Report From The Fort: Twins Shut Out, Gibson, Collins Pitch Well
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (Kyle Gibson to Niko Goodrum)In a nice moment, Toby Gardenhire, the Ft. Myers Miracle manager, walked out to exchange the lineup card with Twins Hall of Famer Rod Carew. There to meet them, along with the umpires, was his father, Ron Gardenhire. Toby Gardenhire spent some time with the Twins as an extra coach in September and the Twins did the same thing then.
Kyle Gibson looked good on Monday. He worked three scoreless innings, and he had to work himself out of a little trouble in that third inning. Three straight singles loaded the bases, but after a Wes Johnson mound visit, Gibson really bore down.
Gibson said, “You want to work on stuff and you want to use all your pitches, but today was a day that I probably should have just thrown more fastballs. All three of those hits in the third inning were on offspeed pitches and not that they were necessarily bad pitches all the time but I mean just probably could have just challenged them a little bit more and used the fastball a little bit more but that’s why it’s spring training.”
He got Jeimer Candelario to ground into a three-two-three double play (first base to catcher and back to first base).
But the danger was far from over. Miguel Cabrera stepped to the plate. Gibson struck out the future Hall of Famer in the first inning, but this time Gibson fell behind 3-0. He came back and struck out Cabrera again to end the inning.
While often pitchers have certain goals in mind and things to work on in spring training, there was value in being able to work out of a tough situation too.
Following the game, Rocco Baldelli noted, “It all matters. When we’re out there and it doesn’t matter what kind of games we’re talking about, he’s very competitive and was not going to just give in and let the at-bat go. Instead of just throwing a breaking ball in the dirt and be done with it, he refused to let that at-bat end.He kept battling and competing, and that’s nice to see. It doesn’t matter that it’s a spring training game for me.”
Always humble, Gibson noted that it was just about working a game-situation in March so that he is ready for it when it presents itself in the season. “Once you get to this point, the hitters are treating it like they’re trying to get at-bats and for me I’m still looking at sequences and trying to see what the hitters’ approach is and I try to read what they’re trying to do. Spring training’s a little bit harder. Miggy’s probably not quite in midseason form trying to do this or trying to do that in certain at-bats. He’s really just seeing pitches but you try to attack it like it’s a game and focus on the sequences that you’re doing so when it comes end of March, beginning of April, you’re in that kind of mode where you don’t have to flip a switch and get into game mode.”
Gibson said that the plan was to throw 60 pitches and he finished at 53.
As Gibson’s post-outing press conference came to a conclusion, the Twins game was on the TVs in the clubhouse. Taylor Rogers gave up three runs in the fourth inning. Gibson joked, “Those are probably the first runs he’s given up since May.”
And, at the end, those were the only runs of the game. The Tigers won 3-0.
GAME NOTES AND QUOTES
Lefty Tim Collins came on to pitch the seventh inning for the Twins. The non-roster invite struck out all three batters he faced. He has been impressive to his manager.
Baldelli said, “he looks healthy to me. He's thrown the ball well. He's missed a lot of bats. That's one thing that is impressive and it's something that you do want to see. You bring a guy in from the bullpen with his good breaking ball and good riding fastball, and that's what you want to see. You want to see bats missed, and that's exactly what he's done,”
In the bottom of the third innings, infielder Ehire Adrianza lined a solid single to center. As he reached first base, he and Miguel Cabrera embraced. They are both from Venezuela and are friends.
Soon after, Tyson Ross threw over to first base to try to pick off Adrianza. There wasn’t really a play. Cabrera faked throwing back to the mound as Adrianza stood up. Cabrera, still holding the ball in his glove, tagged Adrianza for the out. The ol’ Hidden Ball Trick.
Rocco Baldelli was asked about it after the game and chuckled. “ It happens. It happens. Miggy has been working on that play for about 15 years and he’s getting pretty good at it so it happens.”
And MLB’s official twitter feed had the video up quickly...
Baldelli continued, “Truthfully being a spring training game, it’s probably a lot easier to take and smile about. Again, I’m not going to say I was smiling but I might have smirked.”
Trevor May struggled in his inning of work. He needed a lot of pitches and issued two walks to go with a strikeout. That was the only out he recorded before Baldelli came and took him out of the game. DJ Baxendale came in and issued a walk on a close pitch to load the bases. However, he got a hard-hit grounder right at second baseman Luis Arraez who tossed to Nick Gordon at second who completed the double play with a strong throw to first base to get out of the inning. Arraez and Gordon teamed for another inning-ending double play an inning later.
Arraez’s defense has always been a question mark. But while he has played mostly second base in his career, he has played some third base too in spring training and held his own.
Nick Gordon showed a strong arm. At the plate, he also showed some serious strength when he drilled a line drive off the wall just to the left of center field for a triple.
Baldelli noted, “He hit that ball really well. I mean it’s a pretty big yard out there and for a guy, he’s a wiry, strong guy and it shows us, again I haven’t had too many at-bats with him, but it’s a good glimpse at what’s in there.”
Asked about the weight and strength, Baldelli pointed out, “I don’t really worry, I don’t check the scale. The actual weight doesn’t matter. I think it’s more of a strength discussion and an endurance discussion but he’s plenty strong. The thing is, he’s plenty strong enough. He’s a strong guy. You shake his hand, it’s there. We saw it today. It’s there and it’s inside him. I think it’s more along the lines of putting a entire complete season because he’s shown for periods of time that he can do it at a high level.”
Baldelli noted that he had seen Gordon play going way back to his high school days in Orlando.
And finally, yes, there is this…
LaMonte Wade hit a foul ball. I didn’t think it would get here, and it barely did. I was afraid it would hit my laptop, so I jumped up and lunged forward. I got a finger on it, and it dropped into the crowd below. And yes, my finger hurts. The catch probability on that ball, however, was only 3.2% so just getting a piece of it was pretty impressive if you ask me.
Following the game, in the clubhouse, Tommy Watkins found me and asked me why I didn’t catch the ball and if my finger was OK. Ah yes, good times.
In my defense, I was multi-tasking. I was editing the thousand or so pictures that I have taken in the first two days here in Ft. Myers. And I was working with FSN’s Audra Martin on finding the perfect shot or her. We think we found it.
Feel free to discuss and ask questions as you like.
On Tuesday, the Twins are sending a team up to Bradenton to play the Pirates. I will be staying in Ft. Myers and watching a lot of minor league baseball.
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