Game 103: Minnesota Twins (55-47) @ Seattle Mariners (48-52)

January 31, 2007

Wednesday July 29, 1987

Mariners 8, Twins 3

Seattle jumped all over a struggling Mike Smithson early and the Twins were never able to recover, losing the series in Seattle two games to one.

It was the last straw for Smithson, who found out shortly after allowing seven runs in five innings that he would be demoted to AAA. Since April 20, Smithson is 1-6 with a 7.15 ERA. Andy MacPhail discussed the move in the Star Tribune:

“We determined a week or so ago to give him a couple more starts when he was struggling,” MacPhail said. “He felt we owed him that. Plus, we were coming up against some predominately righthanded-hitting teams, particularly Seattle. We were hoping to see him perform better, but we didn’t see the improvement.”

The hero for Seattle was Alvin Davis, who hit two home runs off of Smithson, both with a man on base.

Player of the Game
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Alvin Davis

AL West Standings through 7/29 (Retrosheet)

Team Name                        G    W    L    T   PCT    GB    RS   RA
Minnesota Twins                103   55   48    0  .534     -   508  523
Oakland Athletics              101   52   49    0  .515   2.0   521  479
California Angels              102   52   50    0  .510   2.5   487  484
Kansas City Royals             100   49   51    0  .490   4.5   409  413
Texas Rangers                  100   49   51    0  .490   4.5   542  530
Seattle Mariners               101   49   52    0  .485   5.0   465  518
Chicago White Sox               98   40   58    0  .408  12.5   436  461

Friday at Oakland: Bert Blyleven 9-8 4.24 vs Curt Young 10-5 3.65
Saturday-Sunday @ OAK
Monday-Wednesday @ CAL
8/6-8/9 vs OAK
8/11-8/13 vs CAL


Jessica Gandolf

January 31, 2007

samricecircleswb.jpg

“Sam Rice, Circles” 2002


Game 102: Minnesota Twins (55-46) @ Seattle Mariners (47-52)

January 30, 2007

Tuesday July 28, 1987

Mariners 6, Twins 1

Joe Niekro gave up five runs on 11 hits in six innings of work, and the Twins never seemed to really have a chance in a game where nothing went their way at the Kingdome. Mike Morgan pitched a complete game four-hitter to even the series at two games a piece.

The Twins were playing with a depleted roster, due to several injuries suffered in the ninth inning of last night’s come from behind victory. Dennis Brackin wrote:

Tim Laudner suffered a broken nose on the game’s final play, when he was bowled over by David Valle attempting to score from second base on a single by Rey Quinones. In the top of the inning Greg Gagne suffered a foot strain when he jammed his foot on first base beating out an infield single and Tom Brunansky hyperextended his left knee slightly trying to steal second base.

All three had the night off, though Tom Kelly said they would have been available if needed.

Player of the Game
morgan.jpg
Mike Morgan

AL West Standings through 7/28 (Retrosheet)

Team Name                        G    W    L    T   PCT    GB    RS   RA
Minnesota Twins                102   55   47    0  .539     -   505  515
Oakland Athletics              100   52   48    0  .520   2.0   517  474
California Angels              101   51   50    0  .505   3.5   482  480
Kansas City Royals              99   49   50    0  .495   4.5   409  409
Texas Rangers                   99   49   50    0  .495   4.5   534  521
Seattle Mariners               100   48   52    0  .480   6.0   457  515
Chicago White Sox               97   39   58    0  .402  13.5   432  461

Tomorrow at Seattle: Mike Smithson 4-5 5.79 vs Lee Guetterman 8-2 4.27
Friday-Sunday @ OAK
Monday-Wednesday @ CAL
8/6-8/9 vs OAK
8/11-8/13 vs CAL


Game 101: Minnesota Twins (54-46) @ Seattle Mariners (47-51)

January 29, 2007

Monday July 27, 1987

Twins 4, Mariners 3

Heading into the ninth inning in Seattle, the Twins had managed only two hits against Mark Langston. They were down 3-0 on the strength of two Mariner home runs. Then came the ninth inning.

Greg Gagne led off with a single, followed by a walk to Dan Gladden. Steve Lombardozzi then tied the game with a three-run shot off of Langston. For Langston, eight innings of superb was erased in the time it took three batters to reach.

The Twins still needed one more run to win, and got that one batter later on a Gary Gaetti solo home run off of Ed Nunez.

Frank Viola pitched eight innings to earn his 11th win of the season. Jeff Reardon slammed the door in the ninth for his 21st save.

Player of the Game
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Steve Lombardozzi

AL West Standings through 7/27 (Retrosheet)

Team Name                        G    W    L    T   PCT    GB    RS   RA
Minnesota Twins                101   55   46    0  .545     -   504  509
Oakland Athletics               99   52   47    0  .525   2.0   515  465
California Angels              100   50   50    0  .500   4.5   473  478
Kansas City Royals              98   49   49    0  .500   4.5   408  407
Texas Rangers                   98   49   49    0  .500   4.5   532  512
Seattle Mariners                99   47   52    0  .475   7.0   451  514
Chicago White Sox               96   39   57    0  .406  13.5   431  458

Tomorrow at Seattle: Joe Niekro 2-3 5.17 vs Mike Morgan 7-11 4.78
Wednesday @ SEA
Friday-Sunday @ OAK
8/3-8/5 @ CAL
8/6-8/9 vs OAK


The Franchise 1909

January 29, 2007

1909 Washington Nationals
1907-1911thumb.gif
Manager: Joe Cantillon 3rd Season (3rd with Washington 158-297-10)
42 W 110 L 4 T 380 RS 656 RA 8th AL 56.0 GB (Detroit 98-54-6)
2.44 RPG (AL = 3.44) 3.04 ERA (AL = 2.47)
.685 DER (6th AL)

Franchise (1901-1909) 480-833-30

A Giant Step Backwards
Joe Cantillon, now the longest tenured manager in team history, seemed to have the Nats headed in the right direction. After a typically bad finish in 1907, the team showed improvement in 1908, putting up the best won-loss record in team history. 1909 represented a major setback in Cantillon’s plans, so much so that he was out of a job following the season.

The offense was about as bad as it gets. The 1909 Nats scored only 2.44 runs per game, a full run below the league average. As a team, Washington’s OBP was a horrible .270, and SLG wasn’t much better at .275, both bottom in the league. The opposition was able to shutout the punchless lineup 30 times over the course of the season.

1908 may have been a much improved year for the pitching staff in Washington, but 1909 saw the team rocket back to the bottom of the league in most pitching categories. They allowed 4.2 RPG, almost a full run above the league average. Team ERA broke the three run barrier (3.04), while the league ERA remained at 2.47.

It all added up to a 110 loss season, the second worst season in franchise history. Only the 1904 team lost more games (113).

al_1909_washington.gif
1909 uniforms from baseballhalloffame.org

Eighteen Innings
On July 16, 1909 the Nats and Tigers played 18 innings of scoreless baseball before the game was called due to darkness. Detroit starter Ed Summers went the distance, allowing Nationals hitters only seven hits scattered throughout the 18 innings. Two Washington pitchers split the game; Dolly Gray and Bob Groom. Detroit only managed six hits against the two pitchers. Both teams threatened to score several times in the game, but neither was able to push the run across. The Washington Post reported that there was enough light to complete another inning or two, but blamed the umpire for stopping the game due to his own fatigue.

Interestingly, heading into the game, Detroit was in first place with a record of 50-28-2, while Washington already had settled into last in the AL, with a 23-52-2 record.

Professional Losers
From June 19-September 25, rookie pitcher Bob Groom lost 19 games in a row. He finished the season with 26 losses, just one more than Walter Johnson, who lost 25 despite a better than average 2.22 ERA. Dolly Gray lost 19 times, and had the distinction of walking seven men in a row to lose a game in which he allowed only one hit.

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Dolly Gray once walked seven men in a row

1909 World Series
The 1909 Series was billed as a matchup of two of the games biggest stars. Ty Cobb and the Detroit Tigers played against Honus Wagner and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The series went seven games, with Pittsburgh pulling it out in the final game. Wagner outplayed Cobb as well, hitting .333/.467/.500 to Cobb’s .231/.310/.346.

Roster/Stats
Bold = player new to Washington in 1909

C Gabby Street .211/.262/.246 0 HR -0.3 BFW 6 WS
His 1909 offensive numbers were about in line with his career averages. Though he had two more seasons left in Washington, he won’t come close to matching the 137 games he played in ’09.

1B Jiggs Donahue .237/.294/.286 0 HR -1.0 BFW 5 WS
Donahue was one of the three players Washington recieved from Chicago in exchange for Bill Burns in May 1909. He was one of three batters to hit better than .250 for the “hitless wonders” White Sox championship team in 1906. Not known for his offense, he was considered one of the top first basemen of his time. This would be the 19-year-old’s last season.

2B Jim Delahanty .222/.290/.308 1 HR -0.3 BFW 7 WS
Delahanty was traded to Detroit in August in exchange for Germany Schaefer and Red Killifer, who would both be regulars in 1910. The trade was a good deal for Delahanty, who led Detroit in World Series hitting with a .346/.414/.538 line. He played three more years in Detroit before finishing his career in the Federal League.

SS George McBride .234/.294/.266 0 HR 0.9 BFW 11 WS
Once again, McBride’s defense at shortstop was one of the few bright spots in an ugly season.

3B Wid Conroy .244/.298/.293 1 HR 0.1 BFW 12 WS
The veteran was purchased from the New York Highlanders in the offseason. He was the starting shortstop for Pittsburgh’s 1902 championship team (Honus Wagner played more in the outfield that year). The 32-year-old will finish his career in Washington.

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Wid Conroy

LF George Browne .272/.308/.344 1 HR -0.5 BFW 10 WS
Another veteran acquisition for the Nats, Browne was claimed off of waivers from the Cubs. He was best known as the lead off hitter for several of John McGraw’s Giant teams in the early part of the century. At 33 years of age, his best years were behind him. He was purchased by the White Sox in the early part of the 1910 season.

CF Clyde Milan .200/.268/.257 1 HR -1.7 BFW 3 WS
Things weren’t looking so good for Milan in 1909. The Nats stuck with him, however, and would be rewarded in a few years. Despite the poor offensive contribution, Milan was already cementing his status as a very good fielder in center.

RF Bob Unglaub .265/.301/.350 3 HR 0.3 BFW 12 WS
Unglaub also split time at first. He was the only member of the 1909 Nats with more than one home run.

OF Jack Lelivelt .292/.334/.355 0 HR 0.9 BFW 11 WS
Described as a bulky and slow-footed outfielder, the rookie Lelivelt was still one of the better offensive performers for Washington.

P Walter Johnson 13-25 2.22 ERA 1.12 WHIP 0.1 PW 12 WS
Exhibit “A” as to how bad of a team this was, and a great example of how win-loss record is a meaningless stat when it comes to evaluating a pitcher. Johnson’s 2.22 ERA, while not as outstanding as he would see in future years, was better than average in a deadball American League. Despite the astronomical loss total, Johnson was second in AL strikeouts and third in innings pitched.

P Bob Groom 7-26 2.87 ERA 1.24 WHIP -2.0 PW 7 WS
In addition to the dismal rookie season documented above, Groom also led the league in walks. He has some solid seasons ahead of him.

P Dolly Gray 5-19 3.59 ERA 1.32 WHIP -3.2 PW 3 WS
Unlike fellow rookie Groom, Gray did not have solid years ahead of him. His nickname came from “Goodbye, Dolly Gray”, a popular Spanish-American war ballad.

P Charlie Smith 6-12 3.11 ERA 1.18 WHIP -1.4 PW 3 WS
Smith was traded to the Red Sox in September and actually had a winning season in 1910. He finished his career with the Cubs.

P Tom Hughes 4-7 2.69 ERA 1.21 WHIP -0.7 PW 4 WS
Hughes would return in 1911 after a stint in the American Association with Minneapolis. His record with the Millers in 1910 was 31-12.


Game 100: Minnesota Twins (54-45) @ Toronto Blue Jays (56-41)

January 28, 2007

Sunday July 26, 1987

Blue Jays 4, Twins 2

100 games into the 1987 season, and the Twins remain in first place by two games. Perhaps more importantly, they don’t have to see Toronto anymore this season. The Twins have won only 3 out of 12 games against the Blue Jays.

Once again a left-handed pitcher had success against the lineup. Jimmy Key allowed a leadoff single to Kirby Puckett in the fourth inning, the Twins’ fourth hit off of Key. That would be the last hit of the game for the Twins. Key went on the retire the next 17 Twins he faced. He was pulled out of the game after he hit Puckett with a pitch two outs into the ninth inning.

Bert Blyleven struck out 12 Blue Jays in a complete-game losing effort. George Bell was 4-4 on the game, including a lead-off double with the score tied in the eighth inning. Bell would eventually score the go-ahead run on a Blyleven wild pitch.

Player of the Game
key.jpg
Jimmy Key

AL West Standings through 7/26 (Retrosheet)

Team Name                        G    W    L    T   PCT    GB    RS   RA
Minnesota Twins                100   54   46    0  .540     -   500  506
Oakland Athletics               98   51   47    0  .520   2.0   509  464
California Angels               99   50   49    0  .505   3.5   472  472
Kansas City Royals              98   49   49    0  .500   4.0   408  407
Texas Rangers                   97   48   49    0  .495   4.5   527  508
Seattle Mariners                98   47   51    0  .480   6.0   448  510
Chicago White Sox               95   39   56    0  .411  12.5   430  454

Twins Statistics through 7/26

Dan Gladden LF .273/.335/.379 4 HR
Greg Gagne SS .262/.308/.423 4 HR
Kirby Puckett CF .327/.368/.516 16 HR
Kent Hrbek 1B .273/.373/.527 24 HR
Gary Gaetti 3B .246/.296/.466 19 HR
Roy Smalley DH .291/.357/.435 5 HR
Tom Brunansky RF .266/.368/.505 21 HR
Steve Lombardozzi 2B .239/.298/.335 3 HR
Tim Laudner C .197/.259/.434 12 HR

Al Newman UT .214/.283/.316 0 HR
Randy Bush RF .237/.326/.404 6 HR
Gene Larkin DH .284/.347/.431 3 HR
Mark Davidson OF .248/.322/.317 1 HR
Sal Butera C .210/.242/.323 1 HR
Tom Nieto C .247/.310/.377 1 HR (IR)

Bert Blyleven 9-8 4.24 ERA/5.31 FIP/1.36 WHIP
Frank Viola (L) 10-6 2.85/3.92/1.09
Les Straker 5-6 4.32/5.22/1.36
Mike Smithson 4-5 5.79/4.99/1.63
Joe Niekro 2-3 5.17/6.32/1.53

Jeff Reardon 5-5 5.40/5.54/1.45
Juan Berenguer 5-0 3.64/3.63/1.29
Keith Atherton 4-4 4.30/4.00/1.45
George Frazier 5-5 5.62/4.97/1.63
Dan Schatzeder (L) 2-0 9.20/6.53/2.65

Tomorrow at Seattle: Frank Viola (L) 10-6 2.85 vs Mark Langston (L) 11-9 4.33
Tuesday-Wednesday @ SEA
Friday-Sunday @ OAK
8/3-8/5 @ CAL
8/6-8/9 vs OAK


Game 99: Minnesota Twins (53-45) @ Toronto Blue Jays (56-40)

January 27, 2007

Saturday July 25, 1987

Twins 13, Blue Jays 9

Gary Gaetti had a home run and four RBI, Gene Larkin had a home run and three RBI, and the Twins finally outscored the Blue Jays to win a game in Toronto.

It took a while to earn the win. The four hour and five minute game is the longest nine-inning game in the team’s history.

The game didn’t start well for the Twins, who found themselves down by four runs in the third inning. But the team fought back by scoring four runs of their own the very next inning, including the three-run home run by Gary Gaetti. In the seventh inning, the Twins matched the Blue Jays seven-run inning of a day ago, led off by Larkin’s home run, to pur the game away.

Player of the Game
gaetti.JPG
Gary Gaetti

AL West Standings through 7/25 (Retrosheet)

Team Name                        G    W    L    T   PCT    GB    RS   RA
Minnesota Twins                 99   54   45    0  .545     -   498  502
Oakland Athletics               97   51   46    0  .526   2.0   505  457
California Angels               98   50   48    0  .510   3.5   470  466
Kansas City Royals              97   48   49    0  .495   5.0   404  407
Texas Rangers                   96   47   49    0  .490   5.5   516  505
Seattle Mariners                97   47   50    0  .485   6.0   447  499
Chicago White Sox               94   39   55    0  .415  12.5   428  449

Tomorrow at Toronto: Bert Blyleven 9-7 4.28 vs Jimmy Key (L) 10-6 2.91
Monday-Wednesday @ SEA
Friday-Sunday @ OAK
8/3-8/5 @ CAL
8/6-8/9 vs OAK


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