All this team does is win. Kyle Gibson was spectacular, completing seven innings for the second time this season, and the lineup stayed hot, scratching across eight more runs. The Twins have now won five straight and 10 of their last 11 games.
Gibson: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 69.4% strikes (68 of 98 pitches)
Home Runs: Adrianza (4)
Multi-Hit Games: Adrianza (3-for-4, HR), Polanco (2-for-5), Cron (2-for-3, 2B, BB)
WPA of +0.1: Cron .218, Gibson .214
WPA of -0.1: None
(chart via FanGraphs)
When You’re Hot, You’re Hot
The Twins got on the board early, which seems to be an ongoing theme in 2019. The two runs came in different varieties, however. With two on and two away in the first inning, C.J. Cron lifted an easy fly ball to right field that should have been a routine “can of corn” to end the inning but the baseball god’s had other ideas. The White Sox right fielder seemingly never had a good read on the ball, allowing it to drop in for a two-run double. The old adage, “the ball never lies” once again proved to be true when Cron was later thrown out trying to take third on a passed ball.
Thanks to RBI singles from C.J. Cron and Ehire Adrianza, the Twins added three more in the fourth inning and stretched their lead to 5-1. The lone run for the White Sox came from a Jose Abreu solo home run. With the way Gibson was throwing this game looked to be over before the fifth inning.
Quality Start for Kyle Gibson
Throughout most of this season, Kyle has struggled with working deep into games and has had a handful of outings where everything went wrong in one inning. That was not the case today. Gibby looked sharp from the first pitch of the game until his last. His final line was 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K.
Going Streaking in Minneapolis
Every time a team goes on a winning streak I can’t help but remember this gem of a quote, “If we win today, it’s called two in a row, and if we win again tomorrow, it’s called a winning streak. It has happened before”. Luckily for the 2019 Twins, they are much better than the 1989 Lou Brown-led Indians from the classic film, Major League.
Today’s win was the fifth in a row for the Twins. The last time they won five in a row? Oh jeez, only about a week ago when they won five straight before dropping game four in Seattle last Sunday, May 19.
Selling Out For Taters
Call me a sellout but I love seeing taters and sold out baseball stadiums. When I began typing this segment of my story I had planned to write about how the Twins won without hitting a home run. then Ehire Adrianza decided to make me use the backspace button when he launched a three-run homer in the eighth inning breaking the score open and giving the Twins an 8-1 lead.
There was a lot of awesomeness in today’s game. Gibson pitched well, Adrianza had a multi-hit game and four RBIs, and the Twins won — again. The most awesome part about today though, at least to me, was the sellout crowd at Target Field. There’s something special and beautiful about a sea of red and blue filling the seats and cheering on the best team in the league. Hopefully the sellouts continue all through the summer.
MLB Draft DOES Matter
The MLB Draft will begin on June 3, so let’s go a decade back in time to the 2009 draft. Today’s starter, Kyle Gibson, is one of two starting pitchers taken in the first round that year who is still pitching for the team that drafted him. The other is Stephen Strasburg, who went first overall to the Nationals. In 2009, the Twins drafted Gibson with the 22nd overall pick and of the 16 pitchers taken in the first round, Kyle was the 14th pitcher to come off the board — meaning 13 other pitchers were taken before him.
A decade later it looks like the Twins didn’t miss on their first round pick, unlike many other teams that year. Here are a handful of the pitchers taken before Gibson and If you remember any of these names I will be very impressed: Matt Hobgood, Jacob Turner, Tyler Matzek, Aaron Crow, Matt Purke, Alex White, Chad James, and Chad Jenkins. Of those eight pitchers, only six of them ever appeared in a big league game. Those lucky six combined for a career WAR of 4.0 - which if you’re not familiar with WAR, just know that’s really bad. A WAR of 4.0 for a single player over the course of one season is pretty good, an all-star level player, but a six player combined career WAR of four is what’s referred to as “replacement level” production.
As I write this in 2019, Kyle Gibson has a career WAR of 9.3, which is the fourth best of the sixteen pitchers taken in the first round of 2009. Here are the three with a better career WAR: Stephen Strasburg (26.3), Mike Leake (12.6) and Mike Minor (10.1). A decade later it’s fair to say the Twins did well with their 22nd overall pick in 2009.
While you’re likely now feeling all warm and fuzzy and thinking “Oh wow, that is great! Good for the Twins!” There is one other relatively minor detail about that 22nd pick in 2009 - a guy named Mike Trout, was taken three picks later by the Angels with the 25th overall selection. Not only is he the first player to have a career earnings over half a billion dollars but he also has a career WAR of 67.5 which is more than Strasburg, Leake, Minor and Gibson combined.
Postgame With Baldelli
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Sun vs. CHW, 1:10 pm CT (Odorizzi-Covey)