Tag Archives: walks

1991 Rewind: Game Thirty-six

MINNESOTA 4, DETROIT 1 IN DETROIT

Date:  Saturday, May 18.

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a home run, his fourth.  Greg Gagne was 2-for-4.  Shane Mack was 1-for-3 with a three-run homer, his third.

Pitching stars:  Mark Guthrie pitched six innings, giving up one run on five hits and four walks.  He struck out three.  Rick Aguilera pitched two shutout innings, giving up three walks and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Milt Cuyler was 2-for-3 with a stolen base, his tenth.  Frank Tanana pitched eight innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and four walks and striking out two.  He threw 127 pitches.

The game:  All the scoring came early.  With two out and none on in the first Puckett hit a home run to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  With two out and none on in the bottom of the first, Guthrie walked three in a row to load the bases, but struck out Travis Fryman to get out of the inning.

Brian Harper led off the second with a single.  Kent Hrbek walked, and Mack hit a three-run homer to put the Twins up 4-0.  The Tigers got one back in the bottom of the second when Andy Allenson doubled, took third on Cuyler's single, and scored on a sacrifice fly.

And that was all the scoring.  Detroit got a man to second in the fourth, when Fryman walked and stole second; in the sixth, on singles by Rob Deer and Pete Incaviglia, and in the seventh, when Cuyler singled and stole second.  They had a major threat in the ninth.  With one out, Dave Bergman walked.  With two out, Aguilera walked Tony Phillips and Lou Whiteaker, loading the bases and bringing the potential winning run up to bat.  Alan Trammell hit a fly to deep left, but it stayed in the park and the Twins won the game.

WP:  Guthrie (3-2).  LP:  Tanana (2-3).  S:  Aguilera (7).

Notes:  Mack started in right field in this game, but he was not yet the full-time starter.  Other than that, it was the regular lineup.

Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .385.  Chuck Knoblauch was 1-for-4 and was batting .313.  Puckett raised his average to .312.  Gagne went up to .307.  Chili Davis was 0-for-3 with a walk and was batting .300.  As you can see, that makes five starters batting .300 or better.  It's still only mid-May, but that's pretty good.

Terry Leach pitched a third of an inning, giving up no runs on one hit.  His ERA was 2.70.  Aguilera's ERA was 1.62.

Scott Leius was 1-for-3 to raise his average to .171.

There were eleven walks in the game, seven given by Twins pitchers.  Who knows, but one suspects plate umpire Dale Scott might have had a small strike zone.  Oddly, six of the seven walks Twins pitchers gave up came in two innings, the first and last.  In both of those innings, Twins pitchers walked the bases full but did not allow a run.

Frank Tanana was a fine pitcher, but for some reason the Twins usually did fairly well against him.  For his career he was 240-236, 3.66, 1.27 WHIP.  Against the Twins, he was 19-20, 4.49, 1.37 WHIP.  He only faced the Twins one other time in 1991, though, in late July, and did quite well in that game.

Record:  The Twins were 19-17, tied for fourth with California, three games behind first-place Seattle.  The Twins were a half game behind Texas for third place.

1991 Rewind: Game Eighteen

MINNESOTA 7, SEATTLE 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Saturday, April 27.

Batting stars:  Dan Gladden was 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs.  Gene Larkin was 2-for-4 with a double.  Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-5.  Kent Hrbek was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his second) and a walk.  Brian Harper was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his second.

Pitching stars:  Kevin Tapani pitched eight innings, giving up two runs on six hits and two walks and striking out four.  Larry Casian pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk.

Opposition stars:  Ken Griffey, Jr. was 2-for-4 with a home run (his second) and two runs.  Edgar Martinez was 1-for-2 with two walks.

The game:  Griffey, Jr. homered in the top of the first to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead.  The Twins came back in the bottom of the first, as Gladden led off with a single and Hrbek hit a two-out two-run homer to give the Twins a 2-1 advantage.

It stayed there until the bottom of the fifth.  A couple of Twins threats failed to bear fruit--they loaded the bases in the second and had two on in the third--but in the fifth Chili Davis drew a two-out walk followed by Harper's two-run homer to make the score 4-1.  Seattle got one back in the fifth on consecutive two-out singles by Griffey, Jr., Martinez, and Alvin Davis to make it 4-2.

The Twins put it away in the eighth.  Greg Gagne singled and Larkin reached on an error.  A bunt moved the runners up, Gladden singled one home, and Knoblauch singled home another.  Gladden was then picked off third, but the pitcher threw the ball away and he came in to score the last run of the game.

WP:  Tapani (2-0).  LP:  Brian Holman (2-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Larkin was back in right field, with Kirby Puckett in center and Shane Mack on the bench.  Mack again entered the game for defense and went to center, with Puckett moving to right.  Al Newman started at shortstop in place of Gagne.  Gagne pinch-hit for Mike Pagliarulo in the eighth and stayed in the game at short, with Newman moving to third.

Larkin was batting .400.  Harper was batting .349.  Puckett was 1-for-5 and was batting .342.  Knoblauch went up to .338.  Tapani had an ERA of 2.10.

Hrbek raised his average to .172.  Newman was 0-for-3 and was batting .176.  Gladden raised his average to .180.  After hitting a low of .032, he has gone 10-for-30 in the next seven games.

Holman went six innings, giving up four runs on seven his and six walks.  He struck out two.  The low number of strikeouts and the high number of walks in recent games has really been striking.

The Twins had won four in a row and six of seven.  After being swept in a three-game series in Seattle, they were now on the verge of sweeping the Mariners in a four-game series in Minnesota.

This was the period in which Ken Griffey, Sr. and Ken Griffey, Jr. were both in the outfield for Seattle.  Senior has been batting second and playing left, while Junior has batted third and played center.

Sorry I haven't done any player profiles lately.  I just haven't had the time.  I hope I can get back to it in a week or so.  I don't know how much anyone else enjoys them, but they're fun for me to do.

Record:  The Twins were 8-10, tied for sixth in the American League West, 3.5 games behind the White Sox.  They were one game behind California, Kansas City, and Texas, who were all tied for third.

Game 26: A’s vs. Twins

DAY GAME ALERT!

Jharel Cotton (2-3, 5.00 ERA, 3.56 FIP) vs. Kyle Gibson (0-3, 8.06 ERA, 6.99 FIP)

The FIRST PLACE Minnesota Twins finish up the series against the A's at noon today. Quite a difference a year makes as the Twins were a depressing 7-18 at this point last year and, uhhh, it wouldn't get any better from there. It was starting to look like things were headed to 2016 there for awhile, but there's apparently nothing like the AL west (and the Royals) to help turn things back around. Even better, after the first two games of this series, the Twins are back to .500 at home.

Unfortunately, however, Kyle Gibson takes the mound today. I'm on record as preferring he lose his spot in the rotation to Berrios and be given a comfy seat in the bullpen. There's just something about the way he pitches that bugs me and the bad results certainly make that irritation seem much worse. Also, Berrios.

I don't know anything about Jharel Cotton, probably because he's only had 10 starts for the perennially irrelevant A's. It looks like he's struggling with command this year, walking 4 per nine. That should bode well for the Twins who've, from the eye test at least (too lazy to look it up), are showing a rather patient approach these days.

Walk Don’t Run

The item I shared yesterday about Bryce Harper’s Mother’s Day batting line had me wondering whether any team with a batter posting six walks had lost the game. I’m not spoiling a surprise by saying Harper’s achievement was unprecedented on the losing side of a box score.

I thought it would be interesting to see if there were any functional equivalents to Harper's 6 BB, HBP line – something to the effect of 7 BB, or 5 BB 2 HBP, or 4 BB, 3 HBP – and if so, how many. Here’s what I found via Play Index:

No player has ever “batted” a 7 BB line in the Play Index Era (1913-present). No player has “batted” a 5 BB, 2 HBP line. Likewise, no player has ever “batted” a 4 BB, 3 HBP line. (In fact, no player has ever had even a 4 BB, 2 HBP game.) So, this is a fairly historic achievement.

There have only been four games since 1913 in which a player has walked six times. For the sake of interest, let’s throw in any player who has “batted” a functionally equivalent 5 BB, HBP line. Why not include hits in my definition of “functionally equivalent”? See the title of this post.

Anyway, that brings us to six total games, and six unique players:

DudeDateBB+HBP
Player V13-09-19745 BB+HBP
Player W30-06-20005 BB+HBP
Player X16-06-19386 BB
Player Y02-05-19846 BB
Player Z20-08-19996 BB
Harper08-05-20166 BB+HBP

Here’s where it gets interesting.

Harper “batted” his line in a 13 inning game, appearing at the plate in the first, third, fourth, sixth, eighth, tenth, and twelfth innings. Of Harper’s six free passes, three were intentional.

Let’s work backward from 2016 and look at the others. Our first jump takes us back sixteen seasons.

Player W was the most recent player to walk five times (one intentional) and get plunked for an additional visit to first base. His OPB climbed from .387 to .396, but his OBP slid back down the mountain by over twenty points by season's end. Here’s his line from that fifteen inning game:

8 PA, H, 2 RBI, 5 BB, HBP

Jump back one more season. Player Z was the most recent player to walk six times, which included two intentional passes. His OBP jumped from .447 to .451 at the end of the day, on its way to a humid .454 at the end of the season. Here’s his line from that sixteen inning game:

8 PA, R, 6 BB, SB

Fifteen seasons earlier, Player Y “batted” the second-ever six walk game. It was early in the season, but a nearly 40-point jump in OBP is still impressive. Six walks certainly put some growl in his stat line. Apparently the pitchers he faced could hear it; two of his walks were intentional. Here’s his line from that sixteen inning game:

8 PA, R, 6 BB

Jump back another ten seasons. Player V’s day was something else; I challenge you to find anything quite like it. He earned five walks, including two intentional, heloping raise his OBP from .386 to .393 in one September game. (He finished the season just downriver of that high water mark, at .389.) Here’s his complete line from that seventeen inning game:

9 PA, H, RBI, 5 BB, HBP, GDP

Roll back forty-six more seasons. Finally, we get to Player X and the day he embarked on a sextet of gratuitous constitutionals, the first in recorded baseball history. When I was looking for functionally equivalent lines to 6 BB, one of the search metrics I used on Play Index was BB >= 6, PA >= 7. I was just curious to see what might come up. Turns out, what was more interesting was what didn’t come up. One player of the Six Walk Quartet was missing.

Player X, who walked in every plate appearance he made that day. Here’s his line:

6 PA, 2 R, 6 BB

Compared to what we’ve seen above, that might seem almost boring – at least as boring as getting on base six times in six chances could be. Sure, it was the first six walk game. If something can be done, somebody always has to be the first to do it.

Aesthetic aside: What’s more suspenseful to watch – a player going for his sixth walk of the game, or his sixth hit? There have been exactly one hundred six-hit games since 1913, but only four six walk games. One is certainly more rare. But which plate appearance is more exciting to watch? Is your answer the same as it would be for watching Ted Williams go for his 85th consecutive game reaching base vs. Joe DiMaggio go for his 57th consecutive game with a hit?

Here’s where it gets really interesting.

Look back at the lines above. I didn’t mention something. What’s missing? Go on, I’ll give you a minute. (If you were paying attention, or if you've read about Harper's day elsewhere, you might be able to guess already.)

Player X wasn’t just the first.

Player X is the only.

Of the six players who have walked or walked and been beaned over to first base six times in a game, only Player X did it in a nine-inning game.

Six walks in nine innings. Only been done once.

httpv://youtu.be/hIuIIqbyEIU

'Players V-Z' SelectShow

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Game 37: The Bostons at The Minnesotas

Ricky Nolasco (2-3, 5.64 ERA) vs. Felix Doubront (1-3, 5.09 ERA)

The Twins return to the Bullseye after spending time in two crappy cities. This doesn't look like a matchup of guys who've gotten off to a good start this year. Doubront has been walking a bunch of guys and not lasting very long into games while Nolasco seems to be prone to the "In Play Run(s)" type of plays. The good news is that Nolsy's last couple of starts have been much better with some increased striking out of guys. Hopefully that trend can keep going tonight. Of course, as is the way of things, this will probably turn out like the last time I previewed an opposing pitcher who walked a lot of guys and hadn't been pitching well. Hopefully the Twin's band of merry infielders can keep the good feelings rolling after the Detroit series win.

For the brewers out there, I recently tried out a new hopping technique, first wort hopping. Flavor/aroma hops are added prior to the boil during the sparging process (could also be done during the grain steeping if doing extract with specialty grains). I made an IPA using this and kegged it on Saturday and wow, the hops really asserted themselves on my initial taste during the kegging process. I will report back once the batch is carbonated if anyone is interested. It better utilizes the hop acids meaning fewer hops could be used to get a similar effect. Plus, it simplified the boil quite a bit. Its always fun to try new things after all these years. Next thing I boldly try might be decoction mashing.

Game 13: Blue Jays at the Bullseye

Well, its time for the first Tuesday game of the season. This should be a good time with an expected game time temperature of 36º F. (goodness, could you imagine the Pelf pitching in this stuff? brrr) This seems like a good time for some birds to come into town (not that Toronto is any warmer), so the Twins will have that going for them.

Anyway, your starting pitchers for tonight:

Morrow (1-1, 5.73) vs. Hughes (0-0, 7.20)

I would expect a decent amount of strikeouts this game as both pitchers are striking out 1+/inning. Hughes has only gone five innings in each start, though against Oakland he had that bad first inning, then four good innings. Hopefully he keeps those good innings going and continues this trend of the starters eating some innings. It would warm my heart if, by the end of the year, Hughes showed that it was that awful place in NY that was the problem.

Taking a quick look at Morrow's game logs for his first two starts shows him pitching well at the beginning of games, but losing it a bit later on. It'd be great if Twins hitters could continue this trend of taking a lot of pitches. They lead the league in that stat, taking 4.14 PPA which has also put them atop the leaderboard in walks.