Byron Buxton singled, doubled and tripled and starter Joe Ryan did just enough to rise above the Colorado Rockies on Sunday for a 6-3 win. With the win, combined with a Cleveland loss, the Twins now have a two-game cushion in the AL Central ahead of their upcoming five-game series with the Guardians.
It all begins Monday. A starter has not been announced by the Twins.
-Shocking news late Sunday after it was reported that Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson, a much respected coach who spent four seasons with the Twins, is leaving to return to college baseball as the next pitching coach at LSU. Frankly, it would make more sense if he was leaving to accept a head coaching job, but why make a lateral move to take the same job he had at Arkansas before joining the Twins? There has to be more to this story.
-Former Twin Roy Smalley, who was in the TV booth on Sunday with play-by-play man Dick Bremer, shared a funny anecdote about getting hit by a pitch. Smalley was reminded of it after watching the donnybrook that unfolded between the Mariners and Angels the same afternoon.
Smalley was playing for the Yankees when Yankees pitcher Dave Righetti hit a Chicago White Sox player. To Smalley’s chagrin, he was due up the next inning. As he walked to the plate, he said hello to catcher Carlton Fisk and asked how he was doing.
“Better than you,” said Fisk. The next pitch hit Smalley in the knee.
-Prior to Sunday’s win, the theme of “one” was a near constant for the Twins. They one-hit the Rockies on Saturday and in the Twins’ previous four games they won or lost by one run.
-The Twins one-hit the Rockies on June 25, 2022. On June 26, 1964, Twins starter Gerry Arrigo one-hit the White Sox for a 2-0 win. Arrigo went the distance, allowing one hit, one walk and struck out eight.
-On June 27, 1973, the Twins were on hand to witness the much-hyped major league debut of Texas Rangers pitcher David Clyde. Clyde, a top prospect for the woeful Rangers, won his debut over the Twins, 4-3. Although he struck out eight batters in five innings, he also issued seven walks. Rod Carew, who walked four times in the loss, was not impressed.
“The kid’s got poise,” said Carew to the Minneapolis Tribune. “He didn’t get rattled after the home run. But I’ve hit against better pitching. When (Bert) Blyleven came up, he was about the same age and quite a bit better.”
The Twins shared even more colorful thoughts about the game as captured by former sportswriter Mike Shropshire in his must-read book “Seasons in Hell,” which is about his time covering the early days of the Rangers franchise.
“Big effing deal,” said free-swinging Twins outfielder Bobby Darwin when asked for his reaction to Clyde’s performance.
And Carew, seeing reporters encircle teammate Mike Adams after he hit a home run off Clyde, had this to say.
“I guess they think it’s some kind of miracle that Adams hit a home run off the guy. Jesus Christ.”
The Rangers were then owned by Minneapolis businessman Bob Short, who Shropshire encounters dressing down an employee nicknamed Captain Jack. Jack was in charge of catering the free food for ballplayers and the press. Short notices that frankfurters aren’t on the menu.
“Jack, you worthless old fart, I want you to get your ass down there and get those frankfurters… NOW!
“Then Short marched out of the lunchroom, slammed the screen door and was gone.
“Jack, a treasure of a human being endowed with a bottomless lagoon of wisdom that he mostly chose to keep to himself, gazed for a moment at the spot Short had been standing, lit up a Newport menthol cigarette and said, “Cocksucker.”
-Clyde, over his five-year major league career, went 18-33 with a 4.63 ERA.
-The next day the Twins’ Dick Woodson blanked the Rangers on five hits for a 4-0 win. The Rangers fell to earth in other ways as well, according to Shropshire’s book. Rangers fans filled Arlington Stadium for Clyde’s debut, but little more than 3,000 showed up for the next game, and two of those fans were removed from the game for shouting racial slurs at Carew.
Sources: MLB.com, Baseball-Reference.com, Newspapers.com and “Seasons in Hell” by Mike Shropshire.