With Phil Hughes on the Disabled List and Ervin Santana ineffective, it’s Kyle Gibson’s time to shine. The 3rd year hurler is 8-9 with a 3.96 ERA in 25 starts this season. Like his team in 2015, Gibson has been brilliant at times, a 1.36 ERA in six May starts, and poor in others, positing a 6.35 ERA so far in August.
The 27-year-old former first round pick and I discussed his season, fantasy football and more during the last home stand.
DZ: How would you assess your season so far individually?
GIBSON: I think for me this year was a lot about being more consistent. Start to start and I had a lot of ups and downs last year. It seemed it was either five runs in four or five innings or it was seven innings and zero runs. I wanted to try and eliminate the peaks and valleys and have a lot more outings of six or seven innings with one, two or three runs and give the team a consistent chance. For the most part it’s been better. Here, as of late, I have been struggling a little bit. We are winning more ball games this year, playing more solid ball games and that’s always a lot of fun.
DZ: The starting staff has been – for the majority of the year – been the main reason you are where you are. (There have been) struggles lately. When everybody struggles at once, what’s that like…?
GIBSON: It’s a little frustrating when all five of us are struggling because we understand that we have a big impact on the club. Not that it’s just us or we win or lose, but for awhile were giving up runs early and that puts our offense in a tough spot. We were giving up leads, we were getting behind early and it’s frustrating as a starting staff because we all want to take pride in what we are doing and…we understand that we only pitch once every five days and we need to take advantage of that. But, at the same time, like you said, for the most part this year we’ve done well, but it’s about playing a full season together. Look at the teams that make it to the postseason, their starting five or six or seven guys – how ever many they use – are solid for most of the year. They don’t have for or five guys that are sub 3.00 ERA, but they have a lot of guys who give the team chances to win consistently. That’s what we are trying to do here.
DZ: You’ve got a new pitching coach too, Neil Allen versus Rick Anderson for so many years here…what’s different, what’s the same..?
GIBSON: Every coach words things a little bit differently. They say things with a little different tone or use different words. For me, I liked throwing under Rick Anderson for sure. I don’t want to disrespect him at all because he was my first pitching coach. Working with Neil has been a little bit different just on approach, a little bit in-game stuff and I think the change-up is the big thing that’s really helped me. He just comes in with a lot of energy, pretty similar to Rick Anderson…wants us to work hard and he works really hard as well.
DZ: This year you came in with a full (big league) season under your belt for the first time. How much different was it this year versus last year just having that experience?
GIBSON: Part of being on this stage is being comfortable with it. The more comfortable you are, the better you are going to execute. At the end of the day, it comes down to execution on offense, defense and pitching. So, for me, I think being more comfortable, more mature up here and being able to handle certain situations better has been a lot of the reason I have been a little more successful (this season).
DZ: One last real hard hitting thing. I noticed looking on-line a little bit, that you seem to be into fantasy football. How much time do you spend on that?
GIBSON: Last year was the first time in a couple of years that I didn’t a whole lot of time on it. I’ve got a 1 ½-year-old daughter right now so I try to take a little bit of time away from fantasy taking care of her (laughs). For me, once I figure out what kind of league it is, whether it’s PPR (points per reception) or the scoring is for passing touchdowns and stuff, that’s how I kind of figure out, do I want the best quarterback, do I want to go after one of the best running backs or wide receivers; how I end up drafting.
I played in a league last year called Fire (League) fantasy football. It was not head-to-head, but it was similar to Draft Kings where you get five trades a week with the whole player pool and you compile the best team you can with the salary cap you have. That added a little bit different strategy to it because you don’t get unlucky with your draft position, you don’t have to fight the waiver wire because you can pick from all players…It’s like the stock market, the more Andrew Luck is owned, his price goes up…That’s a little bit different twist, but I don’t know that anything beats head-to-head; to be able to talk trash or coming from behind on a last second touchdown or something like that.
DZ: You have a team league – a Twins (player’s) league – right?
GIBSON: We have a couple leagues going on. It’s pretty cool, a lot of guys get involved. We are doing the one for charity this year through (Cardinals pitcher) Adam Wainwright’s foundation – Big League Impact. Four of us are going to play in a fantasy football league with ten or eleven fans, do a live draft here, give them a tour of the locker room and then go to a game afterwards. All that money goes to charity and it’s going to be a lot of fun.
See more of David Zingler’s player interviews:
August 23: Kevin Jepsen
August 19: Aaron Hicks
August 18: Trevor Plouffe
July 1: Blaine Boyer
June 26: Phil Hughes
June 24: Brian Dozier
June 22: Joe Mauer