Tag Archives: Tony Fiore

2003 Rewind: Game Twenty-seven

MINNESOTA 6, TAMPA BAY 5 IN MINNESOTA (13 INNINGS)

Date:  Thursday, May 1.

Batting stars:  Cristian Guzman was 3-for-6 with a triple and a double.  Corey Koskie was 2-for-5 with a home run (his fourth), a walk, and two runs.  Luis Rivas was 2-for-5 with a walk.  Jacque Jones was 2-for-7 with two doubles.

Pitching stars:  J. C. Romero pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up only a walk.  LaTroy Hawkins struck out two in 1.1 perfect innings.  Eddie Guardado struck out two in two scoreless innings, giving up one hit.  Tony Fiore struck out two in two scoreless innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Javier Valentin was 2-for-4 with two walks.  Aubrey Huff was 2-for-5 with a home run (his fifth), a walk, and two runs.  Lance Carter pitched three innings, giving up one run despite allowing three hits and three walks.

The game:  The Devil Rays jumped on starter Joe Mays for four runs in the first inning.  With one out, Rocco Baldelli doubled and scored on a Travis Lee single.  Huff walked.  Mays then had Lee picked off but threw the ball away, putting men on second and third.  Marlon Anderson doubled but only one run scored--Huff apparently thought the ball might be caught and only advanced to third.  He scored on a ground out, however, and Valentin singled in the fourth run.

Mays settled down after that, and the Twins worked on cutting that lead.  In the second Bobby Kielty singled, went all the way to third on a passed ball, and scored on a ground out to make it 4-1.  Koskie led off the fourth with a home run to cut it to 4-2.  Matthew LeCroy followed with a single, but the next two men flied out.  Todd Sears walked, however, and A. J. Pierzynski singled home a run, making it a one-run game at 4-3.

Huff hit a two-out homer in the fifth, increasing Tampa Bay's lead back to two at 5-3.  In the sixth, the Twins loaded the bases with none out.  Torii Hunter doubled, Kielty walked, and Sears was hit by a pitch.  Pierzynski brought home one run on a ground out, but that was all the Twins could do, and they remained behind 5-4.  They again loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, but Kielty lined into a double play.

It was still 5-4 going to the bottom of the ninth.  With one out Koskie singled, Dustan Mohr doubled, and Hunter was intentionally walked, once again loading the bases.  Kielty hit a sacrifice fly to tie the score, but Mohr apparently tried to score from second on the fly ball and was thrown out at the plate, sending the game to extra innings.

This was back when men were men:  none of this weak "start with a runner on second" garbage.  Guzman hit a one-out triple in the eleventh, but the Twins couldn't score him.  The Devil Rays got a man to third with one out in the thirteenth, but also couldn't score him.  With one out in the bottom of the thirteenth, Jones hit a ground-rule double and Guzman followed with another double, winning the game for the Twins.

WP:  Fiore (1-0).  LP:  Travis Harper (0-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Kielty was in right field.

Jones was batting .324.  Kielty was 1-for-4 and was batting .319.

Mohr was 1-for-2, raising his average to .143.

Mays did well after the first inning, but of course the first inning counts, too.  He pitched six innings and gave up five runs on seven hits and three walks, striking out five.  His ERA was 5.30.  Fiore lowered his ERA to 5.74.

Hawkins kept his ERA at zero.  Guardado's ERA was 0.77.

I assume there must by more to the story of Mohr trying to score from second on a sacrifice fly.  I'm guessing that either the outfielder crashed into the fence and fell down, or the throw in from the outfield got away, or something like that.  Or, as I look at it, he may have overrun third base or fallen down between third and home.  What the play-by-play on b-r.com tells me is that he was thrown out at home and that the play went 8-3-5.

Fiore seems like an odd choice to pitch in the extra innings.  He had pitched an inning the day before, was having a poor year, and there appear to have been better relievers available.  Maybe Ron Gardenhire just didn't want to blow out the bullpen and decided Fiore was expendable to pitch as long as he could.  We have to say, he got away with it.

The Twins had now won three in a row and once again were involved in a series sweep.

Record:  The Twins were 13-14, in third place in the American League Central, five games behind Kansas City.

Happy Birthday–October 12

Sam Field (1846)
Pop Smith (1856)
Malachi Kittridge (1869)
Pete Hill (1882)
Dixie Davis (1890)
Rick Ferrell (1905)
Joe Cronin (1906)
Al Smith (1907)
Bob Sheppard (1910)
Tony Kubek (1935)
Glenn Beckert (1940)
Herman Hill (1945)
Garth Iorg (1954)
Jim Lewis (1955)
Sid Fernandez (1962)
Jose Valentin (1969)
Derrick White (1969)
Tanyon Sturtze (1970)
Tony Fiore (1971)
Nick Tepesch (1988)

B-r.com says "Sam Field played only 12 games in the majors, but managed to do so with three teams in two leagues. He played mostly catcher.  His career may have been doomed by his .712 fielding percentage."  It may also have been doomed by his .146 batting average.

Pete Hill is considered one of the greatest outfielders of the Negro Leagues.  Incomplete statistics list his average as .326.

Hall of Famer Joe Cronin, of course, played for the Washington franchise from 1928-1934, managing the team in the latter two years. He married Clark Griffith’s niece, which did not keep Griffith from trading him to Boston after the 1934 season.

If there was a Hall of Fame for public address announcers, Bob Sheppard would be the first one in.

Jose Valentin is the brother of ex-Twin Javier Valentin.

First baseman/outfielder Derrick White was drafted by Minnesota in the 23rd round in 1989, but did not sign. He played in the major leagues for Montreal, Detroit, the Cubs, and Colorado, playing in three seasons and totaling 116 at-bats.

We would also like to wish a very happy birthday to Dr. Chop.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–October 12

2003 Rewind: Game Four

TORONTO 7, MINNESOTA 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, April 4.

Batting stars:  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-3 with a home run, a double, a walk, and two runs.  Bobby Kielty was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Pitching stars:  Johan Santana struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  Mike Fetters pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Tanyon Sturtze pitched 6.2 innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks and struck out one.  Josh Phelps was 2-for-3 with a home run and a walk.  Vernon Wells was 2-for-4 with two home runs and four RBIs.  Frank Catalanotto was 2-for-5 with a home run.  Jeff Tam pitched two shutout innings, giving up a hit.

The game:  The Twins missed a chance in the first.  Jacque Jones led off with a single, was bunted to second, and stole third with one out.  Torii Hunter then hit back to the pitcher and Jones was thrown out at the plate, presumably on a contact play.  It cost them, because Phelps led off the second with a home run, putting the Blue Jays up 1-0.  It went to 2-0 in the second, as Toronto scored on singles by Carlos Delgado and Phelps and an error.

The Twins got on the board in the fifth.  Mientkiewicz walked and went to second on a ground out.  Luis Rivas then reached on an error and Mientkiewicz scored, cutting the lead to 2-1.  The Blue Jays responded immediately, with Catalanotto and Wells leading off the sixth with back-to-back homers to give Toronto a 4-1 lead.

The Blue Jays put it out of reach in the seventh.  Mike Bordick and Shannon Stewart walked and Wells hit a two-out three-run homer, putting Toronto up 7-1.  Mientkiewicz homered leading off the eighth, but the Twins never threatened to get back into the game.

WP:  Sturtze (1-0).  LP:  Rick Reed (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Michael Cuddyer was at third base in place of Corey Koskie.  Bobby Kielty was in right field.

The Twins did not make any lineup substitutions.

Reed pitched pretty well for five innings, but the back-to-back homers gave him a line of six innings, four runs, six hits, one walk, and two strikeouts.   The big seventh came off Tony Fiore.  Fiore had pitched well for the Twins in 2002, but would not repeat that in 2003.

I remembered Vernon Wells as a Twins killer.  He wasn't, really.  He did fine against them, but not that much differently from the way he hit against everyone.  Against the Twins he batted .290/.321/.446, for an OPS of .767.  For his career, he batted .270/.319/.459, for an OPS of .778.

Tanyon Sturtze pitched a long time for someone who wasn't very good.  He had a good game here, obviously.  Maybe he was one of those guys who, in Bill James' phrase, pitched well just often enough to fool people into pitching him some more.  He was in the majors for parts of twelve seasons and went 40-44, 5.19, 1.53 WHIP in 797 innings.  He appeared in 272 games, starting 84 of them.  Excluding "seasons" in which he pitched fewer than ten innings, his lowest season ERA was 4.42.  He had only three seasons in which he had an ERA under five.  His numbers in AAA were 38-30, 4.71, 1.49 WHIP, so it's not like he just couldn't make the jump to the bigs.  In fact, his numbers in AA are 13-18, 4.33, 1.49 WHIP.  Even in high-A, he had an ERA of 3.84, but a WHIP of 1.45.  I've written this so many times you're probably tired of reading it, but it just frustrates me that guys like this get chance after chance after chance, long after they've proven they're never going to be good enough, while other guys put up great numbers in the high minors and get a cursory look or none at all.  I guess nobody said baseball, or life itself, was going to be fair.

Despite my hopes, the Twins would not go 162-0 in 2003.

Record:  The Twins were 3-1, in second place in the American League Central, one game behind Kansas City.