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.