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Game Score: Red Sox 11, Twins 9


The Twins lost a topsy-turvy game in Boston, in which Griffin Jax dug the Twins an irreparable hole. Jorge Polanco and Josh Donaldson both homered in a strong offensive showing in the first of a three game series in Boston.

Box Score

Starting Pitcher: Jax 4.2 IP, 7 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 4 BB, 4 SO

Homeruns: Jorge Polanco (23), Donaldson (18)

Bottom 3 WPA: Jax -.514, Cave -.146, Thielbar -.102

Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
356140520_chart(21).png.ed6c81ec4598327ea79b597dcbc2d8ab.png

Twins fans began the day wondering about the status of Kenta Maeda as he is seeking a second opinion on his injured arm.

If this is true, the question that has to be answered as this situation plays out, is, why? The Twins have been out of contention for some time, why has Maeda been operating hurt?

Here’s how the Twins lined up for their opening game against the Red Sox in Boston.

The Twins got off to a fast start on Tuesday. Max Kepler missed a home run by inches, crushing a triple to right center-field to lead off the game. Jorge Polanco brought him home with a single to right field, giving the Twins an immediate one to nothing advantage.

Initially, Griffin Jax showed the improved velocity and slider which have made him look like a possibility for the back end of the Twins rotation in 2022. Through three innings, Jax surrendered a solo home run to Travis Shaw to tie the game at one. 

In he fourth inning Miguel Sano followed up a Luis Arraez single and a Mitch Garver double with a two run singles, to restore the Twins lead. Jax began to lose command in the bottom of the fourth inning. After walking Rafael Devers and an Alex Verdugo double, Jax left a breaking ball middle in to Hunter Renfroe, who clubbed a three-run home run to give the Red Sox a four to three lead.

Jax unraveled in the bottom of the fifth. He surrendered a single, ground-rule double, a walk, another double, and a two-run home run to Hunter Renfroe. Renfroe deposited his second home run of the night over the Green Monster. Juan Minaya relieved Griffin Jax and pitched an effective 1 ⅓ innings in relief. 

The Twins began to close the gap in the seventh inning. After Max Kepler reached on an error, Jorge Polanco walloped his twenty third home run of the year to left-center field. In a season of struggles for the Twins, Polanco has shown himself to be an elite player when healthy and locked in. 

A Josh Donaldson walk, Luis Arraez single, and a wild pitch, put runners on second and third with one out. Mitch Garver struck out, bringing Nick Gordon to the plate. Gordon took what should have been ball four for a strike, before a remarkable foul ball, keeping his at bat against Hirokazu Sawamura alive. Gordon punched a single straight back up the middle to cut the deficit to nine to eight.

In the top of the eight inning, Jake Cave singled, before inexplicably attempting to steal second base. He was thrown out, and the Twins were retired without scoring. In the bottom of the inning, Kike Hernandez mashed a two-run home run off Caleb Thielbar, extending the lead to eleven to eight and putting the game out of reach of the Twins.

The Twins continued to claw in the ninth. Josh Donaldson led off the inning with his 18th home run of the year. The Sox walked Luis Arraez and Mitch Garver to put the tying run at first base. Hansel Robles entered the game and got Nick Gordon and Miguel Sano to strike out, leaving Jake Cave as their last hope. Cave lined out to second base to end the game.

Bullpen Usage Chart

  WED THURS FRI SAT TUE TOT
Barnes 0 0 109 0 0 109
Minaya 40 0 16 0 30 86
Albers 0 63 0 0 0 63
García 35 0 0 28 0 63
Gant 0 61 0 0 0 61
Garza Jr. 23 0 0 31 0 54
Barraclough 0 0 46 0 0 46
Duffey 14 0 0 0 19 33
Colomé 31 0 0 0 0 31
Coulombe 7 19 0 0 0 26
Thielbar 9 0 0 0 14 23

Next Up
On Wednesday, the Twins continue their series with Red Sox. They send Bailey Ober to the mound to take on Nick Pivetta. First pitch is at 6:10 CST.

Postgame Interviews - coming soon

 


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Don't we have some other minor league pitchers we can give a trial? Jax is a nice story, but not a nice starter.  Time to try something else.  Isn't the rest of this lost season a time to get some trials done?  Balazovic and any other potential started should be called up.  Gant and Jax are not going to give us what we need next year. 

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11 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

Don't we have some other minor league pitchers we can give a trial? Jax is a nice story, but not a nice starter.  Time to try something else.  Isn't the rest of this lost season a time to get some trials done?  Balazovic and any other potential started should be called up.  Gant and Jax are not going to give us what we need next year. 

I think Ryan will be next up if his next couple of AAA starts go well. If the Twins EVER get any kind of healthy consistency this year, I'd like to see Jax in the bullpen. I think he can contribute.

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18 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

Don't we have some other minor league pitchers we can give a trial? Jax is a nice story, but not a nice starter.  Time to try something else.  Isn't the rest of this lost season a time to get some trials done?  Balazovic and any other potential started should be called up.  Gant and Jax are not going to give us what we need next year. 

But what???

I think we all agree he's likely not a top ace-like starter, but he's been pretty solid in his debut... He's exactly the type of pitcher who should continue to make starts. 

 

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42 minutes ago, Seth Stohs said:

But what???

I think we all agree he's likely not a top ace-like starter, but he's been pretty solid in his debut... He's exactly the type of pitcher who should continue to make starts. 

 

I agree completely with the sentiment; however, do we have to let the guy get bludgeoned before he is removed? The in-game management has been flummoxing to say the least.

The line-up card is also a mystery to me. We have two of the worst OBP players on the team hitting one and two. Of course they are going to go 1-9 in a game where Boston pitchers are not exactly unhittable.

And, concerning Maeken, thank you for asking the question of "Why has Maeda been pitching if he has been injured?" It's a very good question. Even in the previous game when Glavine in the booth mentions that Maeda is acting like his arm is bothering him, it seems very strange to me that no one would come running out from the dugout to ask him why he was shaking his arm.

These season has been a very weird one to say the least...and frustrating too.

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2 hours ago, Rosterman said:

If you wish to let your young starters take a pounding, then let's make it a total group effort and bring ALL the young guys up. Get it done and over.

I guess the limit is 9 runs - no double digit poundings. Barnes (7 runs in 5 and 109 pitches) and Jax (9 runs in 4.1 and 92). 

Robles would have walked both Gordon and Cave if they could have had better plate discipline. Watching Robles inherit runners on second and third with no outs in the 9th, and the boys not able to bring them in.... that hurt. Espeically after seeing Robles give it up to sooo many teams for us. 

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Gotta hand it to Theilbar, blowing the game immediately after the team scratches, claws, and wills itself all the way back into the ballgame in the 8th inning. *muah! - that's a vintage glass of '21 Twins Bullpen.

As for Jax and Barnes: can we stop with pretending these guys are going to be anything except organizational depth already?  These aren't top prospects, and unlike Hollywood, this isn't the point in the movie where they start to dig deep, find the fire in their souls, and throw no-hitters. They're just doing what any reasonable person expects of them: getting hit around pretty hard most of the time, with the occasional palatable outing.

Unfortunately every single one of this team's top prospects are injured, so if you're watching the Twins the rest of the year, this is what you're going to be getting from their pitching staff. A steady diet of low-ceiling rookies mixed in with some 35 year-old waiver pickups.

We all deserve better as fans of this club.

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6 hours ago, Aerodeliria said:

And, concerning Maeken, thank you for asking the question of "Why has Maeda been pitching if he has been injured?" It's a very good question. Even in the previous game when Glavine in the booth mentions that Maeda is acting like his arm is bothering him, it seems very strange to me that no one would come running out from the dugout to ask him why he was shaking his arm.

Here is why Maeda would continue to pitch.

  • Innings Pitched Bonus
    $250,000 each for: 90, 100, 110, 120, 130, 140, 150, 160, 170, 180, 190, 200
  • Games Started Bonus 
    $1M each for: 15, 20,
    $1.5M each for 25, 30, 32 

The last two games he pitched in got him 1.25 million dollars.  and if he could/can get 4 more starts that is another 2 million.

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7 hours ago, Seth Stohs said:

But what???

Well you mentioned 26.1 and 8 earned runs, He has pitched 48.2 innings and given up 34, so in the other 22.1 he has given up 26 earned runs, that is not so good.

But with that said I think he will learn more from this game, then those 3,4,5 inning games he had earlier this year.

If you look in the past, some really good pitchers were allowed to pitch in games like this early in their career to I can only assume actually learn how to pitch? Viola, Maddux, Johnson, Glavine and even Clemens had some real clunkers. Now please don't assume I think Jax has any chance to be as good as these guys, I am just saying let pitchers, pitch.

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8 hours ago, Seth Stohs said:

But what???

I think we all agree he's likely not a top ace-like starter, but he's been pretty solid in his debut... He's exactly the type of pitcher who should continue to make starts. 

 

I understand your point, but for the year he has a -0.7 WAR, he has a 6.29 era and a 1.36 whip.  The opponents have an 848 OPS against him - more than 100 points above league average.  He had a nice run, but overall I am not convinced.  If he continues that five game stretch again you have a point. 

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8 hours ago, Seth Stohs said:

But what???

I think we all agree he's likely not a top ace-like starter, but he's been pretty solid in his debut... He's exactly the type of pitcher who should continue to make starts. 

 

But, is that a trend, or just selective endpoints?

FWIW, even in that 5 start stretch of 2.73 ERA, Jax had a 4.96 FIP for a 116 FIP-, well below average, and also a 4.84 xFIP:

https://www.fangraphs.com/players/griffin-jax/20253/game-log?type=0&gds=2021-07-19&gde=2021-08-16&season=&position=P

Although I agree that there aren't a lot of alternatives left at this point. We'll need Joe Ryan PLUS Jax and others, just to finish out the season....

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7 hours ago, Aerodeliria said:

I agree completely with the sentiment; however, do we have to let the guy get bludgeoned before he is removed? The in-game management has been flummoxing to say the least.

I think we're just trying to cover innings at this point.

Earlier in the year, we were trying to compete, so it made some sense to pull guys early if we felt it gave us a better chance to win.

Now, with our staff in shambles and the season officially lost, the guys who can throw 100 pitches without restriction are pretty much going to throw those 100 pitches no matter what.

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Fact is Baldelli is a poor excuse for a Major League manager.  His lineups continue to be ridiculous.  In game management is a joke.  He embarrassed his pitchers by leaving them in way too long when they are getting hammered.  Jax didn't have it.  It was obvious he shouldn't have been left out there.  Remember he left Shoemaker and Happ out there on their last appearances as Twins and they got hammered through 3 innings.  Dordnt he owe it to the rest of the team that he is at least trying to be competitive?  Why would any FA pitcher want to come here?

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27 minutes ago, Otto von Ballpark said:

But, is that a trend, or just selective endpoints?

FWIW, even in that 5 start stretch of 2.73 ERA, Jax had a 4.96 FIP for a 116 FIP-, well below average, and also a 4.84 xFIP:

Let's find out. I'm not saying that Jax is 100% going to be a big-league starting pitcher, but five starts isn't enough to know. 10 starts isn't either. 

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1 hour ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

Well you mentioned 26.1 and 8 earned runs, He has pitched 48.2 innings and given up 34, so in the other 22.1 he has given up 26 earned runs, that is not so good.

But with that said I think he will learn more from this game, then those 3,4,5 inning games he had earlier this year.

If you look in the past, some really good pitchers were allowed to pitch in games like this early in their career to I can only assume actually learn how to pitch? Viola, Maddux, Johnson, Glavine and even Clemens had some real clunkers. Now please don't assume I think Jax has any chance to be as good as these guys, I am just saying let pitchers, pitch.

I agree.  He had a nice stretch and even good pitchers have bad days.  The key is generally minimizing those bad days or the damage done.  The Red Sox are a good hitting team and Jax generally gives up contact so unless he develops an ability to K guys he is always going to need some BABIP luck to get it done.  No such luck in this game and it is also why he was always up and down in AAA as well.  This is where low strike out numbers hurt guys. Still no reason not to see what he can do in this lost season and he has had some good games.  With some polish who knows maybe he can be a solid 5th starter might as well find out.

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3 minutes ago, Seth Stohs said:

Let's find out. I'm not saying that Jax is 100% going to be a big-league starting pitcher, but five starts isn't enough to know. 10 starts isn't either. 

Well, we have no choice but to find out now. Teams make judgements on 5-10 MLB starts or less all the time, but that's no longer an option for the 2021 Twins.

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1 hour ago, Dman said:

I agree.  He had a nice stretch and even good pitchers have bad days.  The key is generally minimizing those bad days or the damage done.  The Red Sox are a good hitting team and Jax generally gives up contact so unless he develops an ability to K guys he is always going to need some BABIP luck to get it done.  No such luck in this game and it is also why he was always up and down in AAA as well.  This is where low strike out numbers hurt guys. Still no reason not to see what he can do in this lost season and he has had some good games.  With some polish who knows maybe he can be a solid 5th starter might as well find out.

Jax did not have his best night but he wasn't helped by the horrible umpiring behind the plate.  The Twins' hitters had multiple pitches outside the strike zone called strikes but Jax had many pitches in the zone called balls.  A very uneven performance behind home plate.

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3 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

I understand your point, but for the year he has a -0.7 WAR, he has a 6.29 era and a 1.36 whip.  The opponents have an 848 OPS against him - more than 100 points above league average.  He had a nice run, but overall I am not convinced.  If he continues that five game stretch again you have a point. 

So, after Jax pitches well for 5 straight starts, you should pull him because his stats for the year are bad, but if he keeps pitching well then maybe he should get more chances? 

Look, Griffin Jax is probably a 5th starter at best who has pretty fine margins of error for success in MLB. He doesn't have tons of velocity or particularly filthy stuff that can bail him out of a mistake. he lives and dies on his command and get strikes at the edges of the plate. When he misses, professional hitters will crush it, and we saw that last night. he also had the worst possible umpire for his type of pitching: one who was brutally inconsistent and made a number of obviously bad calls. (When Dick Bremer is calling it out, you know things are ugly out there) For a guy like Jax, i think it can be tough to know when you should pull him on a night like this. How do you guess when the mistake is gonna happen? How much of the bad 5th is because jax had no idea what was going to be called a strike any longer?

cave's steal attempt looked pretty bad, but the Boston catcher has not been good at throwing guys out this year. If he goes on an off-speed pitch he's in there, but I'm still not entirely sure why he's running in that situation.

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4 hours ago, bighat said:

Gotta hand it to Theilbar, blowing the game immediately after the team scratches, claws, and wills itself all the way back into the ballgame in the 8th inning. *muah! - that's a vintage glass of '21 Twins Bullpen.

As for Jax and Barnes: can we stop with pretending these guys are going to be anything except organizational depth already?  These aren't top prospects, and unlike Hollywood, this isn't the point in the movie where they start to dig deep, find the fire in their souls, and throw no-hitters. They're just doing what any reasonable person expects of them: getting hit around pretty hard most of the time, with the occasional palatable outing.

Unfortunately every single one of this team's top prospects are injured, so if you're watching the Twins the rest of the year, this is what you're going to be getting from their pitching staff. A steady diet of low-ceiling rookies mixed in with some 35 year-old waiver pickups.

We all deserve better as fans of this club.

Do we really think the FO thinks differently? Those two were 8/9/10 on the depth chart to start the year......(actually, I think you are saying this, just making sure).

The year has gone as badly as possible with SP this year, between injuries (Pineda, Maeda, Dobnak, Winder), and trades (Berrios) and ineffectiveness (Happ, Shoemaker) that this is what is left. 

As for leaving him in, this is part of learning....

As for Kepler and Rooker hitting near the top (not your point).....I'm guessing they are trying to give them every AB possible, to see if they can get out of their funks. Nothing more or less than that.

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4 hours ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

Here is why Maeda would continue to pitch.

  • Innings Pitched Bonus
    $250,000 each for: 90, 100, 110, 120, 130, 140, 150, 160, 170, 180, 190, 200
  • Games Started Bonus 
    $1M each for: 15, 20,
    $1.5M each for 25, 30, 32 

The last two games he pitched in got him 1.25 million dollars.  and if he could/can get 4 more starts that is another 2 million.

It's a relevant observation, but I wonder who decides that he is good to go? 

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8 minutes ago, Aerodeliria said:

It's a relevant observation, but I wonder who decides that he is good to go? 

My thoughts are if he says he good to pitch, then they let him until it is obvious that he is injured, because otherwise they look like they are holding him back for financial reasons, and he is getting close to some real money (millions of dollars real)  Just my opinion.

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2 hours ago, terrydactyls said:

Jax did not have his best night but he wasn't helped by the horrible umpiring behind the plate.  The Twins' hitters had multiple pitches outside the strike zone called strikes but Jax had many pitches in the zone called balls.  A very uneven performance behind home plate.

I was going to login to the game thread last night for the sole purpose of saying that umpire sucked!  Jax made a couple of perfect pitches and the ump screwed him.  Then, he called a couple on our guys that were 4 inches outside the zone.

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Rocco seems to love Rooker hitting 2nd. So far he hasn't done too well there. Kepler at lead-off? Another head-scratcher, but maybe he feels Arraez is more valuable lower in the lineup where he could bring in some runners?

I agree that last night was vintage 2021 Twins in microcosm. They score 9 runs and lose. One of their hottest relief pitchers comes in to hold the fort and immediately puts the team back in a 3 run hole. Then an ex-Twin, who was simply brutal this yeat comes in with men on 1st and 2nd, no outs and shuts us down for his 1st Red Sox save.

Buxton needs to get back here on the double IMO. And when he returns, Twins have to totally roll that dice and play this guy regularly...until he re-injures himself again, or demonstrates that he can be a valuable asset to the Twins chances in 2022. He either needs a new contract or a trade and babying him the rest of the way would make no sense to see what he is capable of doing.

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