June 5, 2023

Twins whiff their way to series split with Guardians

The Twins came away with a disappointing split of their four-game series with the Cleveland Guardians on Sunday, the finale featuring 16 team strikeouts in a 2-1 loss to the Guards.

That made a loser out of starter Joe Ryan, despite making another quality start. But if you’re going to score only one run on five hits … well, these things are going to happen. Ryan fell to 7-3 with a 2.76 ERA.

The Twins are off Monday, then hit the road for six games with stops in Tampa to play the best team in baseball, followed by three more at Toronto where the Blue Jay are no pushovers.

Louie Varland gets the ball on Tuesday.

Extra innings …

-Twins Territory social media is getting pretty surly about Max Kepler and why he continues to get a regular spot in the lineup amid his struggles to hit. Kepler is hitting .192 on the season, but over the last seven games he’s batting .115. And with Trevor Larnach and Matt Wallner waiting in the wings, the Twins are going to have to be very creative to justify Kepler’s presence on the team.

Larnach has been on the injured list with pneumonia and yet (incredibly) still holds the team lead in RBI with 27, and Wallner, in a recent 11-game stretch with the Twins, hit .368. If the Twins need offense, and it’s clear that they do, how much more rope can they give to Kepler? He was 0-for-4 in Sunday’s loss.

-The Guardians’ Triston McKenzie made his first start of the season and struck out 10 over five innings. The Twins lead the majors in team strikeouts with 597 through 59 games, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.