It’s almost like there are two completely different pitchers on the Minnesota Twins named Kyle Gibson.
He’s allowed one earned run or less in eleven of his 32 starts this season, coming off a 2014 campaign where the former first round pick allowed one or no earned runs in 14 of his 31 starts. On the other hand, Gibson has allowed five or more earned runs 19 times in starts over the past two seasons.
Minnesota got the good Gibson yesterday when they needed him most. The 6’6″ righty tossed six scoreless innings yesterday afternoon against the Cleveland Indians in the first game of a doubleheader that carried massive weight on his team’s standing in the playoff race. Gibson also sent down nine Indians hitters on strikes, matching a career high. It was a strong bounce back effort from his last start — which also came against Cleveland — when Gibson lasted just 2.2 innings and allowed six earned runs in a 6-3 loss at home.
While the good Kyle Gibson was present on Wednesday afternoon at Progressive Field, it seems like first year manager Paul Molitor will hand him the ball one more time this season if his surprise ball club can stay in the race.
The odds are against the Twins, but a couple wins between now and Sunday would surely keep them afloat. Minnesota enters today just a game and a half behind the Houston Astros for the second American League wild card spot and the Twins have a game in hand. A win today with the Astros off would put Molitor’s club just a game out with three to go. The Los Angeles Angles sit between Houston and Minnesota, currently half a game behind the Astros and a full game ahead of the Twins. Like Minnesota, the Angles also have a game in hand over Houston and are in action tonight.
It’s unlikely that Gibson starts on short rest should the Twins be eliminated before Sunday’s game, but the road to making that game matter starts tonight with 24-year-old rookie Tyler Duffey on the mound facing off against Trevor Bauer. Duffey is a huge reason why the Twins are still in the race, as he has gone 5-0 in eight starts with a 2.17 ERA ever since allowing six runs over just two innings in his Major League debut against the Toronto Blue Jays back on August 5.