Today was the day I let go of 2022 and started thinking about 2023 for the Twins. I’ve already started formulating a silver linings playbook to be released following my last game recap of the year (I can’t be positive until these weekly Wednesday beatings are finished). I flipped back and forth between a reality TV show and the game, and I’m not sure which was less enjoyable.
Anyway, let’s take a break from the Happy Smiley Good Vibes Column to talk about today’s game. The Twins went down 1-2-3 in the first inning, and then Bailey Ober proceeded to give up a leadoff home run to MJ Melendez in the bottom of the first. Salvador Perez’s RBI double put another one on the board, and the Twins found themselves in an early hole.
The Twins would string together a walk and two singles (with outs interspersed) to get one back in the bottom of the inning. Minnesota’s new favorite son Matt Wallner struck the scoring blow with two outs. Ober pitched a quick bottom of the inning, giving up only one single, and we had ourselves a ballgame.
Despite a Carlos Correa (boy that guy really got hot as the season fell apart) double in the top of the 3rd, no other Twin was able to advance him or reach base. In the bottom of the inning, the Royals, aided by a nearly-stabbed-by-Jose-Miranda ball that turned into a double, stretched the lead back to 2 in the bottom.
However, the fighting Nick Gordon’s would get the run back in the very next inning, as Gordon himself reached base on an error, moved up to second on the very same error, and then scored on a Matt Wallner double. “Is this going to be remembered as the Matt Wallner game?” is a thought that I thunk at this point. Ober rebounded to set the Royals down in order in the bottom of the inning, and again we had a ballgame.
The 5th was the first scoreless inning of the game, as the Twins stranded a runner in scoring position thanks to a Jose Miranda GIDP and the Royals went down in order. Both teams pulled their starters in favor of a relief pitcher in the 6th, and both teams recorded two strikeouts while getting set down 1-2-3.
The Royals went up for good in the 7th. With Aaron Sanchez in his second inning, three singles and an RBI GIDP put two runs on the board for the bad guys. This was following an inning-killing GIDP from the bat of Gio Urshela in the top of the inning.
Both teams were quiet in the 8th, with Gary Sanchez being the only batter to reach base- and he got on by HBP. The Twins, with their backs against the wall in the 9th, got one guy on base- by fielding error. Sigh. To add insult to injury, a pinch-hitting Luis Arraez grounded out to end the game and lose points on his batting average. Oh well.
Hope springs eternal, misery loves company, and there’s always next year.
Matt Wallner: 2-4, 2 RBI, 2B, 1 K
Jose Miranda: 0-4, GIDP
Nick Gordon: 0-4, 2 K
Brandon Brooks, a keen observer (this was picked out of a whopping 13 comments):
“It’s not often that the Twins are in the hunt all year, only to slip away by the end. Usually if they aren’t in the playoffs, they aren’t in the mix at any point.
I suppose the 2015 Twins were in first during the early parts of June, and if memory serves were only eliminated from the Wild Card on the last weekend of the season. Before that you would have to go back to 2008 for a season like that.
It just feels like the rarest version of a Twins season... only 3 times in roughly 30 years or so.”