Tag Archives: second base woes

Random Rewind: 1961, Game Twenty-nine


Date:  Tuesday, May 16.

Batting stars:  Pedro Ramos was 3-for-3 with a home run (his second) and three runs.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs.

Pitching star:  Pedro Ramos pitched a complete game despite allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits and four walks and striking out five.

Opposition stars:  Cam Carreon was 2-for-4.  Minnie Minoso was 1-for-3 with a home run (his fifth), a walk, and two RBIs.  Early Wynn pitched a complete game, giving up four runs on six hits and five walks and striking out seven.

The game:  Ramos led off the third with a home run, putting the Twins up 1-0.  In the bottom of the third, Carreon singled, Al Smith reached on an error, and walks to Nellie Fox and Minoso forced home a run to tie it 1-1.

In the fifth Ramos singled, Lenny Green drew a two-out walk, a wild pitch moved the runners up, and Killebrew delivered a two-run single to give the Twins a 3-1 lead.  Once again the White Sox tied it in the bottom of the inning.  Wynn walked, Smith singled, and Fox hit a two-run triple to make it 3-3.

Ramos led off the seventh with a single, was bunted to second, and scored on Green's double.  But once again, Chicago tied it in the bottom of the inning, as Minoso hit a two-out home run to make the score 4-4.

The White Sox took their only lead of the game in the eighth. Jim Landis walked, Carreon singled, and Wynn delivered a two-out RBI single to make the score 5-4 Chicago.  The Twins went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Wynn (4-1).  LP:  Ramos (3-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  Billy Gardner was the second baseman in this game.  We've discussed the 1961 Twins' second base situation a couple of times, and there's no need to do so again.

Reno Bertoia was at third.  He was the regular third baseman until he was traded at the end of May.  Eventually, Bill Tuttle took over at third base.

Dan Dobbek went to left field in place of Jim Lemon in the seventh.  Don Mincher pinch-hit for Bertoia in the ninth.  Elmer Valo pinch-hit for Ramos in the ninth.  I suppose that last move made sense, but given how he had done, it would've been nice to see Ramos get one more chance to bat.

Killebrew was batting .371 on the young season.  He would finish at .288.  Ramos was batting .364.  He would finish at .172.  Earl Battey was batting .333.  He would end up leading the team in batting at .302.  Green was batting .314.  He would finish at .285.  The Twins were seventh in batting at .250.  Cleveland and Detroit tied for the league lead at .266.

Killebrew led the team in home runs with 46.  Bob Allison hit 29, Battey 17, and Lemon 14.  The Twins were four in home runs with 167.  New York led the league with 240.

Ramos led the staff in starts, and while his won-lost record doesn't look good he had a fairly good season.  He went 11-20, 3.95 ERA, 1.30 WHIP.  Camilo Pascual was the ace of the staff, going 15-16, 3.64, 1.21.  Jack Kralick was 13-11, 3.61, 1.33.  Jim Kaat rounded out the rotation at 9-17, 3.90, 1.35.  The only other pitcher with double-digit starts was Don Lee with exactly ten.  He went 3-6, 3.52, 1.11.  The Twins had a poor bullpen, though, and that left them seventh in team ERA at 4.28.  Baltimore led at 3.22.  The Twins were fifth in WHIP at 1.39.  Baltimore led there, too, at 1.25.

Despite his big day, Ramos was not a particularly good batter, going .155/.182/.240 for his career.  He hit 15 home runs in 703 at-bats.  Wynn was a better batter, going .214/.274/.285 in 1704 at-bats.  He hit 17 home runs.

It was kind of an odd game, in that each time the Twins would score in the top of the inning, the White Sox would score the exact same number of runs in the bottom of the inning.  In the end, of course, Chicago cheated and scored in an inning when the Twins did not score, and that was the difference in the game.

This game snapped a four-game winning streak by the Twins.

Record:  The Twins were 16-13, in third place in the American League, five games behind Detroit.  They would finish 70-90, in seventh place, 38 games behind New York.

The White Sox were 12-16, in eighth place in the American League, 8.5 games behind Detroit.  They would finish 86-76, in fourth place, 23 games behind New York.

Random Record:  The Twins are 43-42 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 2009, Game Sixty-two


Date:  Thursday, June 11.

Batting stars:  Justin Morneau was 2-for-4.  Delmon Young was 2-for-4.  Joe Crede was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his tenth.

Pitching star:  Nick Blackburn pitched eight innings, giving up three runs on six hits and three walks and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Jack Hannahan was 2-for-4 with a triple.  Adam Kennedy was 1-for-2 with a two-run homer (his fifth), a walk, and a hit-by-pitch.  Trevor Cahill pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and two walks and striking out two.  Brad Ziegler struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk.

The game:  The Twins started the second with two singles, but nothing came of it.  In the fourth Morneau singled with one out.  Jason Kubel walked and Crede followed with a three-run homer, putting the Twins ahead 3-0.

That's all the Twins did on offense, but for a while it looked like that would be enough.  Blackburn appeared to be in control, giving up just three hits through seven innings.  With one out in the eighth, however, Hannahan tripled, Orlando Cabrera had an RBI single, and Kennedy hit a two-run homer, tying the score at 3-3.

We went to the bottom of the ninth.  Sean Henn started the inning and walked Jason Giambi.  Matt Guerrier came in and hit Kennedy with a pitch, moving the deciding run to second.  A bunt moved the runners up and Rajai Davis singled, ending the game in Oakland's favor.

WP:  Ziegler (1-1).  LP:  Henn (0-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Brian Buscher was at first base, with Morneau at DH.  Kubel, who played the majority of games at DH, was in right field.  Michael Cuddyer, normally in right, was in center.  Carlos Gomez, normally in center, was given the day off.

Matt Tolbert was at second base in place of Alexi Casilla.  Casilla was in the process of losing the second base job, and would have lost it by now had the Twins had a decent alternative.  As his competition was Tolbert and Punto, he still managed to play the most games at the position, 72.

Brendan Harris was at shortstop.  He and Nick Punto shared the shortstop spot until the end of July, when the Twins traded for the above-mentioned Orlando Cabrera.

Gomez came in to run for Kubel in the eighth.  He then went to center, with Cuddyer moving to right.

Mauer, whose season didn't start until the first of May, was batting .410.  He would finish at .365.  Morneau was batting .340--he would finish at .274.  Kubel was batting .311--he would finish at .300.  Denard Span, who did not play in this game, batted .311.  He was essentially a regular, but is not listed as one because he did not play the most games at any one position.  He played 84 games in center, 74 in left, and 39 in right.

At the other end of the batting scale, Tolbert was batting .183.  For some reason, he led off in this game.  He would finish at .232.  Buscher was batting.195.  He would finish at .235.  The Twins were still third in batting in 2009 at .274.  Los Angeles led with .285.

Cuddyer led the team in home runs with 32.  Morneau was right behind at 30 and Mauer and Kubel were not far back at 28.  Crede contributed 15 and Young 12.  The Twins were ninth in home runs with 172.  New York led with 244.

Blackburn had a solid year for the Twins, going 11-11, 4.03.  He led the starters in ERA and was tied for the most starts with Scott Baker, who led the team in wins.  He went 15-9, 4.37.  From there it got kind of ugly.  Francisco Liriano 5-13, 5.80 and Glen Perkins was 6-7, 5.89.  Kevin Slowey went 10-3 despite a 4.86 ERA, and Carl Pavano was 5-4, 4.64 in 12 starts.  Anthony Swarzak also made 12 starts and went 3-7, 6.25.

The Twins did have a pretty solid bullpen.  Joe Nathan saved 47 games and had a 2.10 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP.  Guerrier, although he did not pitch well in this game, had an ERA of 2.36 and a WHIP of 0.97.  Jose Mijares appeared in 71 games, posting an ERA of 2.34 and a WHIP of 1.18.  Also contributing were Jon Rauch (1.72 ERA, 1.21 WHIP in 17 games) and Ron Mahay (2.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP in 16 games).

The starters, though, dragged the Twins down to eleventh in ERA at 4.50.  Seattle led with 3.87.  They were sixth in WHIP at 1.38.  Seattle led that, too, at 1.30.

There were several "oh, yeah" Twins in this game:  TolbertHarrisCredeBuscherHenn.  The main thing I remember about Crede is the Twins Territory ad that referred to him as "Home Run Greedy Crede".

Oakland players with a Twins connection are Cabrera and Kurt Suzuki.

Hannahan's triple was one of five he had in his career.

The Twins were in a stretch where they won four out of five.  This was their only loss.

Record:  The Twins were 30-32, in second place in the American League Central, four games behind Detroit.  They would finish 87-76, in first place, one game ahead of Detroit.

The Athletics were 27-32, in fourth (last) place in the American League West, seven games behind Texas.  They would finish 75-87, in fourth place, 22 games behind Los Angeles.

Random record:  The Twins are 40-40 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 1990, Game Seventy-six


Date:  Sunday, July 1.

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 3-for-4 with a walk and two runs.  Al Newman was 2-for-3 with a stolen base (his sixth) and two walks.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer (his eleventh) and a walk.  Greg Gagne was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Roy Smith pitched six innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and one walk and striking out five.  Rick Aguilera struck out five in two shutout innings, giving up two walks.

Opposition stars:  Cal Ripken was 3-for-5 with a home run (his ninth) and two RBIs.  Steve Finley was 2-for-4 with a home run and a walk.  Joe Orsulak was 2-for-5.  Pete Harnisch pitched six innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and a walk and striking out five.

The game:  The Twins loaded the bases with two out in the third but did not score.  They put two on with two out in the fourth but did not score.  Instead, the Orioles started the scoring in the fifth when Finley hit a one-out home run.

The Twins answered back in the fifth.  This time they put two on with none out, as Gene Larkin and Puckett started the inning with singles.  Hrbek then hit a three-run homer to put the Twins up 3-1.  Ripken homered with one out in the sixth to cut the lead to 3-2.

It stayed 3-2 until the eighth.  Then Orsulak led off with a double and Ripken had an RBI single, and the game was tied 3-3.  The Twins put men on first and third with two out in the bottom of the eighth, but to no avail.

The Orioles could only manage a one-out walk to Mickey Tettleton in the top of the ninth.  In the bottom of the ninth, Puckett led off with a walk and Hrbek singled, putting men on first and second.  A force out put men on first and third, and Brian Harper delivered an RBI single, giving the Twins the victory.

WP:  Aguilera (2-1).  LP:  Gregg Olson (4-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  John Moses was in left in place of Dan Gladden.  Larkin was in right field.  Paul Sorrento was the DH.

The Twins really didn't have a regular right fielder.  Moses played the most games there with 52, but Shane Mack was right behind at 51.  Larkin played 47 games in right, Randy Bush 31, Carmelo Castillo 20, and Pedro Munoz 19.

The Twins also didn't really have a regular DH.  Larkin had the most games there with 43, with Castillo second at 35.  Bush was the DH for 27 games, Sorrento for 23, Jim Dwyer 22, Hrbek 20, Harper 11, and Moses 10.

Puckett was batting .308.  He would finish at 298.  Harper was batting .301.  He would finish at .294.  Among those who had at least 300 at-bats, Mack was the only .300 hitter, batting .326.  The Twins would bat .265 on the season, good for fourth place in the league.  Boston led at .272.

Hrbek led the team in home runs with 22.  Gary Gaetti hit 16 and Puckett 12.  The Twins hit just 100 home runs, tied for last with Kansas City.  Detroit led the league with 172.

Smith had a good enough game here, but he did not have a good season, going 5-10, 4.81, 1.55 WHIP.  My recollection of him is that he was a fairly big guy (6'3", 200 lbs.), but he did not throw hard at all.  He'd had a good year in 1989 (10-6, 3.92), but that was the only good year he ever had in the majors.

The Twins' rotation was not very good in 1990.  Allan Anderson led the team in starts with 31, but he went 7-18, 4.53.  Kevin Tapani made 28 starts, going 12-8, 4.07, 1.21 WHIP.  David West made 27 starts and went 7-9, 5.10, 1.50 WHIP.  Mark Guthrie battled injuries but did okay when healthy, going 7-9, 3.79, 1.33.  Scott Erickson made the jump from AA to the majors in late June and did okay, going 8-4, 2.87, 1.41 WHIP.

The Twins had three solid relievers in Rick Aguilera (5-3, 2.76), Terry Leach (2-5, 3.20) and Juan Berenguer (8-5, 3.41).  John Candelaria also did well out of the bullpen (7-3, 3.39), but he was traded to Toronto at the July deadline.

The Twins were eleventh in team ERA at 4.12; Oakland led with 3.18.  The Twins were eighth in WHIP at 1.39; Oakland led there, too, at 1.22.

The Twins really struggled to find a second baseman.  Newman got the most playing time there, 89 games, but he batted just .242 with a .582 OPS, and Tom Kelly preferred to use him as a utility man anyway.  They acquired Fred Manrique early in the season, but he batted just .237 and was released in August, having played 67 games at second.  Nelson Liriano was acquired in the Candelaria trade and played 50 games at second, batting .254.  The next year, Chuck Knoblauch would take over at second.

This was the "worst" part of the worst-to-first connection for the Twins.  Kelly never liked that phrase.  He said something to the effect of "we finished last, but we weren't the worst".  He had a point:  the Yankees actually had the worst record in the league at 67-95, and the Twins were only a game and a half behind Kansas City.  Plus, the Twins' record that year was among the best that a last-place team has ever had, as they lost fewer than 90 games.

This game snapped a four-game losing streak for the Twins.  They would go on to win four of the next five.

Record:  The Twins were 36-40, in fifth place in the American League West, 12 games behind Oakland.  They would finish 74-88, in seventh (last) place, 29 games behind Oakland.

The Orioles were 34-42, in fifth place in the American League East, 10.5 games behind Boston.  They would finish 76-85, in fifth place, 11.5 games behind Boston.

Random record:  The Twins are 40-39 in Random Rewind games.