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Twins Insider

La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Postgame: Gibson suspected Tigers were stealing, relaying signs

    A couple more interesting tidbits from the Twins’ blowout loss and sorry end to a 2-7 homestand:

    Kyle Gibson made a mistake by giving Alex Avila too good a pitch in the second inning, a pitch that landed 400 feet away in the right-field seats. He didn’t make excuses, but he had an interesting explanation for the pitch: The Tigers caused it.

    Well, sort of. The Twins suspected the Tigers had been stealing their signs, and relaying them to hitters, throughout the series. So whenever a Detroit runner reached second base, Gibson said, he and catcher Jason Castro would change the signs. “Just wanted to make it harder on them,” Gibson said. “Good, veteran clubs do that.”

    One problem: When Danny Santana’s two-base error allowed Justin Upton to reach second, Gibson got confused by the signs. “I mixed myself up. I thought Castro wanted a fastball in, and he set up away. As soon as I picked my leg up and looked at second base, I knew I had the wrong pitch.”

    He threw the ball anyway, a four-seam fastball “that cut right into the fat part of [Avila’s] bat,” Gibson said. “If I had left it high, or had thrown a two-seamer running away from him, it would have been a good pitch. But it was the wrong time to throw that pitch in that location.”

XXX

    I wrote for tomorrow’s paper about Buddy Boshers’ status as a disposable arm, about how he was called up, used for 2 1/3 innings, and sent back down to the minors. That’s a procedure that a lot of teams use these days to survive a bullpen crunch, though the Twins rarely did it under former general manager Terry Ryan.

    But one question I had about how manager Paul Molitor utilized Boshers: If there was no need to worry about when Boshers might be able to pitch again, why didn’t the manager ask the lefthander for at least one more inning? Molitor said before the game that Boshers was able to handle a 40-pitch workload; in retiring seven straight hitters in relief of Gibson, Boshers had thrown only 30 when he was removed.

    “I did think about [one more inning]. He could have gone more, possibly, in terms of pitches,” Molitor said. “But going back out there again, heating up for the fourth time” was a health risk to Boshers that he chose not to take, Molitor said. “I tried to look at what we had [available] and thought we could get through.”

    It didn’t work out, of course, and Molitor ultimately had to call upon Chris Gimenez to record the final out of the ninth. Actually, the manager’s plan was to use his backup catcher to pitch the entire ninth inning, but Max Kepler’s two run home run in the eighth inning, closing the score to 10-4, changed his mind.

    Ryan Pressly was summoned to pitch the ninth, and it didn’t go well. Pressly surrendered a three-run home run to John Hicks, the third homer he allowed on this homestand, making the score 13-4. That’s when Gimenez got the call, and he retired Andrew Romine on four pitches.

    Did Gimenez, who has three previous mound appearances in his career, realize he might get to pitch? 

    “He’s told me in about three or four games this year that he’s already stretched and ready to go,” Molitor said.

Molitor: The emotion of Saturday's dust-up is behind Twins now

    The emotions of Saturday have cooled, and the Twins and Tigers have put their differences behind them. Or so Paul Molitor believes as the teams prepare for the finale of the three-game series today at Target Field.

    A shoving match broke out Saturday after Matt Boyd threw a pitch behind Miguel Sano in the fifth inning, and Sano was ejected after getting physical with Tigers catcher James McCann, who stepped in when Sano shouted at Boyd. The pitch is believed to be a response to JaCoby Jones being hit in the face by a pitch two innings earlier.

    “I think it’s over. I don’t plan to have any carryover,” Molitor said, though he added that he wouldn’t be surprised if the umpires mention it during the exchange of lineup cards. “There was a lot of emotion out there yesterday. I think a lot of it was that Jones got hit in the face. That’s a tough thing to watch, and I think they were carrying that into the scrum.”

    Molitor said after viewing the video, McCann was more aggressive with Sano than he originally thought. If MLB considers disciplining Sano, Molitor said, “I think how [McCann] handled it would make Miggy’s case more defendable.” But even that lingering animosity is likely defused by the fact that McCann is not in the lineup today.

    Kennys Vargas and Buddy Boshers are in uniform today, called up to replace Adalberto Mejia, who was demoted to Class AAA Rochester after his disappointing start on Saturday, and Justin Haley, who went on the disabled list with right bicep tendonitis. Vargas isn’t in the lineup, but is available to pinch-hit. Boshers got the call in case the Twins need a long reliever for Kyle Gibson today, or Phil Hughes tomorrow night in Texas. Molitor said he would have no problem using Boshers for 40 pitches if necessary.

    Here are the lineups for today’s game:

TIGERS

 

Kinsler 2B

Collins CF

Castellanos 3B

Martinez DH

Upton LF

Avila C

Adduci RF

Hicks 1B

Romine SS

 

Fulmer RHP

 

TWINS

 

Dozier 2B

Kepler RF

Sano 3B

Mauer 1B

Grossman DH

Castro C

Escobar SS

Rosario CF

Santana LF

 

Gibson RHP

Final, 4/23 R H E
Detroit 10-8 13 13 0
Minnesota 8-10 4 6 2

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