The Minnesota Twins’ Kyle Gibson will finally get to start at home again for the first time in a month after winning three of four outings on the road.
He usually saves his best efforts for division rivals – something the Cleveland Indians have experienced first-hand.
The Twins have won both starts by Gibson against the Indians this year heading into Tuesday night’s opener of a three-game series at Target Field.
Gibson (11-9, 3.96 ERA) has been a major bright spot for last-place Minnesota, going 3-1 with a 3.04 ERA in four outings since his last home start July 18. He would be tied with the Angels’ Matt Shoemaker for the second-most victories among rookie pitchers if not for the fact that he went just above the rookie limit of 50 innings last year with 51.
The Twins (55-68) have won eight of 10 career starts by the right-hander against AL Central teams, including six of seven this year. Gibson is 5-1 with a 2.40 ERA against division foes in 2014, going 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA in two versus Cleveland.
The Indians’ top RBI leaders – Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana – are a combined 2 for 13 against him.
Gibson, who has surrendered 12 runs over 8 1-3 innings in his most recent two home starts, continued his recent surge by allowing one run over 7 2-3 innings in Wednesday’s 3-1 win at Houston.
"He was in command," manager Ron Gardenhire told MLB’s official website. "He had a good moving fastball. His slider was good. His changeup was decent."
Gardenhire could use that kind of effort since his starting rotation has posted a 6.98 ERA since in losing three of four to first-place Kansas City to open this 11-game homestand. The manager was ejected from a 6-4 loss Monday.
The Indians (62-61) will see several new faces from when they last faced the Twins from July 21-23. Rookie Kennys Vargas is hitting .313 while starting all 16 games since Aug. 1 while Jordan Schafer is batting .281 in 11 contests since being picked up off waivers two days later from Atlanta.
Cleveland is searching for offense, averaging a major league-low 2.7 runs since Aug. 5 in 11 games. The Indians have totaled 19 runs in a 5-2 stretch capped by Sunday’s 4-1 loss to Baltimore.
"We’ve played a lot of low-scoring games," manager Terry Francona said.
Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer (4-7, 4.35) is 0-3 with a 5.59 ERA in his last five outings although he was effective Wednesday in yielding two runs over a career-high eight innings in a 3-2 win over Arizona in the first game of a doubleheader.
The right-hander’s winless stretch began in his lone career start against the Twins when he gave up three runs over six innings in a 3-1 road loss July 23.