The Twins have hit 21 home runs in five games against the Orioles, which is astounding and historic enough. But what’s really amazing is that they’ve actually done it in four games, not five. Last Sunday in Baltimore, one day after the teams combined to hit 17 homers in a doubleheader, Kyle Gibson and Dylan Bundy kept the ball in the ballpark all day, and the Twins had to eke out a 4-3 win.
That they did so is largely the product of Gibson’s best start of the season, a six-inning, five-hit, two-run outing that actually turned on a different statistic: Zero walks. It was only the third walk-free start in the past two seasons for Gibson, and it was one of the first takeaways he cited after the game. “Walks and home runs — that’s how I usually get myself in trouble,” Gibson said. “If I don’t give up a walk or a home run, I’m usually in pretty good shape.”
Sure is. Gibson is 7-3 with a 1.39 ERA in the 10 walk-free, homer-free games he’s thrown, and he hasn’t lost one since 2015. So it’s a good place to start.
“His command has been generally good,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “There have been periods of time when maybe he hasn’t had exactly what he wants command-wise. But he’s been able to find it and re-find it. If he is able to hold that throughout the start, then we have the really really good version of Gibby that we all know.”
As for Bundy, last week’s game was unusual for him, considering he led the AL in homers allowed last year. We’ll see if the Twins can keep their homer barrage alive; history is at stake. Only one MLB team, the 1977 Red Sox, has ever hit five home runs in three straight games. The Twins are attempting to become the second such team today.
The Twins are taking advantage of a last-place team, and have won 11 straight games against Baltimore, but the schedule toughens up quite a bit once the Orioles leave town tonight. The Astros come to town next, and then Minnesota embarks on a trip to two of their toughest places to play: Yankee Stadium and the Rogers Centre.
Here are the lineup for today’s series finale:
Smith Jr. LF