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  • Guardians 5, Twins 1 Wallner Debuts as Twins Drop Game One of Doubleheader


    Theo Tollefson

    Saturday brought another doubleheader for the Twins against Cleveland on the road for the second time this season. As Forest Lake native Matt Wallner made his MLB debut during the first game of the Twins doubleheader, the Twins needed a big victory to keep their postseason hopes alive. Could they manage to rebound from Friday night’s loss?

    Image courtesy of Ken Blaze, USA Today Sports

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    Box Score
    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)

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    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. 

    What’s Next? 

    Twins will start game two of this doubleheader at 6:10 p.m. CT tonight with Josh Winder going against Konnor Pilkington of the Guardians. 

    Postgame Interview 

    Bullpen Usage Sheet

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    ...and with that, the Twins season moves onto the ventilator. 6 games back, 2 games left against the division leader and 17 remaining in the season. Game 2 started now.

    Another loss or two in this series and it's time to shut Buxton, Kepler and Polanco down for the rest of the season.

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    MAN, ALMOST LET VARLAND THROW 100 PITCHES AND GO THRU THE BATTING ORDER A COMPLETE THIRD TIME. 

    Still wonder how the Twins, sad to say, screwed up and didn't get Varland any throwing innings in St. Paul, even a two-inning stint in relief last Sunday or Tuesday. 

    SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE A REGULAR HABIT WITH ALL THE ROTATION ARMS, RIGHT? Work that third time. Get 100 pitches. A pitcher is going to give iup hits or runs in some appearances. It is a given, folks. Just like a bullpen arm is going to make mistakes or be part of mistakes.

    Heck, now...if Sanchez had pitched yesterday with the same numbers, the Twins would've won the game, and all those "other" bullpen arms would be avalable fer sure today.

    Pagan takes the hit in the second game, September 17th prediction.

    I'm pretty speechless about the collapse of the Twins. Is is worthwhile to try and win second place, have more wins than losses, or just send out guys to play ball. Give situations and at bats and innings mainly to those who will be part of 2023. If throwing-in-the-towell, might as well figure out a way to let Balazovic and Henriquez get major league innings, Sands work out of the pen, and if Helman or Williams MIGHT in in the plans for 2023, bring them up at the expense of guys who won't be on the 40-man.

    What do the Twins have to lose?

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    Gordon earned two errors on that play. 1 fielding, 1 throw. He only got knocked for the throw. Makes up for the BS call last night he had one overlooked today. That was bad.

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    KC, KC, KC!!!! - perspective - the praise in the last series was fun, but misplaced.  Against good teams we are a bad team.  Varland did okay, not great, Wallner raises the question - why did we wait.  If we go 17 - 0 Cleveland has to go 10 - 7 for us to win.  How will that work out?

    Bieber worked 8 innings - Rocco did you happen to notice that?

    Cleveland had 2 batters under 249 BA - the Twins had 5.

    Game two has Sanchez batting 4 and Celestino 5, Palacios 7 and Hamilton 9.  Have we given up?

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    27 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

    ...and with that, the Twins season moves onto the ventilator. 6 games back, 2 games left against the division leader and 17 remaining in the season. Game 2 started now.

    Another loss or two in this series and it's time to shut Buxton, Kepler and Polanco down for the rest of the season.

    Its actually 3 more games. Pretty much need to win all 3.

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    What did the Twins have to give to the Cleveland fan that caught Wallner’s HR ball ? It looked like they gave him 2 bats? 1 from Wallner & 1 from Correa? Anyone know for sure? It took a couple innings of negotiation to complete 

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    Routine grounder to short, booted by Palacios. Very sad because earlier this summer Palacios looked smooth and had improved his offense considerably with St. Paul. Now he looks slow and entirely overmatched on both sides of the ball. I had hoped he was a possibility. Cleveland with the tiebreaker now has an 8 game lead. It's hard to be a Twins fan. 

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    8 hours ago, bean5302 said:

    Gordon earned two errors on that play. 1 fielding, 1 throw. He only got knocked for the throw. Makes up for the BS call last night he had one overlooked today. That was bad.

    Hmmmmmm. No picture?

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    8 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

    KC, KC, KC!!!! - perspective - the praise in the last series was fun, but misplaced.  Against good teams we are a bad team.  Varland did okay, not great, Wallner raises the question - why did we wait.  If we go 17 - 0 Cleveland has to go 10 - 7 for us to win.  How will that work out?

    Bieber worked 8 innings - Rocco did you happen to notice that?

    Cleveland had 2 batters under 249 BA - the Twins had 5.

    Game two has Sanchez batting 4 and Celestino 5, Palacios 7 and Hamilton 9.  Have we given up?

    Perhaps 1-9 for the day? Another all or nothing guy….. more often a K and nothing? Sano II?

    Hometown hope abounds. 

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