Tag Archives: saving the bullpen

2003 Rewind: Game Nine


Date:  Thursday, April 10.

Batting stars:  Chris Gomez was 2-for-4.  A. J. Pierzynski was 0-for-1 with two hit-by-pitches.

Pitching stars:  Rick Reed pitched four innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits and two walks and striking out two.  Johan Santana struck out eight in four shutout innings of relief, giving up four hits.

Opposition stars:  David Wells pitched a complete game shutout, giving up three hits and striking out six.  Hideki Matsui was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.  Bernie Williams was 3-for-4.  John Flaherty was 2-for-4 with a double.

The game:  The Yankees had men on first and second with two out in the first and second and third with one out in the second, but did not score either time.  That changed in the third.  With one out, Jason Giambi walked and went to third on Williams' single-plus-error.  Matsui then delivered a two-run double to give New York a 2-0 lead.

And that was it for the scoring.  The Twins got a one-out double from Gomez in the fourth, but he was stranded on second.  They put two on with two out in the fifth and did nothing with them.  They did not get a man past first after that, managing only a pair of singles over the next four innings.

WP:  Wells (2-0).  LP:  Reed (0-2).  S:  None.

NotesGomez was at short in place of Cristian Guzman.  Dustan Mohr was in left in place of Jacque Jones.  Michael Cuddyer was in right.

Gomez was batting .364.

The Twins had five starters in this game with batting averages below .200.  At the bottom was Rivas at .091.  Matthew LeCroy was batting .125.  Torii Hunter was batting .129.  Cuddyer was batting .143.  Mohr was batting .158.

The Twins made no lineup substitutions.

I don't know why Reed came out after just four innings.  He had thrown seventy pitches, which is a lot for four innings but doesn't seem like a lot for a game.  He would not miss his next start.  Santana obviously did an excellent job, which didn't help in this game but did save the rest of the bullpen for the next one.

You probably remember that Wells threw a perfect game against the Twins.  For his career, he was actually better against them than Mussina was:  19-6, 2.34, 1.01 WHIP in 200.1 innings (38 games, 25 starts).

After sweeping Detroit to start the season, the Twins had now been swept by Toronto and New York.  In the Yankee series, they were outscored 11-4.  In the losing streak they were outscored 30-10.  They would next travel to Toronto to take another shot at the Blue Jays.

Record:  The Twins were 3-6, in fourth place in the American League Central, five games behind Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game Seven


Date:  Tuesday, April 8.

Batting stars:  Torii Hunter was 1-for-2 with a double, a walk, and two RBIs.  Jacque Jones was 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two runs.  Cristian Guzman was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Pitching star:  Tony Fiore pitched three shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Nick Johnson was 2-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base.  Robin Ventura was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his third.  Hideki Matsui was 1-for-3 with a grand slam, a walk, and two runs.  Antonio Osuna struck out three in 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up a walk.

The game:  The Yankees opened the scoring in the second.  Jorge Posada hit a one-out double and Raul Mondesi delivered a two-out single, putting New York up 1-0.  The Twins tied it in the fourth.  Jones led off with a double, Corey Koskie drew a one-out walk, and Hunter hit a run-scoring double.  The Twins still had men on second and third with one out, but Matthew LeCroy hit a grounder to third and Koskie was thrown out at the plate on what we assume was the contact play.  Doug Mientkiewicz grounded out and the threat was over.

It cost them, because the Yankees went into the lead to stay in the bottom of the fourth.  Matsui led off the inning with a walk and Ventura hit a one-out two-run homer, making the score 3-1 New York.  With one out in the fifth Johnson singled and Jason Giambi singled Johnson to third, with Giambi moving to second on the throw.  Bernie Williams was intentionally walked and Matsiu followed with a grand slam, making it 7-1 Yankees.

The Twins tried to get back into it in the sixth.  Jones and Guzman led off the inning with walks.  A forceout put men on first and third and Hunter's sacrifice fly scored a run.  A passed ball moved Guzman to second and he scored on LeCroy's single.  Mientkiewicz singled and a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third.  A hit could've moved the Twins to within two, but Michael Cuddyer struck out to end the inning and leave the score 7-3.

That was pretty much it.  The Twins had only one baserunner the rest of the game, a two-out walk to Hunter in the eighth.

WP:  Andy Pettitte (2-0).  LP:  Joe Mays (1-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Cuddyer was in right field, as he was for most of the month of March.  The Twins did not make any lineup substitutions.

Koskie was batting .375.  Jones was batting .357.

The Twins had five regulars batting below .200 in the young season.  Hunter was at .174.  A. J. Pierzynski was also at .174.  Cuddyer was batting .167.  LeCroy was batting .143.  Luis Rivas was at .118.  You don't win many games that way, and of course this was the Twins' fourth loss in a row.  But that's why you don't make judgments after seven games.

After a solid first outing, Mays again lasted five innings, but this time allowed seven runs on eight hits and two walks.  He struck out three.  He did fairly well except for the home runs, but that's a little like saying the Titanic did fairly well except for that big hole in the side.  Fiore did an excellent job of saving the bullpen, though, and that should not be overlooked.

Yankee starter Andy Pettitte pitched 5.2 innings, giving up three runs on five hits and three walks and striking out two.

The Twins had started with three wins, but now had four losses.

Record:  The Twins were 3-4, in third place in the American League Central, three games behind Kansas City.

1991 Rewind: Game Thirty-seven


Date:  Sunday, May 19.

Batting stars:  Mike Pagliarulo was 3-for-3 with two home runs.  Al Newman was 2-for-3.

Pitching star:  Carl Willis pitched four shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Dan Petry pitched eight innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on eight hits and no walks and striking out two.  Pete Incaviglia was 2-for-3 with a home run (his fourth), a walk, and two runs.  Mickey Tettleton was 2-for-4 with a triple and a walk.  Tony Phillips was 2-for-5 with a double.  Milt Cuyler was 1-for-3 with a grand slam and a walk.  Cecil Fielder was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his sixth.

The game:  The Tigers made it a laugher early, scoring seven runs in the first inning off Twins starter Jack Morris.  Tony Phillips singled, Lou Whitaker walked, and with one out Fielder hit a three-run homer.  It did not kill the rally, as Tettleton singled, Incaviglia had a two-out single, Travis Fryman reached on an error, and Cuyler hit a grand slam to make the score 7-0 Detroit.  It was pretty much over at that point.

The Twins got on the board in the third.  Pagliarulo led off with an inside the park home run.  Greg Gagne followed with a double and scored on Newman's bunt single-plus-error.  Incaviglia got one of the runs back in the bottom of the third with a home run, making the score 8-2.  Pagliarulo hit an outside the park home run in the fifth to make it 8-3.

And that was pretty much it.  The Twins did not get a man past first after that and the Tigers only once got a man as far as second.

WP:  Petry (2-2).  LP:  Morris (3-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Newman was at second base, replacing Chuck Knoblauch.  Pedro Munoz was in right field.  With Knoblauch out, Munoz batted second.  Randy Bush pinch-hit for Munoz in the eighth and remained in the game in right field.  Gene Larkin pinch-hit for Chili Davis in the ninth and had the honor of making the last out of the game.

Brian Harper was 0-for-3 and was batting .372.  Munoz was 1-for-3 and was batting .333.  Kirby Puckett was 1-for-4 and was batting .310.  Gagne was 1-for-3 and was batting .308.  With four shutout innings, Willis lowered his ERA to 3.38.

Morris lasted four innings and gave up eight runs (four earned) on seven hits and six walks.  He struck out three and threw 107 pitches in his four innings.  This would be good to remember the next time he or Bert complain about pitchers needing a hundred pitches to get through five innings.   It was the third time in four games he had given up five or more runs.  Morris' ERA was 5.34.  He may never have lost with ten runs, but here he would've lost with seven.

It would seem pretty unusual for the same pitcher to give up a three-run homer and a grand slam in the same inning.  I'm not suggesting it's as rare as an unassisted triple play, but it doesn't seem like something that happens very often.

I had completely forgotten that Pagliarulo had an inside the park home run for the Twins.  I have no details of it to share with you, other than that it came on a fly ball to left field and that Phillips was the left fielder.

This was the second time in four days that Willis saved the bullpen by pitching multiple good innings of relief.  In his last three appearances (10.1 innings) he had given up one run on seven his and one walk while striking out four.

I think, if Carl Willis was my pitching coach and he came out for a mound visit, I would not be able to resist the urge to say, "What you talkin' 'bout, Willis?"

In a lineup that had Cecil Fielder, Pete Incaviglia, Rob Deer, Travis Fryman, and others, it was Milt Cuyler who delivered the key blow with the grand slam.  He hit three home runs in 1991 and had ten for his career.  Things like that are either the most glorious or the most frustrating thing about the game, depending on which side of them you're on.  But regardless of which side you're on, things like that just make you shrug your shoulders and say, "Well, that's baseball."

Record:  The Twins were 19-18, in sixth place in the American League West, but just one percentage point behind fifth-place Chicago.  They trailed division-leading Oakland by 3.5 games.