Tag Archives: Todd Walker

Random Rewind: 2000, Game Thirty-two


Date:  Sunday, May 7.

Batting stars:  Cristian Guzman was 1-for-3 with a triple, two walks, and two runs.  Jacque Jones was 1-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs.

Pitching star:  Joe Mays pitched a complete game shutout, giving up five hits and two walks and striking out five.

Opposition stars:  Willie Blair pitched 4.1 scoreless innings of relief, giving up two hits and two walks and striking out two.  Deivi Cruz was 2-for-3.

The game:  The first was a "Twins Baseball!" kind of inning.  Guzman led off with a walk and went to third on a single by Jay Canizaro.  A one-out sacrifice fly by Ron Coomer got the Twins on the board.  A wild pitch moved Canizaro to second, Corey Koskie walked, and Butch Huskey was hit by a pitch, loading the bases.  Jones then delivered a single, only the second hit of the inning, to put the Twins up 3-0.

The Tigers threatened in the third.  Cruz singled, and with two out Brad Ausmus and Juan Encarnacion walked, loading the bases.  But Juan Gonzalez flied out to end the inning.  The Twins added a run in the fourth when Guzman led off with a triple and scored on a Matt Lawton single.

That was it for the scoring.  Detroit had a chance to at least spoil the shutout when Encarnacion led off with a triple.  But Gonzalez hit a short fly ball, Bobby Higginson fouled to the catcher, and Dean Palmer flied out to end the game.

WP:  Mays (1-4).  LP:  Mark Johnson (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Marcus Jensen was the catcher.  The Twins used five catchers in 2000, none of whom got much accomplished at bat until A. J. Pierzynski came up in mid-August.  Jensen (.209/.663 OPS) and Matthew LeCroy (.174/.577) each caught 49 games, with Chad Moeller (.211/.534) right behind at 48.  They also used Danny Ardoin (.125/.550) for 15 games before Pierzynski (.307/.809) catching 32 games.  After that mess for the first four and a half months, he seemed like a Godsend.

Huskey was the DH.  He had signed with the Twins to be the DH, but at this point he was close to losing the job to David Ortiz.  Huskey batted just .223 with an OPS of .660 before being traded to Colorado in mid-July.

Matt Lawton was leading the team in batting at this point at .363.  He would finish at .305, which still led the team.  Jones was batting .337.  He would finish at .285.  Koskie, who was batting .270 at this point, would finish at .300.

On the other end, Canizaro was batting .185, although he would finish at .269.  The Twins had soured on Todd Walker at this point and would trade him to Colorado in the same deal that sent Huskey there.  Walker had batted .316 in 1998 and a still-respectable .279 in 1999, but when he got off to a slow start in 2000 the Twins benched him, sent him to AAA, and then traded him.  His defense was suspect, but as I recall this was a case where the main reason for trading him was that Tom Kelly just didn't like him.  Walker went on to have a very good major league career while the player the Twins got back in the deal, Todd Sears, played just forty major league games.  And it's not like the Twins had a hotshot second baseman knocking at the door to replace him--Canizaro was the regular for 2000 and they then went to Luis Rivas.  I think a lot of TK, but he had his blind spots, and this was one of them.

The Twins batted .270, which was tied for tenth in the league.  Cleveland and Kansas City led at .288.

Jones led the team in homers with 19.  Coomer had 16, Lawton 13, and Ortiz 10.  They finished dead last in home runs with 116, thirty-four behind the next lowest team.  Toronto led the league with 240.  When the juiced ball era came around, the Twins were conscientious objectors.

This was easily Mays' best game of the season.  It was his only shutout and one of two complete games, the other being an eight-inning loss.  He did not have a good year in 2000, going 7-15, 5.56, 1.62 WHIP.  It shows how bad the Twins' pitching was that he was allowed to make 28 starts.  Brad Radke was the staff ace, I guess, but he went 12-16, 4.45, 1.38.  Eric Milton was the other mainstay of the rotation, making 33 starts and going 13-10, 4.86, 1.25.  Others to make double-digit starts were Mark Redman (12-9, 4.76, 1.41), Sean Bergman (4-5, 9.66, 2.12--he made 14 starts!), and J. C. Romero (2-7, 7.02, 1.77).

The bullpen was better than that, but it wasn't particularly good either.  The Twins posted an ERA of 5.14, tied for eleventh in the league.  Toronto led at 4.23.  The Twins were actually eighth in WHIP at 1.50.  Boston led at 1.33.  It was definitely a hitters' year.

This was the year Guzman hit twenty triples.  He led the league, of course, one of three times he did so.

The was the second game of a stretch in which the Twins won five out of six.  They did not have very many of those stretches in 2000.

Record:  The Twins were 14-18, in fourth place in the American League Central, 4.5 games behind Chicago.  They would finish 63-93, in fifth (last) place, 26 games behind Chicago.

The Tigers were 9-21, in fifth (last) place in the American League Central, 8.5 games behind Chicago.  They would finish 79-83, in third place, 16 games behind Chicago.

Random Record:  The Twins are 46-44 in Random Rewind games.

Happy Birthday–May 25

Al Reach (1840)
Lip Pike (1845)
Tip O’Neill (1858)
Joe Judge (1894)
Martin Dihigo (1905)
Lindsey Nelson (1919)

Bill Sharman (1926)
Jim Marshall (1931)
W. P. Kinsella (1935)
Glenn Borgmann (1950)
John Montefusco (1950)
Bob Knepper (1954)
Kerwin Danley (1961)
Bill Haselman (1966)
Dave Hollins (1966)
Joey Eischen (1970)
Todd Walker (1973)
Miguel Tejada (1974)
Chris Young (1979)
Scott Hairston (1980)
Jason Kubel (1982)
Eric Young (1985)
Pat Dean (1989)
Neil Ramirez (1989)

Al Reach played major league baseball from 1871-1875.  He later founded the A. J. Reach Company, which was the largest sporting goods company in the United States at one time (it eventually merged with Spalding).  This company also published the Reach Guide, an influential baseball publication, from 1883-1927.

Martin Dihigo was a star in the Negro Leagues, winning 250 games as a pitcher and also winning two batting titles.

Lindsey Nelson was one of the most famous broadcasters in the country at one time.  He broadcast New York Mets games from 1962-1978 and San Francisco Giants games from 1979-1981.

Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Sharman was a minor league outfielder from 1950-1953 and in 1955, reaching AAA with St. Paul.

W. P. Kinsella has written several books on baseball, most notably "Shoeless Joe" the book on which the movie "Field of Dreams" was based.

Kerwin Danley has been a major league umpire since 1998.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–May 25

Random Rewind: 1996, Game One Hundred Forty-four


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.