Tag Archives: that’s baseball

Random Rewind: 1977, Game One Hundred Eighteen

MINNESOTA 13, BALTIMORE 9 IN BALTIMORE

Date:  Monday, August 15.

Batting stars:  Dan Ford was 3-for-5 with a double, a stolen base (his sixth), two runs, and two RBIs.  Larry Hisle was 2-for-3 with a double, two walks, a stolen base (his eighteenth), two runs, and two RBIs.  Craig Kusick was 2-for-4 with two home runs (his ninth and tenth) and five RBIs.  Bob Gorinski was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (his second).  Bobby Randall was 2-for-5 with two runs.

Pitching star:  Ron Schueler pitched three innings, giving up one run on two hits and no walks and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Ken Singleton was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (his eighteenth), a walk, and two runs.  Eddie Murray was 2-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs.  Lee May was 2-for-4 with a home run, his ninteenth.  Al Bumbry was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Andres Mora was 2-for-5 with two home runs (his eighth and ninth) and three RBIs.

The game:  Roy Smalley led off the game with a walk, was bunted to second, went to third on a ground out, and scored on Hisle's single to put the Twins up 1-0.  The Orioles took the lead in the bottom of the second when Bumbry and Singleton singled, May walked to load the bases, and Murray delivered a two-run single.  The Twins went back in front in the second when Butch Wynegar walked and Gorinski followed with a two-run homer.  It was 3-2 Twins after an inning and a half.

Baltimore took the lead back in the third when Singleton walked and Mora hit a two-run homer.  They added to their lead in the fourth when Dave Skaggs singled and scored on Bumbry's double-plus-error.  But in the fifth, Randall singled, Hisle walked, and Kusick hit a three-run homer to put the Twins ahead 6-5.

The Orioles loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth, but did not score.  It cost them, as the Twins scored five times in the sixth.  The first two batters went out, but then Smalley walked, Randall doubled, Ford had a two-run single, Hisle had an RBI double, and Kusick hit a two-run homer, making the score 11-5.

Baltimore tried to get back into it.  Singleton hit a two-run homer in the sixth and Mora a solo shot in the seventh to cut the lead to 11-8.  But the Twins got a run in the eighth when Ford doubled and scored on a Rod Carew single and one more in the ninth Lyman Bostock doubled and scored on a Bud Bulling single.  May homered in the ninth to complete the scoring, but the Orioles did not get the tying run even to the on-deck circle.

WP:  Schueler (5-4).  LP:  Rudy May (13-11).  S:  None.

NotesKusick, normally the DH, was at first base in place of CarewBulling was in the lineup at DH.  Jerry Terrell was at third in place of Mike Cubbage.  Bostock, normally in center, was out of the lineup, with Hisle moving from left to center and Gorinski in left.

Carew pinch-hit for Kusick in the eighth and stayed in the game at first base.  Cubbage pinch-hit for Terrell in the eighth and stayed in the game at third base.  Bostock pinch-hit for Gorinski in the ninth and stayed in the game in left.

Oddly, Bostock played 90 games in center and 60 in left, while Hisle played 71 games in left and 63 in center.  I don't remember, but it appears Gene Mauch couldn't make up his mind which way his defense would be stronger.  On the other hand, knowing Mauch, he may have based it on the field they were playing in, which way the wind was blowing, whether his pitcher was a groundball or a flyball pitcher, or any of a hundred other factors.

Carew was leading the team in batting at .380.  He would finish at .388.  Bostock was batting .334.  He would finish at .336.  Hisle would also finish over .300, at .302.  Unsurprisingly, the Twins led the league in batting average at .282.

Hisle led the team in homers with 28.  Carew and Bostock each hit 14.  Kusick has 12, Ford 11, and Wynegar 10.  The Twins were eleventh in the league in home runs.

Dave Goltz started for the Twins.  He had a good year in 1977, but you couldn't tell it from this game.  He lasted just four innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and two walks and striking out three.  By game scores, it was tied for his second-worst game of the season.  For the season, he was their best starting pitcher, and in fact their only reliable starting pitcher, going 20-11, 3.36.  The others were Paul Thormodsgard (11-15, 4.62), Geoff Zahn (12-14, 4.68), and Pete Redfern (6-9, 5.18).  It was pretty much a four-man rotation all year, as no one else made more than seven starts.  Reliever Tom Johnson was second on the team in wins, going 16-7, 3.13.  He also had 15 saves.

This was one of three games Bulling had at DH, and one of fifteen games he played as a Twin.  He was normally a catcher.

This was the only season of Gorinski's major league career.  The home run he hit was one of three in his career.  He had hit 28 home runs at AAA Toledo in 1976, and was one of a long line of "next Killebrews" before the Twins finally realized that you can't just create a "next Killebrew".

The Twins had three regulars out of the lineup, two of who were batting well over .300, and yet scored thirteen runs.  That's baseball.

Record:  The Twins were 68-50, in first place in the American League West, a half game ahead of Chicago.  They would finish 84-77, in fourth place, 17.5 games behind Kansas City.  The Royals went 38-10 after this date.

The Orioles were 67-49, in second place in the American League East, 3.5 games behind Boston.  They would finish 97-64, tied for second with Boston, 2.5 games behind New York.  The Yankees went 34-12 after this date.

Random Record:  The Twins are 35-27 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 1996, Game One Hundred Forty-four

OAKLAND 7, MINNESOTA 0 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Tuesday, September 10.

Batting star:  Chuck Knoblauch was 1-for-2 with two walks and a stolen base, his thirty-ninth.

Pitching star:  Scott Klingenbeck struck out two in two shutout innings.

Opposition stars:  Dave Telgheder pitched a complete game shutout, giving up three hits and three walks and striking out seven.  Mike Bordick was 3-for-5 with a double and a stolen base, his fifth.  Brian Lesher was 2-for-4 with two runs.  Tony Batista was 2-for-5 with a walk and a stolen base, his sixth.  Jason Giambi was 2-for-5.  Ernie Young was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his seventeenth.

The game:  The Twins put two on in the first, but a double play took them out of the inning.  The Athletics started the scoring in the second when Lesher singled, went to second on a passed ball, and scored on a Bordick double.  Oakland increased its lead in the fourth.  Singles by Giambi, Bordick, and Tony Batista plated one run, Scott Brosius walked to load the bases, and a sacrifice fly made it 3-0.

Todd Walker doubled leading off the fourth but did not advance. The Athletics put the game away in the fifth.  They opened the inning with walks to Terry Steinbach and Lesher, and with one out Young hit a three-run homer to give Oakland a 6-0 lead.  They added one more in the sixth when Steinbach walked and Lesher and Giambi singled.

The Twins had only three hits.  Their last came in the sixth, when Rich Becker singled.  He got as far as third base, but that was it.

WP:  Telgheder (3-6).  LP:  Rich Robertson (7-14).  S:  None.

Notes:  Matt Walbeck was the catcher.  He shared catching duties with Greg Myers in 1996, with Myers playing in the majority of games.

Walker was the third baseman.  Dave Hollins was the regular third baseman most of the season, but he was traded at the August deadline.  Walker came up and was immediately given the third base job for the rest of the season.  He would, of course, play second base for most of his major league career.

Brent Brede went to right field in the eighth in place of Matt Lawton.  Mike Durant went behind the plate in the eighth in place of Walbeck.  Chip Hale pinch-hit for Pat Meares in the eighth.  Denny Hocking then went in to play short in the ninth.

Walker, in limited at-bats, was batting .343.  He would finish at .256.  Paul Molitor, at age thirty-nine, was batting .340.  He would finish at .341.  Knoblauch was batting .339.  He would also finish at .341.  Marty Cordova was batting .306.  He would finish at .309.  Part-time outfielder Roberto Kelly would bat .323 in 322 at-bats.

So with all those .300 hitters, did the Twins have an exceptional offense in 1996?  Not really.  They were tied for second in team batting average at .288, but only eighth in runs scored with 877.  The biggest reason, as you may have guessed, was a lack of power.  They finished dead last in the league in home runs with 118.  The team leader was Cordova with 16.  They had five others in double figures:  Scott Stahoviak (13), Knoblauch (13), Hollins (13), Becker (12), and Ron Coomer (12).

Robertson lasted 4.1 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and six walks and striking out two.  He would finish 7-17, 5.12.  Of their five most used starters, only one, Brad Radke, had an ERA under five.  The others were Frankie Rodriguez (5.05), Scott Aldred (5.09), and Rick Aguilera (5.42).  Aguilera had re-signed with the Twins on the condition that they give him the chance to start.  Dave Stevens was the closer at the start of the year.  When he couldn't do the job, they went closer by committee for a while and finally gave the job to Mike Trombley at the end of the season.

This was the only shutout of Dave Telgheder's career.  It was also the only complete game of his career.  As a starter for his career, he was 14-18, 5.39, 1.58 WHIP.  That's the pitcher who shut down the Twins in this game.  Yes, it's baseball, and it happens, but it happens to you a lot more when you're not very good.

Record:  The Twins were 72-72, in third place in the American League Central, 13.5 games behind Cleveland.  They would finish 78-84, in fourth place, 21.5 games behind Cleveland.

The Athletics were 71-75, in third place in the American League West, 13 games behind Texas.  They would finish 78-84, in third place, 12 games behind Texas.

1991 Rewind: Game Thirty-seven

DETROIT 8, MINNESOTA 3 IN DETROIT

Date:  Sunday, May 19.

Batting stars:  Mike Pagliarulo was 3-for-3 with two home runs.  Al Newman was 2-for-3.

Pitching star:  Carl Willis pitched four shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Dan Petry pitched eight innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on eight hits and no walks and striking out two.  Pete Incaviglia was 2-for-3 with a home run (his fourth), a walk, and two runs.  Mickey Tettleton was 2-for-4 with a triple and a walk.  Tony Phillips was 2-for-5 with a double.  Milt Cuyler was 1-for-3 with a grand slam and a walk.  Cecil Fielder was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his sixth.

The game:  The Tigers made it a laugher early, scoring seven runs in the first inning off Twins starter Jack Morris.  Tony Phillips singled, Lou Whitaker walked, and with one out Fielder hit a three-run homer.  It did not kill the rally, as Tettleton singled, Incaviglia had a two-out single, Travis Fryman reached on an error, and Cuyler hit a grand slam to make the score 7-0 Detroit.  It was pretty much over at that point.

The Twins got on the board in the third.  Pagliarulo led off with an inside the park home run.  Greg Gagne followed with a double and scored on Newman's bunt single-plus-error.  Incaviglia got one of the runs back in the bottom of the third with a home run, making the score 8-2.  Pagliarulo hit an outside the park home run in the fifth to make it 8-3.

And that was pretty much it.  The Twins did not get a man past first after that and the Tigers only once got a man as far as second.

WP:  Petry (2-2).  LP:  Morris (3-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Newman was at second base, replacing Chuck Knoblauch.  Pedro Munoz was in right field.  With Knoblauch out, Munoz batted second.  Randy Bush pinch-hit for Munoz in the eighth and remained in the game in right field.  Gene Larkin pinch-hit for Chili Davis in the ninth and had the honor of making the last out of the game.

Brian Harper was 0-for-3 and was batting .372.  Munoz was 1-for-3 and was batting .333.  Kirby Puckett was 1-for-4 and was batting .310.  Gagne was 1-for-3 and was batting .308.  With four shutout innings, Willis lowered his ERA to 3.38.

Morris lasted four innings and gave up eight runs (four earned) on seven hits and six walks.  He struck out three and threw 107 pitches in his four innings.  This would be good to remember the next time he or Bert complain about pitchers needing a hundred pitches to get through five innings.   It was the third time in four games he had given up five or more runs.  Morris' ERA was 5.34.  He may never have lost with ten runs, but here he would've lost with seven.

It would seem pretty unusual for the same pitcher to give up a three-run homer and a grand slam in the same inning.  I'm not suggesting it's as rare as an unassisted triple play, but it doesn't seem like something that happens very often.

I had completely forgotten that Pagliarulo had an inside the park home run for the Twins.  I have no details of it to share with you, other than that it came on a fly ball to left field and that Phillips was the left fielder.

This was the second time in four days that Willis saved the bullpen by pitching multiple good innings of relief.  In his last three appearances (10.1 innings) he had given up one run on seven his and one walk while striking out four.

I think, if Carl Willis was my pitching coach and he came out for a mound visit, I would not be able to resist the urge to say, "What you talkin' 'bout, Willis?"

In a lineup that had Cecil Fielder, Pete Incaviglia, Rob Deer, Travis Fryman, and others, it was Milt Cuyler who delivered the key blow with the grand slam.  He hit three home runs in 1991 and had ten for his career.  Things like that are either the most glorious or the most frustrating thing about the game, depending on which side of them you're on.  But regardless of which side you're on, things like that just make you shrug your shoulders and say, "Well, that's baseball."

Record:  The Twins were 19-18, in sixth place in the American League West, but just one percentage point behind fifth-place Chicago.  They trailed division-leading Oakland by 3.5 games.