Tag Archives: September call-ups

Random Rewind: 1985, Game One Hundred Fifty-three

TEXAS 2, MINNESOTA 0 IN TEXAS

Date:  Thursday, September 26.

Batting star:  Kent Hrbek was 3-for-4.

Pitching star:  Mike Smithson pitched an eight-inning complete game, giving up two runs on six hits and four walks and striking out four.

Opposition stars:  Jose Guzman pitched 8.2 scoreless innings, giving up six hits and a walk and striking out five.  Gary Ward was 3-for-3 with a stolen base, his twenty-second.  Pete O'Brien was 1-for-1 with a home run (his twenty-first) and three walks.  I guess they should've walked him the other time, too.

The game:  The Twins put man on second and third with two out in the first inning but did not score.  That was as close as the Twins would come to scoring all night.

The Rangers didn't get anything accomplished in the first three innings, either, but in the fourth O'Brien hit a one-out homer to give Texas a 1-0 lead.  They added a run in the seventh on singles by Ward and Bob Jones, a walk to Duane Walker, and an infield out.

The Twins put one more threat together in the ninth, when Kent Hrbek and Tom Brunansky singled with two out.  Dwayne Henry came in and struck out Mark Salas to end the game.

WP:  Guzman (2-2).  LP:  Smithson (14-13).  S:  Henry (2).

Notes:  Jeff Reed, who was a September call-up, started behind the plate in place of Salas.  Salas mostly platooned with Tim Laudner in 1985.

Roy Smalley was at shortstop in place of Greg Gagne.  Smalley was used at DH more than any other position, but he still played a significant number of games at short in 1985.  Salas was the DH in this game.

Dave Engle pinch-hit for Reed in the eighth and stayed in the game behind the plate.  Gagne replaced Smalley at shortstop in the eighth.  Smalley would miss the next couple of games--perhaps he tweaked something.  If not, it seems odd to make a defensive substitution in a game you're losing by two runs.

Salas was batting .301.  He would be the team's lone .300 hitter, at least of players with a significant number of at-bats, as he finished at exactly .300.

The team leader in home runs was Brunansky at 27.  Hrbek had 21 and Gary Gaetti 20.  Also in double figures were Smalley (12), Randy Bush (10), and Tim Teufel (10).

Smithson had eight complete games in 1985.  From 1983-1986 he had 36 complete games and led the league in starts in two of those seasons.  That may be why he was pretty much done after 1986.

This was the year Bert Blyleven came back to the Twins in early August.  He was easily the team's best starter the rest of the season.  Other starters were SmithsonFrank ViolaJohn Butcher, and Ken Schrom.  Viola was the best of the rest, going 18-14, 4.09, 1.32 WHIP.

Even though he shut them down in this game, the Twins did pretty well most of the time against Guzman.  He was 5-6, 4.25, 1.45 WHIP against them.  This was only the fourth start of his major league career, as he came up as a September call-up.

Texas really didn't have a closer in 1985.  Seven different pitchers had saves, with Greg Harris leading with eleven.  Henry was in his rookie year, coming up in mid-August.

Record:  The Twins were 70-83, in sixth place in the American League West, 16.5 games behind California and Kansas City.  They would finish 77-85, tied for fourth with Oakland, 14 games behind Kansas City.

The Rangers were 58-94, in seventh (last) place in the American League West, 28 games behind California and Kansas City.  They would finish 62-99, in seventh place, 28.5 games behind Kansas City.

Random record:  The Twins are 29-27 in Random Rewind games.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Fifty-eight

CHICAGO 3, MINNESOTA 2 IN CHICAGO (GAME 1--10 INNINGS)

Date:  Thursday, October 3.

Batting stars:  Chuck Knoblauch was 3-for-4 with a stolen base, his twenty-fourth.  Chili Davis was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Dan Gladden was 1-for-5 with a home run, his sixth.

Pitching stars:  Jack Morris pitched five shutout innings, giving up six hits and a walk and striking out five.  He threw 72 pitches.  Mark Guthrie pitched two shutout innings, giving up three hits.

Opposition stars:  Jack McDowell pitched eight innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and four walks and striking out three.  Lance Johnson was 4-for-4 with a triple and a stolen base, his twenty-fifth.  Frank Thomas was 2-for-3 with two walks.

The game:  The White Sox loaded the bases with one out in the first on two singles and a walk, but Bo Jackson hit into a double play to end the inning.  The Twins put men on first and second with two out in the fourth, but Brian Harper flied out to end the inning.

Those were the only threats until the sixth, when Gladden led off the inning with a home run to put the Twins up 1-0.  The Twins added a run in the ninth when Kent Hrbek walked and pinch-runner Jarvis Brown scored from first on Davis' double.

It was 2-0 going to the bottom of the ninth, and Rick Aguilera came in to finish it off.  But he walked Warren Newson to lead off the inning, and Johnson then circled the bases on a triple-plus-error to tie the score 2-2.  The next three batters went out, so we had free baseball.

The Twins went down in order in the top of the tenth.  In the bottom of the tenth, Tim Raines reached on a two-base error.  A ground out, an intentional walk, and a foul popup gave the Twins hope, but Newson delivered a single to score Raines and give the White Sox the victory.

WP:  Scott Radinsky (5-5).  LP:  Aguilera (4-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Al Newman was at shortstop in place of Greg Gagne.

Lots of substitutes again.  Brown pinch-ran for Hrbek in the ninth and stayed in the game in right field.  Gene Larkin pinch-hit for Harper in the ninth and stayed in the game at first base.  Gagne pinch-ran for Davis in the ninth.  Randy Bush pinch-hit for Shane Mack in the ninth, but after a pitching change Pedro Munoz pinch-hit for Bush.  Lenny Webster then replaced Munoz in the bottom of the ninth and went behind the plate.  Scott Leius pinch-hit for Mike Pagliarulo in the ninth and stayed in the game at third base.

Kirby Puckett was 0-for-4 and was batting .318.  Harper was 0-for-3 and was batting .312.  Mack was 0-for-3 and was batting .306.  Morris lowered his ERA to 3.43.  Terry Leach pitched two-thirds of an inning without giving up a run to make his ERA 3.46.  Aguilera allowed three runs (one earned) in 1.2 innings to make his ERA 2.38.  It was his ninth blown save of the season.

Newman went 0-for-4 to drop his average to .198.  He would not get back over the Mendoza line.

What's more fun than a doubleheader after the pennant race is over?  Extra innings in a doubleheader after the pennant race is over!

It's a little surprising to me that Aguilera would stay in the game to pitch the tenth.  He ended up throwing thirty-nine pitches, which these days would be considered a lot for a closer.  Things were different then, of course.  Still, with the expanded rosters and a meaningless game, I'd have expected someone else to come in to pitch the tenth.

Record:  The Twins were 94-65, in first place in the American League West, eight games ahead of Chicago.

On October 2, when the Twins didn't play (presumably they were rained out), Toronto won and clinched the East, so the Twins would play the Blue Jays in the ALCS.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-four

TEXAS 4, MINNESOTA 2 IN TEXAS

Date:  Sunday, September 15.

Batting stars:  Randy Bush was 2-for-4.  Gene Larkin was 1-for-2 with a double and two walks.  Brian Harper was 1-for-2 with a walk.

Pitching star:  Mark Guthrie pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Jose Guzman pitched six innings, giving up two runs on four hits and five walks and striking out five.  Ruben Sierra was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two RBIs.  Ivan Rodriguez was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.

The game:  The Twins jumped to an early lead.  Larkin led off the game with a double, Chuck Knoblauch walked, and Shane Mack reached on a fielder's choice, loading the bases with none out.  The Twins did not totally cash that in, but a ground out and a sacrifice fly each plated a run to make it 2-0 Twins.

That was as good as it would get.  In the second, Monty Fariss had a one-out single, Mario Diaz walked, a wild pitch moved the runners up, and Rodriguez delivered a two-run double to tie the score.  The Twins put two on in the third and the fourth, but could not score.  The Rangers went ahead in the fifth when Brian Downing singled and scored from first on a Sierra double.

The Twins had men on second and third with one out in the sixth, but a pair of strikeouts ended the threat.  Texas added an insurance run in the seventh when Rodriguez led off with a single, was bunted to second, and scored on a Sierra single.  The Twins would again put two in the ninth, but a fly out ended the game.

WP:  Guzman (12-5).  LP:  Allan Anderson (5-9).  S:  Jeff Russell (28).

Notes:  Pedro Munoz was in left in place of Dan Gladden.  Larkin was in right field, with Mack moving to center and Kirby Puckett on the bench.  Larkin batted first.  Randy Bush was at DH in place of Chili DavisAl Newman was at third in place of Mike Pagliarulo and Scott Leius.

Again there were a lot of bench moves.  Jarvis Brown pinch-ran for Larkin in the seventh.  He stayed in the game in left field, with Munoz moving to right.  Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for Munoz in the eighth.  Gladden replaced him and went to left field, with Brown going to right.  Lenny Webster pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the ninth.  Davis pinch-hit for Chuck Knoblauch in the ninth.

Harper raised his average to .312.  Mack was 0-for-5 and fell to .312.  Webster was 0-for-1 and was batting .381.  Terry Leach pitched a third of an inning and did not give up a run, dropping his ERA to 3.05.

Sorrento was 0-for-1 and was batting .174.

The Twins stranded ten runners and were 0-for-10 with men in scoring position.

The Twins had scored 13 runs in their last five games.  Four of them came in one extra inning.

The White Sox beat California 9-2, so they gained a game on the Twins.

Record:  The Twins were 86-58, in first place in the American League West, 7.5 games ahead of Chicago.

Boston won and Toronto lost, so the Blue Jays' lead in the East fell to 3.5 games.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-two

MINNESOTA 7, TEXAS 3 IN TEXAS (10 INNINGS)

Date:  Friday, September 13.

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs.  Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-5 with a double.  Kent Hrbek was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his seventeenth.

Pitching stars:  David West struck out five in four innings of relief, giving up one run on two hits and two walks.  Gary Wayne struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Kevin Brown pitched seven innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on five hits and a walk and striking out five.  Mario Diaz was 3-for-3 with two runs.  Brian Downing was 2-for-5 with a home run, his sixteenth.

The game:  Downing led off the bottom of the first with a home run, giving the Rangers a quick 1-0 lead.  The Twins tied it in the third.  Gladden and Knoblauch hit two-out singles, putting men on first and third, and a pickoff attempt went awry to allow Gladden to score.

Texas went back into the lead in the fifth.  Diaz led off with a single, went to second on a wild pitch, took third on a ground out, and scored on a sacrifice fly, making it 2-1 Rangers.  The Twins again tied it in the seventh.  Puckett singled and Hrbek walked.  A double play moved Puckett to third and he scored on Randy Bush's pinch-hit single, making it 2-2.

Texas again went back into the lead in the bottom of the seventh.  One-out singles by Diaz and Downing put men on first and third and a ground out made it 3-2 Rangers.  The Twins again tied it in the eighth.  Gene Larkin drew a one-out walk.  Pinch-runner Jarvis Brown stole second and third and scored on a Knoblauch double to tie it at three.

The Twins took their only lead of the game in the tenth.  With one out Lenny Webster singled and Gladden walked.  Puckett's two-out single scored one run and Hrbek delivered a three-run homer to give the Twins a 7-3 advantage.   Texas got only one single in the bottom of the tenth.

WP:  Terry Leach (1-1).  LP:  Kenny Rogers (9-10).  S:  None.

Notes:  Pedro Munoz was in right field in place of Shane Mack.  Junior Ortiz caught in place of Brian Harper.

The Twins made extensive use of the bench.  Bush pinch-hit for Munoz in the seventh and remained in the game in right field.  Al Newman pinch-hit for Ortiz in the seventh and remained in the game at shortstop.  Larkin pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the seventh.  Brown pinch-ran for him and Webster then came in to catch.  Mack entered the game in the eighth in right field in place of Bush.  Scott Leius pinch-hit for Mike Pagliarulo in the ninth and remained in the game at third base.  I'm going to miss teams being able to make that many moves in September games.

Puckett raised his average to .328.  Mack was 0-for-1 and was batting .313.  Webster was 1-for-1 and was batting .400.

Scott Erickson started for the Twins but pitched just two innings, giving up one run on two hits and a walk.  He threw twenty-nine pitches.  I assume he came out because of his elbow.  He would not miss a start, however.

Erickson's ERA went to 3.15.  Leach pitched two-thirds of an inning scorelessly to make his ERA 3.06.  Rick Aguilera similarly pitched two-thirds of an inning scorelessly to make his ERA 2.17.

This was Leach's only win of the season.

Kenny Rogers was primarily a reliever in his first four years in the majors.  In fact, he led the league in appearances in 1992 with 81.  He made just twelve starts in those first four seasons before becoming a full-time starter in 1993.

Diaz was not in the starting lineup.  He batted for Jeff Huson in the fifth inning.

The White Sox defeated California 1-0, but again, time was running out on them.

Record:  The Twins were 86-56, in first place in the American League West, 8.5 games ahead of Chicago.

In the East, Toronto and Boston both won, so the Blue Jays remained in the lead by 3.5 games.

 

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-three

MINNESOTA 9, CLEVELAND 3 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Monday, September 2.

Batting stars:  Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a double, two runs, and two RBIs.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-4 with two runs.  Shane Mack was 1-for-3 with a grand slam, his seventeenth home run.

Pitching stars:  Scott Erickson struck out seven in seven shutout innings, giving up six hits and two walks.  He threw 119 pitches.  Rick Aguilera pitched two perfect innings.

Opposition stars:  Mike Aldrete was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Albert Belle was 2-for-4 with a double.  Alex Cole was 2-for-4 with a walk.

The game:  Despite the final score, it was a pitchers' duel for six innings.  The Indians had a couple of mild threats, getting a two-out double from Carlos Baerga in the first and putting men on first and second with one out in the third.  The Twins did not get a hit until the fourth.  Knoblauch led off with a single and went to third with none out on a pickoff error, but he was thrown out trying to score on a ground ball to short (one assumes it was the contact play).  Cleveland put men on first and second with one out in the fifth and had men on first and third with one out in the sixth, but the latter threat went away when Carlos Martinez was thrown out at home on the back end of a second-and-home double steal.  So the game remained scoreless in the sixth.

The Twins broke through in the seventh.  Randy Bush led off with a walk.  Jarvis Brown pinch-ran and scored from first on Puckett's double.  Hrbek followed with an RBI single.  A pair of productive outs moved Hrbek to third and he scored on an error.  Junior Ortiz delivered an RBI double to put the Twins up 4-0.

The Indians came right back in the eighth.  Steve Bedrosian came in to pitch and walked Baerga.  Belle doubled, and RBI singles by Martinez and Aldrete made it 4-2.  Aguilera came on and got Jeff Manto to hit into a double play, but a run scored to make it 4-3.

Undaunted, the Twins put it away in the bottom of the eighth.  Knoblauch led off with a single and Chili Davis walked.  Puckett delivered an RBI single.  Hrbek laid down a bunt single, loading the bases.  Mack then hit a grand slam, making the score 9-3 and effectively ending the game.  Not literally, of course--Cleveland still batted in the ninth, but they went down in order.

WP:  Erickson (17-6).  LP:  Eric King (5-9).  S:  Aguilera (37).

Notes:  Mack was in left field, with Dan Gladden getting the day off.  Gene Larkin was in right.  Once again Ortiz caught Erickson, with Brian Harper on the bench.  Randy Bush was at DH in place of Davis.  Knoblauch led off, with Bush batting second.

Again, we had plenty of bench players used.  Brown pinch-ran for Bush in the seventh.  Davis pinch-hit for Brown in the eighth.  Al Newman then pinch-ran for Davis in the eighth.  Gladden pinch-ran for Larkin in the seventh and stayed in the game in left field, with Mack moving to right.  Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the eighth.  Scott Leius went into the game at shortstop in the ninth.

Puckett raised his average to .330.  Mack raised his average to .310.  Mike Pagliarulo was 0-for-4 and was batting .300.  Erickson lowered his ERA to 3.08.

Tom Kelly allowing Erickson to throw seven innings and 114 pitches is at least questionable.  Yes, he was pitching well, and yes, it was a scoreless game until the seventh.  But he was obviously still hurting, this was the first good game he'd pitched in a month, and the Twins were in first place by eight games.  Plus, TK gave Gladden and Davis the day off, so he clearly did not consider this a must-win game.  It seems to me a lower pitch-limit would have been indicated, even though such things were not as common back then.

Using three pinch-runners in a game is certainly unusual.  Even back then the only way you could do it is with September call-ups, and with the new limit on September call-ups it may never happen again.  I think if I ran a team, I'd have a couple of pitchers practiced up so they could be used as pinch-runners when necessary.  It used to not be uncommon to use pitchers as pinch-runners--there's no real reason you couldn't do it today.  Yes, there's a chance someone could get hurt, but there's also a chance someone could get hurt running in the outfield before the game.  To me, with today's shorter benches, it makes perfect sense.

Oakland did not play, but the White Sox defeated Kansas City 5-1, so the two teams were once again tied for second place.

Record:  The Twins were 80-53, in first place in the American League West, 8.5 games ahead of Chicago and Oakland.

Toronto continued to lead Detroit by 2.5 games in the East.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-two

MINNESOTA 14, BALTIMORE 3 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Sunday, September 1.

Batting stars:  Brian Harper was 3-for-4 with a home run (his ninth), a double, and three runs.  Shane Mack was 3-for-5 with a double and two runs.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-3.  Gene Larkin was 2-for-4 with a double, two runs, and two RBIs.  Chili Davis was 1-for-3 with a three-run homer (his twenty-seventh), a walk, and two runs.  Paul Sorrento hit a pinch-hit two-run homer, his second.

Pitching stars:  Jack Morris pitched seven innings, giving up three unearned runs on six hits and two walks and striking out three.  Mark Guthrie struck out three in two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Brady Anderson was 2-for-3 with a triple and two walks.  Chito Martinez was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his tenth.

The game:  Anderson led off the game with a triple but failed to score.  That was the only time the Orioles threatened to take the lead.  In the second, Harper and Mack led off with back-to-back doubles, with a bunt and a sacrifice fly bringing home the second run.  The Twins took control in the fourth.  Davis led off with a walk, which was followed by five consecutive singles.  HarperMackScott LeiusLarkin, and Greg Gagne all got base hits, making the score 5-0 with the bases loaded.  With one out Knoblauch walked to bring in a run and a sacrifice fly brought home another, giving the Twins a 7-0 lead.  Harper led off the fifth with a home run to make it 8-0.

Baltimore got on the board in the sixth.  Anderson led off with a single and went to third on a pair of productive outs.  Glenn Davis then reached on an error, bringing home a run, and Martinez hit a two-run homer to cut the margin to 8-3.

That was as close as the Orioles would come.  Davis hit a three-run homer in the sixth to make it 11-3.  They added three more in the seventh, two of them coming on a Sorrento pinch-hit two-run homer, to bring the final score to 14-3.

WP:  Morris (16-10).  LP:  Arthur Rhodes (0-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Larkin was at first base in place of Kent Hrbek.  At least some of the September call-ups arrived, and with a blowout game there were numerous substitutions.  Jarvis Brown went to center field in the seventh, replacing Puckett.  Al Newman pinch-hit for Gagne in the seventh and stayed in the game at second base.  Sorrento pinch-hit for Gladden in the seventh and stayed in the game at first base.  Lenny Webster came in to catch in the eighth, replacing Harper.  Knoblauch moved from second base to shortstop in the eighth.  Mack moved from right field to left in the eighth.  Larkin went from first base to right field in the eighth.  Randy Bush pinch-hit for Davis in the eighth.

Puckett raised his average to .329.  Harper went up to .321.  Webster went 1-for-1 and was batting .313 (5-for-16).  Mack raised his average to .310.

Rhodes lasted just three innings and allowed seven runs on eight hits and a walk.  This was his rookie season, and was just his third start.  He would make eight starts in 1991, five of them with game scored of forty or lower.  He would go on to have a long and relatively successful career as a reliever, pitching in twenty major league seasons and lasting until he was forty-one.

This was Knoblauch's second game at shortstop.  He had played one inning there on July 18.  For his career he played thirteen games at shortstop.  He started two of them, one in 1993 and one in 1997.  It's interesting that Tom Kelly played Newman at second and Knoblauch at short, rather than vice-versa.  It was a blowout game--maybe TK just wanted to give Knoblauch a little time at short in case injuries came up and he needed to play him there.

Oakland lost to Detroit 5-2, so the Twins regained the game they'd lost yesterday.

Record:  The Twins were 79-53, in first place in the American League West, eight games ahead of Oakland.

There was a closer race in the American League East.  Toronto had a record of 73-59 and was in first place, 2.5 games ahead of Detroit.