Monday was a day the Twins were initially scheduled to have a day off but instead spent the afternoon making up a game against division foe Detroit before heading home for a series against the Cubs. While it had all the makings of a “throw-away” game, with two below .500 teams facing off, it gave us a good starting pitching matchup.
The Tigers sent former top draft pick Casey Mize to the mound, who entered the game with 24 starts and a 3.55 ERA. The Twins counter with their hottest starter in Bailey Ober. In his 4 August starts, Ober holds a 2.11 ERA, .265 batting average against, and a .697 OPS.
The majority of the first three innings produced quick three up, three down baseball. That is until the end of the third inning when Ober needed to get one more out to start the game with nine straight batters retired. Instead, Derek Hill smashed an up and in 92.7 mph fastball for his second home run of the season to put the Tigers up 1-0.
The Twins would answer immediately in the 4th. Buxton collected the Twins first hit with a 1-out double down the left-field line. With Polanco up to bat, a Mize pitch would find the backstop, allowing Buxton to move to third and easily be singled home by Polanco to tie the game up 1-1. With Polanco on first base, Josh Donaldson took a Mize slider to center field for his 21st home run and a Twins 3-1 lead.
The Tigers would get one back in the 5th. Harold Perez was standing on second after a lead-off double. He scored on a bloop single from Zack Short that landed beyond a diving Simmons who played in a bit on the infield. While the hit wasn’t the most impressive of hits, it was enough to bring Perez around to score.
Down to the Wire
Once again, an Alex Colome outing turned interesting. This time it wasn't necessarily because of his pitching but because of his fielding. Two fielding miscues put Colome in a position where he needed to get out of a 2-out, runners on the corners jam. He thankfully popped up old friend Robbie Grossman to end the game and get the team on the road back to the Twin Cities.
Bailey Ober Solid Again
As the Twins will be looking to fill rotation spots for 2022, Ober again makes a good case that he will need to be in the mix for one of those spots. He put his team in a spot to win and himself in a place to earn a win. Didn’t give up any free passes and collected a good number of whiffs as well. He continues to be one of the exciting players to follow down the stretch of a lost season.
When it comes to the development of Ober, there are encouraging signs surrounding his fastball, as pointed out by Nash Walker.
Josh Donaldson Showing His Worth
Donaldson’s aforementioned 21st home run of the season also was his 5th of the month. While the Twins may continue to look to offload his contract because of the injury risk, if he sticks around for 2022, the Twins will look forward to penciling his bat into the lineup every day he is healthy. Monday showed again how valuable Donaldson could be as he can change a game quickly with one at-bat, one swing.
Here is a breakdown of Donaldson's home run swing by our own Nash Walker:
Tomorrow the Twins kick off their series with the Chicago Cubs. It should be a fun mid-week series even if neither team is looking at the playoffs. Don't forget Wednesday night you could order a drink from John Bonnes if you are at the game!
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