Tag Archives: Shane Mack

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-one

MINNESOTA 5, BALTIMORE 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Saturday, August 31.

Batting stars:  Chili Davis was 2-for-2 with a double and two walks.  Shane Mack was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4.  Chuck Knoblauch was 1-for-3 with a home run.

Pitching stars:  Kevin Tapani pitched seven innings, giving up one run on five hits and two walks and striking out two.  Rick Aguilera retired all four men he faced, striking out one.

Opposition star:  Cal Ripken was 2-for-4 with a double.

The game:  Davis led off the second with a walk, went to third on a Brian Harper single, and scored on a ground out to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  In the fourth, Ripken led off with a double.  He went to third on a balk and scored on a ground out to tie it 1-1.

Knoblauch homered with one out in the sixth to put the Twins up 2-1.  The then took a commanding lead in the seventh.  Mack led off with a double and was bunted to third.  Gene Larkin then delivered a run-scoring single, Dan Gladden followed with an RBI triple, and a ground out brought home one more run to make it 5-1 Minnesota.

The Orioles threatened to get back in the game in the eighth.  Dwight Evans led off with a double and Joe Orsulak drew a one-out walk.  With two-out, Glenn Davis hit an RBI single to cut the lead to 5-2.  Milligan then walked, loading the bases and bringing the go-ahead run up to bat.  But Chito Martinez flied to center, ending the inning.  Baltimore went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Tapani (13-7).  LP:  Mike Mussina (2-4).  S:  Aguilera (36).

Notes:  The Twins used a standard lineup but made use of most of their bench.  Larkin pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the seventh.  Al Newman then ran for Larkin and stayed in the game at second base.  He did that because Randy Bush pinch-hit for Knoblauch.  Scott Leius then replaced Bush on defense and played shortstop.

Puckett raised his average to .327.  Brian Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .316.  Mack raised his average to .305.  Mike Pagliarulo was 1-for-3 and was batting .304.  Tapani lowered his ERA to 2.89.  Aguilera's ERA went down to 2.35.

This was Knoblauch's first career home run and his only home run in 1991.  He would eventually develop moderate power, hitting 98 home runs in his career with a high of 18 in 1999.

Tapani had allowed just four earned runs in his last three starts (23 innings).

Remember that Mack had hit .143 in April?  He had an awesome second half.  In August, which we've just completed, he batted .343/.387/.637.  His July was even a little better:  .366/.435/.622.  He would not quite match those numbers in September, but he still batted .326/.363/.453.  For the second half of the season, he batted .356/.405/.595.  He hit 19 doubles, 7 triples, and 10 home runs in the second half.

It was a rare thing when the Twins beat Mussina.  For his career, Mussina was 22-6, 3.09, 1.17 WHIP against the Twins.  That's the most wins he had against any team other than Toronto and the best winning percentage against any American League team.  It was the third-lowest ERA he had against any American League team.  His career ERA was 3.68 and his career WHIP was 1.19.

Oakland defeated Detroit 7-6 in ten innings, so the margin between the two teams remained the same.

Record:  The Twins were 78-53, in first place in the American League West, seven games ahead of Oakland.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Twenty-two

MINNESOTA 9, SEATTLE 1 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, August 21.

Batting stars:  Shane Mack was 3-for-3 with a triple, a double, a walk, and five RBIs.  Brian Harper was 2-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch and two runs.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-3 with two runs.

Pitching stars:  Kevin Tapani pitched eight innings, giving up one run on four hits and three walks and striking out one.  Denny Neagle pitched a scoreless inning, giving up two hits.

Opposition stars:  Ken Griffey was 2-for-3 with a double.  Bill Swift pitched two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.  Russ Swan pitched two shutout innings, giving up two hits and a walk.

The game:  Edgar Martinez led off the game with a double, went to third on a fly ball and scored on another fly ball to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead.  The Twins came back with six in the bottom of the first, and they did after their first two batters were retired.  Puckett singled, Chili Davis walked, and Harper was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  Mack hit a bases-clearing triple and scored on Kent Hrbek's single.  Scott Leius walked and Al Newman delivered a two-run double.  The Twins led 6-1 and were never threatened after that.

The Twins added two runs in the second for good measure.  Singles by Puckett and Harper put men on first and second with two out.  Mack's double brought them both home to make it 8-1.  The final run of the game came in the seventh, when Davis singled, went to second on a ground out, and scored on Mack's single-plus-error.

Seattle only got close to scoring twice after the first inning.  Griffey doubled leading off the sixth but could only get as far as third base.  Greg Briley doubled with two out in the ninth but was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a Scott Bradley single.

WP:  Tapani (11-7).  LP:  Bill Krueger (10-6).  S:  None.

Notes:  Newman started at short in place of Greg Gagne.

With a big lead, the Twins made lots of substitutions.  Gagne pinch-hit for Chuck Knoblauch in the sixth and stayed in the game at shortstop, with Newman moving to second base.  Gene Larkin pinch-hit for Puckett in the seventh and stayed in the game in right field, with Mack moving to center.  Junior Ortiz replaced Harper behind the plate in the eighth.  Randy Bush replaced Hrbek at first base in the eighth.

Puckett raised his average to .329.  Harper raised his average to .310.  Mack raised his average to .310.  Tapani lowered his ERA to 2.97.

Tapani threw 111 pitches.  Today, with a lead that big, he would undoubtedly have come out after seven innings, if not sooner.

Krueger started for the Mariners but lasted only two innings.  He surrendered eight runs on seven hits and two walks and struck out two.

It seems kind of amazing to have the last out be made at the plate in a 9-1 game.  In that situation, if there's any chance that the runner might not make it home safely (other than falling down or something), you hold him at third, because that run is meaningless anyway.  It could be, I suppose, that, knowing the run was meaningless, Seattle assumed Dan Gladden would concede it and not make a throw to the plate.  If so, they were wrong.

I don't recall what the deal was with Gagne at this point.  I had assumed he was nursing a minor injury, but if so, why use him late in a game like this?  It's clearly not a case of being able to bat and not play in the field, or vice-versa, because he did both here.  He would not be back in the starting lineup until August 24, but he would play in each of the two games in-between.  I'm sure there was a reason, but I don't know what it was.

Mack had an eight-game hitting streak.  He was 15-for-32 over that streak with three doubles and three triples.  The three triples have come in the last two games.  His average jumped from .292 to .310.

The White Sox lost to Detroit 12-9.  Not only did they lose another game to the Twins, but they were only a half-game above third-place Oakland.

Record:  The Twins were 73-49, in first place in the American League West, 5.5 games ahead of Chicago.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Twelve

MINNESOTA 5, SEATTLE 2 IN SEATTLE

Date:  Sunday, August 11.

Batting stars:  Kent Hrbek was 3-for-4 with a home run (his twelfth), two runs, and three RBIs.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4.  Shane Mack was 1-for-3 with a home run (his fourteenth) and a walk.

Pitching star:  Kevin Tapani pitched a complete game, giving up two runs on four hits and a walk and striking out three.  He threw just 91 pitches.

Opposition stars:  Jay Buhner was 1-for-3 with a home run, his twenty-first.

The game:  Mack homered with two out in the first inning to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  In the second Hrbek led off with a single, went to second on a wild pitch, was bunted to third, and scored on a ground out to make it 2-0.  In the fourth, Gene Larkin doubled and scored on Hrbek's single to make it 3-0.

The Mariners got on the board in the bottom of the fourth.  Edgar Martinez led off with a single and went to second when Harold Reynolds walked.  A ground out moved the runners up and a sacrifice fly cut the Twins' lead to 3-1.  It went to 3-2 when Buhner homered leading off the fifth, but the Twins got the run back with interest in the sixth when a walk to Larkin was followed by Hrbek's two-run homer.

The score was 5-2, and there it stayed.  Seattle got just one baserunner after that, a two-out single by Omar Vizquel in the eighth.

WP:  Tapani (10-7).  LP:  Bill Krueger (9-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Larkin was the designated hitter, replacing Chili Davis.  That caused Mack to go into the third spot in the batting order, with Puckett moving down to fourth.  Greg Gagne returned to the lineup at shortstop.

Puckett was batting .329.  Brian Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .311.  Tapani lowered his ERA to 2.98.

With Hrbek on second and none out in the second inning, Scott Leius bunted, moving Hrbek to third.  He scored on a ground out, making the score 2-0.  I wonder if Leius bunted on his own, trying to get a hit.  It seems strange to just want to move Hrbek to third with one out, especially with Gagne as the next batter.

I doubt that, at the start of the season, very many people would've expected Mack to have more home runs than Hrbek.  It's remarkable, as I go through these games, how few times Hrbek has been one of the offensive stars.  He was still a solid player, and a steady contributor.  He batted .284/.373/.461 with 20 homers, and you'll certainly take that.  I'm surprised that he didn't have much of a platoon split.  Memory had told me that he really struggled with lefties, but he didn't in 1991--he batted .281/.352/.445 against them.  He was even better against righties, of course--.284/.380/.467.  Tom Kelly often dropped Hrbek to seventh in the lineup against left-handers, which is probably why I assumed there was a big platoon split.  But there really wasn't.

Tapani had now won five straight games.  He wasn't pitching all that much better than he had earlier--his ERA only fell from 3.16 to 2.98.  The Twins just started scoring some runs for him.

The White Sox kept pace with the Twins, defeating Baltimore 7-0.

Record:  The Twins were 67-45, in first place in the American League West, one game ahead of Chicago.

1991 Rewind: Game Thirty-one

MINNESOTA 8, DETROIT 3 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Sunday, May 12.

Batting stars:  Chuck Knoblauch was 4-for-5.  Shane Mack was 3-for-5 with two runs.  Pedro Munoz was 2-for-4 with a double.  Chili Davis was 2-for-5 with two home runs (his sixth and seventh) and four RBIs.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.

Pitching star:  Scott Erickson pitched seven shutout innings, giving up three hits and a walk and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Milt Cuyler was 2-for-3.  Mickey Tettleton was 2-for-4.  Cecil Fielder was 1-for-4 with a home run, his fifth.  Travis Fryman was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his fifth.

The game:  The Twins got the lead early.  Mack led off the first inning with a single and stole second.  Knoblauch singled to put men on first and third, Puckett singled home a run, and Davis hit a three-run homer to give the Twins a 4-0 lead.  Davis again homered in the third to make it 5-0.

The Tigers threatened in the fifth, putting men on first and third on a couple of errors, but they could not score.  The Twins added single runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth.  In the sixth it was consecutive two-out singles by Al NewmanMack, and Knoblauch.  In the seventh, walks to Gene Larkin and Scott Leius were followed by a Junior Ortiz single.  In the eighth, consecutive singles by MackKnoblauch, and Puckett produced another run, making it 8-0.

Detroit finally got on the board in the ninth.  Fielder led off the inning with a home run.  With two out, Pete Incaviglia singled and Fryman hit a two-run homer.  Luis de los Santos then grounded out to end the game.

WP:  Erickson (5-2).  LP:  Bill Gullickson (4-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Mack, who had started only three games since April 19, not only started this game, but was put in left field and in the leadoff spot, taking the place of Dan Gladden (day game).  Randy Bush was at first base with Kent Hrbek still out.  Ortiz was behind the plate.  Newman was at shortstop, replacing Greg Gagne.

Knoblauch raised his average to .336.  Davis went up to .317.  Puckett was up to .314.  Erickson dropped his ERA to 1.45.  Terry Leach did not give up a run in two-thirds of an inning and had an ERA of 3.18.

Tiger starter Gullickson pitched six innings, allowing six runs on twelve hits and no walks and striking out one.  He came into the game with a record of 4-0 despite an ERA of 4.08.  The Tigers had averaged nearly six runs a game in his prior starts.  His luck ran out on him in this game.

1991 was the first full season of Milt Cuyler's career, and the only season in which he was a regular.  He wasn't awful, but he wasn't really good, either:  .257/.335/.337.  He stole 41 bases and was presumably a good defender, which is probably why he finished third in Rookie of the Year voting that season (behind Knoblauch and Juan Guzman).  He'd have probably won the award if he could've played the Twins more:  he batted .353/.450/.471 against them and also hit one of his three home runs.  The rules said he had to face other teams, too, though, and as time went on his playing time diminished.  He was with the Tigers through 1995, but spent time in the minors his last two seasons there.  He played for Boston and Texas and also in the Atlantic League before hanging it up after the 2002 season.  For his career he batted .237/.305/.326 in 1567 plate appearances, over a third of which came in 1991.  As they say, you can talk all you want about the five tools, but none of the others mean much if you can't hit.  He was a coach for the GCL Twins from 2003-2012.

The Twins had finally climbed back over .500 at 16-15.  Could they stay there?  We'll find out!

Record:  The Twins were 16-15, in fourth place in the American League West, three games behind Oakland.  They were a mere three percentage points behind the White Sox for third place.

Twins Collectibles Spotlight: Shane Mack Baseball Cards

I noticed a while back that the various baseball card companies have been pretty single-minded in their choices for front photos for Shane Mack's baseball cards. Shane was a favorite of mine, and if you collected baseball cards in the early '90s, you'd know that he was quite the hustler on the base paths. To the left is his 1991 Upper Deck card #188.

Continue reading Twins Collectibles Spotlight: Shane Mack Baseball Cards