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Game Score: Twins 4, White Sox 3


The Twins beat the White Sox 4-3 on Tuesday. Griffin Jax struck out ten in six brilliant innings. Willians Astudillo had a go-ahead two-run home run to cap the victory.

Box Score
Starting Pitcher: Jax 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 10 K
Homeruns: Astudillo (6)
Top 3 WPA: Astudillo .283, Colome .169, Duffey .124

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

1779271433_chart(20).png.88e0bd9d71525f1d0e659fcd24c92b28.png

There was positive injury news for the Twins on Tuesday. Josh Donaldson returned to the lineup in the DH rule after hamstring tightness. Here’s how the Twins lined up against the White Sox.

Additionally, there was a Byron Buxton sighting on the field during batting practice.
 

The imminent return of Buxton will be a huge boon to a team looking to build on second-half of the season success stories.

It was Griffin Jax who was the story for the Twins on Tuesday. The rookie set a career-high with ten strikeouts in six innings of work, including 14 swings and misses, both career highs.

It was the Twins who jumped out to an early lead. Dallas Keuchel walk-loaded the bases in the first inning. A Luis Arraez single and Miguel Sano groundout gave the Twins a 2-0 lead after an inning. Arraez single raised his season average to .320. Combined with a wOBA of .344 and wRC+ of 119, the diminutive hitter has established himself as a premier contact hitter since his return from injury issues earlier in the season.

The Twins lead quickly evaporated in the third inning. Griffin Jax made two mistakes in his six excellent innings, both were quickly dispatched for home runs by Adam Engel and Jose Abreu, giving the White Sox a 3-2 lead.

Dallas Keuchel held the Twins in check after his early control issues, until the sixth inning. Keuchel made Willians Astudillo ‘bend the knee’, but not before La Tortuga deposited an inside pitch into the left-field bleachers, to restore the Twins lead at 4-3.

The Twins bullpen continued its improved form, with scoreless innings from Jon Gant, Tyler Duffey, and Alexander Colome. The real story of the night, however, was Jax. Between Jax and Bailey Ober, the Twins have two effective starting pitchers who will battle for spots at the back of the 2022 starting rotation. Now that the Twins have given up the ghost of a playoff appearance in 2021, it’s time to look for reasons for optimism for 2022. One doesn’t have to look far.
 

Bullpen Usage Chart

  FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT  
Barnes 0 0 0 68 0 68  
Duffey 20 0 15 0 15 50  
Gant 17 13 0 0 11 41  
Colomé 17 0 18 0 10 35  
Garcia 0 0 0 32 0 32  
Minaya 17 0 12 0 0 29  
Coulombe 14 0 7 0 0 21  
Thielbar 0 20 0 0 0 20  
Vincent 0 0 0 0 0 0  
             

Postgame Interviews

Next Up
The Twins send Bailey Ober to the mound to face Lance Lynn on Wednesday. First pitch is at 12:10 CST.


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2 hours ago, blindeke said:

This is a great game. Jax and Ober are basically "bonus" pitching for the Twins. Pretty good signs for the future if either or both of them can hold their own at all in the major leagues.

Looks like both of them have a chance.  If both make it, at least for a while and maybe longer, we can hope a couple of more make it next year.  If Ober and Jax can hold down the 4 - 5 slots in the rotation, it will be more money to spend on the pen.

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Nice start from Griffin Jax again. Makes 4 in a row, even if the innings are a little short. I'm sure he's over the moon about tonights performance and the win. Even if the scouting reports and MLB bats catch up to him, you can't take games like tonight away from him.

Some moves made in the minor league system today. I hope the front office's intentions start to emerge soon. I just can't see the value in seeing Simmons and Astudillo starting...

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Nice outing by Jax. It's pretty cool to see Jax and Ober doing something with their opportunities. Puts pressure on Dobnak which is much needed IMO, as well as some of our prized prospects. We need some competitive pitching on this team desperately. Good to see it.

And I'll be damned if I'm going to sit by and watch someone rip Astudillo on this thread after hitting the game winning HR. He's basically Santa Claus with a baseball bat, and he put the Twins up late in the game with a bomba. Huge defensive grab in the 8th for a double play, flashing leather! Oh yeah, Twins win.

If you hate that performance, you must be the type of person who likes pineapple on your pizza. Cause that just ain't right.

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Astudillo continues to defy the doubters.  Is it because of his body that so many want to knock him?  He had a good defensive play, a key HR, and he will play anywhere on any day with enthusiasm.  I love watching him.  Last night when he was pulled Dan Gladden was in shock, not because of a defensive replacement, but that they pinch hit for him after he had just hit the big HR.  

With Jax and Ober giving us serviceable starting, its time to see some more young arms.  

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As for Jax start, great to see him stringing together some solid starts - especially against some quality teams (HOU, CSOX).  Very encouraging.  I'd classify his start as solid, strong, encouraging, but not necessarily "brilliant".

If you want brilliant, see Balazovic's start or the Twins bullpen's efforts last night.

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4 minutes ago, Whitey333 said:

Shouldn't be surprised by Baldelli pinch hitting for the turtle.  He is the most unpredictable, unorthodox, unconventional " manager" in baseball.  He's terrible at handling pitching management and many of his lineup and substitutions defy logic 

In Rocco's defense, he did pinch hit the red hot and Twins best overall hitter Polanco for Tortuga. The television guys (I think Smalley) thought it was an acceptable move. I personally would not have done it. If a guy is feeling it like Tortuga was last night, let him hit. Polo did get an infield hit. 

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OK so I just said the last time he pitched that since he didn't get any K's he likely wasn't a legit MLB starter so now he goes out and K's 10 guys and looks like Jose Berrios out there.  He hit a HR blip in the third but ended with a quality start going six innings with 3 runs or fewer given up.  Honestly I didn't think he had this kind of performance in him.  His whole MO in AAA was pitch to contact with dominant outings and not so good outings.  He could have been Rule V'd by any team and had no takers now he looks really good at the MLB level.  Hopefully this isn't a Dobnak\Duffy like run where he has a good three month stretch and then loses it.  I just can't believe how good he has been especially against two of the best offenses in baseball right now. Congrats to Jax on a well pitched game.

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Great seeing last night's start by Jax.  Read that he gave up back-to-back home runs in the third, then recovered to pitch six solid innings.  Since he was drafted, I have maintained that he would surprise many.  My niece has two kids at West Point and what I hear they are put through is so different than one would experience in any regular University.  I expect the AFA is the same, putting Jax in a different position when facing a difficult situation.

Will join those above who remain hopeful that two of Jax, Ober and Dobnak can be solid parts of the Twins 2022 rotation.

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As bad as Monday nights game was - this one was wonderful to watch.   Nice to see Jax come through with a good game and the bullpen also delivered.     Kudos to Astudillo for the home run and nice defensive play.   I thought it was a bit strange to pinch-hit for him in the 8th - I guess Polanco was coming in for defense anyway and prefer to have him hit than Astudillo - even after he homered and just made a nice defensive play?   But after Polanco singled then Kepler came up facing the lefty and struck out so I guess we were hoping Polanco would have homered?    Could have let Astudillo hit and have Polanco hit for Kepler if Astudillo got on which would have necessitated putting Larnach in the OF in the 9th weakening the OF defense.   

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11 hours ago, Mike Sixel said:

Who had 10 strikeouts on their bingo card? I admit to true amazement. Good for him!

I was also amazed that those 10 strikeouts came in the first 5 innings and roughly 69 pitches.  Not too many get that many strikeouts without being closer to 90+ pitches.

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I'm amazed that JAx actually looks like a legit MLB starter, but I have to admit that he does. Never would have guessed that. I've been on the "why Tortuga on this team" wagon and I have to admit he has shown value as the 25th or 26th guy on a roster. Not a starter but worth having around. 

To me, the big news other that Jax has been Gant and Colome's recent stretch . Gant looks like the real deal. If he is real and Colome is back to where he was in 2016-2020 we actually are up to 4 pretty good relievers for next year with Rogers and Duffy. Still need to find 3-4 more but that's a lot less than I thought we would need.   

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Turtle seems to be a real polarizer on this site. Some just don't like him no matter what he does. Others find him perhaps one of the most intriguing members of the roster. Like Forest Gump's proverbial box of chocolates you never ever know what you will get with the turtle. Last night he was the hero. Other nights you grit your teeth when he hits into a weak DP or pop up. Overall he does maintain a serviceable BA and he will contribute a big hit now and again. His versatility is also an asset.

I don't think he deserves some of the outright scorn he gets here. There are certainly worse players going out there everyday...and naturally better ones too.

Seems to me that anyone who is definitely not in the plans for 2022 should not be playing regularly. Simmons comes to mind. As for the young guys, this is their chance to strut their stuff. Shame that Kirilloff is done for the year. Larnach has been struggling...but getting to play everyday. Not sure he has impressed the way everyone hoped. Rooker came back and started hot. Now he is in a deep funk again. But maybe Twins need to let him play thru it. Refsnyder probably isn't in the plan, nor is Cave. Refsnyder 'might' be considered for utility work next year? Cave...no chance.

Celestino clearly not ready yet. Not sure what the plan is for Gordon. Why isn't he getting the same shot Rooker is getting...while Simmons and his .220 BA plays everyday?Kepler and Sano are now playing to either play themselves on or off the 2022 team IMO. Donaldson has clearly not played up to his contract or expectation this year. His 'd' has been OK. His bat has been subpar. Does he get another shot next year? Perhaps.

Buxton needs to play. Everyday. Either to validate a contract extension, or to showcase trade value. He needs to demonstrate he can play everyday for at least a whole month. Arraez and Polanco need to play everyday.  I won't even get into our pitching. Everyone else here has done a very good job analyzing those guys.

What I do know is that relying on prospects is not wise. Anything good you get from any of them is always a bonus. Some will manage to make it. Most don't. Hopefully there are a couple diamonds in rough in the system.

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1 minute ago, insagt1 said:

Turtle seems to be a real polarizer on this site. Some just don't like him no matter what he does. Others find him perhaps one of the most intriguing members of the roster. Like Forest Gump's proverbial box of chocolates you never ever know what you will get with the turtle. Last night he was the hero. Other nights you grit your teeth when he hits into a weak DP or pop up. Overall he does maintain a serviceable BA and he will contribute a big hit now and again. His versatility is also an asset.

I don't think he deserves some of the outright scorn he gets here. There are certainly worse players going out there everyday...and naturally better ones too.

Seems to me that anyone who is definitely not in the plans for 2022 should not be playing regularly. Simmons comes to mind. As for the young guys, this is their chance to strut their stuff. Shame that Kirilloff is done for the year. Larnach has been struggling...but getting to play everyday. Not sure he has impressed the way everyone hoped. Rooker came back and started hot. Now he is in a deep funk again. But maybe Twins need to let him play thru it. Refsnyder probably isn't in the plan, nor is Cave. Refsnyder 'might' be considered for utility work next year? Cave...no chance.

Celestino clearly not ready yet. Not sure what the plan is for Gordon. Why isn't he getting the same shot Rooker is getting...while Simmons and his .220 BA plays everyday?Kepler and Sano are now playing to either play themselves on or off the 2022 team IMO. Donaldson has clearly not played up to his contract or expectation this year. His 'd' has been OK. His bat has been subpar. Does he get another shot next year? Perhaps.

Buxton needs to play. Everyday. Either to validate a contract extension, or to showcase trade value. He needs to demonstrate he can play everyday for at least a whole month. Arraez and Polanco need to play everyday.  I won't even get into our pitching. Everyone else here has done a very good job analyzing those guys.

What I do know is that relying on prospects is not wise. Anything good you get from any of them is always a bonus. Some will manage to make it. Most don't. Hopefully there are a couple diamonds in rough in the system.

There is a zero percent chance Kepler is not on this roster next year to start the year. Most likely Sano also. 

Refsnyder has the inside track on the 4th OF spot at this point, imo. I have no idea what you think will happen with Donaldson, care to expand on that? He's signed to a massive deal, he's not getting DFAd...and is hard to trade.

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1 minute ago, Mike Sixel said:

There is a zero percent chance Kepler is not on this roster next year to start the year. Most likely Sano also. 

Refsnyder has the inside track on the 4th OF spot at this point, imo. I have no idea what you think will happen with Donaldson, care to expand on that? He's signed to a massive deal, he's not getting DFAd...and is hard to trade.

OK--I think kepler and or Sano could be traded during the offseason, given the right deal. I doubt its slamdunk that they will return unless they really have a great final 6 weeks. Sano could be untradable given his k-counts. but you never know. Just my thoughts.

Donaldson...my personal feeling is we give him a Mulligan this year. Can't give up on him too soon. That said, we must acknowledge he has not had a good season based on what our expectations were when Twins gave him that huge contract. I expected more than one of his poorer seasons of his career. But I'd love to see him play an injury-free season with a strong lineup in 2022. He could still be a difference maker.

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Jax pitched quite well tonight, but you kinda saw the extremes with him and just how fine and on it he needs to be to have success at this level. When he's hitting his spots, moving the ball around well, mixing his pitches effectively, not giving up cheap walks, and finishing off batters...he's very effective. When he slips a little, a mistake can/will get crushed. He's giving up way too many dingers for my liking right now (2.4/9 is not a very good number) but if he can get that under control, he's a contender for the 5th spot next year. I'm happier if he's thought of as more the 7th-8th starter going into next season (knowing we'll need to go at least that far in even if we're relatively healthy), but he's doing well with his opportunity and should keep starting the rest of the year to see how deep he can go into games and if MLB hitter figure him out, or if he's able to make adjustments to be more effective. It was a solid start last night and it looked like he was working well with garver (Smalley commented on it several times)

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