The Franchise 2003 (Pitchers)

September 29, 2014

SP Brad Radke 2.5 WAR
Some numbers for Radke.
Year/BB:9IP
2001/1.0
2002/1.5
2003/1.2
2004/1.1
2005/1.0
Radke continued his run as one of the best control pitchers in the league.

By Month, 2003
Mar/April 34.1 IP 6.29 ERA 10 BB
May 30.1 IP 5.04 ERA 3 BB
Jun 34.1 IP 5.50 ERA 5 BB
Jul 40 IP 3.83 ERA 5 BB
Aug 38.1 IP 4.70 ERA 4 BB
Sep/Oct 35.0 IP 1.80 ERA 1 BB

SP Kyle Lohse 2.3 WAR
Though he ended the year with about league average numbers for a starting pitcher (98 ERA+), Lohse was particularly streaky in 2003. In his eight starts from June 16-July 26, Lohse went 0-5 with a 10.95 ERA while opponents OPS against him was 1.022. In the eight starts prior to that (May 2- June 11), he was 4-1 with a 1.96 ERA and a .572 OPS against.

SP Rick Reed 0.9 WAR
At the age of 38, Reed had a little bit left, but for the most part showed his age. He retired after the season. In his three years with the Twins, Reed was 25-25 with a 4.47 ERA (101 ERA+).

SP Kenny Rogers 1.9 WAR
While signing the 38-year-old lefty might have seemed like a gamble for the Twins, it was a low risk, potentially high-reward move for a team that had a gap in the rotation due to Eric Milton’s knee injury. Rogers had a decent season with the Twins, but was much better in both 2002 and 2004 with the Texas Rangers. Rogers had a down note on June 1, when allowed the first seven Mariners he faced to hit safely, one short of a major league record.

SP Joe Mays -0.5 WAR
2001 seemed like ancient history as Mays continued to struggle to find the form that made him an All Star. He would miss all of 2004 after having Tommy John surgery.

RP/SP Johan Santana 4.2 WAR
With several of the team’s starting pitchers struggling or injured, the voices calling for Johan Santana to be moved to the starting rotation for the bullpen became louder. It finally happened for good on July 11. Santana was the team’s best starter most of the rest of the season, but a hamstring problem plagued him in October.

CL Eddie Guardado 1.9 WAR
RP LaTroy Hawkins 3.1 WAR
Guardado put up big numbers as a one-inning closer from 2002-2003, and effectively priced his way out of Minnesota. Both the Twins and Guardado indicated they wanted to get a deal done, but ultimately he signed with the Seattle Mariners, and the Twins used the money saved to sign Shannon Stewart. In 12 years with the Twins, Guardado posted a 4.53 ERA (105 ERA+) 4.39 FIP and 1.34 WHIP. Hawkins was dominant in his setup role for the second straight season, and also signed a nice contract with another team, in this case with the Chicago Cubs. His numbers in 9 seasons with the Twins: 5.05 ERA (95 ERA+) 4.58 FIP 1.52 WHIP. Both were well established fan favorites when they left, and both were vocal about their displeasure with leaving. Fans were somewhat unsettled by the moves, but ultimately discovered quickly that the Twins had found a new bullpen option with Joe Nathan, another piece of the AJ Pierzynski trade.

RP Juan Rincon 1.2 WAR

RP JC Romero -0.1 WAR

 


The Franchise 2003 (Position Players)

September 22, 2014

C AJ Pierzynski 4.5 WAR
2003 Was Pierzynski’s best season with the Twins. It was also his last. His 115 OPS+ was a career high up to that point, and he has only exceeded that mark once, in his outlier year of 2012 with the White Sox. Based on WAR, the every day catcher was the most valuable offensive asset on the team in 2003. He was expendable, however, mainly due to the fact that the Twins had local hero Joe Mauer waiting in the wings to start at catcher in 2004. There were also some whispers from the team that perhaps AJ’s reputation as a talker was wearing thin with some members of the team’s management, but for the most part it seemed like an amicable parting when Pierzynski was traded to the Giants as part of the Francisco Liriano deal. Pierzynski had a terrible season in San Francisco and did not endear himself to that clubhouse, so initially it looked like he might be done, and the trade that brought Liriano, Joe Nathan, and Boof Bonser to Minnesota was a one-sided bonanza for the Twins. Pierzynski resurrected his career in Chicago however, and was a key member of the 2005 World Series champions. Controversy has seemed to follow AJ, but overall he has put together a pretty nice career for himself. His numbers in five seasons with the Twins: .301/.341/.447/.788 105 OPS+ 9.4 WAR

1B Doug Mientkiewicz 4.2 WAR
After taking a slight step back in 2002, Dougy Baseball had success to match his very good 2001 season. Unlike in his Gold Glove season when many advanced metrics rated him just average to slightly above at first base, he was legitimately rated high in most defensive categories, making this his most valuable season in a Twins uniform. Much like Pierzynski became a trade piece because Mauer was ready to go, the development of Justin Morneau meant that Doug’s days as the regular first baseman were numbered.

2B Luis Rivas -1.2 WAR
This was another awful season for Luis Rivas. One of the biggest question marks for people who followed the Twins in the early 2000’s was how Rivas continued to have a job at second base. Not only that, but 56 times during the year he started batting second in the order.

SS Cristian Guzman 1.2 WAR
Guzman continued to struggle to regain the form that made him an All Star in 2001. He did regain the AL triples title with 14 after only hitting six in 2002.

3B Corey Koskie 4.2 WAR
This is Koskie’s third consecutive season with 4+ WAR. Over the course of those three seasons, Koskie had a slash line of .278/.374/.464/.837 (120 OPS+) and was a +33 defender at third base.

LF/RF Jacque Jones 1.4 WAR
LF Shannon Stewart 2.6 WAR
RF Dustan Mohr 0.3 WAR
RF Bobby Kielty 1.1 WAR
When the Shannon Stewart deal was made, Jones moved from his familiar left field position to right field to make room for Stewart, who was more comfortable in left field. While he improved slightly in his splits versus left-handed pitching, Jones still struggled, but continued to get plate appearances against lefties. Shannon Stewart is largely credited as the spark that ignited the team’s surge to its second consecutive division title. It is interesting to note, however, that Stewart’s numbers against right-handed pitchers were about on par with Bobby Kielty’s. His biggest contribution to the team was the fact that he replaced the right-handed half of the “Dusty Kielmohr” platoon and OPS’ed .892 against left-handed pitching.

CF Torii Hunter 3.8 WAR
Hunter struggled at the plate in comparison to his performance in 2002, but won his third consecutive Gold Glove.

DH Matt LeCroy 1.2 WAR
Technically LeCroy was a backup catcher, and he did appear in 22 games as a catcher in 2003, but struggled to stop opponents from stealing bases – he threw out only four of 18 runners. He found his way into the lineup mostly as a DH, however, because he had home run power that the rest of the team lacked.


The Franchise 2003 (Part 1)

September 17, 2014

Manager: Ron Gardenhire 2nd season (2nd with Minnesota 184-139)
90 W 72 L 801 RS 758 RA 1st AL Central 4.0 GA (Chicago 86-76)
4.94 RPG (AL = 4.86) 4.41 ERA (AL = 4.52)
.698 DER (7th AL)

All Stars (1) Eddie Guardado

Franchise (1901-2003) 7600-8299-111; 32-38 Post Season; 19-21 WS
Washington (1901-1960) 4214-4864-104; 8-11 WS
Minnesota (1961-2003) 3386-3435-7; 24-27 Post Season; 11-10 WS

At the 2003 All Star break, the Twins had lost eight games in a row and had a 44-49 record. The defending division champs were in third place, 7.5 game out of first. It wasn’t looking good.

The day after the break, the Twins traded Bobby Kielty to Toronto for Shannon Stewart.

Stewart was 29 years old and had played his entire career in Toronto. He had been an above average offensive player with suspect range in the outfield. the first half of 2003 was shaping up to be a good season, but by Stewart’s standards the numbers were a little down. A change of scenery did him and the Twins well.

The team swept a four game series against the A’s right out of the break. They went 18-11 in August, an surged to a 19-7 record in September, finally taking over the division lead for good on September 15.

Shannon Stewart earned a fourth-place finish for MVP honors based almost entirely on his role with the Twins down the stretch.


2002 ALCS Game 5

August 26, 2014

October 13, 2002

Where the hell’s everybody at? Must be watching the celebration. Couldn’t stop them today. Just got down to that. They’re on a roll. We threw everything we had at them. We took a lead and feel pretty good about it. Those guys are, they just keep playing.

And they keep swinging, and goodness gracious, I don’t know I’ve ever seen an inning like that. We couldn’t get anybody out. They were hitting balls through holes, over, bullets. You tip your hat to those guys. They were playing the game. They were really getting after it.

We played pretty hard and we did it all year long like that. But they’re playing the game over there. That’s a great baseball team. I tip my hat to Mike (Scioscia) and his staff. Great job.

-Ron Gardenhire

The Angels used a 10-run seventh inning to win their fourth straight game over the Twins and advanced to the World Series after a 13-5 win at Edison Field.

The Angels’ big inning came just after the Twins had taken a 5-3 lead with three runs in the top half of the inning. Mienkiewicz, Mohr, and Pierzynski hit consecutive one-out singles and all three eventually scored.

The Angels responded with a monster inning in which the Twins were not able to record their first out until the eighth batter of the inning. All told, the home team had nine singles, a home run, a walk, a hit batter, and a wild pitch in the seventh inning. The Twins used four pitchers in the inning.

Top WPA

1. Adam Kennedy 0.63
2. Scott Spezio 0.21
3. AJ Pierzynski 0.18

A couple of future stars provided the worst WPA of the game

1. Johan Santana -0.47
2. Francisco Rodoriguez -0.27

Box

 


2002 ALCS Game 4

August 24, 2014

October 12, 2002

For the second straight game, the Twins were held to just a single run. This time, the run was too little too late in a 7-1 loss that put the team on the brink of elimination.

By the time David Ortiz his his ninth inning RBI single, the Twins were already down by seven runs. Despite the final score, however, the bulk of the game was very tight.

Brad Radke held the Angels in check for six innings, allowing just a pair of hits. His counterpart, John Lackey, matched him inning-for-inning, holding the Twins to just three hits in seven innings.

It all came unraveled for Radke and the Twins in the seventh inning, however.

Anaheim’s Darin Erstad began the seventh inning with a single then stole second base and advanced to third on catcher A.J. Pierzynski’s throwing error. Troy Glaus, who provided the game-winning homer Friday, hit an RBI single to left field to score Erstad and break the deadlock.

Radke allowed one more run in the inning on a Scott Spiezio RBI double.

Radke left the game but the Minnesota bullpen, which had been such a strength for the team during the season, had one of its worst days, allowing five more runs over the course of an inning and a third.

Top WPA
1. John Lackey 0.48
2. Francisco Rodriguez 0.08
3. Brad Radke 0.07

Worst WPA
1. AJ Pierzynski -0.13
2. Garrett Anderson -0.11

In the face of their daunting task, Mientkiewicz said the Twins have nothing to lose.

“If we walk away from here tomorrow and lose, let’s make sure we do it the right way,” he said. “Let’s make sure we let it all hang out. I don’t think we’ve done that the last couple of games.”

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire expects a big response from his players, especially after they let Saturday’s game get away at the end.

“I think they’re going to come out madder than hell tomorrow,” Gardenhire said. “I can promise you this — the Minnesota Twins will show up tomorrow. We’re going to try and get this thing back to the Metrodome and go from there.”

Box

 


2002 ALCS Game 3

August 21, 2014

October 11, 2002

“Trust me, the last thing I expected was to give up a home run in that inning,” – JC Romero

Reliever JC Romero came on in a tie game in the seventh inning to help stop an Angels rally. With the score 1-1 and a player already tagged out at home plate, the Angels still had the bases loaded with two out. Romero was called upon to face Garret Anderson, who had homered off Eric Milton earlier to account for the team’s only run. Romero did his job, retiring Anderson with a fly ball to right field that ended the threat.

Romero came back out for the eighth, however, and allowed a home run to Troy Glaus to lead off the inning.

“[With] a 3-1 count, he was hacking,” Romero said. “He got good wood on it, and the ball went out. It barely went out, but it’s a home run, anyway.

“Every time you’re behind in the count facing these guys, you’ve got to execute your pitches. I got behind in the count, and it cost me today.”

There was some discussion about whether Ron Gardenhire should have let his lefty pitch against the right-handed Glaus, but the team had already used two of its best right-handed set up men, LaTroy Hawkins and Michael Jackson, as part of the effort to keep the Angels scoreless in the seventh inning.

Jerrod Washburn held the Twins’ offense to just a single run in seven innings pitched, and the Angels’ bullpen combination of Francisco Rodriguez and Troy Percival pitched perfectly in the eighth and ninth innings respectively to seal the 2-1 win for the home team.

Top WPA
1. Troy Glaus 0.29
2. Jerrod Washburn 0.29
3. Eric Milton 0.19

Bottom WPA
1. Corey Koskie 0.17
2. Doug Mientkiewicz 0.16

Box

 


2002 ALCS Game 2

August 19, 2014

October 9, 2002

Mychael Urban’s article at MLB.com described a bit of a role reversal, similar to Game 1 of the ALDS:

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins are the best defensive team in baseball, and they work so well in the giant sandwich bag that is the Metrodome that they might have the best home-field advantage in baseball, too.

But you wouldn’t have known that while watching the top of the second inning in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series on Wednesday. Balls that usually haunt Minnesota’s opponents here fell in favor of the Angels, and a rare Twins defensive lapse helped Anaheim score its fourth run in a 6-3 win that sent the series West in a deadlock.

“They play the game just like we do, and I saw that in the second inning,” said Twins center fielder Torii Hunter. “They did everything we usually do.”

The story of the pitching matchup pre-game had been home runs. Twins starter Rick Reed had allowed four in Game 3 of the ALDS a week before. Ramon Ortiz of the Angels had allowed 40 on the year, including three to the Twins in a game in May.

The Angels got to Reed with the long ball early when Darin Erstad hit a bomb in the first inning, but in the end it was sloppy defense and Angels’ hustle that did the Twins in. The Angels took the extra bases, forced throwing errors, and generally created havoc on the base paths to score three in the second inning.

Reed allowed another home run, this time a two-run shot to Troy Glaus in the top of the 6th, that ended Reed’s game and gave the Angels a 6-0 lead.

By the time the Twins bats woke up in the bottom of the 6th, it was too late. The result was a 6-3 Angels win and a 1-1 series headed west to Anaheim.

Top WPA

1. Brad Fullmer 0.12
2. Troy Percival 0.10
3. Doug Mientkiewicz 0.09

…and the worst…

1. Rick Reed -0.25
2. Adam Kennedy -0.09

Box

 


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