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  • Game Score: Cardinals 5, Twins 1


    Matthew Lenz

    The Twins fell to the St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 in the series opener. Griffin Jax has another solid outing but wasn't given the run support to have an opportunity to earn the win. That and more in tonight's recap.

     

    Image courtesy of © Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

    Box Score
    Griffin Jax: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (62.7% strikes)
    Home Runs: none
    Bottom 3 WPA: Duffey (-.332), Gordon (-.134), Rooker (-.132), 
    Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs)
    712262849_chart(1).png.8e90845138fa70c11b8d7aa727a59f89.png

    Jax Impresses Again In First Interleague Start
    Jax had a solid start against the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday, allowing just four baserunners over five innings and one earned run despite generating just two strikeouts and four whiffs on the night. Still, the Cardinals are one of the better teams in baseball in fighting off pitches despite being a mediocre offensive team. Even the one run scored was indeed “earned” by the Cardinals when Tyler O’Neil led off the fourth inning with a sharp single on a hanging curveball, followed by a steal and then back-to-back sacrifice flies to score him. Outside of that, Jax didn’t allow a baserunner to reach third base all night. Even after a 1-2-3 fifth inning, Jax was pulled after just 83 pitches, likely due to the Cardinals bringing the 2-3-4 hitters to the plate in the 6th inning.

    Twins Continue to Struggle to Push Runs Across
    The Twins combined for 11 baserunners with nine hits and two walks, but that only led to one run on an Andrelton Simmons singled in the top of the second inning. That hit was one of three Simmons had on the night, and Simmons was one of three Twins hitters who had three hits. The other two were Jorge Polanco, who went 3-for-5, upping his average to .270, and Willians Astudillo, who went 3-for-4, upping his average to .271 on the season. The rest of the Twins lineup combined to go 0-for-22, and, as you would assume, Miguel Sanó was responsible for both of the Twins walks.As I pointed out with Jax, I like to find little tidbits for you to track moving forward so you feel like there are reasons to watch the Twins for the next two months. One storyline is the continued rebound and health of Jorge Polanco, who is still under contract for the next four seasons.

    Other storylines would be the development of prospects like Trevor Larnach, whose slump is going on almost a month now, Brent Rooker, and Ryan Jeffers. All these guys will likely be around in 2023 or 2024 when the next competitive window opens for the Twins.

    Bullpen Usage Chart
    Tyler Duffey came on into the 6th and was hit hard by the Cardinals giving up three hits, including a bases-clearing, two-out double that gave the Cardinals a 4-1 lead. Despite the rough outing, he finished the inning needing 32 pitches, likely making him unavailable for the rest of the series. Danny Coulombe came on in the 7th and 8th inning, getting knocked around a little bit himself, but ultimately was able to finish off the game for the Twins.
    One thing to note on the table below is that Hansel Robles has been removed and John Gant added. The pitch counts reflect Gant’s last five days he pitched for the Cardinals.

      SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT
    Coulombe 18 0 10 0 0 23 28
    Thielbar 0 13 16 0 0 0 29
    Alcala 24 0 11 0 0 0 35
    Gant 0 0 0 24 0 0 24
    Colomé 10 16 0 0 0 0 26
    Minaya 0 0 0 45 0 0 45
    Duffey 0 11 7 0 0 32 18
    Burrows 0 0 0 63 0 0 63
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    35 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

    Great start. Hope I'm wrong about him....

    What are your expectations for him? Coming into this season he was a non top-30 prospect in the organization who shouldn't have sniffed Target Field had things gone as planned. Any production he can give to the Twins over the next couple years is probably more than would have been expected of him, especially if it comes as a starter.

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    2 minutes ago, Matthew Lenz said:

    What are your expectations for him? Coming into this season he was a non top-30 prospect in the organization who shouldn't have sniffed Target Field had things gone as planned. Any production he can give to the Twins over the next couple years is probably more than would have been expected of him, especially if it comes as a starter.

    I'm not scout....but from reading reports, middle reliever with a good chance to stick. 

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    1 minute ago, Mike Sixel said:

    I'm not scout....but from reading reports, middle reliever with a good chance to stick. 

    Haha, I appreciate the honesty! I'm not scout here...just my opinion based off where he falls in our list of prospects. But I think a middle reliever is probably a realistic role for him depending on the state of the big league club. Next year, when we likely don't contend, he might get some more time as a starter but as our next window opens...assuming he sticks...a bullpen role is probably more likely.

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    I think Jax will be a solid back of the rotation starter, and hopefully find a career as a solid middle multi-inning relief guy. The Twins will let him start, I hope, to stretch him out and be a possibility in 2022. He ahs to be able to go thru an order three times to stay in the rotation long-term.

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    I guess I'll be Negative Nancy and project that Jax tops out as a 7th/8th best starter in the organization. He's produced in the minors, but his stuff just isn't good enough to reliably get MLB hitters out. I'd love to be proven wrong, of course.

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    58 minutes ago, Rosterman said:

    I think Jax will be a solid back of the rotation starter, and hopefully find a career as a solid middle multi-inning relief guy. The Twins will let him start, I hope, to stretch him out and be a possibility in 2022. He ahs to be able to go thru an order three times to stay in the rotation long-term.

    I agree. He also needs to be afforded the opportunity. At this point, what’s the harm in letting him go out in the 6th? Maybe he’s on an innings limit. Not sure.

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    46 minutes ago, Danchat said:

    I guess I'll be Negative Nancy and project that Jax tops out as a 7th/8th best starter in the organization. He's produced in the minors, but his stuff just isn't good enough to reliably get MLB hitters out. I'd love to be proven wrong, of course.

    I don’t think it’s negative necessarily. I’d agree he’s unlikely to be a back end of that rotation piece especially when their window of contention re-opens.

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    2 hours ago, Matthew Lenz said:

    I don’t think it’s negative necessarily. I’d agree he’s unlikely to be a back end of that rotation piece especially when their window of contention re-opens.

    It's so dang depressing to hear talk of the next competitive window opening in another 2-3 years. It feels as if the Bomba Squad window just opened. Of course, no playoff victories to show for any of it. 

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    7 hours ago, Matthew Lenz said:

    I agree. He also needs to be afforded the opportunity. At this point, what’s the harm in letting him go out in the 6th? Maybe he’s on an innings limit. Not sure.

    Maybe he was gonna be pulled anyways,  but the Twins had runners in the corners and two outs so he was pitch hit for. 

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    Yes it is sad to maybe have to wait 2-3 years to be competitive again.  I hope it's not longer.  Just remember it's the Twins that decided to not pay their better players market value and either let the walk or trade them for cheap players.  It's been a Twins policy for years and we should not be surprised.  We are left rooting for prospect and their development.  Sheesh!

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    8 hours ago, Danchat said:

    I guess I'll be Negative Nancy and project that Jax tops out as a 7th/8th best starter in the organization. He's produced in the minors, but his stuff just isn't good enough to reliably get MLB hitters out. I'd love to be proven wrong, of course.

    I'll agree, Nancy. Jax's strikeout/walk numbers pedestrian, his FIP is 6.16. I can't picture him being a long-term part of any team in any role at this rate, maybe he'll be on the shuttle bus next year but I think that'll be it.

    Also would love to be proven wrong. His last two starts have been serviceable, good for him. He's clearly learned something and we might as well keep running him out there.

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    21 minutes ago, yeahyabetcha said:

    Maybe he was gonna be pulled anyways,  but the Twins had runners in the corners and two outs so he was pitch hit for. 

    Oh duh. Totally forgot about that scenario. Darn National League rules.

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    59 minutes ago, Whitey333 said:

    Yes it is sad to maybe have to wait 2-3 years to be competitive again.  I hope it's not longer.  Just remember it's the Twins that decided to not pay their better players market value and either let the walk or trade them for cheap players.  It's been a Twins policy for years and we should not be surprised.  We are left rooting for prospect and their development.  Sheesh!

    And just what is the market value for Berrios?  No one knows yet because he doesn't reach free agency until after next season.  If Berrios continues to pitch well, then the Twins can either make an offer or not.  But when the big spenders (Dodgers, Padres, Mets, etc.) Make offers in the $30M AAV range, don't expect the Twins to join the bidding.  That isn't financially possible.

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    13 hours ago, Matthew Lenz said:

    What are your expectations for him? Coming into this season he was a non top-30 prospect in the organization who shouldn't have sniffed Target Field had things gone as planned. Any production he can give to the Twins over the next couple years is probably more than would have been expected of him, especially if it comes as a starter.

    Maybe more than you expected Matt.  I have always assumed this kid was going to take his training and work his tail off to become a solid member of a future Twins rotation.  I understand one good outing doesn't mean he has accomplished that.  But it sure as heck is a step in the right direction.

    And for his not being in your top 30, well maybe your rankings were and are wrong.

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    10 hours ago, theBOMisthebomb said:

    It's so dang depressing to hear talk of the next competitive window opening in another 2-3 years. It feels as if the Bomba Squad window just opened. Of course, no playoff victories to show for any of it. 

    Bomba Squad window closed when they de-juiced the ball. The window was barely propped open to begin with because the pitching staff is cobbled together year-to-year outside of a few mainstays.

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    52 minutes ago, roger said:

    Maybe more than you expected Matt.  I have always assumed this kid was going to take his training and work his tail off to become a solid member of a future Twins rotation.  I understand one good outing doesn't mean he has accomplished that.  But it sure as heck is a step in the right direction.

    And for his not being in your top 30, well maybe your rankings were and are wrong.

    A kid can work as hard as he wants but still may not have the 'stuff' to excel. Jax's pitch repertoire and command is nothing special. He'll need to find an extra edge that helps him stay ahead of major league hitters.

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    38 minutes ago, Taildragger8791 said:

    Bomba Squad window closed when they de-juiced the ball. The window was barely propped open to begin with because the pitching staff is cobbled together year-to-year outside of a few mainstays.

    That seems to fly directly in the face of how the pitching staff has worked - we had top 10 ERAs in 2019 and 2020, and then the ball was deadened and we have a bottom 3 pitching staff in 2021. Do you believe that the juiced ball and un-juiced ball only affected the Twins' offense, and somehow not the pitching?

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    8 hours ago, Danchat said:

    That seems to fly directly in the face of how the pitching staff has worked - we had top 10 ERAs in 2019 and 2020, and then the ball was deadened and we have a bottom 3 pitching staff in 2021. Do you believe that the juiced ball and un-juiced ball only affected the Twins' offense, and somehow not the pitching?

    That’s why I mentioned the part about the pitching staff being cobbled together year to year. It worked until it didn’t. Good pitchers were still good pitchers despite the 2019 bouncy ball. And bad pitchers are bad pitchers without it. Everyone had the same ball to contend with.

    The bouncy ball significantly helped certain profiles of hitters which we happened to have a number of. Those are the guys that won’t easily rebound and that’s why a handful of Twins hitters popped up and fell back to earth. 

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