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)
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
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