Game 79 Recap: Twins 2, Royals 0

Notes from a win.

Kyle Gibson pitched really well.  Whether he was "dominant" depends on how you want to define the word, but eight shutout innings with seven strikeouts and only four hits is close enough for me.  The four walks are more than you want, but in the parts of the game I saw he was just barely missing, and sometimes didn't get borderline calls that could've gone either way.  I'm not saying that makes it okay, but it's also not like he was all over the place.

I was glad Molitor left Gibson in to pitch the eighth, and I was glad he left him in even after a couple of men got on base.  It's easy to say that now, of course; all I can do is ask you to take my word for it that I felt that way at the time.  His pitch count wasn't all that high, he didn't seem to be laboring, the bullpen has had some issues lately, and as Blyleven tells us, sometimes you have to let the starting try to clean up the mess himself.  I was glad Molitor went that way.

I just noticed (I'm not all that observant sometimes) that the box score gives me the number of called strikes.  Of Gibson's 71 strikes last night, 26 were called strikes.  I have no idea what's average, but that seems like a lot.  There are a lot of variables that go into that, so I don't know if it's something I should be impressed by or not, but it seems interesting.

The offense again struggled, but thanks to Gibson (and Perkins) they did enough.  It should be pointed out that they've seen some pretty good pitchers lately.  Both Twins runs scored on triples, which seems unusual.  I wondered how often all the runs in a game are driven in by triples, and what the highest number of runs in such a game is.  Then I wondered how much time it would take to find that out, and decided the answer was "more time than I'm willing to spend on it".  If anybody wanted to take the time, though, I'd be interested in the answer.

Socal found a quote that said that in the fifth and sixth inning, Eduardo Escobar and Trevor Plouffe were given the productive out sign.  It's news to me that the Twins have a productive out sign.  Is that common?  Does every team have a productive out sign, and I've just never heard of it before?  It seems strange, but at the same time, I can understand it.  For as much as some of us think productive outs are overrated, there are times when it's a tight game and you really need to get one run, and a productive out is helpful for that.  I'm sure the Twins felt a lot better when they got ahead 1-0 in the fifth, and again when they went to the bottom of the ninth ahead 2-0 rather than 1-0.

Miguel Sano went 1-for-4, getting an infield single in the ninth that led to the second run.  It just kind of seemed like the recap would be incomplete if I didn't point that out.

The win kept the Twins in position for a wild card spot if the season ended now, which of course it doesn't.  Tonight, Tommy Milone, who for all we know could be pitching for his rotation spot, will go against Jeremy Guthrie.  Milone's a hard pitcher to really feel comfortable about, but if you just look at the results, they've been pretty good.  Guthrie's numbers look awful, but they're skewed by an outing in late May where he gave up eleven runs in one inning-plus.  Throw that out, and his ERA drops by over a run.  Tonight we continue our season-ending eighty-four game winning streak!  We're still on track for 125-37!