Tag Archives: team slump

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-four


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.

2019 Recap: Game Seventy-four


Date:  Thursday, June 20.

Batting stars:  C. J. Cron was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Jorge Polanco was 1-for-4 with a home run, his eleventh.

Pitching star:  Kohl Stewart pitched four shutout innings, giving up two hits and no walks and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Glenn Sparkman pitched seven innings, giving up one run on five hits and one walk and striking out three.  Jorge Soler was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Lucas Duda was 2-for-4.  Nicky Lopez was 2-for-4.

The game:  Polanco homered in the first inning and it looked like it might be a big night for the Twins.  Instead, it was the only run they scored.  The Royals came right back in the bottom of the first, Their first three batters reached base:  Whit Merrifield doubled, Lopez singled, and Alex Gordon doubled to give Kansas City a 2-1 lead.  Duda had an RBI single later in the inning to make it 3-1 Royals.  They added a run in the fourth on a Martin Maldonado RBI double.

Meanwhile, the Twins weren't really doing much of anything at bat.  They got a pair of two-out singles in the fourth, putting men on first and third, but Jonathan Schoop fanned to end the inning.  They got a couple of harmless singles later in the game, but their last ten batters were retired.  Kansas City only got two hits after the fourth inning as well, but they already had all the runs they needed.

WP:  Sparkman (2-3).  LP:  Jake Odorizzi (10-3).  S:  Ian Kennedy (9).

Notes:  Jake Cave was in right field, with Max Kepler remaining in center.  Luis Arraez was at shortstop, with Polanco at DH and Nelson Cruz on the bench.  Willians Astudillo was at third base, with Miguel Sano on the bench.  Mitch Garver started at catcher but left the game in the eighth, with Astudillo moving to catcher and Sano entering the game at third.

Arraez was 1-for-4 and is batting .375.  Polanco is batting .325.  Odorizzi gave up four runs in four innings and has an ERA of 2.58.

Odorizzi had his second poor start in a row.  He hasn't been dreadful, but he certainly hasn't been good.  There's some regression to the mean, but that's a phrase that describes things without actually explaining them.  Either he was just lucky before and his luck has run out, he's doing something differently from what he was doing before, or the Royals figured out what he was doing and adjusted to it.  The Twins need him to be, not necessarily a Cy Young winner like he was through his first thirteen starts, but a good, reliable pitcher.

The batters have also been in a slump.  But just like "regression to the mean", "in a slump" describes without explaining.  Again, it's either a matter of luck, their doing something differently, or other teams have adjusted.  My opinion, as I said the other day, is that we have too many batters who are trying to hit home runs on every pitch.  Nothing wrong with home runs, but some pitches are not capable of being hit out of the park.  My unsolicited amateur advice is to get back to just trying to hit the ball hard and let the home runs take care of themselves.

The baseball season is long.  You're going to have times when you're not playing well, for a variety of reasons.  It's not as much fun when it happens, but it does.  It happens to every team.  You just have to keep the faith and ride it out.  The thing not to do is to go all StatFreak when we hit one of those times.  If we do that,  we're no better than Yankee fans.

The Twins again try to avoid losing three in a row, this time with Martin Perez on the mound.  That doesn't fill me with confidence, but hey, the guy is 7-3.  Maybe he's due.  Maybe tonight the Twins break out of their slump and score ten runs.  After all, it's baseball.  All kinds of things are possible.

Record:  The Twins are 48-26, first in the American League Central, nine games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We'll just have to settle for 136-26!