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Front Page: Possible Roles For Kyle Gibson in the Playoffs

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#1 Cooper Carlson

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Posted 25 September 2019 - 08:29 PM

Kyle Gibson has had some of the worst luck of anyone in baseball this season. After a great 2018 season in which he posted a 3.62 ERA, Gibby has unfortunately been dealing with ulcerative colitis for much of the season. It seems as if the Twins would like him to be on the 25-man postseason roster, but being used in different roles than he has been in before, including coming out of the bullpen. Does he still have a role for the playoffs? I examined three different ways he could contribute.The postseason roster for the Twins will likely be carrying twelve or thirteen pitchers, so Kyle Gibson will have a good shot to make it. There are eight locks to make it in (Rogers, Romo, Duffey, Littell, May, Berrios, Odorizzi, Dobnak). Stashak, Smeltzer, Thorpe, Perez, Graterol and of course Gibson are all hoping to make it in. One or two of those guys will not be on the roster.

There are a few different roles the Twins could use Gibson for in the playoffs, including traditional starting pitcher, opener, or bullpen arm. I’ll be exploring each one and attempting to point out which one would best suit him to help make sure the Twins are not going home any time soon.

Starting pitcher

This role seems unlikely with the Twins having success in games with an opener/bullpen games especially recently. It also looks like the Twins will enter the playoffs with a Jose Berrios, Randy Dobnak, Jake Odorizzi and a bullpen-game type of rotation and that seems to maximize their potential to move on. Kyle Gibson does not appear to be going into October as a starting pitcher, especially with his bullpen roles lately and his struggles in the second half.

Since the All-Star break, Kyle Gibson has a 6.05 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, and .852 OPS when he starts a game with more than a full MPH drop in fastball velocity down to 92.8 MPH. He just isn’t healthy enough to get you five quality innings.

Opener or primary pitcher

This is where I would expect the Twins to be able to maximize the outcome for Gibson in the playoffs. It looks like there will be at least one game per series where the Twins have to go with a bullpen game and Kyle Gibson might be the ideal guy to start that game. Let him go out and get through the order one time before you go to your next pitcher. You have the opportunity to pull him as soon as he starts to run into trouble and not have to think twice about it.

There are some stats to back up the idea of letting Gibson start a game for just a couple innings. He has seen success when pitching the first time through the order with a .647 OPS in 2018 and a .698 this season. It gets ugly after that, but it won’t matter what he does the second time through because he shouldn’t see that in October.

Relief pitcher

The role the Twins have been exploring recently is having Gibson come out of the bullpen in the sixth/seventh inning and let him get as many outs as he can. The results have been a mix of success with some discouraging signs. In two relief appearances against Cleveland and Detroit, he has gone three innings while giving up six hits and three runs. The upside is he hasn’t allowed solid contact and he struck out four in his second appearance.

On paper, Kyle Gibson to the bullpen would look good with his quality sinker/slider combo and the ability to hit 96 MPH on the fastball, but it is still a huge adjustment for someone who has spent his entire career in the rotation to switch over to the bullpen in the final weeks of a playoff race.

He is definitely willing to do whatever it takes. According to an article at MLB.com, Gibson approached manager Rocco Baldelli and told him “Listen, I haven’t played here for 6 1/2 years to get this close to winning some playoff games to cause a fuss based on when I pitch and where I pitch and stuff like that.”

He will likely have to beat out two of the guys from a list of Cody Stashak, Brusdar Graterol, Devin Smeltzer, Martin Perez, and Lewis Thorpe so that is certainly something to watch in the final four games. He will likely have two more appearances out of the bullpen before the season ends. Do you think he makes it? If he does, how do you want to see him be utilized?

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#2 Dantes929


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Posted 25 September 2019 - 08:37 PM

Stashak and Graterol should be locks in my opinion. I would lean toward Smeltzer and Thorpe but would be ok with Smeltzer and Gibson.I guess one of the roles for Gibson would in a long extra inning game in the NL park in the WS as a pinch hitter.

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#3 nokomismod


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Posted 25 September 2019 - 08:51 PM

This is a tough call and I heard Rocco talking about it on the radio before the game. You want to reward a long time Twin and a good guy, but it's time to put together the best team possible. I say no

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#4 denarded



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Posted 25 September 2019 - 08:54 PM

Simple answer. No Role

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#5 Pius Jefferson

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Posted 25 September 2019 - 09:55 PM

He can keep score. 

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#6 jimbo92107


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Posted 25 September 2019 - 11:04 PM

Previously I wrote that Gibson simply wasn't healthy enough to pitch. After seeing him work a few innings in relief, I'm more on the fence. If Gibson looks better in relief in the last few games, then his stuff and command could be valuable in a bullpen game vs. the Yankees. 

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#7 the_brute_squad


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Posted 26 September 2019 - 05:18 AM

Gibson has pitched well against the Yankees. He has the stuff to strike out a strike out prone team. He'll be perfect for the opener/primary or relief position. He'll be able to eat up innings in the case of a blowout. He's got plenty of experience and he's earned it by fighting through a debilitating disease. Put him on the roster.

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#8 diehardtwinsfan



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Posted 26 September 2019 - 05:52 AM

I'd like to see him get another game or two in relief before I make that call. He got a ton of swinging strikes the other day, which is encouraging. I didn't like the 4 hits, but two were pretty weak and one was due to the shift if I remember right (not sure if the shift hit was a weak hit). It's hard to blame him for those...


The real problem is Detroit and KC are more like pitching against an AAA team. The Yankees/Astros/WC winner won't be that. 

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#9 rdehring


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Posted 26 September 2019 - 06:09 AM

Not a clue as to what Gibson's role will be and who will be on the playoff roster.That's what they pay the coaching staff big bucks to decide.


Personally, I'm gonna sit back and enjoy the playoffs.Should the Twins be so fortunate to win 3 of the first series and move on, HOOOOORAAAAH!If not, will look back on one of the most enjoyable baseball seasons I have seen in a long, long time.

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#10 luckylager


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Posted 26 September 2019 - 06:31 AM

Unless there is a major setback with his health issues, I have no doubt Gibby is on the post-season roster. Most likely as an "opener" in a bullpen game or middle innings relief. 

Edited by luckylager, 26 September 2019 - 06:32 AM.

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#11 woolywoolhouse


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Posted 26 September 2019 - 07:23 AM

If Gibby is a reliever, he needs to start a clean inning. He's had some success doing that versus his disaster in Cleveland coming in with runners on in a tight game. Start the game or come in and let him throw one inning with no pressure of having to go back out for multiple. His slider is a swing-and-miss pitch; he should throw that 30-50% of the time in a relief appearance.

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#12 TNTwinsFan



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Posted 26 September 2019 - 07:32 AM

Gibby- 1-2 IP
Dobnak- 5-6 IP
Bull Pen- 2-3 IP

Game 2 in the W column.
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#13 strumdatjaguar


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Posted 26 September 2019 - 09:34 AM

Leave Gibby on the roster but limit his innings. He should be good in an opener role

#14 Jham


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Posted 26 September 2019 - 09:53 AM

Actually, I always liked the thought of Gibby as a reliever. When posters were suggesting him as a nontendercandidate during his frequent struggles in three past I always thought it would be dumb to let him walk without seeing if his fastball slider could play out of the pen. When on, his slider has been literally among the best pitches in baseball in getting swinging k's. a lot like Presley's curve. Health is key of course.

#15 nicksaviking


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Posted 26 September 2019 - 09:56 AM


I'd like to see him get another game or two in relief before I make that call. He got a ton of swinging strikes the other day, which is encouraging. I didn't like the 4 hits, but two were pretty weak and one was due to the shift if I remember right (not sure if the shift hit was a weak hit). It's hard to blame him for those...


The real problem is Detroit and KC are more like pitching against an AAA team. The Yankees/Astros/WC winner won't be that. 


I also am withholding judgment until he gets one more outing from the pen. KC and Detroit are subpar teams, but even if it was against the Astros, it would still have SSS issues. I'd base my decision solely on his velocity. He was back to hitting 94-95 last outing like he was last year and early this year. When he was ailing and not pitching well he was hitting 91-93. I think the velocity would be the only indicator I'd put any stock into at this time.

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#16 Thrylos


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Posted 26 September 2019 - 10:07 AM

How about watching the games from his couch?That's the most fitting role.Career 1-6 with 6.75 ERA in 10 games against the Yankees.

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#17 yarnivek1972



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Posted 26 September 2019 - 11:15 AM

Until Gibson actually gets some decent major league hitters out, pass. It’s unfortunate. But it is what it is. Allan Anderson was with the Twins in 1987 (briefly) and virtually all of 1991. He was on neither postseason roster.

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#18 DocBauer


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Posted 26 September 2019 - 12:51 PM

I was a no until I saw increased velocity, weak contact (mostly) and a few K's his last time out.
Like others, I am now on the fence.

If the Twins are thinking a 4 man rotation, then I think he should be an opener and just go all out for 2-3 IP. Otherwise, I agree a middle guy who starts an inning clean.
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#19 DutchFarmer


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Posted 26 September 2019 - 03:53 PM

He will be on the roster. 99% (1% is in case of injury) certain.

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