March 13, 2019

An all-too familiar loss for Kyle Gibson and the Twins

Resurrected Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson took the mound on Monday against the Detroit Tigers and pitched like the model of consistency he has become: scoreless baseball for three innings with four strikeouts and his day was done.

The problem, and it’s a relatively new one for Gibson, is that the Twins didn’t score any runs either. Once Gibson was gone, a series of relievers entered the game, including lefty Taylor Rogers, who quickly gave up three runs and that was it: Tigers 3, Twins 0.

Not that wins or losses are that important during spring training, it’s just a reminder of the pitcher that Gibson has become and how he has suddenly lacked run support.

Halfway through the 2017 season and I thought Gibson’s run as a Twins pitcher was just about over. He was so bad that he earned a demotion to Triple-A Rochester. Perhaps the move acted as a personal wake-up call because after he was recalled to the team, he pitched well during the second half of 2017, he pitched well in 2018 and here he is in March 2019 continuing to pitch scoreless baseball.

But as Gibson improved, so did his knack for becoming the tough-luck pitcher of the rotation. Gibson won only 10 games last season with a 3.62 ERA. He also pitched 18 quality starts (six innings with three or fewer earned runs) and still only won 10 games. In six of those starts, he exited the game with the win in hand, only to see the bullpen blow it, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

In an effort to help the Twins score more runs, Falvey & Co. did a nice job during the offseason to strengthen the lineup. I wish they had done more with the rotation, although lefty Martin Perez has a had a nice spring, and then there’s the bullpen. Falvey & Co. added depth there, too. But will it be enough?

I ask the question because veteran reliever Addison Reed has had a rough spring. He has so far allowed eight earned runs in four-plus innings to blow up his ERA to 16.62.

Extra innings…

-The Twins lost on Monday, but won Tuesday by beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 10-4. Tyler Austin had two hits, including his first home run of spring, and Lucas Duda also had two hits.

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone and I love the Twins.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.