Tag Archives: Todd Sears

2003 Rewind: Game Forty-nine

MINNESOTA 3, SEATTLE 1 IN SEATTLE

Date:  Sunday, May 25.

Batting stars:  Torii Hunter was 2-for-2 with two walks.  A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-4 with a stolen base.  Chris Gomez was 2-for-4.  Dustan Mohr was 1-for-3 with a home run (his fifth) and a walk.

Pitching stars:  Rick Reed pitched seven innings, giving up one run on five hits and no walks and striking out one.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.  Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Ryan Franklin pitched 6.2 innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and four walks and striking out four.  Bret Boone was 2-for-4 with a home run (his twelfth) and a double.

The game:  Jacque Jones led off the game with a walk.  Corey Koskie drew a one-out walk, and Bobby Kielty singled to put the Twins up 1-0.  Mohr homered leading off the second to make it 2-0.

The Mariners had only three hits, all singles, through the first six innings and never got a man past first.  That changed in the seventh, when Boone led off with a home run to cut the Twins lead to 2-1.  The Twins got the run back in the eighth when Kielty singled, went to third on a stolen base-plus-passed ball, and scored on Hunter's single.

Seattle got a one-out double by Boone in the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate.  A pair of fly outs ended the game.

WP:  Reed (3-5).  LP:  Ryan Franklin (3-3).  S:  Guardado (13).

Notes:  Todd Sears was at first base in place of Doug Mientkiewicz.  Mientkiewicz came in for defense in the eighth.  Gomez was at second in place of Luis Rivas.  Kielty was the DH.

Jones was 1-for-4 with a walk and was batting .343.  Mohr was batting .318.  Gomez raised his average to .313.

Hawkins lowered his ERA to 1.19.  Guardado lowered his ERA to 1.74.

This was the first of three stolen bases for Pierzynski in 2003.  Three was his career high, equalled in 2010.  For his career he had 15 stolen bases and was caught stealing 23 times.  I'm no sabremetrician, but I don't think that's a very good percentage.

I know Chris Gomez was a member of the Twins, but I don't have any actual memory of his time with the team.  Does anyone remember, were we excited about him at this point, when he was batting over .300?  Were we thinking he should replace Rivas at second base?  Or did we think that it was just a small sample size fluke, which it turned out to be?  I have no idea.

In his last three starts, Reed had pitched 22 innings and given up 4 runs on 19 hits and 3 walks.  He had lowered his ERA from 5.87 to 4.10.

Sears was sent back to AAA after this game.  He was batting .278/.365/.426, so it wasn't terribly fair, but Mientkiewicz was ready to resume regular duties at first base and there simply wasn't a spot for him.  He would come back for a couple of weeks in late July/early August, but then would be traded to San Diego for Alex Garcia, a middle infielder who couldn't hit.  He spent one year in Class A Quad Cities, then played two years of independent ball.

I don't remember Bret Boone as a slugger, but already hit his twelfth  home run of the season in this game.  He would hit 35 on the season.  He went through 2000, his age thirty-one season, only having hit 20 homers twice (24 in 1998, 20 in 1999).  Then, in his early-to-mid thirties, he hit 37, 24, 35, and 24 home runs.  A suspicious person might wonder if he had some help, although it should be pointed out that I'm aware of no evidence to support that suspicion.

The Twins had won four of five, seven of nine, nine of twelve, and fifteen of twenty, and nineteen of twenty-five.

Record:  The Twins were 29-20, in first place in the American League Central, 2.5 games ahead of Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game Thirty-eight

MINNESOTA 4, KANSAS CITY 2 IN MINNESOTA (10 INNINGS)

Date:  Tuesday, May 13.

Batting stars:  Matthew LeCroy was 2-for-3 with a double.  Dustan Mohr was 2-for-4.  Todd Sears was 1-for-1 with a two-run homer and a walk.

Pitching stars:  Kyle Lohse struck out seven in seven innings, giving up one run on eight hits and no walks and striking out seven.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Kyle Snyder pitched 6.1 innings, giving up one run on five hits and no walks and striking out three.  Desi Relaford was 3-for-4 with a stolen base, his fifth.  Ken Harvey was 2-for-4 with a double.  Carlos Beltran was 2-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base, his fourth.  Mike Sweeney was 2-for-5.

The game:  The Royals had a man on third with two out in the first and had two on with none out in the fifth, but it was still scoreless through five.  Beltran led off the sixth with a single.  A force out meant that it was Raul Ibanez on first with two down.  Harvey singled, and then Relaford delivered an RBI single.  Relaford was out trying to stretch it to a double, but it was till 1-0 Kansas City.

The Twins tied it in the seventh.  LeCroy hit a one-out double and scored on a two-out single by Doug Mientkiewicz.  The tie lasted until the next half-inning.  In the eighth, Beltran and Ibanez walked and Harvey delivered a double to put the Royals back up 2-1.

It was still 2-1 until the bottom of the ninth.  But Chris Gomez led off with a single, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a Bobby Kielty single to tie it 2-2.

We went to the tenth.  Kansas City got a two-out single, but no more.  In the bottom of the inning, Mohr singled with one out.  With two out, Sears hit a walkoff two-run homer to give the Twins a 4-2 victory.

WP:  Hawkins (2-0).  LP:  Albie Lopez (4-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Chris Gomez was at shortstop in place of Cristian Guzman.  Mohr was in left in place of Jacque Jones.  Denny Hocking was in right field.

Tom Prince pinch-ran for LeCroy in the seventh.  Sears pinch-hit for Hocking in the eighth and stayed in the game at first base, with Mientkiewicz moving to right field.  Jacque Jones pinch-hit for Luis Rivas in the eighth.  Cristian Guzman then came in to play short, with Gomez moving to second.  Bobby Kielty pinch-hit for Prince in the ninth.

Jones was 0-for-1 and was batting .340.  LeCroy raised his average to .318.  Kielty was 1-for-1 and was batting .306.  Mohr was batting .302.

Hocking was 0-for-2 and was batting .095.

Lohse lowered his ERA to 3.27.  Johan Santana gave up one run in one inning to make his ERA 1.57.  Hawkins lowered his ERA to 1.62.

LeCroy was 9-for-20 in his last five games and 15-for-39 in his last ten games.

I mentioned Sears' first home run the other day.  This was his second and last.  He didn't have a long or particularly good career, but he has this one story of a walkoff home run that he can tell his grandchildren some day.

Neither starter walked a batter, and there were only three walks in the entire game.  Either the pitchers had excellent control, the batters were swinging at everything, or the umpire had a really big strike zone.

If you remember Mike Sweeney as a Twins-killer, you're right.  For his career he batted .325/.384/.554 with twenty-five home runs against them.  His slugging average and OPS were higher against the Twins than against any other team, excluding National League teams against which he had fewer than fifty at-bats.  In 2003, however, not so much:  he hit .281/.369/.421 with just two home runs..  That's good, but it's nothing to get particularly excited about.

I couldn't quickly find out how many times Prince was used as a pinch-runner in his career, but it can't be very many.  That he was used in this game, at age thirty-eight, when he'd lost any little bit of speed he had, says something about LeCroy's running ability.

Record:  The Twins were 21-17, in second place in the American League Central, 2.5 games behind Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game Thirty-four

MINNESOTA 5, BOSTON 0 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, May 9.

Batting stars:  Todd Sears was 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs.  Jacque Jones was 2-for-4 with two runs.  Cristian Guzman was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Johan Santana pitched five shutout innings, giving up four hits and a walk and striking out three.  LaTroy Hawkins struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up one hit.  J. C. Romero pitched a perfect inning.  Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Jason Shiell struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up a walk.  Jason Varitek was 1-for-2 with a walk.

The game:  Jones and Guzman opened the game with singles.  With one out, Sears singled to put the Twins up 1-0 in the first.

In the second, A. J. Pierzynski led off with a double and scored on a one-out single by Jones.  Guzman followed with a single.  With two out, Sears delivered a three-run homer to make it 5-0 Twins.

And that was it.  The Red Sox had some threats.  Nomar Garciaparra hit a two-out triple in the first.  Bill Mueller had a two-out double in the second.  With two out in the fourth, Shea Hllenbrand singled and Miller reached on an error.  But none of them came to anything, and the last ten Boston batters were retired.

WP:  Santana (2-0).  LP:  Pedro Martinez (3-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Sears was the DH.  There were no in-game lineup substitutions.

Jones raised his average to .338.  Sears was batting .308.

Luis Rivas was 1-for-4 and was batting .191.

Santana's ERA was 1.13.  Hawkins' ERA was 1.38.  Guardado's ERa was 0.66.

I remember that Sears hit a mammoth home run in his short career.  I'm wondering if this might have been it.  He only hit one other homer, so there's a fifty percent chance.  Memory tells me that it took out some lights on the scoreboard or something.  It was a big home run in the game, whether it was a monster homer or not.

Martinez pitched five innings, giving up five runs on eight hits and a walk and striking out five.  He only lost four games in 2003, so this was an unusual thing.  He went 14-4, 2.22, 1.04 WHIP.  He led the league in winning percentage, ERA, FIP, WHIP, hits per nine, homers per nine, and strikeouts per nine.  He finished third in Cy Young voting, behind Roy Halladay and Esteban Loaiza, and while both of them have fine seasons you can make an argument that Martinez should have won it.  The one thing that probably hurt him is that he only made 29 starts and pitched just 186.2 innings.  Nothing wrong with that, but Halladay made 36 starts and pitched 266 innings, and eighty more innings makes a difference.  On the other hand, Halladay's ERA was a full run higher and Martinez actually struck out two more batters even though he pitched eighty fewer innings.  At any rate, Martinez was an excellent pitcher, and it was quite a thing to beat him.

This was Santana's first start of the season.  He was taking the place of Rick Reed, who missed a start due to injury.  Despite his strong start, he would go back to the bullpen.  His next start came on June 7, and he would not join the rotation until July 11.

The Twins had won consecutive games by a 5-0 score.  They had won nine of out of ten.

Record:  The Twins were 19-15, in second place in the American League Central, 1.5 games behind Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game Twenty-six

MINNESOTA 8, TAMPA BAY 5 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, April 30.

Batting stars:  Jacque Jones was 3-for-5 with a double and two runs.  Torii Hunter was 1-for-3 with a three-run homer (his third) and a walk.

Pitching star:  Johan Santana struck out three in 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Carl Crawford was 2-for-4 with a triple, a double, a walk, and three runs.  Rey Ordonez was 2-for-4.  Rocco Baldelli was 2-for-5 with a home run, a double, and five RBIs.  Travis Harper pitched two perfect innings of relief.

The Devil Rays opened the game with back-to-back doubles by Crawford and Baldelli to take a 1-0 lead.  The Twins responded with four in the bottom of the first.  Jones led off with a single, Corey Koskie hit a one-out single, Todd Sears contributed an RBI double, and Hunter hit a three-run homer, making the score 4-1 Minnesota.

The Twins added two more in the second.  Tom Prince was hit by a pitch.  Luis Rivas had an RBI triple and scored on a Jones single, increasing the Twins' lead to 6-1.  Tampa Bay got back into the game in the third.  Ordonez singled, Crawford walked, and Baldelli hit a three-run homer to cut the margin to 6-4.

The Twins got some insurance in the fourth.  Rivas walked and Jones doubled, putting men on second and third with none out.  Koskie's fielder's choice plated one run and a ground out brought home another, making the score 8-4.

The Devil Rays threatened in the sixth, as with two out they loaded the bases on two hit batsmen and a walk, but Ordonez flied to right to end the inning.  They got a run in the ninth when Crawford tripled and scored on a ground out, but never got the tying run as far as the on-deck circle again.

WP:  Brad Radke (2-3).  LP:  Seth McClung (2-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Prince was behind the plate, replacing A. J. Pierzynski.  Bobby Kielty was in right field.  Sears was the DH.  There were no in-game lineup substitutions.

Jones raised his average to .326.  Kielty was 0-for-3 and fell to .324.

Radke pitched well other than the three-run homer, but his line was 5.2 innings, four runs, seven hits, one walk, and three strikeouts.  His season ERA was 6.29.  It would not be that high again the rest of the season, but it would be a long time before he got it below five.

Santana lowered his ERA to 0.95.  Tony Fiore gave up one run in one inning to make his ERA 6.59.

McClung started for Tampa Bay, but lasted just 1.1 innings.  He allowed six runs on six hits and no walks and struck out one.

Sears had hit very well in AAA Edmonton for two seasons, but had the misfortune to be a first baseman who was ready for the majors when the Twins already had Doug Mientkiewicz and had Justin Morneau coming up.  As a result, he only got seventy-seven at-bats with the Twins, fourteen of them as a pinch-hitter.  He batted .260/.326/.390 in that time.  The Twins traded him to San Diego in September.  He bounced around for several years before his playing career ended after the 2007 season.

Record:  The Twins were 12-14, in third place in the American League Central, six games behind Kansas City.

2003 Rewind: Game Twenty-five

MINNESOTA 5, TAMPA BAY 3 IN MINNESOTA

Batting stars:  Jacque Jones was 2-for-4.  Cristian Guzman was 2-for-4.  Corey Koskie was 1-for-3 with a home run (his third), a walk, and three RBIs.  Torii Hunter was 1-for-4 with a home run, his second.

Pitching stars:  Kenny Rogers pitched seven innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on eight hits and no walks and striking out four.  Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Aubrey Huff was 3-for-4 with a home run, his fourth.  Chris Truby was 2-for-3.

The game:  Jones and Guzman started the bottom of the first with singles, and an infield out produced a run.  Huff homered opening the second to tie it 1-1.  The Twins had men on first and second with none out in the second, but three fly balls ended the inning.

The Twins took the lead in the third.  Guzman again singled, but this time Koskie followed with a two-run homer.  Hunter homered later in the inning to give the Twins a 4-1 lead.

The Devil Rays didn't give up.  In the seventh Damion Easley reached on an error with one out.  Singles by Truby and Toby Hall loaded the bases, and a ground out cut the lead to 4-2.  In the eighth, Terry Shumpert doubled and Travis Lee singled to make it 4-3.  Huff singled to put the go-ahead run on with one out, but LaTroy Hawkins came on to retire the next two batters and preserve the lead.

The Twins got an insurance run in the ninth.  Todd Sears led off with a double, an error put men on first and third, and a ground out made it 5-3.  Rey Ordonez hit a one-out double in the ninth, but that was all Tampa Bay could do.

WP:  Rogers (3-1).  LP:  Jorge Sosa (1-3).  S:  Guardado (7).

Notes:  Bobby Kielty was in right field.  Sears was the DH.

Dustan Mohr pinch-ran for Sears in the ninth.

Kielty was 1-for-3 with a walk and was batting .338.  Jones raised his average to .311.

Luis Rivas was 0-for-3 and was batting .194.

Hawkins' ERA remained at zero.  Guardado's ERA was 0.93.

This was the first game of the season for Sears.  He had appeared in seven games in 2002 as a September call-up.

The Devil Rays' center fielder was some guy named Rocco Baldelli.  I wonder what ever happened to him.

Huff was a better player than I remembered.  He played in thirteen seasons and batted .278/.342/.464.  He hit 242 career home runs.  2003 was his career high in homers, with 34.  He batted .311 in 2003, second only to his .313 average in 2002.  His OBP was .367, second only to his .385 mark in 2010.  His slugging average of .555 was his career high, as was his .922 OPS.  He never made an all-star team, but he received MVP votes three times (seventh was his highest finish, in 2010) and won a Silver Slugger award in 2008.  A very respectable career.

This was only the Twins' second win in their last ten games.

Record:  The Twins were 11-14, in third place in the American League Central, seven games behind Kansas City.

Happy Birthday–October 23

William Hulbert (1832)
Mike Sullivan (1866)
Lena Blackburne (1886)
Rube Bressler (1894)
Billy Sullivan (1910)
Vern Stephens (1920)
Ewell Blackwell (1922)
Jim Bunning (1931)
Greg Thayer (1949)
John Castino (1954)
Dwight Lowry (1957)
Al Leiter (1965)
Todd Sears (1975)
David Riske (1976)
John Lackey (1978)
Bud Smith (1979)
Kyle Gibson (1987)

William Hulbert was one of the founders of the National League and was its president from 1877 until his death in 1882.

Infielder Lena Blackburne discovered and marketed the mud from the driver beds near the Delaware River in New Jersey that has been rubbed on every major league baseball used since the 1950s.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–October 23