Wetmore: 4 thoughts for July 4th, Gehrig, Gibson, and one-run games
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MINNEAPOLIS - Kyle Gibson gave up six runs in two innings, but the Twins bullpen clamped down and blanked the Yankees. The Twins brought the potential winning run to the plate, but couldn't quite complete the comeback Friday, as they lost to the Yankees, 6-5.
In recognition of the Fourth of July holiday, this column presents 4 thoughts from Friday's game.
As always, feel free to ask questions or make observations in the comments. If you have a unique baseball observation during a game, feel free to share it with me on Twitter (@DerekWetmore).
1. Kyle Gibson had a rough outing and Sam Deduno pitched well as the long reliever out of the bullpen. Gibson gave up six hits (including two home runs) in his 2 innings of work. He got three outs in the air (including two sacrifice flies) and three outs on the ground.
Gibson has had some downright ugly stat lines this year: seven earned runs in 3 innings on April 22; seven earned runs in 2 innings June 24; six earned runs in 2 innings May 10; and now, six earned runs in 2 innings July 4.
His overall numbers aren't appalling, though. Friday afternoon was his 17th start, over which he's pitched 95 innings, for an average of just less than 5 2/3 innings per start. He has struck out 50 and walked 28, and his Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched (WHIP) is a pedestrian 1.25. His 4.17 ERA is not considerably higher than the American League average for starters, 4.04.
Deduno, meanwhile, pitched 4 2/3 innings and allowed just three hits and no runs. He struck out four and didn't walk anybody. He's had a weird season, and recently lost his spot in the starting rotation. But he did well enough in mop-up duty Friday to allow the Twins to get back into a game in which they looked buried early.
"Sammy deserved the standing ovation he got when he came off the field today," closer Glen Perkins said. "I think that was cool for the fans to acknowledge that because that was a heck of an effort."
2. Despite clawing back into the game, the Twins lost another one-run decision. That's their 15th loss in 28 one-run games this season. Closer Glen Perkins, who pitched a perfect 9th inning in the losing effort, said it's frustrating to lose close games, but it could signal a step in the right direction from previous years.
"I think we're all disappointed. I think a loss is a loss," Perkins said. "A 6-5 loss doesn't make you feel any better than a 6-1 loss. Just in the grand scheme of things, big-picture-wise, we're hanging in there. ... We're getting chances. The more chances we get, the more that are going to end up going in our favor."
The Twins were 24-25 in one-run games a season ago, and 26-28 the year before that. At roughly the halfway point, the Twins are on a slightly worse pace in such games.
"Seasons come down to what you do in one-run games," Perkins said. He pointed out the Baltimore Orioles made the 2012 playoffs on the strength of going 29-9 in one-run games.
"We lost another one-run game today. But in a way that's progress because the last couple years we weren't losing one-run games we were losing four- or five-run games. ... We had the winning run at the plate today. If you're going to lose a game, [at least] have a chance at the end. Sometimes we're going to win that chance. So I think the more we can put ourself in a position late in a game to win, the better off we're going to be."
3. On Friday, the Twins and Yankees and all of baseball paid tribute to the famous Fourth of July speech in 1939, when Yankee great Lou Gehrig delivered his "Luckiest man" speech. Of the four major American sports, baseball concerns itself most with its own history. July 4 is an important day in baseball. Whether or not you're into baseball's history, there's some cool stuff out there today on Gehrig.
I'll offer one example that I felt was especially well done, by Phil Miller of the Star Tribune.
And another, an essay by Keith Olbermann.
"For the past two weeks, you've been reading about a bad break. Today I consider myself the luckiest man of the face of the Earth.
"That I might have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for."
These words resonate throughout the corridors of baseball's history, and the Twins got to celebrate it at home along with the rest of the baseball world. Pretty cool.
4. Holding this celebration at Target Field seems like a missed opportunity by schedule makers. With the significance of the day -- the 75th anniversary of Gehrig's speech -- I can't think of a good reason the game wouldn't be played in Yankee Stadium. I don't like to harp on schedule makers because they have such a challenging and thankless job. But having the game and celebrating it at Target Field, while cool for the Twins and their fans, seems to be a disservice to baseball fans.
(Also, Derek Jeter getting the day off from the starting lineup of the Fourth of July strikes me as peculiar.)