Somewhere along the line, Kyle Gibson fell out of favor with the baseball gods. Whether he slacked on his monthly sunflower seed altar, forgot to make a bubblegum tithe, or broke one of the unwritten rules that we don’t even know about yet, something happened. The baseball gods revoked what was once known as “Magical Gibson Run Support,” and as a result, Gibson hasn’t been the winning pitcher since his first start of the season.
As we all know, being the winning pitcher isn’t completely indicative of performance. While Gibson has been enjoying a career year, the team has frequently let him down offensively when he’s on the mound, and today was no exception. Despite a seven-inning performance with just two mistake pitches, the Twins were largely shut down by Tyler Skaggs, and lost 2-1 to the Los Angeles Angels in the second game of the series.
The two mistake pitches came in the third and the sixth. The first was a solo shot to the left off the bat of Twin-killer Ian Kinsler, who’s now homered in three straight games, and knocked three round-trippers against Minnesota this season. The other was Albert Pujols’ 623rd career long ball, a no-doubter into the second deck in left field.
Beyond that, Gibby had a solid outing. He went seven full innings, with Paul Molitor stretching the right-hander to 118 pitches, a season-high. He gave up five hits, walked two, and struck out five.
Unfortunately, Tyler Skaggs was better. Through an equally strong seven innings, Skaggs gave up just one fewer baserunner than Gibson did, but struck out eight hitters and didn’t give up any of those pesky home run balls. Those will do you in.
In fact, the only run allowed by Skaggs was a bit of a fluke — with men on the corners in the sixth, Max Kepler grounded to first, where Jose Miguel Fernandez stepped on first to record the out, then fired over to second for the tag play. Alertly, Robbie Grossman stopped dead in his tracks on the way to second, and the ensuing pickle enabled Eddie Rosario to race home and score before Grossman was tagged and the inning was completed.
Unfortunately, those would be the last wraps for either side, and Halo relievers Justin Anderson and Blake Parker combined for two shutout innings, two strikeouts, and a hit allowed apiece, and took the second of three games from Minnesota after seeing through a four-hour rain-induced delay of the first pitch.
The Twins have now lost 13 of their 16 one-run ballgames in 2018. It’s not hard to imagine what this year might be like were some of those games flipped, but having five regulars on the disabled/restricted list makes it that much harder to sneak victories through.
On the bright side, Kyle Gibson will get plenty of chances to earn his team a win before the year is out. In fact, he’s got a great shot next week, when...he faces Corey Kluber in Cleveland.
All right, well. Maybe the week after that.
SP Kyle Gibson (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)
RPs Trevor Hildenberger + Zach Duke (2 IP, 1 H, 1 K)
LF Eddie Rosario (2-for-4, R, assist)
2B Brian Dozier (0-for-4, 2 K)
3B Eduardo Escobar (0-for-4, K)
ROBOT ROLL CALL: