Wetmore: 5 thoughts on Kyle Gibson's standing ovation, Twins offense
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MINNEAPOLIS - The Twins routed the Kansas City Royals on Friday at Target Field. Terry Steinbach managed in place of Ron Gardenhire, who was away to attend the funeral of Michael Hirschbeck, son of veteran umpire John Hirschbeck. Gardenhire will miss Saturday's game as well.
Here are 5 thoughts I had throughout the game, on the Twins, or baseball or general fan experience.
I'll try to offer insight with these columns anywhere I can. Feel free to tweet me (@DerekWetmore) if you notice interesting things about a game, this team or baseball generally. This may turn into a community effort by season's end.
1. Kyle Gibson got a standing ovation from the crowd Friday at Target Field after his day was done. Gibson dutifully tipped his cap to the crowd as he walked to the dugout. Is that a bit of an overreaction, though?
His final line: 6 1/3 innings pitched, 5 hits, 1 earned run, 3 strikeouts and 4 walks. He stranded 8 runners and got 12 groundball outs.
I'm not suggesting it wasn't a good start for Gibson. Perhaps it was the best of his career to date. But it's pretty telling when a pitcher doesn't get the second out in the seventh inning and earns a standing ovation from the home crowd.
2. The offense has surprised me this season. That's not just a reaction on the heels of a 10-1 victory (10 runs?!), but this season the Twins have averaged 5.6 runs per game. They averaged 3.79 runs per game in 2013.
The offensive production includes strong starts from Jason Kubel, Chris Colabello and Trevor Plouffe. Will they continue to produce? Will the offense sustain this pace? That's a question we'll answer as the seasons progresses. I have a guess but I don't know with certainty.
3. Metal detectors are in at Target Field. There still are some left to be installed, but they're up and running at Gate 14. Some more are in the stadium ready to roll out, and it sounds like the Twins' plan is to have all of them installed and working before the All-Star Game in early July.
I went through the metal detector for the first time on my way into the park today and it wasn't nearly as bad as the airport. It'll be interesting to see if it takes more time when there are long lines outside gates.
That'd be a good problem for the Twins to have because it would mean there are long lines outside of gates.
4. Aaron Hicks appears to make some weird reads in centerfield. Either that or the wind pushes some fly balls after he's made his jump. I've seen several times this season where Hicks gets his shoulders turned around to track a ball, only to have to change directions mid-route.
That happened Friday, when Mike Moustakas blasted a second-inning double to deep center. Moustakas drove the first hard-hit ball off Gibson over Hicks' head. Hicks turned over his left shoulder and ran back for a ball, tracking the ball with his eyes over his right shoulder. But then he had to rotate his hips and he turned his head and started tracking it over his left shoulder, his back to the pitcher at this point. It didn't seem to make a difference Friday, because he couldn't catch that ball.
Perhaps it was a bad read, a bad route, or maybe just more wind than he expected. In any case, it's not the first time I've seen it from Hicks this season and it's not a very efficient route to a deep fly ball or line drive.
5. Would you rather?
A colleague posed the question to me Friday: Salaries considered, would you rather have Bruce Chen or Kevin Correia?
Chen is on a one-year deal worth $4.25 million, plus a mutual option ($5.5 million) for 2015, according to Cot's Contracts from Baseball Prospectus.
Correia is in the second year of a two-year, $10 million dollar contract, which pays him $5.5 million this season.
Chen is 36. Correia is 33.
In the context of this question, I considered it from the Twins' perspective. Both pitchers represent a veteran starter who won't be here in 2016 and likely won't be a factor in the 2015 rotation, if things play out the way the Twins hope. The biggest consideration I made when decided is trade value. And I think Correia will have higher trade value at midseason, so I'd prefer to have Correia.