Minnesota Twins Game Grades in 3-1 Loss to White Sox

May 8, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Twins infielder Jorge Polanco drives in a run with a ground out against the Chicago White Sox in the third inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
May 8, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Twins infielder Jorge Polanco drives in a run with a ground out against the Chicago White Sox in the third inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /

Minnesota Twins Improved, but still swept in Chicago

After watching strike three go by, the Twins’ last chance in Eddie Rosario, I couldn’t help but think how much of a mistake pitch that was by Sox closer David Robertson. Rosario has seemingly swung and missed at every down and in breaking ball this year, evoking memories of a young Christian Guzman. The best, most hittable pitch, was the last one Rosario watched (and argued about). And with that, the Twins were swept for the 6th time this season, falling 3-1 to division leading Chicago.

It was one of the best games the Minnesota Twins have played, with Tyler Duffey looking the part of a quality major league starter. Unfortunately for the Twins, they were up against one of the American League’s hottest pitchers, Jose Quintana, and the AL’s hottest team in the White Sox.

Duffey kept the White Sox off the board for the first three innings, something no Twins starter had done in 16 games. He also tied a major league (held by many) with four strikeouts in one inning.

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Minnesota had their chances early against Quintana, but again the lack of clutch hitting (0-6 with RISP), failure to move runners over, and strikeouts when it looks like they may have something brewing, all added up to their 9th loss in their last 10 games.

Eduardo Nunez led off the game with a double, followed by a walk to Jorge Polanco. Like yesterday’s game against Chris Sale, the Twins had one of the elite pitchers in the AL on the ropes early. But Miguel Sano followed with a sinking liner to center that Nunez obviously thought was going to drop. Instead, Austin Jackson caught it off his shoetops and doubled Nunez off second base. Plouffe struck out to end the threat and the inning.

In the third, the Twins scored their only run after back-to-back singles with one out had the Twins in business again with runners at the corners. Luckily, manager Paul Molitor had Nunez running from first as Polanco hit a double play ball that would have ended the inning. Instead, Nunez beat the throw to second, and the White Sox were only able to get Polanco at first as Rosario scored the only Twins run of the game.

The White Sox copied the Twins formula for scoring, having runners at the corners and runner from first running, but theirs resulted in a stolen base, followed by a double play grounder that only got the second out. Duffey struck out Melky Cabrera to keep a crooked number off the scoreboard.

Two doubles in the fifth inning scored the White Sox’s second run. Poor fielding by the Twins led to the final run by Chicago and the record 4 strikeouts in one inning by Duffey. After Avisail Garcia swung and missed on a breaking pitch, new catcher Juan Centeno could not block the ball from getting past him as Garcia reached first base. A hit to right fielder Oswaldo Arcia‘s right, a hit that Arcia was slow to start on – and failed to try to block from getting by him, ended up going to the wall and scoring Garcia.

The White Sox this year have been excellent in the field. Numerous plays by their outfield all series has saved at least 5 runs. Again in the 9th, Arcia hit a shot to deep center field that even Robertson thought would be an extra base hit to lead off the inning. Instead, Austin Jackson made an outstanding play in the gap to catch the fly ball.

All Arcia could do was tip his cap to the White Sox center fielder. Three batters later, the Twins were left wondering, “what if?” Something they’ve asked numerous times this year. Twins fell to 8-23, already 13.5 games behind Chicago in the AL Central standing.

128. 1. 2. Final. 3

Eduardo Nunez. OFFENSE . D+. 7 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts, 0 home runs and 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. Nunez had two more hits (including a double, Twins only extra base hit) to raise his batting average to .372. Honorable mention to recent call-up Jorge Polanco who walked twice and had an RBI groundout while batting second..

STARTERS . A-. Team totals: 6 hits allowed, 2 walks, 0 home runs and 9 strikeouts. Duffey has made two nice starts in a row, following up his start against Detroit (6.1 IP, 1 ER, 7 K) with a quality start that was needed to rest a very tired bullpen. In three starts, Duffey has 17 Ks versus just 4 walks. . . Tyler Duffey

Team totals: 0 hits allowed, 0 walks, no home runs and no strikeouts. May pitched an uneventful 8th inning, throwing 12 of his 16 pitches for strikes.. . . RELIEVERS . B+

C+. Twins made 0 errors and no real outstanding plays to back up Tyler Duffey. Centeno called a good game behind the plate, but had some trouble blocking Duffey’s strikeout pitch, the breaking ball in the dirt.  Arcia’s lackadaisical effort and route to <a href=. . Oswaldo Arcia. DEFENSE

MVT: Tyler Duffey – Quality start, deserves better than 0-2 record.

The Minnesota Twins will face the Baltimore Orioles at Target Field tomorrow night. Jose Berrios (1-1, 6.75 ERA) will get the start. The Twins will be celebrating “Nurses Week” by handing out Twins-colored “scrubs” before Monday’s game. Limited number available, must show ticket to be eligible. Scrubs will be handed out around the corner from Gate 6, near 5th Street. Promotion will begin at 5:00 PM and end at 7:30 PM. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports North. First pitch at 7:10 CDT.