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Series Preview #28: Brewers' Best Games Against the Twins




44-38 (T-1st place, NL Central)
34-45 (4th place, AL Central)

GAME 1: July 1, 2011 @ 7:10 p.m. CDT
(TV: FS-Wisconsin; Radio: 620 WTMJ)

: July 2, 2011 @ 6:10 p.m. CDT

(TV: FS-Wisconsin; Radio: 620 WTMJ)

GAME 3: July 3, 2011 @ 1:10 p.m. CDT
(TV: FS-Wisconsin; Radio: 620 WTMJ)

Target Field   Minneapolis, Minnesota

SBN Coverage: Brewers vs Twins coverage

A View from the Other Dugout: Twinkie Town

Game 1 Yovani Gallardo (9-4, 3.92) vs. Francisco Liriano (4-7, 4.98)
vs. Twins
(1-0, 1.29) vs. Brewers (0-1, 12.27)
Game 2 Chris Narveson (5-5, 4.42)
vs. Carl Pavano (5-6, 4.24)
vs. Twins
(1-0, 2.70) vs. Brewers (0-1, 7.50)
Game 3 Zack Greinke (7-3, 5.63) vs. Nick Blackburn (6-6, 3.64)
vs. Twins
(0-0, ---) vs. Brewers (0-0, ---)

This is the second and last series against the Twins this year, and since it will be the last, here's the Best Games Ever! sorted by WPA, for both batters and pitchers. Since the Brewers played the Twins quite frequently when both teams were in the AL, that's where the best performances come from. (The best batting performance in interleague was by Jason Kendall; do we really wish to go there?)

Hitters first:

3) Phil Roof, September 8, 1970: +.756 WPA

This performance came by way of the Twins' future bullpen coach and longtime manager in their minor league system. Roof's career was mostly as a backup catcher, but his 1970 season with Milwaukee was one of the few where he was the primary starter. It was also the second-best offensive season of his career, finishing with 14 home runs and a .683 OPS.

Roof had two hits in this game. His first hit was a relatively unimportant single in the 2nd inning which advanced a runner to 3rd (and who was promptly picked off.) His final hit, however, was a two-run game-winning homer in the top of the 9th. After Roof hit the home run, Ted Kubiak was walked and then attempted to score from first on a single. He was thrown out at home. The Brewers' odd baserunning decisions obviously did not start in 2011.

Follow the jump for more.


2) Gus Gil, June 23, 1970: +.836 WPA

Like the September game mentioned earlier, this one involved the Twins getting hit badly by Phil Roof but he wasn't the WPA star in this game. Gus Gil was primarily a second baseman in his short, poor-hitting career (he didn't make his major league debut until age 28, and hit .115 in 51 games for Cleveland in 1967) and in fact didn't start this game. He entered as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the 9th with two on and two outs. Gil hit a walk-off double that scored two and secured a 4-3 victory for the Brewers.

1) Gorman Thomas, September 18, 1980: +.952 WPA

It's fitting that the top offensive performance against the Twins was delivered by top offensive performer Gorman Thomas. This came in the first game of a doubleheader. (The Brewers also won the 2nd game.) Thomas only had one hit in the game. It was a spectacular one, a walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the 9th. This also came with two outs.

Fabulous pitching performances:

3) Teddy Higuera, September 6, 1987: +.502 WPA

Higuera pitched a complete game shutout against the eventual World Series champion Twins in their home park, limiting them to two hits. He also walked 3 and struck out 7. 1987 was somewhat an off year for Higuera. He gave up the most runs in his career, but he also pitched the most innings and struck out the most batters. It does need to be mentioned that Higuera didn't really have a bad year until he was injured. Looking back at this gets me to recall just how good of a pitcher he was.

2) Bill Travers, August 27, 1975: +.723 WPA

Travers turned in an incredible performance in a game that he eventually lost. He pitched 10 innings of shutout, 4-hit ball. The 11th inning proved to be a small downfall.

Only 6,261 fans turned out at County Stadium to see the pitchers' duel between Travers and Bert Blyleven. They got their results in two extremely different ways. Blyleven struck out 13; Travers only struck out 2. Travers also had some issues with control; he walked 4 batters and hit 3. Travers did not give up a hit in that fateful 11th inning. It started with a groundout but he hit the next batter and walked the batter after that. He was then pulled and it was reliever Tom Murphy who allowed an inherited runner to score on a single.

Bill Travers had a 7-year run with Milwaukee. His best season was his 3rd in 1976, where he had a 2.81 ERA and represented the Brewers in the All-Star Game.

1) Chris Bosio, August 28, 1987: +.780 WPA

The best starting pitching performance by WPA was yet another two-hit shutout against the Twins in their championship season. Like Higuera, Bosio walked 3 batters in this start but he had one more strikeout for 8. This also was back home in County Stadium. The Brewers only managed to score one run against Les Straker.

1987 was also an off year for Chris Bosio. It was only his second season in the major leagues and his first full season. He found his groove in 1988, but 1987 wasn't very good for him. This was also the season where he gave up the most runs in his career. He actually spent most of 1987 in the bullpen; despite that, he pitched 2 complete games that year. This was his only shutout.

(Incidentally! Drew Butera's dad Sal started this game at catcher for the Twins. He wasn't hitting that well in 1987, either, and made a throwing error on a caught stealing attempt that advanced Robin Yount to 3rd. Yount eventually scored.)