Astros 5, Twins 3: Defensive Shortcomings Spoil Solid Start From Gibson
Image courtesy of Troy Taormina-USA TODAY SportsWin Expectancy & Top 5 Plays Per WPA (via Fangraphs)
Gibson’s line of six innings pitched and four earned runs doesn’t look very impressive, but the biggest hit he gave up was on a ball that Byron Buxton catches in his sleep. With Buxton on the DL and Zack Granite on the bench, it was Eddie Rosario manning center field. It’s not like Eddie made an error, and to be fair he’s accustomed to judging balls off the bat in left field, but he did not take the best route to the ball on Nori Aoki’s big two-run double.
The fastest way from Point A to Point B is a straight line, right? Well, Rosario’s first few steps were more straight toward right field than back to toward the wall, costing him an opportunity to possibly make the catch.
Paul Molitor also probably got a bit greedy with Gibson, sending him out to start the seventh despite all the information in the world indicating that he gets much, much worse each subsequent time through a lineup.
Gibby walked the only batter he faced in the seventh, Jake Marisnick, in an 11-pitch at-bat. The Astros were up 3-2 at the time, but they added two runs in the seventh by basically embarrassing the Twins with aggressive base running.
Marisnick stole second base off Trevor Hildenberger, and when George Springer grounded out to third baseman Eduardo Escobar he broke to third on the throw. Kennys Vargas, playing first base with Joe Mauer out of the lineup, airmailed his return throw to third, allowing Marisnick to score from second base on a ground out. That’s how Gibson was saddled with his fourth earned run.
Jose Altuve followed that up with a ground-rule double. It was a ball he ripped down the third base line that was eventually touched by a fan. Buddy Boshers replaced Hildenberger, and on his second pitch Altuve swiped third base off him. Why bother? He was already at second base with less than two outs anyway, right? Well that would come up huge.
Josh Reddick struck out swinging on a ball in the dirt. On Chris Gimenez's throw down to first to retire Reddick, Altuve broke toward home. The Twins, depending once again on the arm of Vargas, could not catch the speedy Altuve and the Astros added on another insurance run.
The first two runs of the game for the Twins came on solo homers from Vargas and Ehire Adrianza. For as bad a defensive game Vargas had, he sure did destroy the ball on his homer.
Adrianza’s homer was his first as a Twin, and he was the only guy on the team with a multi-hit game. Mike Fiers racked up 11 strikeouts without issuing a single walk. The Twins managed to scratch across a run in the ninth of closer Ken Giles, but the comeback attempt fell short.
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Twins (Adalberto Mejia) vs. Yankees (TBA), 7:10 pm CT
The Yankees had a doubleheader Sunday in Boston, so this may be a good time to catch the Bronx Bombers. Those games were started by CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka. Luis Severino pitched Saturday.
In five starts since getting destroyed by Seattle, Mejia has a 2.79 ERA over 29 innings. He’s pitched into the sixth inning three-straight starts. The big lefty has struggled at Target Field this season, posting a 5.62 home ERA vs. 2.31 on the road.
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