Another quiet night for the bats ended in a Twins loss Tuesday. Rookie Dane Dunning helped keep the White Sox rolling, surrendering two runs (one earned) over seven innings. Since dropping back-to-back games to the Twins to open September, the White Sox have gone 10-1.
The Twins got another look at one of the strong young AL Central arms in Dane Dunning. Dunning was an often-overlooked secondary piece in the Adam Eaton and Lucas Giolito trade back in 2016. Dunning went seven strong innings for the White Sox tonight, allowing just two runs (one earned) on just three hits, while striking out seven. With the way Dunning has pitched in his first five starts, he is making a bid for a spot in the White Sox Postseason starting rotation.
After having his inside-the-park home run in last night’s game taken away, Byron Buxton got redemption leading off the third inning of tonight’s ballgame. This time, there was no doubt as Buxton circled the bases with his usual lightning fast speed.
That wasn’t the only time Buxton trotted around the basepaths tonight. In the fifth, Buxton reached base with a leadoff single on a liner over the shortstop’s head into centerfield. Buxton was then able to advance all the way to third during the next at-bat, thanks to both a wild pitch followed up by a passed ball. He then came in to score the Twins second run of the game on Ryan Jeffers RBI groundout.
Randy Dobnak had another rough outing tonight, marking his third rough start in his last four outings. In the first, Dobnak allowed a run on three groundball singles, two of which come with two outs in the inning. He then allowed a couple more baserunners in the second but was able to pitch his way out of the inning without allowing another run to score.
Dobnak wasn’t as fortunate in the third inning as he was in the second. He began the inning by issuing a walk to Yasmani Grandal before giving up another groundball base hit to Jose Abreu. Jorge Polanco made a nice diving play on the ball, but his rushed throw to second was errant, and allowed Grandal to advance to third. Dobnak was able to strikeout Eloy Jimenez for the first out of the inning, but then gave up a double to James McCann, followed by Luis Robert, and before you know it the White Sox had opened up a 4-1 lead.
Tyler Clippard came on with one out in the fifth to relieve Randy Dobnak. After pitching out of yet another jam, Clippard came out to pitch the sixth and proceeded to give up a solo home run to Tim Anderson, that extended the White Sox lead to a score of 5-2.
A big story of tonight’s game was the strike zone that umpire Will Little had behind the plate. It seemed to be all over the place, and more often than not it went against the favor of the Minnesota Twins. After yet another missed call from Little, where he rung up Ryan Jeffers to end the Twins half of the seventh. This led to some unkind words from the Twins dugout that resulted in the ejections of both Rocco Baldelli and Nelson Cruz. If you were unable to watch the game, here is a chart that illustrates the called strikes that the White Sox pitchers received tonight, as you can tell, it was pretty bad.
Jorge Alcala came in to pitch the seventh and eighth innings for the Twins, and aside from a solo home run that he gave up to James McCann in the seventh, it was another impressive outing for Alcala, who is making a strong case for being added to the Twins Postseason roster with his performance of late.
Lost in everything, Travis Blankenhorn made his MLB debut tonight. After recording outs in his first two at-bats of the evening, he was hit by a pitch in the seventh, before picking up his first career MLB hit with a two-out double in the ninth.