MIN 4, BAL 3: Gibby Good, Hildy Holds, Rogers Saves the Sweep
Image courtesy of © Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY SportsBox Score
Gibson: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 61.8% strikes (55 of 89 pitches)
Home Runs: None
Multi-Hit Games: Cron (2-for-3, BB), Adrianza (2-for-4)
WPA of +0.1: Hildenberger .340, Gibson .168, Cron .112
WPA of -0.1: Rosario -.108, May -.165
(chart via FanGraphs)
Kyle Gibson had by far his best start of the season this afternoon, completing six innings for the first time in 2019. It took him only 89 pitches to do so. He got 14 swinging strikes, five alone on the 19 sliders he threw.
Gibson completed at least five innings in 29 of his 32 starts last season, going at least six innings in 21 of those outings. In three starts so far this season, Gibby had topped out at 5 1/3 innings and only completed five frames once.
Things got a bit hairy in the third inning, but Kyle worked his way through it and got back on track. The Orioles scored a pair of two-out runs in the third, but would only get one more baserunner over Gibson’s final three innings.
It seemed like the Twins used up all their power yesterday. Maybe should have saved one or two of those homers for this afternoon. They did all their scoring in the first four innings. Willians Astudillo and C.J. Cron had run-scoring hits in the first inning and Jake Cave had an RBI single in the third. Byron Buxton led off that fourth inning with yet another double. He advanced to third on a sacrifice fly and came around to score on another sacrifice.
We saw Taylor Rogers cover two innings in his outing during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader and today Trevor May, the first man out of the bullpen, came back out for the eighth after pitching a scoreless seventh inning.
May gave up back-to-back singles and Trevor Hildenberger was summoned from the bullpen. Hildy came into today having inherited 17 runners already this season, three more than any other reliever in baseball.
Hildenberger got a huge strikeout, then induced a weak groundout to first base. He had a good battle with Renato Nunez, but ended up walking him to load the bases. That’s when you knew Hildy had them right where he wanted them. He had already faced seven batters with the bases loaded this season. Sure enough, he got a weak swinging bunt to end the threat.
It’s pretty remarkable how good Hildenberger has been so far this season after looking so lost in the second half of last season. The bullpen could still use some help, but Hildenberger’s continued resurgence would be a massive boost.
Speaking of Rogers, he came in to handle the ninth. It wasn’t his usual automatic inning. He hit a batter, gave up a pair of hits and an error was committed behind him. The Orioles scored a run, and might have had another if it wasn’t for an excellent play in the field.
Eddie Rosario did it all in this series. He hit three home runs and robbed the O’s of another one in the field during yesterday’s doubleheader. He was 0-for-5 at the plate today, but he prevented the game-tying run from scoring by cutting off a ball before it reached the fence and getting it back to the infield in time to keep a runner at third base.
With this sweep, the Twins are now 12-7. That’s a 102-win pace. Sure, there are some clouds lingering around the future sustainability of this success, as there are with any team this early in the season, but an impressive showing against the Astros would go a long way toward blowing those clouds away.
The Twins head to Houston with a 7-3 record on the road and a 4-4 record against teams with winning records.
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Next Three Games
Mon at HOU, 7:10 pm CT (Odorizzi-Peacock)
Tue at HOU, 7:10 pm CT (Pineda-Miley)
Wed at HOU, 7:10 pm CT (TBD-Verlander)
Super Rosario Stars as Twins Sweep Doubleheader
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