StaTuesday: Significance of Twins starter Gibson’s outing at Yankee Stadium

The Minnesota Twins futility against the hated New York Yankees is the stuff of local legend. The deep-pocketed pinstripes always manages to get the jump on the Twins, who haven’t had a winning season against the Yankees since 2002.

Their pitchers, however, have managed some success.

Twins starter Kyle Gibson was sharp during a six-inning outing in New York on April 26, racking up 10 strikeouts and allowing just one hit in a 4-3 loss.

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It was just the seventh time a Twins pitcher has recorded double-digit strikeouts on the road against the Yankees, and the 14th if you include their run as the Washington Senators from 1901-60.

Our very own Bert Blyleven (Hall of Famer, two-time World Series champ, 22-year vet, etc.) was the last Twins pitcher to fan the Yankees 10 or more times in their own ballpark.

To go a bit deeper down this rabbit hole, Gibson is actually the first Twins pitcher with at least 10 strikeouts at a building called Yankee Stadium in 50 years.

Blyleven did it at the height of his powers in 1974, while the original Yankee Stadium was being renovated, forcing the Yankees to play their home games at Shea Stadium, ancestral home of the New York Mets.

Including home games, no Twins pitcher had struck out 10 Yankees in nearly two decades, the last being Eric Milton in 2000.

Overall, nine Twins pitchers have fanned 10 or more Yankees in a game for a total of 16 times. Not surprisingly in this age of bullpens, Gibson is the only one to do it in fewer than seven innings.

Camilo Pascual 6/26/1962 Road 9 12
Camilo Pascual 9/8/1964 Home 7 10
Jim Kaat 9/4/1966 Home 9 10
Jim Merritt 9/16/1966 Road 8 10
Jim Kaat 9/17/1966 Road 9 11
Jim Merritt 5/30/1967 Road 9 11
Dave Boswell 7/3/1967 Home 8.2 10
Dean Chance 9/24/1967 Home 9 10
Jim Merritt 8/10/1968 Road 9 11
Dean Chance 8/19/1968 Home 9 10
Bert Blyleven 7/8/1972 Home 10 10
Bert Blyleven 8/20/1974 Road* 8 10
Neal Heaton 7/11/1986 Home 7.2 10
Bert Blyleven 5/1/1987 Home 8 10
Eric Milton 7/29/2000 Home 8 10
Kyle Gibson 4/26/2018 Road 6 10

* — at Shea Stadium

In addition to his high number of strikeouts, Gibson allowed only one hit to New York in that game. Only five other Twins starting pitchers had allowed one hit previously against the Yankees (none of the Twins’ no-hitters were against New York) in Minnesota franchise history, but none lasted more than four innings.

So, yes, that was the start Gibson had last week.