If we can accept that “decent” pitching for the Twins might be a different standard than it is for other teams with better options, we should take a minute and note this: Adalberto Mejia and Kyle Gibson, who had rough starts to this season in Minnesota’s rotation before being sent to the minors, have been downright decent since returning a little over a month ago.
In the big picture of what has held this Twins season together and kept Minnesota in the playoff race as we approach the midpoint, Mejia and Gibson stand out as two important pieces of duct tape. They are not perfect and might not be ideal solutions, but they have worked for a rotation in desperate need of stability after inconsistent performances and injuries to Phil Hughes and Hector Santiago.
Consider: Mejia has made eight starts for the Twins, the first of which was May 21, since returning from the minors. In those eight starts, he has compiled a 4.07 ERA, and the Twins are 5-3 in games he has pitched. He helped the Twins snap a four-game losing streak June 1 with six good innings against the Angels. He started their sweep of Cleveland last weekend with five shutout innings. And he got the Twins on track against Boston on Wednesday with 5 2/3 shutout innings. It’s not always pretty, and Mejia’s pitch count climbs higher than most would like, but the results have been important.
Gibson, meanwhile, has made seven starts since coming back, the first of which was May 22. He’ll make another big one Thursday in Boston. The first of the seven was bad (five innings, six runs), but he has a 4.01 ERA in the last six. Overall, the Twins are 5-2 in Gibson’s seven starts since returning.
Run support has played a role in the Twins going a combined 10-5 in Mejia/Gibson starts since their return, but so have the pitchers themselves. They’ve only had three legitimately bad starts out of their 15 combined outings — and two of those (both by Gibson) the Twins won anyway in slugfests.
Ervin Santana has been the rotation rock all season. Jose Berrios has been a revelation since his call-up. Mejia and Gibson? They’ve been functional. On this staff, that’s something to appreciate.