Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Pregame: Gibson looking for bounce-back outing

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: August 3, 2013 - 5:53 PM

Andrew Albers walked into the Twins' clubhouse at 3:15, pulling an equipment bag and a huge suitcase. It wasn't long ago, just six weeks, that Kyle Gibson made a similar arrival at his new home.

Albers' debut will come Tuesday in Kansas City, but he'll get a chance to watch Gibson, his teammate at two different minor-league levels, face the Astros tonight. Gibson's experience in the majors has been a little bumpy, and he'll try to rebound today from a five-runs-in-five-innings start in Seattle last Sunday. The righthander had made steady improvement in July until that hiccup against the Mariners, and now he gets to face the second-lowest scoring team in the American League, a team that has scored more than three runs just once this week.

Gibson also has a reasonable chance to change an odd pattern for the Twins: Their starting pitchers' inability to strike hitters out. No Twins pitcher has recorded more than seven strikeouts in a game all season, and Gibson's high game in six career starts is only five whiffs. But the Astros strike out more than any other team in the majors, and it's not close; their 1014 Ks make them the only team with more than 1,000. Atlanta is second in the majors with 937.

So Gibson, who averaged 5.3 strikeouts at Rochester this year, has a reasonable shot at becoming the first Twin to strike out eight, especially when you consider this amazing statistic: The Astros have struck out eight or more times against the opposing starter in 42 games this year!

Joe Mauer caught all 13 innings of last night's victory, but he insisted he be behind the plate again tonight to catch Gibson, manager Ron Gardenhire said. He's trying to learn more about the rookie's pitch selection, his strengths and weaknesses. He'll bat second for a second straight game.

Justin Morneau is the DH, and I'm sure there was no keeping him out of the lineup. He owns a .379 lifetime average against Astros starter Erik Bedard, including two home runs.

UPDATE: Pedro Florimon "tweaked" his left wrist during batting practice, general manager Terry Ryan said, and he's been scratched. Doug Bernier will play short and bat ninth.

Here are tonight's lineups for the second game of the series:


Villar SS
Altuve 2B
Castro C
Carter DH
Wallace 1B
Dominguez 3B
Grossman LF
Barnes CF
Hoes RF

Bedard RHP



Dozier 2B
Mauer C
Morneau DH
Doumit RF
Plouffe 3B
Arcia LF
Colabello 1B
Thomas CF
Florimon SS
Bernier SS

Gibson RHP


St. Louis 5
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Minnesota 2
St. Louis 1 FINAL
Washington 1
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 2 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 4
NY Yankees 10 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
Tampa Bay 0 Cancelled
Baltimore 0
Detroit 1 FINAL
Toronto 4
Chicago WSox 3 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 6
Texas 6 FINAL
Oakland 7
Cleveland 2 FINAL
Arizona 3
Arizona 7 FINAL
LA Angels 2
Miami 0 Cancelled
Houston 0
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 1 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 5
San Francisco 8 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Colorado 5 FINAL
San Diego 7
Milwaukee 8 FINAL
Cincinnati 6
Detroit 111 FINAL
Orlando 97
LA Clippers 119 FINAL
Philadelphia 98
Charlotte 107 FINAL
Washington 110
Boston 96 FINAL
New York 92
Cleveland 98 FINAL
Brooklyn 106
LA Lakers 83 FINAL
Toronto 94
Miami 86 FINAL
Atlanta 99
Golden State 107 FINAL
Memphis 84
Sacramento 88 FINAL
New Orleans 102
Minnesota 110 FINAL
Houston 120
Dallas 76 FINAL
San Antonio 94
Utah 91 FINAL
Denver 107
Portland 87 FINAL
Phoenix 81
Calgary 2 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 5 FINAL
Chicago 2
Dallas 0 FINAL
Edmonton 4
Gonzaga 74
NC State 65 FINAL
Louisville 75
Utah 57 FINAL
Duke 63
Kent State 73 FINAL
Northern Ariz 74
Michigan State 62 FINAL
Oklahoma 58
(15) North Carolina 65 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 67
(18) Iowa 66 FINAL
(5) Baylor 81
(9) Arizona State 65 FINAL
(7) Florida State 66
(14) Stanford 60 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 81
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