth major league season, but was still just twenty-three.  He batted .267 in 1979, but with an OPS of just .679.  The next season he would really become Robin Yount, batting .293 with 23 homers, leading the league with 49 doubles, posting an OPS of .840, and making his first all-star team.  Surprisingly, Yount only made the all-star team three times in his career and did not make it in one of his two MVP seasons, 1989.

They don't give pitch counts for games in the '70s, but these days Haas would probably not have started the ninth, and almost certainly would have been removed after the leadoff walk to Smalley.  The Brewers really didn't have a closer, and in fact had only twenty-three team saves, distributed over five pitchers.  They threw sixty-one complete games.  Presumably, George Bamberger saw no reason to take a pitcher out when he was doing well, regardless of what his pitch count was.

The Twins were still in the pennant race at this point, but after winning the next game they would drop six in a row to take them out of it.

Record:  The Twins were 80-74, in third place in the American League West, three games behind California.  They would finish 82-80, in fourth place, six games behind California.

The Brewers were 90-63, in second place in the American League East, ten games behind Baltimore.  They would finish 95-66, in second place, eight games behind Baltimore.