SP: Louie Varland 5 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K (91 pitches, 60 strikes (65.9 strike %))
Home Runs: Matt Wallner (1)
Bottom 3 WPA: Louie Varland -.185, Jose Miranda -.091, Luis Arraez -.057
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
The Minnesota Debuts
Making his second big-league start for the Twins was North St. Paul native Louie Varland. Alongside him making his Major League debut in right field was Forest Lake native Matt Wallner. Varland and Wallner became a part of a unique club in MLB history in Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader.
The two are the second pair of Minnesota-born players to make their debuts back to back on the same team. The only other Minnesota-born players in this club are Carl Thomas and Dick Stigman who debuted three days apart in April of 1960 with the Cleveland Indians.
Wallner ended up going 1-3 with a home run to make his mark in the Big Leagues.
All Blues, No Rock N’ Roll for Varland
Varland’s quickness on the mound was one of the few things the Twins had going for them all afternoon. Varland surrendered a home run to Jose Ramirez in the first inning to put Cleveland up 1-0.
The third inning for the Twins' defense was very costly for them. After a lead-off walk to Myles Straw, Steven Kwan hit into what looked like a double play but after missing the second base bag and Jose Miranda fumbling at first with the throw from Nick Gordon. It advanced Straw to third and allowed Cleveland to get the game's second run.
The Guardians lit up Varland once more in the bottom of the fourth as they tagged two more runs on thanks to three hits leading off the inning to make it 4-0.
Varland pitched through the fifth without giving up any additional runs but still saw struggles giving up to singles and an intentional walk to Andres Gimenez. Varland’s afternoon was over after the fifth as he tallied 91 pitches and 60 strikes to get through his second MLB start.
Big Hitting Woes
Carlos Correa and Gio Urshela were the only hitters that had a hit through the first six innings of the game for the Twins. Gordon managed a single in the seventh but Bieber dominated the Twins through seven and kept Cleveland’s bullpen well rested ahead of Game 2.
Fortunately for the Twins, the hitting woes ended in the top of the eighth as Wallner hit his first MLB home run to put the Twins on the board. They were still down 5-1 but Wallner’s homer made him the 12th Twin in history to hit a home run for his first MLB hit.
Bieber did not pitch past the eighth but the Twins had to go up against Emmanuel Clause once again in the ninth to try and revive their hitting. The Twins had hit .188 and scored only one run off Clase before Saturday’s appearance. The hitting numbers decreased by the minimum as Clause closed out the victory for Cleveland.
Bullpen Usage Sheet