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Griffin Jax emerges down the stretch for Twins

The right-hander struck out 10 in a win over the White Sox.
Griffin Jax

Pitching has been hard to come by for the Minnesota Twins this season but they may have found a bright spot in Griffin Jax. The right-hander turned in his best start of the season in a 4-3 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night and continuing to improve down the stretch.

Jax had a non-descript season in 2019 going 4-5 with a 2.67 ERA at Double-A Pensacola but struggling with a 1-2 record and 5.63 ERA with Triple-A Rochester. With the pandemic wiping out minor league baseball, Jax didn't pitch competitively in 2020 but began this season at Triple-A St. Paul.

Jax thrived with the Saints, compiling a 4-1 record and 3.32 ERA in seven starts before being called up on June 8. Jax pitched out of the bullpen in his first four appearances before making his first major league start against the Kansas City Royals on July 3. 

Although he allowed six runs in five innings of work, Jax has improved over his last three starts, allowing a 1.88 ERA and holding opposing hitters to a .122 average.

Jax took that momentum into his start on Tuesday after being spotted a pair of runs in the first inning. Although he allowed a pair of home runs to Adam Engel and José Abreu in the third inning, Jax fanned 10 batters in order to keep the Twins in the game.

With the Twins down 3-2, Willians Astudillo put Minnesota in front with a two-run bomb off Dallas Keuchel in the sixth inning. The Twins bullpen closed it out from there, helping Jax pick up his second straight win.

Jax's performance could go a long way toward helping him cement a spot on the staff in 2022. The Twins' starting rotation is wide open next season but it's also possible that Jax could find his way into the bullpen. Whatever happens, Jax will be a player to watch down the stretch.

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