Tag Archives: starters as relievers

1970 Rewind: Game Eighty-four


Date:  Friday, July 17.

Batting stars:  Tom Tischinski was 2-for-2 with three walks and two runs.  Jim Holt was 2-for-3.  Rich Reese was 2-for-5 with a three-run homer, his seventh.  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-5 with a home run (his twenty-eighth) and two runs.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-5.

Pitching stars:  Jim Kaat pitched a scoreless inning, walking one and striking out one.  Ron Perranoski pitched three shutout innings, walking one and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Mark Belanger was 3-for-5.  Elrod Hendricks was 2-for-4 with a home run, his sixth.  Paul Blair was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Dave Johnson was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his seventh), two walks, two runs, and two RBIs.  Mike Cuellar pitched 6.2 innings, giving up three runs on six hits and three walks and striking out three.

The game:  The Orioles opened the first with a Don Buford single and a Blair double, putting men on second and third with none out, but only scored once on a ground out.  Each team threatened in the second but did not score.  The Twins loaded the bases in the fourth, the second time they had done so, but again did not score.  Baltimore loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth on a walk to Johnson and singles by Hendricks and Belanger, but again only scored once on a ground out, leaving them up 2-0.  It went to 3-0 in the sixth when Hendricks homered.

The Twins came back in the seventh.  Tischinski and Tovar singled and Reese hit a two-out three-run homer to tie it 3-3.  The Orioles grabbed the lead right back in the bottom of the seventh when Frank Robinson was hit by a pitch and Johnson hit a two-run homer, making it 5-3.

Killebrew homered in the eighth to cut the lead to 5-4.  In the ninth, Tischinski walked, went to second on a passed ball, and scored on a Tovar single, tying the score 5-5.

Killebrew led off the tenth with a single.  With one out, Perranoski bunted and was safe on a fielder's choice, putting men on first and second.  With two out Tischinski delivered an RBI single to give the Twins their first lead of the game.  It was the only lead they needed, as Baltimore went down in order in the bottom of the tenth.

WP:  Perranoski (6-2).

LP:  Ed Watt (2-6).

S:  None.

Notes:  Charlie Manuel was in left field in place of Brant Alyea.  Jim Holt was in center, with Tovar moving to second base.  Tischinski was at catcher in place of George Mitterwald.

Paul Ratliff pinch-hit for Kaat in the seventh.  Danny Thompson pinch-hit for Manuel in the eighth and stayed in the game at second base, with Tovar moving to center field.  Alyea pinch-hit for Holt in the eighth.  Bob Allison went to left.  Frank Quilici went to second base in the tenth, with Thompson moving to third and Killebrew coming out of the game.

Tischinski was batting .375.  Killebrew was batting .326.  Tony Oliva was 0-for-5 and was batting .319.  Tovar was batting .314.  Bill Zepp gave up three runs in five innings and had an ERA of 2.80.  Stan Williams allowed two runs in an inning and had an ERA of 1.64.  Perranoski had an ERA of 1.55.

Manuel was 0-for-2 and was batting .150.  Allison was 0-for-2 and was batting .174.

Kaat was once again used in relief.  Someone in the starting rotation being used in relief on consecutive days is certainly not something you see very often.  He would go back to starting three days later and would not appear in relief again until September.

This was Tischinski's only multi-hit game of the season.  He raised his average from .167 to .375.

Oddly, Bill Rigney did not pinch-run for either Tischinski in the ninth, when he represented the tying run, or for Killebrew in the tenth, when he represented the go-ahead run.  Not pinch-running for Killebrew is understandable--it was a tie game, and you might need Harmon's bat if the game continued.  But not running for Tischinski in the ninth, when you needed to pull out all the stops to tie the game, seems strange.  Quilici was still on the bench, available for use, but he was not used.  Rigney got away with it, but it's hard to think it was the right thing to do.

Record:  The Twins were 55-29, in first place in the American League West, four games ahead of California.


1970 Rewind: Game Eighty-three


Date:  Thursday, July 15.

Batting stars:  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-4 with a home run, his twenty-seventh.  Rich Reese was 2-for-4.

Pitching star:  Stan Williams pitched two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Mike Cuellar pitched a complete game, giving up one run on nine hits and three walks and striking out four.  Boog Powell was 1-for-2 with a home run (his twenty-fourth), a walk, and two RBIs.

The game:  The Twins had men on second and third with one out in the first, but Cesar Tovar was thrown out at the plate on a grounder to third to end the inning.  The Orioles then scored the game's first run in the bottom of the first when Don Buford singled, went to second on Paul Blair's bunt single, took third on a ground out, and scored on a passed ball.

The Twins had two on with none out in the second, but a double play took them out of the inning.  Baltimore took it to 2-0 in the third when Blair singled, went to third on Frank Robinson's single, and scored on a sacrifice fly.

The Twins got on the board in the sixth when Killebrew homered, but the Orioles came back with three in the bottom of the sixth.  Powell led off the inning with a home run.  Brooks Robinson walked, Dave Johnson reached on an error, and Andy Etchebarren hit a two-run double, making it 5-1 Baltimore.

The Twins did not get a man past first base after that.

WP:  Cuellar (12-5).

LP:  Tom Hall (5-3).

S:  None.

Notes:  Danny Thompson remained at second base in place of Rod Carew.  Bob Allison was in left field in place of Brant Alyea.  Alyea and Rick Renick pinch-hit for pitchers.  Frank Quilici pinch-ran for Alyea.  Jim Holt pinch-ran for Renick.

Killebrew was batting .325.  Tony Oliva was 0-for-3 and was batting .324.  Tovar was 1-for-5 and was batting .313.  Hall gave up four runs (three earned) in five innings and had an ERA of 2.30.  Dick Woodson gave up an unearned run in a third of an inning and had an ERA of 2.63.  Williams had an ERA of 1.39.

Jim Kaat was again used in relief, giving up no runs in two-thirds of an inning.  It's hard to understand why, with a rested bullpen, it was necessary to use Kaat, but there it is.  In fact, I really don't understand why Hall started the first game off the all-star game ahead of Kaat, although I will admit he had a much better ERA.

The Twins stranded nine and were 0-for-5 with men in scoring position.

Record:  The Twins were 54-29, in first place in the American League West, four games ahead of California.

1970 Rewind: Game Eighty-two


Date:  Sunday, July 12.

Batting stars:  Tony Oliva was 3-for-4 with a walk.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-5.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his twenty-sixth) and a walk.

Pitching stars:  Jim Kaat pitched 1.2 perfect innings and struck out one.  Stan Williams retired all five men he faced and struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Alex Johnson was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Jim Fregosi was 2-for-4 with a triple, two runs, and two RBIs.  Tom Bradley pitched four shutout innings, giving up five hits and two walks and striking out two.

The game:  It started well.  With two out in the top of the first, Oliva walked and Killebrew hit a home run, putting the Twins up 2-0.  Unfortunately, as you can tell by the final score above, those are the only runs the Twins would get.

It held up for a while.  In the fourth, however, Roger Repoz led off with a triple and scored on Fregosi's single.  Johnson walked and Jim Spencer's RBI single tied the score.  Ken McMullen then hit a two-run double, giving the Angels a 4-2 lead.  They scored two more in the fifth when Sandy Alomar walked, Fregosi hit an RBI triple, and Johnson followed with a run-scoring single, making it 6-2 California.

The Twins got two on with two out in the third, but did not get two men on again until there were two out in the eighth.  They had two men on with none out in the ninth, but two of the next three batters fanned and the third lined to short, and the game was over.

WP:  Dave LaRoche (2-0).

LP:  Jim Perry (13-7).

S:   Andy Messersmith (2).

Notes:  Danny Thompson remained at second base in place of Rod Carew.  Jim Holt was in left in place of Brant Alyea.  Tom Tischinski was behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald.  Paul Ratliff pinch-hit for Tischinski in the seventh.  Herman Hill and Rick Renick pinch-hit for pitchers.  Tom Hall pinch-ran for Renick.

Oliva was batting .327.  Killebrew was batting .322.  Tovar was batting .314.  Perry was 0-for-2 and was batting .308.  Williams had an ERA of 1.44.

Tischinski was 0-for-1 and was batting .167.  Hill was 0-for-1 and was batting .105.  Dave Boswell pitched a third of an inning without giving up a run and had an ERA of 6.19.

Twins starter Perry pitched just three innings, allowing four runs on six hits and a walk and striking out two.  Angels starter Tom Murphy pitched just 2.2 innings, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks and striking out none.

This was the last game before the all-star break, which apparently led Bill Rigney to decide he could use a couple of starters in relief.  Why he didn't instead decide he could use more of his relief pitchers in relief, I don't know.  I especially wonder why he thought it was a good idea to use Boswell in relief, when he'd been dealing with an injury all season.  This was the first time he had pitched since July 4 and he would not pitch again until July 21.  He would make only three more appearances before being shut down for the season.

Hill would be sent back to AAA after this game and would not return until September.

I've said this before, but I still think, in these days of short benches, it would be good to train a couple of pitchers to be pinch-runners.

Messersmith had pitched a complete game two days earlier, on July 10, and then was used as the closer in this game.  He was having a good season as a starter, but he would be sent to the bullpen in mid-August anyway, and continue to pitch well.

The Twins split the series with the Angels.  They missed a chance to really put California away, but there's nothing wrong with a split on the road, and the Twins still went into the all-star break with a solid lead.

Record:  The Twins were 54-28, in first place in the American League West, five games ahead of California.

1970 Rewind: Game Seventy


Date:  Tuesday, June 30.

Batting stars:  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-4 with a home run (his twenty-first) and two runs.  Jim Holt was 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-5.  Rick Renick was 1-for-1 with a pinch-hit grand slam, his fifth homer.

Pitching stars:  Bill Zepp pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  Dick Woodson pitched a perfect inning.  Stan Williams pitched three shutout innings, giving up a walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Bob Oliver was 2-for-4 with a home run (his thirteenth) and three RBIs.  Paul Schaal was 2-for-4 with a home run, his second.  Amos Otis was 2-for-4 with a stolen base (his sixteenth) and three runs.

The game:  In the first Schaal singled and Oliver hit a two-run homer, giving the Royals an early 2-0 lead.  The Twins got one back in the second when Rich Reese reached on a two-base error and scored on a Leo Cardenas single.  The lead went back to two in the third when Otis reached on a single-plus-error and scored on Oliver's double.  The score went to 5-1 in the fifth when Schaal led off with a homer, Otis and Lou Piniella singled, and a double play brought home a run.

The Twins came back in the sixth.  Killebrew led off the inning with a home run, cutting the lead to 5-2.  With one out Holt singled and Cardenas and George Mitterwald walked, loading the bases.  Bob Johnson came in to face pinch-hitter Renick, who hit a grand slam and put the Twins up 6-5.  They added two more in the seventh when Killebrew and Reese singled and both scored on a Holt triple.

Kansas City did not get a hit after the fifth inning.

WP:  Woodson (1-1).

LP:  Johnson (1-5).

S:  Williams (5).

Notes:  Herman Hill was again in center, with Tovar moving to second base in place of Rod CarewHolt was in left in place of Brant Alyea.  Danny Thompson went to third in the eighth inning in place of Killebrew.  Paul Ratliff and Renick were used as pinch-hitters for pitchers.

Tony Oliva was 1-for-5 and was batting .327.  Killebrew was batting .313.  Tovar was batting .303.  Zepp had an ERA of 2.74.  Williams had an ERA of 1.70.

Hill was 0-for-5 and was batting .143.

This was the second time Jim Kaat had pitched in relief and then started two days later as if nothing had happened.  Neither time did it go well.  In this game, he pitched four innings and allowed five runs on seven hits and a walk, striking out one.  In the two starts combined, he had an ERA of 7.20 and a WHIP of 2.20.  I'm sure Kaat was more than willing to take the ball both times, but the fact that someone is willing to do something does not necessarily mean it's a good idea to let them do it.

The Royals' starter was Don O'Riley.  He pitched 5.1 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks and struck out none.  This was his first major league start.  He would start again on July 4, which would be his last major league start.  For his career he pitched in 27 games, 18 in 1969 and 9 in 1970.  He pitched 46.2 innings, pitching 23.1 in each of his two seasons.  He was 1-1, 6.17, 1.76 WHIP.  I suspect that makes him not unusual for a pitcher on an expansion team.

Record:  The Twins were 45-25, in first place in the American League West, four games ahead of California.

1970 Rewind: Game Forty-nine


Date:  Sunday, June 7.

Batting stars:  Tony Oliva was 4-for-6 with a double and two runs.  Leo Cardenas was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-5 with a walk and two runs.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-5 with two doubles.  Rich Reese was 1-for-3 with a grand slam, his sixth home run.

Pitching star:  Bill Zepp pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Aurelio Rodriguez was 4-for-6 with three doubles and three runs.  Frank Howard was 2-for-3 with a double, four walks, and two RBIs.  Rick Reichardt was 2-for-5 with a walk and two RBIs.  Lee Maye was 2-for-5 with two walks.  Ed Stroud was 2-for-7 with a double, a stolen base (his eighteenth), and two runs.  Jim Shellenback pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.

The game:  Tovar led off the game with a double, was bunted to third, and scored on Killebrew's single.  Oliva and Rick Renick followed with singles, plating another run, and an RBI ground out made it 3-0 Twins.  The Senators put men on first and second in both of the first two innings, but did not score until the third, when singles by Stroud, Howard, and Reichardt brought home one run and an RBI ground out cut the lead to 3-2.

Dave Boswell led off the fifth with a double but was stranded at third.  In the bottom of the fifth Maye walked, Stroud doubled, and Howard was intentionally walked, loading the bases with none out.  All Washington got out of it was a sacrifice fly by Reichardt, but it tied the score 3-3.

The Twins had two out and none on in the sixth when Brant Alyea walked.  George Mitterwald singled and Frank Quilici walked, loading the bases.  Bob Allison then pinch-hit for Tom Hall, prompting Ted Williams to take out George Brunet and bring in Dick Bosman.  Bill Rigney then pinch-hit Reese for Allison, and Reese responded by hitting a grand slam, putting the Twins ahead 7-3.

Each team missed a chance to score in the seventh.  In the eighth Rodriguez led off with a double and scored on Eddie Brinkman's single.  Jim French walked and a passed ball moved the runners to second and third.  A sacrifice fly cut the lead to 7-5, but still, the Twins had a two-run lead going to the ninth with Ron Perranoski pitching.  But with one out in the ninth Rodriguez singled, Brinkman walked, and French singled, cutting the margin to 7-6.  Del Unser lined to second, but Maye delivered an RBI single, tying it 7-7 and sending the game to extra innings.

With one out in the eleventh, the Twins hit five consecutive singles to score three runs.  CardenasKillebrewOlivaCharlie Manuel, and Jim Holt all singled, giving the Twins a 10-7 lead.  Jim Kaat came in to pitch the bottom of the eleventh.  With one out, pitcher Joe Coleman walked.  The next man went out and there followed what appeared to be a game-ending grounder to third, but an error on Killebrew kept the game alive.  Howard then hit a two-run double to make the score 10-9.  Reichardt was intentionally walked, and Steve Barber came in to face Dave Nelson.  He got him to fly to center to end the game.

WP:  Zepp (2-0).

LP:  Joe Grzenda (2-3).

S:  Barber (2).

Renick was at third base, with Killebrew moving to first and Reese on the bench.  Reese remained in the game after his pinch-hit grand slam, with Killebrew moving to third.  Quilici was at second in place of Rod Carew.

Holt pinch-ran for Alyea in the sixth and stayed in the game in left field.  Minnie Mendoza pinch-hit for Zepp, but after a pitching change Charlie Manuel pinch-hit for Mendoza.

Oliva was batting .338.  Killebrew was batting .324.  Renick was batting .310.  Hall retired both men he faced and had an ERA of 2.52.  Stan Williams gave up two runs in two innings and had an ERA of 2.00.  Perranoski gave up two runs in 1.2 innings and had an ERA of 2.16.

Quilici was 0-for-4 and was batting .170.  Boswell allowed three runs in 4.1 innings and had an ERA of 7.13,

It's very rare that you see a pinch-hitter for a pinch-hitter these days, because teams just don't have enough players on the bench.  The Twins did it here twice in the same game, and both times it paid off.

The Killebrew error in the eleventh emphasizes why the Twins usually put in a defensive replacement for him when they had the lead.  In this game, however, they had no one left on the bench to use.  The Senators allowed Joe Coleman to bat in the eleventh for the same reason, and it paid off for them as he walked.

The Twins had done their best to make sure Frank Howard did not beat them, walking him four times.  He nearly beat them anyway, as they did pitch to him in the eleventh and he drove in two runs with a double.  The Twins did not walk him there because it would have brought the winning run to the plate in the person of Reichardt.  Reichardt was no Howard, but he did hit double-digit home runs six years in a row, with a high of 21 in 1968, so it's understandable that the Twins would not want him to come up as the winning run.

In the Twins connection report, Bernie Allen was 0-for-2, Johnny Roseboro was 0-for-1.  Shellenback pitched two shutout innings, and Joe Grzenda allowed three runs in 1.1 innings.

Kaat had pitched 5.1 innings on June 4.  This was his first relief appearance of the season, and it obviously did not go well.  He would next pitch June 9.  We'll see how well that one goes.

Record:  The Twins were 35-14, in first place in the American League West, three games ahead of California.