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Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota Twins’

In terms of championships, the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals have been the two most successful franchises in the World Series era. However, they haven’t shared many of the same players. Since 1903, when the Baltimore Orioles moved to New York and became the Highlanders (the original name of the Yankees), only 145 players have worn both uniforms. At 1.33 players per year, the Yankees’ crossover with the Cardinals is the lowest rate among all current teams.

Crossover Players, Yankees and Other Current Teams (click to enlarge)

Note: Only considers players who wore the uniform in the current city of all teams. When compared to original NL and AL teams, the Yankees inaugural season in New York (1903) is used as the basis.
Source: Baseball-reference.com

At the other end of the spectrum is the Washington Nationals, with whom the Yankees have shared 25 players in only seven seasons, or 3.57 per year. Meanwhile, Cleveland represents the greatest overlap in terms of total players. Since 1903, 231 individuals have played for both the Indians and Yankees.

Among American League teams, the Yankees have had the least overlap with the Twins. Since the Senators moved to Minneapolis in 1961, only 73 players have worn both uniforms, including Luis Ayala, who currently pitches out of the bullpen for the Yankees, and Carl Pavano, who fronts the rotation of the Twins.

Top-10 Yankees and Twins Crossover Hitters, 1961-2011

bWAR
Player Yankees Twins Total
Chuck Knoblauch 6.6 35.4 42
Graig Nettles 40.6 0.8 41.4
Cesar Tovar -0.3 25.8 25.5
Dave Winfield 25.6 -0.4 25.2
Butch Wynegar 10.4 14 24.4
Roy Smalley 5.9 18.3 24.2
Jimmie Hall -0.4 15.5 15.1
Roberto Kelly 11.3 1.5 12.8
Eric Soderholm 1.6 8.9 10.5
Matt Lawton -0.5 9.3 8.8

Note: bWAR is baseball-reference’s calculation of WAR.
Source: Baseball-reference.com

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Twenty years ago, the Yankees and Indians endured miserable seasons that ranked among the worst in each franchise’s respective history (sixth lowest winning percentage for New York and second lowest for Cleveland). However, on October 4, three games before the merciful end of a forgettable season, the two teams participated in a memorable moment that launched a Hall of Fame career.

Jim Thome celebrates his first major league home run, a game winner versus the Yankees on October 4, 1991 (Photo: Cleveland Plain Dealer).

Jim Thome broke into the majors as a skinny, 20-year old, third baseman. Despite being selected in the 13th round of the 1989 draft, he quickly emerged as a top prospect by posting prolific numbers in ever level of the minors. Finally, in 1991, Thome was rewarded with a September call up, but in his first 20 games, the lefty showed few signs of his reported potential. In the final week of the season, however, the Indians’ heralded rookie finally began to give a glimpse of what the future had in store. Over those final seven games, Thome posted a line of .481/.500/.741.

Included among Thome’s last season surge was his first major league home run, a two run blast hit against Yankees’ closer Steve Farr in the top of the ninth. The homer, which gave the Indians a 3-2 victory, sailed into the empty wings of the right field upper deck. Although a sparse crowd witnessed James (as the New York Times called him the next day) Thome’s first blast, the lefty slugger would provide plenty of encores over the next 20 seasons.

The Road to 600

HR # Date Tm Opp Pitcher
1 10/4/1991 CLE @NYY Steve Farr
100 5/14/1997 CLE @TEX Bobby Witt
200 4/15/2000 CLE TEX Mark Clark
300 6/5/2002 CLE @MIN Eric Milton
400 6/14/2004 PHI CIN Jose Acevedo
500 9/16/2007 CHW LAA Dustin Moseley
600 8/15/2011 MIN @DET Daniel Schlereth

Source: baseball-reference.com

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Only days before Francisco Liriano pitched a no-hitter against the White Sox, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire admitted that the team was “talking about [its] options” with the struggling left hander. Presumably, last night’s performance put an end to that discussion.

Liriano joined Cliff "Lefty Chambers" as the only pitcher to walk four more batters than he struckout while pitching a no-hitter.

At the risk of throwing cold water on what is a remarkable accomplishment under any circumstances, it should be noted that Liriano’s no-hitter wasn’t as overpowering as you might expect. For example, the Twins’ lefty walked six batters, while striking out only two. The only other no-hitter to feature four more walks than strikeouts was thrown by the Pirates’ Lefty Chambers (eight bases on balls and four strikeouts) against the Boston Braves on May 6, 1951.

Liriano’s no-hitter also tied Lefty Chambers for the lowest game score (a statistic devised by Bill James to assess the overall quality of a pitcher’s performance) among all pitchers who have thrown a complete game without surrendering a hit. What’s more, Liriano’s game score of 83 only ranks 13th among all performances turned in so far this season.

No-Hitters with the Lowest Game Score, Since 1919

Player Date Tm Opp IP H R BB SO GSc
Francisco Liriano 5/3/2011 MIN CHW 9 0 0 6 2 83
Lefty Chambers 5/6/1951 PIT BSN 9 0 0 8 4 83
Ken Holtzman 8/19/1969 CHC ATL 9 0 0 3 0 84
George Culver 7/29/1968 CIN PHI 9 0 1 5 4 84
Joe Cowley 9/19/1986 CHW CAL 9 0 1 7 8 84
Edwin Jackson 6/25/2010 ARI TBR 9 0 0 8 6 85
A.J. Burnett 5/12/2001 FLA SDP 9 0 0 9 7 85
Jim Abbott 9/4/1993 NYY CLE 9 0 0 5 3 85
Steve Busby 4/27/1973 KCR DET 9 0 0 6 4 85
Clyde Wright 7/3/1970 CAL OAK 9 0 0 3 1 85

Source: Baseball-reference.com

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vs. Francisco Liriano PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Derek Jeter SS 18 0.375 0.444 0.625 1 3
Nick Swisher RF 21 0.250 0.286 0.350 0 0
Mark Teixeira 1B 21 0.200 0.238 0.400 1 1
Alex Rodriguez 3B 16 0.091 0.375 0.091 0 1
Robinson Cano 2B 17 0.313 0.353 0.375 0 1
Jorge Posada DH 11 0.500 0.545 0.600 0 1
Andruw Jones LF 13 0.182 0.308 0.455 1 4
Russel Martin C 3 0.333 0.333 0.333 0 0
Brett Gardner CF 11 0.300 0.364 0.500 0 3
Total 131 0.274 0.351 0.419 3 14
             
vs. AJ Burnett PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Denard Span CF 22 0.286 0.318 0.286 0 0
Tsuyoshi Nishioka 2B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Joe Mauer C 23 0.389 0.522 0.611 1 2
Justin Morneau 1B 24 0.278 0.458 0.444 1 3
Jim Thome DH 35 0.233 0.314 0.400 0 5
Michael Cuddyer RF 23 0.143 0.217 0.190 0 1
Jason Kubel LF 25 0.280 0.280 0.320 0 0
Danny Valencia 3B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Alexi Casilla SS 7 0.000 0.333 0.000 0 0
Total 159 0.255 0.350 0.358 2 11

 

Yankees vs. Twins    
Season: 2011 Season: 2010 Season: 2009 All-Time
TIED: 1-1 NYY: 4-2 NYY: 7-0 NYY: 1106-767

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The Yankees let a victory slip away when an ill-advised slide by Nick Swisher allowed the Twins to tie the game in the eighth, but the real slip up was committed by Joe Girardi before the inning even started.

For most of the game, the Yankees seemed on their way to an easy 4-0 victory. After being staked to an early lead on another three-run home run by Mark Teixeira as well as a solo blast by Andruw Jones in his first Yankee at bat, CC Sabathia cruised through the Twins lineup until he was inexplicably lifted before the eighth inning.  At the time of his departure, the Yankees’ ace lefty had retired the last 15 batters faced and thrown only 104 pitches, but Joe Girardi opted to go to the bullpen anyway.

In his first two outings, Rafael Soriano has looked every bit the lock down setup man the Yankees inked to a lucrative three-year deal. From the first pitch in yesterday’s game, however, something didn’t seem right. Normally pinpoint with his control, Soriano struggled to command the strike zone. In two-thirds of an inning, the right hander walked three batters, including Joe Mauer with the bases loaded.

Girardi eventually lifted Soriano in favor of David Robertson, who was unfairly tagged with a blown save when Delmon Young’s shallow fly ball squirted past Swisher and cleared the bases. Had Swisher played the ball correctly, Robertson would have had the chance to escape the jam with a 4-3 lead, but instead the overzealous attempt gave the Twins a second chance. Since Ron Gardenhire has been manager, the Twins have usually been the ones giving games back to the Yankees, but this time his team closed the deal by scoring the winning run against Boone Logan in the tenth.

Relief pitching has been touted as one of the Yankees’ strengths, an expectation that will undoubtedly prove to be true by the end of the season.  However, when C.C. Sabathia is wheeling and dealing, the bullpen should be an afterthought. By ignoring this rule of thumb, Girardi not only helped turn a victory into defeat, but also burned through his entire bullpen.  Now the question becomes who will be available tonight when Freddy Garcia makes his first start of the season?

Sabathia’s Scoreless Games of Seven Innings or More as a Yankee

Date Opp Rslt Dec IP H R ER BB SO Pit
4/11/2009 KCR W 6-1 W 7.2 6 0 0 0 6 108
5/8/2009 BAL W 4-0 W 9 4 0 0 1 8 112
7/18/2009 DET W 2-1 W 7 5 0 0 3 4 114
8/8/2009 BOS W 5-0 W 7.2 2 0 0 2 9 123
9/26/2009 BOS W 3-0 W 7 1 0 0 2 8 96
4/10/2010 TBR W 10-0 W 7.2 1 0 0 2 5 111
6/20/2010 NYM W 4-0 W 8 4 0 0 2 6 100
9/2/2010 OAK W 5-0 W 8 1 0 0 3 5 95
9/13/2010 TBR L 0-1 ND 8 2 0 0 2 9 119
4/5/2011 MIN L 5-4 ND 7 2 0 0 1 6 104

Source: Baseball-reference.com

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vs. Scott Baker PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Brett Gardner LF 8 0.571 0.625 1.000 1 1
Derek Jeter SS 16 0.286 0.375 0.429 0 2
Mark Teixeira 1B 13 0.462 0.462 0.769 1 3
Alex Rodriguez 3B 14 0.231 0.286 0.231 0 0
Robinson Cano 2B 12 0.333 0.333 0.583 0 1
Nick Swisher RF 17 0.267 0.294 0.733 2 3
Jorge Posada DH 3 0.333 0.333 0.333 0 0
Curtis Granderson CF 51 0.208 0.255 0.521 4 6
Russell Martin C 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 134 0.288 0.333 0.560 8 16
             
vs. Ivan Nova PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Denard Span CF 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Tsuyoshi Nishioka 2B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Joe Mauer C 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Justin Morneau 1B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Delmon Young LF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Jim Thome DH 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Jason Kubel RF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Danny Valencia 3B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Alexi Casilla SS 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 2 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0

 

Yankees vs. Twins    
Season: 2011 Season: 2010 Season: 2009 All-Time
TIED: 0-0 NYY: 4-2 NYY: 7-0 NYY: 1105-766

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(In addition to appearing at The Captain’s Blog, this post is also being syndicated at TheYankeeAnalysts.)

On Tuesday in Fort Myers, Justin Morneau took a round of batting practice and then joined his teammates for a few minutes of long toss. Similar scenes play out repeatedly in Florida and Arizona, but yesterday’s news about Moreneau was worthy of a banner headline.

Morneau has not played since this collision on July 7, 2010 resulted in a severe concussion (Photo: Reuters).

If you’re confused, just think about how Morneau must feel. On July 7 of last year, the Twins slugging first baseman was on his way to another MVP year (.345/.437/.618). In the eighth inning of that night’s game, however, his season came crashing to a halt…literally. After leading off the inning with a line drive single to center, Morneau succeeded in breaking up a double play, but in the process slammed his head into short stop John McDonald’s knee. After the collision, Morneau slowly walked off the field under his own power. Yesterday was the first time he returned to it.

At the time of the injury, Morneau was considered “day-to-day” with a mild concussion and, according to manager Ron Gardenhire, was available for pinch hitting duties the very next day. Obviously, that initial diagnosis was incorrect because the former MVP still isn’t 100% and there are no guarantees that he will be ready by Opening Day. In an effort to avoid any set backs, the Twins plan to gradually ease Morneau back into his routine. Meanwhile, the first baseman will be sporting sun glasses at the plate and in the field in an effort to limit the debilitating impact of the sun. Both are very sensible precautions, but the fact that they are still required over eight months since the concussion is a little scary.

Morneau is not the only recent player to severely suffer from a concussion. In addition to all of the other ills faced by the Mets over the past few years, the team has had three players impacted by a serious head injury. In a spring training game against the Dodgers in 2008, right fielder Ryan Church suffered his first concussion of the season when he collided with second baseman Marlon Anderson. Then, on May 20, the outfielder incurred another head injury from a knee to the head while breaking up a double play: the exact same kind of play as Morneau.

David Wright sustained his concussion after being hit in the head by a Matt Cain fastball.

The side effects of Church’s head injuries dogged the outfielder all season, but it still took some time until the team finally caught on to the extent of his troubles. As a result, the organization (from the GM to the medical staff on down to the coaches) was soundly criticized, particularly for having Church take a cross country flight soon after the second injury. Undoubtedly, the Church case taught the Mets some valuable lessons about how to handle head injuries. Unfortunately, those lessons were immediately put into practice when David Wright missed 15 games in August 2009 after being beaned in the head, and Jason Bay missed the last 63 games of 2010 after banging his head against the outfield wall at Dodger Stadium.

Although in a much less publicized way, the Yankees have also had to deal with player concussions. The Record’s Bob Klapish wrote an outstanding article about Jorge Posada’s recent experience with head injuries. In particular, Klapish recounts a game on September 7, 2010 in which Posada was hit squarely on the mask by a foul tip. Although the veteran catcher had absorbed similar blows in the past, this one had a much more serious impact. (more…)

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