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.”
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.