• Kyle Gibson's Near No-Hitter

    A couple days ago I realized that the Rochester Red Wings were playing the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs in my back yard this weekend. Their ballpark (Coca Cola Park) is less than half an hour away from my door, so I make it a point to go see the Red Wings every year when they play there.

    This was their second game here and by choice I went today instead of yesterday because Kyle Gibson was pitching. There were a lot of conflicting reports about him and I wanted to see with my own eyes how he is doing.

    Not the best day for a ball game. It was in the high 50's and overcast with occasional sprinkles:
    ~~~
    Originally published at The Tenth Inning Stretch
    ~~~


    The ball park is probably the best in the minors and it's always a joy to be there (OK, I might have home town bias ) :


    I got to see Gibson pitch in the pen before the game and was fairly impressed. His fastball was really popping in Eric Fryer's glove and both velocity and movement were there from my point of view:



    After about 20 pitches I returned to my seat (1st row, next to the Red Wings dugout) from the outfield bullpen and watched the game. I was very lucky to be there because this was a magnificent pitching performance by Gibson. I came in with an open mind and no expectations and left a strong believer that Gibson is the best starting pitcher the Twins have today.

    A bit about his performance (and I am not going to get into things like numbers, which you can read elsewhere): he had great command of four pitches. His fastball was his primary pitch and was sitting from 92-94 all night long. It spiked to 95 a few times and went to 91 a couple. It was at 94 in the 9th inning as well.

    In the first 5 innings he mostly threw his fastball and slider, which ran from 84 to 86 and really kept the IronPig hitters off balance, causing a lot of swings and misses. I have to mention that Gibson had impeccable command of the fastball; he would locate it up and down and inside and out....and throw it in the dirt when he wanted to.

    In the later innings he started throwing more of his changeup that was running from 81-83 mph with a good late motion; also, he featured a tight slow curve (78-80 mph) that I did not realize he had. He threw that pitch a few times late in the game. He was totally on top of his game today.

    In addition to what he did on the field, a thing that really impressed me was his composure in the dugout, knowing that he was tossing a no-hitter; he was sitting there cheering his teammates and clapping when they were batting, instead of being "in his own world" and apathetic about the game.

    This was a dominating performance that, I think, won him his first trip to the majors. Frankly, I thought that I witnessed history and it was that close...

    Gibson being interviewed after the game:



    It was Kyle Gibson's day but a few more observations about the team and a couple of players: This looks like a close knit team with a lot of positive energy. A funny thing that happened was when Antoan Richardson, who was the Red Wings' left fielder today, came back to the dugout, he got a hazing in jest by Clete Thomas, who did not play, and Brian Dinkelman, who was the first base coach (because the first IronPigs first hit was to the left fielder).

    All the players seemed to have fun but one. And it was very obvious and the Twins as an organization have to do something to help him: Joe Benson. Joe was the starting centerfielder today and had a great game at the field, getting to every ball hit his way. At the plate he had a 2-run scoring single in his third plate appearance. He also nearly ran out an infield hit in his fourth at-bat and struck out in his first two PAs against an IronPigs pitcher who threw 69-78 mph junk.

    His body language was very obvious and a big sign that he is pressing and needs help. After each unsuccessful plate appearance he went back to the dugout, slapping himself and sitting alone, despondent, with his head in his hands. He needs help, coaching and someone in the Twins organization to tell him that it is not worth it. He is still one of the top talents the Twins have and they should do something to help him.



    Chris Colabello had another great night at the plate and played right field. I would not be surprised if Chris Parmelee and he swap teams sometime soon. His fielding at right was uneventful, but he is better than I thought on the base paths. Speaking of base paths, Antoan Richardson late in the game hit a triple that would have been a double in most cases and should have been an inside the park home run, if Gene Glynn (whoserved as the third base coach) had not put up the stop sign.) Of course, the the Red Wings were also up by ten at that point. Chris Herrmann, another player who has been having a forgetable season so far, had a good game and looked like he enjoyed it, which is a good thing to see.

    A few parting shots from the game:



    Chris Colabello:


    Brian Dinkelman, the first base coach:


    Some of these guys will probably be starting for the Twins one of these days (Virgil Vasquez, Liam Hendriks, Cole DeVries) :


    This article was originally published in blog: Kyle Gibson and the Red Wings at the Lehigh Valley IronPigs today and it was so close started by thrylos98
    Comments 24 Comments
    1. Monkeypaws's Avatar
      Monkeypaws -
      93 pitches for a complete game shut out? That's efficient!
    1. B Richard's Avatar
      B Richard -
      Thanks a bunch for your thoughts and photos, it's great to get a closer look at how things are working out in AAA. Really sorry to see Benson like that, it's a tough game that can eat you up if you don't have the right mind. That's some depressing stuff. Still, looking forward to seeing Colabello and others up at Target Field soon!
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Thanks for great article , is nice to hear that Colabelo can play the outfield as well as 1b , hopefully we see him up with the twins soon
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      Nice article, Thrylos. Thanks for sharing.

      You have to suspect that it's not a coincidence that they're seeing what Colabello can do in the outfield.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Nice article. Gotta think Gibson has to come up now and replace Hernandez.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      I don't understand the Twins' reluctance. Both Berardino and Neal said after the game last night that the Twins are in no hurry to call up Gibson in place of Hernandez. LENIII mentioned consistency. What a load of bull that is. Herandez has been consistently hittable. I'll take inconsistently great over consistently awful any time. Berardino mentioned the Twins desire to call him up for the next home stand. I don't get that either, unless it's some kind of a service time issue.

      I just can't watch Hernandez anymore and I can't wait for Gibson.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      I don't get that either, unless it's some kind of a service time issue.

      I just can't watch Hernandez anymore and I can't wait for Gibson.
      If they keep him down for a few more weeks they can keep him from reaching FA the same year as (apparently) Hicks and Arcia. I think this is BS, he's 25 and he's earned his promotion but the Twins FO has said they want to stagger promotions so not everyone is arbitration eligible and a free agent at the same time. I'm also not sure how the plans to shut him down after 130 innings will affect his service time.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Shocker, the team cares more about money than winning, who would ever suggest that and believe it? This team is ALL about winning, and money is never an issue, or something like that.....
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Shocker, the team cares more about money than winning, who would ever suggest that and believe it? This team is ALL about winning, and money is never an issue, or something like that.....
      Ultimately, the two are related. You can't win if all the players cost too much to keep them. Considering that we won't win this year, it makes sense to keep him in Rochester until June 1 to avoid Super 2 status. That will help us keep the team we are building together when we can win. I don't like it, but it makes sense.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
      If they keep him down for a few more weeks they can keep him from reaching FA the same year as (apparently) Hicks and Arcia. I think this is BS, he's 25 and he's earned his promotion but the Twins FO has said they want to stagger promotions so not everyone is arbitration eligible and a free agent at the same time. I'm also not sure how the plans to shut him down after 130 innings will affect his service time.
      Gibson (and Arcia) are already past that point, they only needed 20 days in the minors to delay free agency. You're thinking the the Super 2 cutoff which is almost certainly what the Twins are concerned with. I don't think it would have stopped the team from bringing him north with the team from Ft. Myers had Gibson been ready, but now that the Twins are about 2 weeks away from saving a few million bucks, I'm sure they've decided against bringing him up until early June.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      Ultimately, the two are related. You can't win if all the players cost too much to keep them. Considering that we won't win this year, it makes sense to keep him in Rochester until June 1 to avoid Super 2 status. That will help us keep the team we are building together when we can win. I don't like it, but it makes sense.
      How are they too expensive, in the next 5 years? Other than Mauer, they have zero players signed for more than the minimum past 2014. I get it a few years ago, when the team actually had some expensive players, but now? there is zero reason for money to be an issue right now.
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      Thanks for the info! I particularly appreciated the insights regarding team chemistry. I find it interesting how you paint team as close-knit, but with Benson on the outside. I wonder if that is his choice or the rest of the guys. It would be interesting to be a fly on that clubhouse wall.
    1. Siehbiscuit's Avatar
      Siehbiscuit -
      I am sure the Twins are waiting till June, so they have two years of extra arb. Hernandez sucks as a starter (Duensing 2.0) and Gibson has had AMAZING outings 2 out of the last three times out. He could be the spark this rotation needs (a la Liriano in 2006)!
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by Siehbiscuit View Post
      I He could be the spark this rotation needs (a la Liriano in 2006)!
      Except this rotation lacks a Santana, Radke and Bonser.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      That Benson news is a bummer, for sure. I really think he's got talent, and they need to figure out how to help him help himself.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
      If they keep him down for a few more weeks they can keep him from reaching FA the same year as (apparently) Hicks and Arcia. I think this is BS, he's 25 and he's earned his promotion but the Twins FO has said they want to stagger promotions so not everyone is arbitration eligible and a free agent at the same time. I'm also not sure how the plans to shut him down after 130 innings will affect his service time.
      You cant understand why the front office would wait for a highly touted starter who we have been waiting years for, to want to wait till he is in his home stadium , where he will sell 5,000 extra tickets or so?

      As for hernandez he should be Swarsac lefty conterpart or used as a lefty specialist( we need to prove Mr. Ryan made a good trade after all)
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      You cant understand why the front office would wait for a highly touted starter who we have been waiting years for, to want to wait till he is in his home stadium , where he will sell 5,000 extra tickets or so?

      As for hernandez he should be Swarsac lefty conterpart or used as a lefty specialist( we need to prove Mr. Ryan made a good trade after all)
      I actually think Hernandez would be great as the LOOGY/inning eating last arm in the pen type guy.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      I'm very glad I clicked on this article. Great photos and story. Thanks.
    1. SweetOne69's Avatar
      SweetOne69 -
      The tale of 2 Kyles.

      So far Kyle has pitched great every other outing: 5 games, 35.2IP and 2 ER.
      His other 4 outings have been 17IP and 17ER.

      I can see where the FO would like to see a little consistency before calling him up.
    1. PopRiveter's Avatar
      PopRiveter -
      Nice writeup, Thrylos. Thanks for taking the time to write.
      I tend to agree with you that Colabello and Gibson call-ups are getting about due. I am not champing at the bit regarding Gibson, as I think long-term thinking should take priority this year. However, if it's 95% of the way to Gibson time, it should be 100% of the way to Colabello time. There is nothing to protect with him.
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