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Kyle Gibson's AAA-Rochester Season Game-By-Game

Attached Image: Gibson.jpg Before the season started manager Gene Glynn named Kyle Gibson the number two starter in the rotation, a mild surprise considering Gibson’s hype, but he did take the mound in game two, against the Buffalo Bisons.

In his first start of the year, Gibson pitched 5 innings, giving up four hits, one run, striking out four and walking none. Leaving the game with the lead after five innings, Michael O’Connor (released), and Anthony Slama (released), were unable to hold the lead and the Red Wings went on to lose 3-2, with Gibson getting a no- decision.

Photo Courtesy of the Rochester Red Wings

In his second start, he was unable to get out of the 5th inning against the Pawtucket Red Sox. This time pitching just 4.1 innings, while giving up eight hits, five earned runs, walking one and striking out six. Through two games Gibson had not been able to pitch past the fifth inning; however he was striking out 9.9 batters per nine innings and had a record of 0-1.

In his next start, against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, Gibson had his first quality start this year. This time pitching six innings, giving up four hits, one earned run, two walks and getting five strikeouts. There’s no way to blame him for this loss; the Red Wings were shut out 1-0 and his record dropped to 0-2, with the team’s record dropping to 2-10.

One of the toughest things for a pitcher to do is pitch against the same team twice in a short period of time, but that was the situation in Gibson’s fourth start, his second against the Pawtucket Red Sox. The results weren’t much better in this outing, pitching five innings, giving up three hits, three earned runs, four walks and getting four strikeouts. This was the first outing that Gibson had control troubles, walking more batters in this one start than in his previous three. The Red Wings lost 8-1, and his record dropped to 0-3.

Unlike his second start against Pawtucket, Kyle Gibson’s second start against the Bisons was even better than the first. Picking up his first win of the year, he pitched 6.2 innings, giving up just two hits, two walks and getting seven strikeouts in a Red Wings 1-0 victory. Now at 1-3, things seemed to be turning around for him, as well as the team.

After pitching his best game of the season, Gibson had one of his worst games of the year next versus the Columbus Clippers. In 4.2 innings, he gave up eleven hits, five runs, no walks and had one strikeout. The Red Wings went on to lose the game 5-1 and his record dropped to 1-4 with an ERA of 4.26.

One of teams with a worse record than Rochester was the Toledo Mud Hens, and Gibson was able to capitalize on that. Pitching his first complete game shutout of the season, he gave up four hits with two walks, and struck out eight while lowering his ERA almost a full run to 3.32. This was the Kyle Gibson that fans were hoping to see more of in 2013.

Then, in his shortest outing of the year, Gibson went just three innings, giving up seven hits, four runs, one walk and got three strikeouts. He did throw to two batters in the fourth inning but was unable to get anyone out, leaving the game with 69 pitches, only 38 of which were strikes. Once again the Red Wings lost the game 7-4, this time to the Durham Bulls, and his record dropped to 2-5 with an ERA pushing four.

But then he threw his second complete game shutout of the season, this time against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Gibson gave up three hits, two walks and had eight strikeouts. One of the most impressive parts of this start was the fact he needed just 93 pitches to pitch nine innings, averaging a bit over ten pitches per inning. His record improved to 3-5, and once again the good start/bad start trend continued. With this start, he became the first Red Wings pitcher to throw two complete game shutouts since Nick Blackburn in 2007.

Trying to pitch back-to-back quality starts, the Wings returned home against the Charlotte Knights, who had a 19-31 record. Gibson did not disappoint the Frontier Field crowd, pitching eight shutout innings, allowing just two hits, three walks and striking out seven Knights batters. This was one of the first starts where he went over 100 pitches and was able to pick up his fourth win. His record improved to 4-5, with an impressive 2.82 ERA.

Despite having some troubles in his next start, Kyle Gibson was in line for his 5th win of the year. Versus the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, Gibson pitched six innings, giving up eight hits, six runs, and two walks while striking out six. If not for the four runs allowed by Anthony Slama, Gibson would have been 5-5 on the year. Despite a Red Wings victory, he picked up a no-decision but still finished May with a 3-1 record.

Results in June are the reason, I believe, that Kyle Gibson finally got the call to the majors. In his first start against the Gwinnett Brave, Gibson pitched six innings, giving up seven hits, two runs and two walks with four strikeouts. He was able to pick up his fifth win of the season, getting back to .500, and lowered his ERA to 3.34.

At 24-41, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs saw Gibson for the third time in 2013, and the second time in the past two weeks. Usually when hitters see a pitcher a second time in a short period, the offense has the advantage; in this case, it was the pitcher who came out on top. He pitched seven innings, giving up four hits and one earned run, but walked five and struck out six. Despite the five walks, he still won his sixth game of the year, and his fourth in five starts.

The Gwinnett Braves came to Frontier Field in his next start, with a record of 28-42. It seemed like a game where he'd be able to pick up another win. This was not to be; in six innings, Gibson allowed six hits, four runs (three earned), while walking one and striking out four. He left the game with a no-decision but the Red Wings came back to win in the bottom of the ninth.

In his final start with the Red Wings, Gibson pitched against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders for the second time. Like the first start, Gibson threw seven solid innings, allowing five hits, one unearned run, one walk, had six strikeouts and improved to 7-5 before getting called up to the Twins.

Overall in Rochester, 25-year-old Kyle Gibson was among the league leaders in several International League categories. He was 1st in shutouts with two, third in wins with seven, tied for third with 79 strikeouts, fourth in innings pitched with 92.2 and had a 3.01 ERA which ranked eighth.

As for an an innings limit, I’ve read (as well as pretty much everyone else) that he’s rapidly approaching it. But when I talked to Gibson at the end of April, he said, “[FONT=&]Terry Ryan told me to go down there and pitch. We aren’t going to baby you this year, we are going to let you go down there and throw and see what happens. I’m sure if I come up sore or tired later on in the season, we might rethink it, but as of right now I don’t have too much information on it.”[/FONT] Which gives me hope that there isn’t a firm cap, that they will assess how he’s doing, and if he feels he can go for more innings they’ll let him go.

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