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Twins Insider

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

Three postgame thoughts: Gibson, a new prediction and partying

GIBSON SURGING: Since his first start of the season, Kyle Gibson has posted a 1.88 ERA. One thing he does better than a lot of pitchers in the league is that he can throw inside effectively. He hit one batter on Sunday - J.B. Shuck in the eighth, and Shuck slammed his bat in frustration. But pitching inside opens up the other half of the plate. And getting ahead in the count made all his pitches weapons on Sunday. ``(Chris) Herrmann did a good job of figuring out which pitches were working and when they were working,'' Gibson said, ``He called a good game back there. It was fun being on the same page as him.''
 

I'M STARTING TO CHANGE MY OPINION: I predicted 75 wins at the beginning of the season. I was concerned about the bullpen, wasn't sure about the back end of the rotation and figured prospects would be up by the end of the year, which would affect the win total. Then Ervin Santana was suspended, and I dropped the total to 72. I'm still not sure about the bullpen being able to sustain its success throughout the season. But this team is confident. It has been resilient. The starting rotation is has pitched into the sixth inning for nearly two weeks. They are fifth in RISP, which means several players are contributing so no one feels it's all on their shoulders. Trevor Plouffe and Brian Dozier continue to get better. Torii Hunter and Eddie Guardado have changed the atmosphere in the clubhouse. There are more positives than I thought there would be. And as long as they remain over .500, the front office's thinking will have to conform to the record and spend the next few weeks considering moves to upgrade the roster. I now think this team can win 80-82 games.

DON'T STOP THE PARTY: One of the Twins team-building exercises has been their dance party after win at home, when they turn on fog machines and laser lights and make the player of the game has get things going by dancing in the middle of the clubhouse. Molitor was asked if the party should continue after wins on the road. ``I haven't had a lot of time to figure out if it is good or bad or indifferent,'' Molitor said. ``If they want to bring them, I'll leave it up to Hot Rod. He's the one who would have to deal with it.'' Hot Rod is Rod McCormick, the Twins equipment manager, who probably has enough on his hands. Molitor said he watched the celebration a couple times just to see what would happen, but now just walks around it. he was also asked who the worst dancer on the team was. ``Of the small glimpses I have seen,'' he said, ``I would have to say our closer.''

Twins-White Sox: Gibson and Quintana hook up again

There is rain in the forecast today, but people at the park are convinced we're going to get this game in. That means the Twins will get their chance to finish off their first winning road trip of the season in style.

They just have to solve White Sox lefthander Jose Quintana, who has won just once in his last six starts. But that's deceptive because Quintana has given up no more than two earned runs in his last five outings.

This is a rematch of the May first game at Target Field in which the Twins won 1-0. Quintana gave up one run over seven innings while Gibson tossed eight shutout innings.

Joe Mauer is batting .391 against Quintana and Torii Hunter is batting .385 off him. It kinda drops off after that, so this could be another grind-it-out game for the Twins.

Alexei Ramirez is 3-for-10 off Gibson. Conor Gillaspie is 3-for-7.

Many players take the second bus on for the afternoon getaway games, so it's interesting to see who shows up early. There were a handful of players in the clubhouse when I walked in, including Trevor Plouffe and Brian Dozier. Torii Hunter and Aaron Hicks were there too.

Talk turned to the tremendous catch Hicks made on Saturday in the eighth inning. Hunter joked that it wasn't quite as good as some of the catches he made in his heyday, and Hicks started digging into his iPad to look up Hunter highlights. It was pretty funny. They have a great relationship and Hicks is trying to absorb everything Hunter is telling.

Hunter has been on Hicks about separating offense from defense, which developing players struggle with sometimes.

``He's going to hit eventually,'' Hunter said. ``What I've been telling him is when he makes a play like that, that's like an RBI.'

Funny moment in the manager's office. I was wondering if the team would start to bring the smoke machines and laser lights on the road - the Twins have a dance party after home wins. Then someone asked manager Paul Molitor who the worst dancer on the team was.

``Of the little I have seen,'' Molitor said. ``I would have to say the closer.''

Twins

Brian Dozier, .2B
Shane Robsinson, LF
Joe Mauer, 1B
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Torii Hunter, DH
Eduardo Escobar, SS
Chris Herrmann, C
Eddie Rosario, RF
Aaron Hicks, .CF

Kyle Gibson, RHP

Adam Eaton, CF
Melky Cabrera, LF
Jose Abreu, DH
Adam LaRoche, 1B
Avisail Garcia, RF
Conor Gillaspie, 3B
Aramis Ramirez, SS
Tyler Flowers, C
Carlos Sanchez, 2B

Jose Quintana, LHP

1:10 PM (FSN)
Boston 21-23
Minnesota 25-18

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