TORONTO — In the wake of yesterday’s ugly loss to the Blue Jays, when the Twins blew a 5-0 lead and ultimately gave up the go-ahead run on an unfortunate dive attempt by Max Kepler, Paul Molitor came to the park today with an optimistic goal: Use it. Turn that loss into a positive.
“Some of the things that happened yesterday are tremendous learning experiences for young people,” Molitor said almost cheerfully, his demeanor giving no hint of the team’s nine-game losing streak. The loss can be valuable, he said, “both individually, [for] things you might have done differently, or collectively, in how you stem some of that momentum when you sense it slipping away.”
Even he had to admit, however, that momentum in baseball depends mostly on the identity of the next day’s pitcher. But Molitor is upbeat there, too. Kyle Gibson, he said, has learned a lot from his disappointing season, which has yo-yo’d between strong games and terrible ones. Gibson has a 6.59 ERA in August, and today takes on one of the sport’s hottest hitting teams.
“Gibby is in a good place. There have been some good conversations with him this week about the continuing message of what he needs to do to give himself a better chance in a given start,” Molitor said. “It’s what you look for as a manager and coaches — you try to find growth and a curve that’s heading in the right direction.”
Gibson’s will head in that direction once he convinces himself of one simple notion, the manager said. “When he gets in trouble, he loses that attack mentality. He tries to be too perfect, doesn’t trust that a fastball down in the zone, with movement, is going to be a tough ball to square up. We really look for him to take advantage of the fastball movement that he has.”
Here are today’s lineups for the finale in Toronto, as the Twins try to avoid the eighth double-digit losing streak in franchise history:
Dickey RHP (the former Twins knuckleballer)