Mike Pelfrey has pitched better at night than during day games; the difference is nearly a full run, a 5.06 day ERA vs. a 4.26 night ERA, over his career. Kyle Gibson has no such severe split, and he’s actually been mildly better during the day this season.
That’s not the only reason, Twins manager Paul Molitor said, but it was one factor in his decision to move Gibson up to today’s noon game, a makeup of last night’s rainout, and push Pelfrey back to tonight’s 6:10 p.m. game.
Molitor consulted with both pitchers last night after the game was called off, and it sounds like he gave Pelfrey the choice of which game to pitch. After preparing during the day on Friday, Pelfrey thought it would be easier if he could avoid having to come in early this morning and start all over. That sold Molitor.
“I wanted to give Mike the chance to pitch the first game if he thought that was the best thing for him. He’s waited long enough to pitch,” Molitor said. “I didn’t want to push him back, but he thought maybe that was a better scenario for himself.”
He’s using the Twins’ regular lineup for Game 1, and suggested that there might not be as many changes as in a normal doubleheader for Game 2. That’s because of the wild-card standings, he said.
“Normally in a doubleheader, you’re going to try to get your extra guys in there. It’s tough to call on people to play two games, especially in this split format,” Molitor said. “But we need to try to win. so we might call on some people to play two games who might not have at a different stage of the season.”
Here are the lineups for today’s first game: