Somehow, in four previous series against Cleveland this season, Kyle Gibson has not faced the Indians until tonight. Perhaps that’s a good thing, given that the righthander owns a 5.61 career ERA against them, including a seven-run disaster in just three innings in his last appearance against them, last September.
But Gibson will face the Indians twice in the final 11 days of the season, and manager Paul Molitor says he is fine with that. Past performance means something, Molitor said Thursday, but it’s not necessarily as predictive as fans might think.
“I always lean more on how a guy’s throwing overall, rather than on who he’s facing,” Molitor said. “I don’t really put a lot of value in [Gibson’s so-so results against the Indians]. I like how he’s pitching. I like how we’re playing. We’ve got to continue to find a way to scratch out at-bats and put some runs on the board. The way Kyle’s been throwing, there’s no reason to think he’s not going to give us a chance.”
The Twins still have a chance, they’ve made that clear over the past three days. Now one game behind Houston for the final AL wild-card spot, and tied with the Astros in the loss column, the Twins are definitely still in the race, even as they have like ended Cleveland’s chances. After losing the first two games of this series, the Indians now trail Houston by 4 1/2 games, with the Twins, Angels and Orioles ahead of them.
The Twins lost five straight games on this 10-game homestand, but somehow can finish with a 5-5 record anyway by completing the sweep tonight, their first sweep of the Indians since 2012. Minnesota opens a seven-game road trip Friday night in Detroit.
With the postseason so close, Molitor is taking no chances with his lineup. He’s using the same batting order for the third straight day, the first time all season he’s done that. Here are tonight’s lineups: