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Royals 5, Twins 2: Wallner Delivers, but Twins Falter Again


Twins Daily Contributor

Bailey Ober and the Twins took on the Kansas City Royals tonight in game two of the three-game series. The Royals hosted not only the Twins, but Bark in the Park night, and needless to say, the Twins had another “ruff” night in Kansas City.

Image courtesy of Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

 

Box Score
Starting Pitcher: Bailey Ober 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (85 pitches, 55 strikes (66%)
Home Runs: 
Bottom 3 WPA:  Jose Miranda (-.220), Gio Urshela (-.098), Jermaine Palacios (-0.095) 

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
image.png

Pitching Coach Pete Maki had to come out early in the first inning after Ober had thrown 21 pitches and given up two runs. After the mound visit, Ober calmed down and got the next three hitters out, but not without running his pitch count up to 28. This was Ober’s second game back since coming off the 60-day IL with a groin injury that put him on the shelf on June 1st. Ober has been on restrictions since returning from the IL, but went five innings on September 16th and only allowed one hit and 70 pitches. 

This game was a little different for the starting pitcher. By the time he hit the third inning, he was up to 62 pitches and three runs allowed. Ober ended up with back-to-back 1-2-3 innings. He retired the remaining seven batters he faced before handing the game over to the bullpen. 

Aaron Sanchez came for Ober and kept things tight until the wind picked up. The Royals took advantage of mother nature and got another two runs in the seventh inning. Sanchez stayed in through the eighth inning, meaning it was a day off for the remainder of the bullpen. 

The Twins' offense showed up just as soon as the Royals did, but fell flat as soon as they fired up.

In the 2nd inning, Gilberto Celestino got on base on an error which advanced Gary Sanchez to third base. Matt Wallner singled to left, scoring Sanchez and putting the Twins on the board. Wallner was also credited with driving in Nick Gordon in the fourth inning. Wallner has had a hit in all but one of his six games since joining the team and was responsible for two RBI in this game. 

Wallner has had a lot of fans since coming up. When he got his single to score Sanchez, in the dugout, Carlos Correa and Luis Arraez cheered on the rookie with goofy hand signs and smiles. 

Correa has been on fire lately at the plate. He has continually boosted his teammates, been a part of mound visits, and ensured that his teammates knew that he was there to help them grow. There have been many endearing moments of him with teammates, but the best relationship has been with fellow 2012 draftee, Byron Buxton. The top two picks that year had time to talk during the Midwest League All-Star Game in Dayton, Ohio in 2013. They played on the same Western Division squad and had time to share the same experiences bonding them for what would be ten years later. It’s hard to imagine that he won’t stay here when he fits in so well, on the field and off. 

The Twins continued to try and rally every inning getting guys on base, but getting outs just as quickly. The club remained scoreless the remainder of the game unable to overcome mother nature and goofy defensive plays that weren’t errors. The Twins had an opportunity and the upper hand through the fourth with Wallner’s double, but the bats fell asleep after that. 

Pitching for tomorrow’s game: 

Thursday 1:10pm CST: RHP Josh Winder (4-4, 4.17 ERA) v. RHP Jonathan Heasley (3-8, 5.09 ERA)

Postgame Interview

 

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

  TUE SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT
               
Sanchez 0 49 0 0 0 41 90
Henriquez 0 0 0 73 0 0 73
López 0 32 0 34 0 0 66
Moran 40 15 5 0 0 0 60
Pagán 0 31 0 15 0 0 46
Fulmer 0 17 0 0 23 0 40
Thielbar 0 0 0 0 23 0 23
Jax 0 13 0 0 4 0 17
Duran 0 0 17 0 0 0 17
Megill 0 0 0 0 17 0 17

 

 

 

 

 


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"It’s hard to imagine that he (CC) won’t stay here when he fits in so well, on the field and off."

I hope not. He was MIA until the season was a roaring dumpster fire. The Sept stat padding cant hide the fact he has not carried the team at any point this season. I would rather commit his salary elsewhere, and see who among Lewis or Lee can lay claim to SS.

 

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29 minutes ago, Game7-91 said:

"It’s hard to imagine that he (CC) won’t stay here when he fits in so well, on the field and off."

I hope not. He was MIA until the season was a roaring dumpster fire. The Sept stat padding cant hide the fact he has not carried the team at any point this season. I would rather commit his salary elsewhere, and see who among Lewis or Lee can lay claim to SS.

 

I would take him back in a heartbeat.  The Twins should have decent money freed up with declining the options of Sano, Bundy, and Archer.  Sanchez is set to be a FA.....and decisions can be made on Kepler and Urshela.  

Optimal situation in my book is Correa stays and they still have room to add.

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44 minutes ago, Game7-91 said:

"It’s hard to imagine that he (CC) won’t stay here when he fits in so well, on the field and off."

I hope not. He was MIA until the season was a roaring dumpster fire. The Sept stat padding cant hide the fact he has not carried the team at any point this season. I would rather commit his salary elsewhere, and see who among Lewis or Lee can lay claim to SS.

 

BS. Total BS.

May wRC+ 156
Jun wRC+ 189
Aug wRC+ 128
 

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So I do love what Wallner is doing with the bat... but he basically reinforced that defensive reputation with titanium alloy tonight.

Take a look at Salvador Perez's RBI "double"

https://www.mlb.com/gameday/twins-vs-royals/2022/09/21/662633#game_state=final,lock_state=final,game_tab=videos,game=662633

It was not a graceful display, haha.

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3 hours ago, SwainZag said:

I would take him back in a heartbeat.  The Twins should have decent money freed up with declining the options of Sano, Bundy, and Archer.  Sanchez is set to be a FA.....and decisions can be made on Kepler and Urshela.  

Optimal situation in my book is Correa stays and they still have room to add.

I would have to agree.  He started slow, being new here and then missing a little time, but he came around and is showing what we thought we were getting.  Wouldn't it be nice to see the SS position locked down for years to come?  I would like to see them do a long term deal.  I hear the folks who want to see Lewis take it and hold it, but 2 major season ending knee blow outs by age 23?  Too much of a Buxton esq risk.  Find a way to make it work for Correa and solve that position for most of the decade.  If I am wrong about Lewis, think of the trade chip we would have.  

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The fork has been stuck in it!

Ahhhhh for the lost dreams of small ball and actually bringing a runner in.

The most uninspiring, unimaginative, stubborn manager I believe I have ever seen in a Twins dugout. Put him in the batting rack and get another guy. This guy is bad news!

Go Twins! Twins geezer...... out!

 

 

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I don't really care if Correa leaves or stays.  He certainly was MIA most of the season until the September free agent salary drive.  He's still hitting about .160 with 2 outs and runners in scoring position.  He's a good shortstop but definitely not worth $35 mil per year.  What good is it to pay one guy so much and not have money to field a major league pitching staff?  I was excited too when he was signed.  I thought it was a sign of things to come.  But as I wrote on here back then it does little good to have a superstar if you cannot field an otherwise major league team.  If he does stay over the long haul you will have many fans eventually complaining of so much payroll being tied up in one person thus limiting payroll for others.

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Too many injuries right now to accurately assess this team...which right now is just trying to get the season over with. The current lineup cannot produce runs. I'd like Correa to stay...if somehow the team can field 9 healthy, major league ready players. Our recent failures can usually be traced to having a AAA or less lineup every night, plus bullpen failures when it counted.

When you look at the players Twins brought up this season, and lets say compare them to the kids the Orioles brought up ....wow. The kids on the O's are actually carrying that team right now, whereas the kids the Twins brought up never really measured up...when it counted. Wallner is looking OK right now, but honestly there is zero pressure on him. Twins chances for a .500 season are pretty much over. Last 2 games against KC were pretty sad.

this season has ended with a thud...but to be fair, the guys that helped them stay in 1st for more than half the year are nowhere to be found. And that does matter. The weakness of the farm has been manifest. There is work to be done.

Twins have 2 players that should give them sleepless nights: Buxton and Kirilloff. This year demonstrated the fears of many here...Buck can't stay healthy. He wasn't healthy from the get-go this year. A different ailment at every turn. What to do with this guy? Kirilloff's wrist may prevent him from ever being the hitter he was supposed to be. Two guys who were to figure majorly in the schematic for 2022 weren't around much. Thats huge. I'll let you all discuss the other players!

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22 minutes ago, Whitey333 said:

I don't really care if Correa leaves or stays.  He certainly was MIA most of the season until the September free agent salary drive.  He's still hitting about .160 with 2 outs and runners in scoring position.  He's a good shortstop but definitely not worth $35 mil per year.  What good is it to pay one guy so much and not have money to field a major league pitching staff?  I was excited too when he was signed.  I thought it was a sign of things to come.  But as I wrote on here back then it does little good to have a superstar if you cannot field an otherwise major league team.  If he does stay over the long haul you will have many fans eventually complaining of so much payroll being tied up in one person thus limiting payroll for others.

Agree - not wise to have a $35.1M shortstop with poor pitching - and we knew in March we had a sketchy pitching staff. I am all for keeping Correa if he chooses to stay - but the pressure is on the FO to make sure we don't go into next season with a sketchy potential staff.

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Why the heck would Correa want to come back here?  This team stinks and there is no hope going forward.

Does he look like he’s having fun hitting in front of Nick Gordon, playing next to Jermaine Palacious, and behind Dylan Bundy?

Maybe there’s something I’m missing.  But. he’d probably take a pay cut to go anywhere but here at this point.

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Given our last place finish in 2021, a 3rd place finish a little below .500 might have been disappointing but not unexpected (and maybe even a hopeful sign.) But the perception is that a team that finishes well is better positioned for the following season than a team that face-plants at the end. The Twins are finishing in free fall and that very much colors the outlook for 2023. Flip-flop the season and have the Twins climbing to .500 instead of sinking and the whole vibe is probably different.

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5 minutes ago, Beast said:

Why the heck would Correa want to come back here?  This team stinks and there is no hope going forward.

Correct. He's a competitor, and there are no other fighters here. 

The Twins need to develop top talent and a culture of winning. Put the money from Correa's contract into an organization-wide rebuild. Don't just sign Astros' former stars - become the next Astros.

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9 hours ago, Game7-91 said:

"It’s hard to imagine that he (CC) won’t stay here when he fits in so well, on the field and off."

I hope not. He was MIA until the season was a roaring dumpster fire. The Sept stat padding cant hide the fact he has not carried the team at any point this season. I would rather commit his salary elsewhere, and see who among Lewis or Lee can lay claim to SS.

Quote

BS. Total BS.

May wRC+ 156
Jun wRC+ 189
Aug wRC+ 128

I agree, this is a garbage hot take. Do you just hate whoever is getting paid the most?

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26 minutes ago, LastOnePicked said:

Correct. He's a competitor, and there are no other fighters here. 

The Twins need to develop top talent and a culture of winning. Put the money from Correa's contract into an organization-wide rebuild. Don't just sign Astros' former stars - become the next Astros.

Yeah, we could pickup 10 Archers for the money we'd save on Correa. That's almost enough guys to pitch one game. you know, considering how many would be on the IL at any particular time.

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32 minutes ago, dogsday said:

Given our last place finish in 2021, a 3rd place finish a little below .500 might have been disappointing but not unexpected (and maybe even a hopeful sign.) But the perception is that a team that finishes well is better positioned for the following season than a team that face-plants at the end. The Twins are finishing in free fall and that very much colors the outlook for 2023. Flip-flop the season and have the Twins climbing to .500 instead of sinking and the whole vibe is probably different.

I sometimes get the feeling that Twins fans do more work to bolster this team than the FO. 

It's an interesting thought experiment, though. Trades for Lopez, Mahle, etc. wouldn't have happened, but perhaps Gray, Correa, Kepler, Polanco and/or Arraez would have been dealt for good prospects. Doubtful that the team would have rallied in August/September the way they did in April/May, but the vibe of a second straight losing year would have been buffered by the strengthened farm system and the sense that a rebuild was well underway. 

Come to think of it, I prefer your alternate reality scenario. The vibe would have been different, yes.

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I have no comments today about the current team, 2023, or whether Correa stays.  I just have two items.

1. Calling Royce Lewis accident prone is disingenuous.  His first ACL injury came when a Texas guy wanted to see an ice storm close up.  He wasn't familiar with the "shuffle your feet" method of propulsion that Minnesotans find to be second nature.  I lived in Texas over 20 years and winter is an enigma to them. He really has only had one baseball injury.

2. A lot of people talk about exit velocity.  Has anyone measured the speed of the ball when Correa throws?  Personally, I don't think I've ever seen a SS throw with such velocity.  Reminds me of some of the great right fielders like Roberto Clemente and Dwight Evans.

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10 hours ago, Game7-91 said:

"It’s hard to imagine that he (CC) won’t stay here when he fits in so well, on the field and off."

I hope not. He was MIA until the season was a roaring dumpster fire. The Sept stat padding cant hide the fact he has not carried the team at any point this season. I would rather commit his salary elsewhere, and see who among Lewis or Lee can lay claim to SS.

 

How does someone pad their stats in baseball?  You either hit/field or you don't.  Do you think he's just trying harder now.????  He could've hit like this all year, but just chose not to????   Silly.

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29 minutes ago, PDX Twin said:

Lost in the recriminations about the lost season: Rocco managed the bullpen well last night!

That is a sign of growth and progress right? 😜

See a problem/issue and fix it. (I mean sure we all would have liked to have this happen in game 49 instead of 149 but.....)

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10 hours ago, SwainZag said:

I would take him back in a heartbeat.  The Twins should have decent money freed up with declining the options of Sano, Bundy, and Archer.  Sanchez is set to be a FA.....and decisions can be made on Kepler and Urshela.  

Optimal situation in my book is Correa stays and they still have room to add.

Unless they pick up a top line veteran, they have no one as good at third as Urshela, and while Wallner is going to be strong part of the Twins in the future he needs a lot of instruction on fielding so they cannot afford to dump Kepler.

Catcher, First Base and Left Field are spot where ??? should/will play next year.

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