Hard-hitting Matt Wallner, Twins ready for twin bill vs. White Sox

League: MLB


Posted on: 10 Jul, 2024 at 07:13 AM

Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Advanced metrics show that Minnesota Twins outfielder Matt Wallner smacked his team's two hardest-hit balls of the season over the past two games.

"He's a large man with a good swing," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said of Wallner.

However, Mother Nature kept Wallner, his teammates and the host White Sox from taking their cuts Tuesday night. Persistent rain in Chicago led to a postponement, and the game will be made up on Wednesday as part of a straight doubleheader.

Wallner hopes to barrel up some more White Sox pitching when the three-game series continues.

In the seventh inning of the series opener, an 8-6, 11-inning Minnesota win on Monday, Wallner reached reliever Jordan Leasure for a two-run home run that had a screeching exit velocity of 116.7 mph. Wallner knocked a 116.8 mph single to center on Sunday during the Twins' 3-2 victory against the Houston Astros.

All this comes after Wallner was recalled from Triple-A Saint Paul on Sunday. He was sent down to the minors back in April after going just 2-for-25 (.080) with 17 strikeouts in his first 13 games of the season.

"I knew it wasn't going to be an overnight thing, and just being patient with it and just believing that it would come back," Wallner said. "Just being rewarded for the hard work is the best, honestly, because it was a lot of hard work."

In 67 Triple-A games, Wallner batted .259 with a .343 on-base percentage, 19 homers and 53 RBIs.

Minnesota has won 11 of its past 15 games, and a doubleheader split would secure a sixth straight series victory. The Twins are 8-0 against the White Sox this year following the Monday win.

Chicago manager Pedro Grifol said after the series-opening loss, "Another really good start by our starters -- they gave us a chance to win. We had a three-run lead and we couldn't put them away, seventh inning on."

The White Sox have lost three straight and six of their past eight to fall to a major-league-worst 26-67.

Chicago's Erick Fedde (6-3, 3.13 ERA) will face Bailey Ober (8-4, 4.12) in a battle of right-handers in Game 1 of the twin bill.

Fedde has worked at least six innings in each of his past five starts, most recently going exactly six to earn a victory against the Cleveland Guardians on July 3. He gave up one run on three hits in that outing.

In his only previous appearance against the Twins -- a start on April 23 -- Fedde settled for a no-decision after fanning 11 in six innings of one-run ball.

Ober went six innings to pick up a win against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, yielding three runs (one earned) and seven hits. He is 4-1 with a 3.63 ERA in 11 career starts against the White Sox. On May 1, he beat Chicago despite yielding four runs in six innings.

In what will be another matchup of right-handers, Chicago's Drew Thorpe (3-1, 3.71 ERA) and Minnesota's Pablo Lopez (8-7, 5.18) will get the nod in the finale of the doubleheader.

Thorpe, a rookie, has won each of his past three starts. He held the Miami Marlins to one run and three hits in 6 1/3 innings on Friday. Wednesday will mark his first career appearance against the Twins.

Lopez was tagged for six runs on eight hits in five-plus innings to get stuck with a loss against Houston on Friday. He is 0-1 with a 4.56 ERA in four career starts vs. the White Sox, including a no-decision on April 23, when he gave up three runs on four hits in four innings.

--Field Level Media