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91/19 World Series, Game 1: Right Time, Right Place for Herbie

kent hrbek jake odorizzi tom kelly kevin tapani ryne harper
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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 22 March 2020 - 07:18 PM

This week, with the help of Out of the Park, we’ve simulated the 91/19 World Series, a seven-game battle between the 1991 Twins and the 2019 Twins. Kent Hrbek, placed in an unfamiliar spot, drove home seven in a 16-3 rout of the 2019 Bomba Squad, leading the 1991 Twins to a 1-0 series lead in the 91/19 World Series. A surprising lineup decision paid off early, turning the Metrodome into a nearly four-hour long party.“The crowd was crazy,” said 2019 starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi. “I played in Tampa Bay, so this was pretty much the polar opposite of that. Not that it bothered me. What bothered me was Herbie. You have to tip your hat to him.”

Hrbek had plenty of opportunities to tip his own hat to the 55,426 full-throated fans, most notably after a third inning grand slam put the 1991 Twins up 8-0. “Right place, right time,” laughed Hrbek.

Getting Hrbek into the right place at the right time involved juggling the lineup. With Dan Gladden out tonight with an undisclosed leg injury, Kelly shifted some players around – and raised some eyebrows. Kent Hrbek batting second instead of his traditional cleanup spot? What is this? 2020?

“We might know a few things in 1991,” smirked Kelly.

Like maybe he wanted his best left-handed hitter getting to face the right-handed Odorizzi a few extra times?

“Maybe that,” deadpanned Kelly. “Herbie can swing the bat. He can hit anywhere in the lineup.”

Last night it could not have worked better. By the time the third inning had ended, Hrbek had three hits, two home runs, six RBI and had scored three runs. He had the first hit of the game - a single - in the first inning and came around to score on a Chili Davis single. In the second inning he blasted a line drive over the left field wall that also brought home Mike Pagliarulo and stretched the lead to 4-0.

The big blow came in the third inning. Odorizzi, who struggled with his control the entire night, started the inning by walking Brian Harper and Gene Larkin. After striking out Greg Gagne, he also walked Pagliarulo, loading the bases. That ended his night.

Still, the 2019 Twins nearly escaped. Ryne Harper was brought in to face the top of the order and struck out Chuck Knoblauch on three pitches. That brought up the second spot in the order….and Hrbek?

“No, I don’t remember ever hitting second, or at least not starting a game there,” Hrbek said when asked about his spot in the order. “Maybe as a pinch-hitter?”

But he was there last night, with the bases loaded, two outs, and a chance to turn this first game of the series into a laugher. Turn he did, on a 1-1 pitch, lifting a majestic fly ball over the baggy in right-center field. The party in the Metrodome stands began. It was a little different in the 2019 Twins dugout.
“I have never heard sound like that in my life,” said Odorizzi.

While he said the crowd noise didn’t bother him, Odorizzi never did get on track. He didn’t give up the backbreaking second home run, but he kept setting the table with walks while falling behind in the count. He lasted just 2 1/3 innings and walked six. He also gave up five hits while striking out two. The first seven runs of the game were charged to him.

The early fireworks paved the way for, and overshadowed, a gem by 1991 starting pitcher Keven Tapani. Tapani nearly pitched a complete-game shutout. After striking out the first two batters in the ninth inning, a ground ball to second base should’ve ended his night. But Hrbek dropped a throw from Knoblauch, allowing Jorge Polanco to reach. Luis Arraez followed that with a double, bringing Tapani to 101 pitches and ending his night before the final out.

"We'll need to turn to him again soon," said Kelly.

David West came in and got the final out, but only after giving up a three-run bomb to Nelson Cruz that provided a little balm to an otherwise shell-shocked 2019 Twins squad. They’ll attempt to rebound tomorrow night with their ace Jose Berrios on the mound. But the 1991 Twins will have their own ace, Jack Morris, attempt to put them up 2-0 before they travel across downtown to Target Field for Game 3.

 You can find the boxscore and pitch-by-pitch results for Game One attached below. If you would like to learn more about Out of the Park 21, please click on this link. If you would like to try it, you can also download it for 10% off the regular price using the code TWINSDAILY. 

Download attachment: MLB Box Score, Minnesota 2019 Twins at Minnesota 1991 Twins Game 1.pdf

Download attachment: Minnesota 2019 Twins @ Minnesota 1991 Twins Game Log Game 1.pdf

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#2 jimbo92107


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Posted 23 March 2020 - 12:56 AM

A brother of mine drove limo for Kent and his wife during the '91 series. After a game, he drove them to a pizza parlor, I think Godfather's where Hrbek ordered a large with everything. When the pizza came, he looks at his wife, says, "What're you having, honey?"


He meant it.

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The door opened. A woman screamed. Someday, my mom would learn to knock.

#3 gil4


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Posted 23 March 2020 - 08:07 AM


...a majestic fly ball over the baggie in right-center field

A bit of nostalgia there. I can't y I miss that wall, but there were a lot of good times at that awful stadium. It was a junkpile, but it was OUR junk pile.


I can picture readers 100 years from now getting to "over the baggie" scratching their heads and trying to make sense of that.

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#4 etwink


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Posted 24 March 2020 - 02:25 AM

What was Ryne Harper doing pitching in a pressure situation to a dangerous lefty???

Even in virtual games, Rocco tries to be cute by saving his big guns for later situations!!  :-)

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#5 h2oface


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Posted 24 March 2020 - 02:13 PM


What was Ryne Harper doing pitching in a pressure situation to a dangerous lefty???

Even in virtual games, Rocco tries to be cute by saving his big guns for later situations!!  :-)


Exactly.... and Harper wasn't even on the team at the end of 2019, so how could he pitch in the Series? But all good fun. It's only one game.

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