There was positive injury news for the Twins on Tuesday. Josh Donaldson returned to the lineup in the DH rule after hamstring tightness. Here’s how the Twins lined up against the White Sox.
Additionally, there was a Byron Buxton sighting on the field during batting practice.
The imminent return of Buxton will be a huge boon to a team looking to build on second-half of the season success stories.
It was Griffin Jax who was the story for the Twins on Tuesday. The rookie set a career-high with ten strikeouts in six innings of work, including 14 swings and misses, both career highs.
It was the Twins who jumped out to an early lead. Dallas Keuchel walk-loaded the bases in the first inning. A Luis Arraez single and Miguel Sano groundout gave the Twins a 2-0 lead after an inning. Arraez single raised his season average to .320. Combined with a wOBA of .344 and wRC+ of 119, the diminutive hitter has established himself as a premier contact hitter since his return from injury issues earlier in the season.
The Twins lead quickly evaporated in the third inning. Griffin Jax made two mistakes in his six excellent innings, both were quickly dispatched for home runs by Adam Engel and Jose Abreu, giving the White Sox a 3-2 lead.
Dallas Keuchel held the Twins in check after his early control issues, until the sixth inning. Keuchel made Willians Astudillo ‘bend the knee’, but not before La Tortuga deposited an inside pitch into the left-field bleachers, to restore the Twins lead at 4-3.
The Twins bullpen continued its improved form, with scoreless innings from Jon Gant, Tyler Duffey, and Alexander Colome. The real story of the night, however, was Jax. Between Jax and Bailey Ober, the Twins have two effective starting pitchers who will battle for spots at the back of the 2022 starting rotation. Now that the Twins have given up the ghost of a playoff appearance in 2021, it’s time to look for reasons for optimism for 2022. One doesn’t have to look far.
Bullpen Usage Chart
The Twins send Bailey Ober to the mound to face Lance Lynn on Wednesday. First pitch is at 12:10 CST.