Tag Archives: same old Twins

1991 Rewind: Game Forty-three


Date:  Sunday, May 26.

Batting stars:  Gene Larkin was 2-for-4.  Chili Davis was 2-for-4.  Chuck Knoblauch was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Pitching stars:  Carl Willis pitched three shutout innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.  Steve Bedrosian pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk.  Rick Aguilera pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Bret Saberhagen pitched a complete game, giving up one run on eight hits and two walks and striking out two.  Brian McRae was 3-for-5 with a home run (his fourth), a stolen base (his fourth), two runs and two RBIs.  Brent Mayne was 2-for-4.  George Brett was 2-for-4.  Kirk Gibson was 2-for-5 with a double.

The game:  The Royals jumped on Twins starter Kevin Tapani for three runs in the first inning.  They got the first two of them before anyone was retired:  McRae singled, Gibson had an RBI double, Brett singled, and Danny Tartabull had an RBI single.  Following a pop up, Mayne singled home the third run of the inning.  Kansas City added another run in the second when McRae led off the inning with a homer to make the score 4-0.  They got their final run in the fourth when Terry Shumpert doubled and scored on McRae's single.

Meanwhile, the Twins were not doing much of anything off Saberhagen.  They got a man to second base in the third, when Knoblauch and Shane Mack drew two-out walks.  They did it again in the seventh when Davis reached on an error and Larkin had a two-out single.  They actually got two hits in the same inning in the eighth, when Knoblauch singled with one out and Kirby Puckett singled with two out.

The Twins did get on the board in the ninth, when they opened the inning with consecutive singles by DavisBrian Harper, and Larkin.  Another hit would've brought the tying run to the plate, but instead a strikeout and a double play ended the game.

WP:  Saberhagen (5-3).  LP:  Tapani (2-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  With a day game, Mack was in left, replacing Dan Gladden.  He batted second, with Knoblauch moving up to the leadoff spot.  Larkin was in right field.  Al Newman was at short, replacing Greg Gagne.

Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .368.  Puckett was 1-for-4 and was batting .326.  Davis raised his average to .313.

Tapani lasted just four innings, giving up five runs on nine hits and a walk and striking out one.  It was his first really bad game of the season, but he hadn't been pitching as well lately.  His ERA went up steadily from 2.10 on April 27 to now 3.79.

The Twins bullpen did really well.  Five shutout innings, giving up two hits and a walk.  Much of that was Willis, as set forth above.  His ERA was now 3.48.  Aguilera's ERA went to 1.69.

George Brett was off to a very slow start, and in fact would not have a particularly good year.  He had won the batting title in 1990, batting .329.  At this point in 1991, however, he was batting just .224.  He would end the season at .255 with an OPS of .729.  Well, he was thirty-eight.  He would play for two more seasons at about the same level of production, then retire at age forty.  He was mostly a DH at this point, with Bill Pecota having taken over at third base.  Pecota would bat .286 with an OPS of .756--I don't know how this compared to his PECOTA projection.

This was an odd-numbered year, so naturally Saberhagen was having a good season.  Actually, when you look at the stats, the odd-even thing is not nearly as pronounced as legend has made it out to be.  It shows up in his won-lost record more than anywhere else, indicating that it may have been a function of luck as much as anything.  It's true that, throughout most of his career, his ERA was lower in odd-numbered years than in even, but most of the time the difference is not all that great.  It made for a good story, though.

The Twins had now lost six of seven and eight of eleven.  One suspects people were saying "same old Twins".

Record:  The Twins were 20-23, sixth in the American League West, 6.5 games behind Texas.  They remained a half game behind fifth-place Chicago.  They were one game ahead of last-place Kansas City.

1991 Rewind: Game Seven


Date:  Monday, April 15.

Batting stars:  Brian Harper was 3-for-4.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Shane Mack was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer.

Pitching stars:  Larry Casian pitched 4.1 innings of relief, giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks and striking out two.  Terry Leach pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Harold Reynolds was 2-for-3 with a double, two walks, and two RBIs.  Edgar Martinez was 2-for-4 with a home run (his second), a walk, two runs, and three RBIs.  Tracy Jones was 2-for-4 with a home run and two runs.  Dave Valle was 2-for-4.  Randy Johnson pitched a complete game, giving up four runs on seven hits and four walks and striking out six.  He threw 126 pitches.

The game:  The Mariners jumped on Twins starter Allan Anderson right away.  Reynolds and Jones led off with singles and Martinez followed with a three-run homer to give Seattle a 3-0 lead after the first three batters of the game.  The Twins got on the board in the third.  Chuck Knoblauch doubled and Mack homered to cut the margin to 3-2.

The Mariners regained control in the bottom of the third.  Jones led off with a home run.  Martinez singled and Ken Griffey walked.  The next two batters went out, but RBI singles by Pete O'Brien and Valley made the score 6-2.

The Twins again tried to come back.  In the fourth, Chili Davis led off with a walk and Harper singled, putting men on first and third.  A run scored on a ground out, there was a balk, and a sacrifice fly brought the lead down to two at 6-4.

That was as good as it would get, though.  With one out in the sixth, Valle and Jeff Schaefer singled and Reynolds delivered a two-run double to make the score 8-4.  The Twins never really threatened after that, never getting a man past second base.

WP:  Johnson (1-1).  LP:  Anderson (1-1).  S:  None.

NotesMack remained in center, with Puckett in right.  Dan Gladden was dropped to the seventh spot in the batting order, with Knoblauch leading off and Mack batting second.

Puckett raised his average to .407.  Knoblauch was 1-for-4 and was batting .375.  Harper raised his average to .375.  Greg Gagne was 0-for-5 and was batting .353.

Gladden was 0-for-2 with a walk and was batting .043.  Kent Hrbek was 0-for-3 and was batting .115.  Mack raised his average to .118.

Anderson pitched just 2.2 innings, allowing six runs on eight hits and a walk and striking out one.  His ERA was 6.30.

I suspect the attitude of most Twins fans at this point of the season was "same old Twins".  They were scoring runs, but couldn't score as many as their pitchers could give up.  They'd try to come back, but no sooner would they get back into a game than their pitchers would take them out of it again.  This, of course, would change.

Another guy I have no memory of is Tracy Jones.  A corner outfielder, he came up with Cincinnati in 1986. Unfortunately for him, the Reds had Eric Davis and Dave Parker manning their corner outfield spots, so he only got 92 plate appearances.  He made the most of them, batting .349 with an OPS of .860.  In 1987 the Reds moved Davis to center, but Jones had to split time with Kal Daniels in left.  He again hit well, batting .290 with an OPS of .771.  He was again a reserve in 1988 when he was traded to Montreal.  That didn't do him much good, either, as the Expos had Tim Raines and Hubie Brooks at corner outfield positions.  He bounced around the rest of his career, playing for San Francisco, Detroit, and Seattle.  1991 would be his last major league season.  For his career, he batted .273/.329/.388 in 1434 plate appearances over six seasons.  Not a bad career, really.  Had he been able to play center he might have had a much better career, but as he only played fifty-two games there it's clear that teams didn't think he was good enough to do that.  He had a radio talk show for a while--his b-r.com biography says that his approach was "if you haven't played the game then you don't understand it enough to talk about it", which would've made it hard for him to have conversations with callers.  He apparently lost that gig in 2017 and is now the owner of Tracy Jones Financial, a financial planning firm.  I don't know whether he tells people that if they haven't played the markets then they don't understand them enough to talk about them.  His brother Terry was a minor league infielder for California and Kansas City.  His son Hunter has been in the minors since 2010 and spent last season with AA Harrisburg in the Washington organization.

Record:  The Twins were 2-5, fifth in the American League West, four games behind the White Sox.

2019 Recap: Game Thirty


Date:  Friday, May 3.

Batting stars:  Marwin Gonzalez was 2-for-4.  Nelson Cruz was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer, his sixth, and a walk.

Pitching star:  Fernando Romero pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Gary Sanchez was 3-for-4 with two home runs, his ninth and tenth.  James Paxton pitched three innings, giving up an unearned run on two hits and three walks and striking out one.  Jonathan Holder struck out two in two perfect innings.

The game:  An error and a walk put men on first and third with none out in the first for the Yankees, and Gleyber Torres hit a one-out single to put New York up 1-0.  The Twins got two singles and a walk in the second to load the bases with one out, but Ehire Adrianza hit into a double play to end the inning.  In the bottom of the inning a walk, a hit batsman, and a Luke Voit RBI single made it 2-0.  Two walks and an error loaded the bases for the Twins again with one out again in the third and C. J. Cron's sacrifice fly brought home one, but that was all the Twins could do, leaving the score 2-1 Yankees.

That was as good as it got for them.  In the fourth New York played small ball--an error and a Cameron Maybin single put men on first and second with none out, a bunt advanced them to second and third, a wild pitch scored one, and a ground out scored another, making the score 4-1.  Sanchez homered leading off the fifth to make it 5-1 and he homered again with two out in the seventh to make it 6-1.

To the Twins credit, they didn't give up.  With two out in the eighth Jorge Polanco walked and Cruz hit a two-run homer to make it 6-3.  Gonzalez got as far as third base with one out in the ninth, but he was still there when the game ended.

WP:  Holder (2-0).  LP:  Kyle Gibson (2-1).  S:  Aroldis Chapman (6).

Notes:  Eddie Rosario was out of the lineup, with Gonzalez playing left field and Adrianza at third base.

Polanco was 0-for-3 with a walk and is batting .327.  Mitch Garver was 0-for-4 and is batting .308.  Cruz is batting .303.

I question the decision to sit Rosario down in this game.  I understand the reasoning--you're facing a tough lefty and he's been slumping.  But he hit a couple of balls hard in the last game, even though they went for outs.  I think sitting him down just gives him reasons to question himself and to think Rocco is losing confidence in him.  I'm not saying it was an obviously stupid move or anything.  I just wouldn't have done it.

The game log seems to be divided between criticism of Gibson, criticism of the defense, and criticism of the plate umpire.  I was not around for the game, so it's hard for me to say.  Gibson gave up five runs on seven hits and two walks and threw 100 pitches in just five innings, which doesn't sound good.  On the other had, three of the runs were unearned, and when you make your pitcher get four outs per inning he's going to have to throw more pitches and is probably going to allow more runs.  And Gibson is not a pitcher who can throw the ball over the center of the plate and get away with it, so if he's not getting the corners he's going to be in trouble.  Perhaps there was plenty of blame to go around, I don't know.

I think there were some positives that came out of this game, though.  The Twins never gave up any big innings, despite the errors.  In other words, they didn't collapse just because things went against them.  They had chances to score early on.  They got a couple of late runs to kind of get back into the game.  They were able to get three innings out of the tail end of the bullpen (and in fact both Mike Morin and Romero pitched pretty well), leaving the front end rested and ready for today.  This just has the feel of an ordinary baseball loss, and nothing more.

I realize that's not going to be the popular take.  The popular take is going to be "Here we go again.  Same old Twins.  The Yankees are in their heads.  They're intimidated.  The Yankees own them."  Blah, blah, blah.  And of course, people are going to keep saying that, and writing it, until the Twins do something about it.  Maybe today is the day they start doing something about it.  If they're going to win a game in this series, today looks like their best chance.

Record:  The Twins are 19-11, first in the American League Central, two games ahead of Clevelnd.

Projected record:  We'll just have to settle for 151-11!