Kyle Gibson’s strongest outing of the season came last Thursday against the Mariners, and there was something different about the righthander that night.
“He threw about 30 curves, which is a very large percentage for him,” of his 94 pitches, Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “He had a good feel for it, and it kept working, so he kept throwing it. It gave him an opportunity to establish his fastball a little more.”
Gibson threw six innings, his longest of 10 starts this season, and allowed only one run, his fewest since last Sept. 13. Now he faces the Mariners for the second straight start, a coincidence that didn’t work out so well for Adalberto Mejia on Monday. But Molitor sounded optimistic that Gibson is making progress toward returning to effectiveness. “He’s throwing it over and pitching from ahead more,” Molitor said, “and that gives him a chance.”
Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton are out of the lineup tonight, Buxton as part of an increasingly routine rotation of his four outfielders. Sano is a little more noteworthy, but the manager said it’s with an eye toward the Twins’ heavy schedule.
“Believe me, it’s hard not to put his name in there,” Molitor said, “but it might be a chance for him to recharge somewhat. … We’re trying to keep him as fresh as we can, knowing we’re in a grueling stretch right now.”
Jorge Polanco is back in the lineup for the first time in nine days, too. Here are the lineups for the second of four games against Seattle: