Gibson looks to preserve his job vs. Cobb, Rays

Gibson looks to preserve his job vs. Cobb, Rays

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Saturday, 27 May 2017
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Join Fuck Dick and Bert from Target Field on Sunday at 1 p.m. CST as Kyle Gibson looks to preserve his job against Alex Cobb and the Tampa Bay Rays. Every start in the bigs seems like it could be Gibson’s last, but he was bailed out by the Twins’ bats in his last start after allowing six runs in Baltimore.

Gibson’s Issues

While Gibson’s strikeout numbers this season are right around what we’ve come to expect (6 SO/9), his walks, hits and home runs allowed are way up (4.9 BB/9, 2 HR/9, 13.2 H/9), bloating his FIP to 6.4 and WHIP to over 2. Basically, everyone is hitting a bit of everything off Gibson judging by FanGraphs’ contact percentage tracker.

Kyle Gibson Contact Percentage

That contact hasn’t been soft contact, either. Gibson’s batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is higher this season (.361) than it was when he broke into the league (.350). And while he tinkered with his delivery a bit last offseason, his pitch selection hasn’t changed much. Twins’ manager Paul Molitor blames a lack of fastball command and pitching from behind in counts, but if you look at what has made Gibson effective in the past, it all comes down to his slider.

Last season, batters hit .222 off Gibson’s slider. In 2015, they hit just .157. In 2014, .210. This year hitters are feasting on his slider at a .385 clip, and the opposition’s BABIP is an insane .471. Gibson’s average velocity on his slider is marginally down this year, but it’s his inability to throw it for quality strikes that’s been the issue.

In 2016, Gibson’s slider resulted in a 2.5 percent walk rate — the best of his career. His strikeout percentage was 38.5 percent — also a career best. This season more sliders are resulting in either called balls or batting-practice pitches. His walk percentage is 3.6 percent, and his strikeout percentage with the slider is just 25 percent — the worst of his career with the pitch.

If Gibson is going to get his career back on track, he or Neil Allen must figure out what his new delivery has done to his slider command. Luckily for Gibson, there’s nobody at Rochester banging on the door to the bigs currently, but another outing like his last would put the Twins in a tight spot and force a change.

Game 46: Minnesota Twins vs. Tampa Bay Rays

If Gibson is serviceable on Sunday the Twins will have a shot. Righty Alex Cobb has allowed at least four runs in eight of 15 starts since recovering from Tommy John surgery. He’s gone seven innings in his last two starts, though, and allowed seven runs over those two starts against the Indians and Angels.

The Twins haven’t seen much of Cobb, with Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar each earning a hit in two at-bats. Evan Longoria should be comfortable at the plate, though. He’s hit .308 off Gibson in 13 ABs.

Fuck Dick and Bert kicks off at 1 p.m. CST on Sunday from Target Field, so join us for live, uncensored play-by-play on baseball and life. We’ll provide new drink and food recipes inspired by Florida, discuss how to easily monitor your money and prepare for retirement, and how the Twins could stay in the race for the AL Central. Click the player below to join the broadcast.

Anthony Varriano

Anthony Varriano is a news director for GCNLive.com, editor of GoGonzoJournal.com, and founder and editor of FoulPlaybyPlay.com. He has been writing about Minnesota Twins baseball since 2009 and has hosted a live, uncensored, commercial-free broadcast during select Twins games.

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