Kyle Gibson's final output last season mirrored his 2016 production (a 5.07 ERA both years), but last year featured a roller coaster that saw him both sent to the minors and become Minnesota's hottest pitcher. He began the season in the rotation but was sent to Triple-A in May after going 0-4 with an 8.20 ERA in six starts. He righted the ship when he returned later in the month and surged after the All-Star break. In the second half he reduced his walks from 4.2 BB/9 to 2.6 BB/9 while also upping his strikeouts from 5.6 K/9 to 8.2 K/9, resulting in a 7-3 record and a 3.76 ERA. In addition to a decrease in walks and increase in strikeouts, he gave up significantly fewer home runs and generated weaker contact. His stuff didn't improve, but his pitch location did. Gibson has always had good groundball rates (50.8 percent last season) so if his command gains are legitimate, he could carry that second-half success over in 2018.
Gibson lasted just 3.2 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits with six strikeouts in a no-decision Friday against Detroit. Gibson had completed at least six innings in seven straight starts before struggling to find a rhythm Friday night. The Twins kept his winning streak alive at six decisions, and he was nasty at times, but Tigers hitters punished every mistake he made. Despite Friday's hiccup and his 5.07 ERA, Gibson has earned a spot on Minnesota's playoff roster with his otherwise excellent work down the stretch.
Gibson will be on a pitch count in Friday's start, according to the Twins' official website. Gibson will be pitching on six days rest Friday, but manager Paul Molitor wants him available for Tuesday's wild-card game -- just four days later -- so he will limit his pitches in an effort to keep him fresh if needed.
Gibson (12-10) allowed three runs on five hits and two walks striking out six across seven innings to earn the victory. Gibson gave up single runs in three different innings while receiving six runs of support which helped him earn his 12th victory of the campaign. Despite his 5.02 ERA on the season, he's now fired quality starts in six of his last seven outings while lowering his ERA over a full run during that time, making him a player who's been a strong fantasy option down the stretch. He'll make his next start Thursday against the Indians.
Gibson (11-10) allowed five runs on three hits and five walks while striking out eight batters through six innings to collect the win against Toronto on Sunday. This clearly wasn't Gibson's best form, and it was especially discouraging after entering on a roll. The 29-year-old righty posted a 1.38 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 7.2 K/9 through his previous five starts, after all. He lines up for consecutive road starts against Detroit and Cleveland to finish the year, and the matchup against the Tigers sets up as a bounce-back spot for Gibson.
Gibson held the Royals to two runs on eight hits with one walk and no strikeouts over seven innings in Thursday's no-decision. Despite the lack of strikeouts, Gibson was effective once again after beating Kansas City in his previous start. His season-long numbers still look ugly, but the righty has picked things up over his past four outings. Gibson's 3-0 in that span and has allowed just five runs in 26.2 innings for a 1.69 ERA. He has an excellent opportunity to keep the good times rolling in his next start Tuesday against a Padres offense that's produced the fewest runs in the league.