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Christopher Fee

Rochester Review: Kyle Gibson's Season in Review

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Before the season-started manager Gene Glynn named Kyle Gibson the number two starter in the rotation, slightly surprising considering Gibsonís hype, but would take the mound in game two against, the Buffalo Bisons.

In his first start of the year, Gibson pitched 5 innings, giving up four hits, one run, striking out four, and walking none. Leaving the game with the lead after five innings, Michael OíConnor (Released), and Anthony Slama (Released), were unable to hold the lead and the Red Wings went on to lose 3-2, with Gibson getting a no decision in his first start.

For the second straight start, he was unable to get out of the 5th inning against the Pawtucket Red Sox. This time pitching just 4.1 innings, giving up eight hits, five earned runs, walking one, but striking out six. Through two games Gibson had not been able to pitch past the fifth inning, however he was striking out 9.9 batters per nine innings, but had a record of 0-1.

In his next start against the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders, Gibson once again had a quality start. This time pitching six innings, giving up four hits, one earned run, two walks and five strikeouts. Thereís no way to blame him for the loss in this one, the Red Wings were shut out 1-0 and his record dropped to 0-2, with the teamís record dropping to 2-10 on the year.

One of the toughest things for a pitcher to do is pitch against the same team twice in a short period of time, that was the case in Gibsonís fourth start, his second against the Pawtucket Red Sox. The results werenít much better in this outing, pitching five innings, giving up three hits, three earned runs, four walks and four strikeouts. This was the first outing that Gibson had shown control troubles, walking more batters in this one start, than in his previous three. The Red Wings lost 8-1, and his record dropped to 0-3.

Unlike his second start against Pawtucket, Kyle Gibsonís second start against the Buffalo Bisons, was even better than the first. Picking up his first win of the year, pithing 6.2 innings, giving up just two hits, two walks and seven strikeouts, in a Red Wings 1-0 victory. Now at 1-3, things seemed to be turning around for him, as well as the team.

After pitching his best game of the season to date, Gibson then had one of his worst games of the year against the Columbus Clippers. In just 4.2 innings, he gave up eleven hits, five runs, no walks but just one strikeout, the Red Wings went on to lose the game 5-1, and his record dropped to 1-4 on the year with an ERA of 4.26.

One of the only teams who had a worse record than Rochester, were the Toledo Mud Hens, and Gibson was able to capitalize on that fact. Pitching his first complete game of the season, he gave up just four hits, two walks, and striking out eight, lowing his ERA almost a full run to 3.32. This was the Kyle Gibson that fans were hoping to see more of in 2013.

In his shortest outing of the year, Gibson went just three innings, giving up seven hits, four runs, one walk and three strikeouts. He did throw to two batters in the fourth inning but was unable to get anyone out, leaving the game with 69 pitches, but just 38 were for strikes. Once again the Red Wings went on to lose the game 7-4, to the Durham Bulls, and his record dropped to 2-5 on the year with an ERA pushing four.

In his second complete game shutout of the season, this time against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, Gibson gave up just three hits, two walks and eight strikeouts. One of the most impressive parts of this start was the fact he needed just 93 pitches to pitch all nine innings, averaging just over ten pitches per inning. His record improved to 3-5, and once again the good start/bad start trend continued for Gibson. With this start, he became just the first Red Wings pitcher to throw two complete game shutouts since Nick Blackburn did it in 2007.

Trying to pitch back-to-back quality starts, the Wings returned home against the 19-31, Charlotte Knights. Gibson did not disappoint the Frontier Field crowd, pitching eight shutout innings, allowing just two hits, three walks and striking out seven Knights batters. This was one of the first starts where he went well over 100 pitches, and was able to pick up his fourth win of the year, improving to 4-5 and an impressive ERA of 2.82.

Despite having some troubles in his next start, Kyle Gibson was in line for his 5th win of the year. In his start second start against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, Gibson pitched six innings, giving up eight hits, six runs, and two walks and striking out six. If it wasnít for the four runs allowed by Anthony Slama, Gibson would have been 5-5 on the year, but despite a Red Wings victory, he picked up a no decision but finished the month of May with a 3-1 record.

The month of June is the reason that I believe that Kyle Gibson finally got the call to the majors. In his first start against the Gwinnett Brave, Gibson pitched six innings, giving up seven hits, two runs, two walks and four strikeouts. He was able to pick up his fifth win of the season, getting back to the .500 point of the season, and lowered his ERA to 3.34.

At 24-41 the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs saw Gibson for the third time in 2013, and the second time in the last two weeks. Usually when hitters see a pitcher for a second time in a short period of time, the offense has the advantage, but in this case it was the pitcher who came out on top. He pitched seven innings, giving up just four hits, one earned run, but walked five and struck out six. Despite the five walks, he still won his sixth game of the year, and his fourth in five starts.

The Gwinnett Braves came to Frontier Field in his next start, with a record of 28-42, this seemed like another game where he would be able to pick up another win perhaps. This was not the case however, in six innings pitched, Gibson allowed six hits, four runs, three earned, while walking one and striking out four. He left the game with a no-decision but the Red Wings came back to win the game in the bottom of the ninth inning.

In his final start with the Red Wings, Gibson pitched against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders for the second time in 2013. Like his first start against them, Gibson threw seven solid innings, allowing five hits, one run, none that were earned, one walk, six strikeouts and improved to 7-5 before getting called up to the Twins.

Overall in Rochester, 25-year-old Kyle Gibson was among the league leaders in several International League categories. He was 1st in shutouts with two, third in wins with seven, tied for third with 79 strikeouts, fourth in innings pitched with 92.2 and had a 3.01 ERA which ranked eighth.

As far as an innings limit goes, Iíve read (as well as pretty much everyone else) that heís rapidly approaching it. But when I talked to Gibson the end of April, he said, ďTerry Ryan told me to go down there and pitch. We arenít going to baby you this year, we are going to let you go down there and throw and see what happens. Iím sure if I come up sore or tired later on in the season, we might rethink it, but as of right now I donít have too much information on it.Ē Which gives me hope that there isnít a firm cap, but that they will assess how heís doing, and if he feels like he can go for more innings theyíll let him go.

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