Newest Phillies starter Kyle Gibson promises fans they’ll see him pitching in seventh innings a lot
The Philadelphia Phillies are back in second place in the NL East, and it’s largely due to a new addition’s first contribution.
Kyle Gibson, acquired from the Texas Rangers at Friday’s trade deadline, made his first start on Sunday. He pitched into the seventh inning, and threw a season-high 113 pitches, impressing his new catcher, J.T. Realmuto:
"“He was good, solid. The pitchability is pretty solid with that guy. He can do anything he wants at anytime. He moves the ball around really well. He attacks the strike zone. I think he’s a guy who is going to throw deep into games for us quite often, which is nice.”"
Gibson seemed to agree, saying he felt like he and Realmuto were already in sync in their first game together:
"“J.T. and I, we were on the same page all day.”"
His new manager Joe Girardi was also impressed:
"“What was impressive to me is we scored in that first inning and he went out and it’s like, ‘bang, bang, bang, strike, strike, strike,’ and then he did it again. His efficiency, his ability to throw four pitches over at any time I thought was really important.”"
Kyle Gibson reaches 1,000 strikeouts in Phillies debut
After allowing the Pittsburgh Pirates to score a run in the third, the righty retired nine of the next ten batters. In the fifth inning, he struck out his third batter, Michael Perez, who also happened to be his 1,000th career strikeout. Gibson’s new teammate Aaron Nola also reached the 1K mark earlier this season, and Zack Wheeler could do the same by season’s end; he’s currently at 944.
Suffice to say, a strong start to Gibson’s Phillies career.
How strong? Here’s how his final line from his first start as a Phillie lines up against the first starts of the season for each of the Phillies pitchers who’ve made multiple starts this year:
Kyle Gibson: 6 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 113 pitches
Zack Wheeler: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K, 90 pitches
Aaron Nola: 6 2/3 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 6 K, 1 HR, 84 pitches
Zach Eflin: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 1 HR, 80 pitches
Vince Velasquez*: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 HR, 67 pitches
Matt Moore: 3 1/3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 74 pitches
Chase Anderson: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 80 pitches
Spencer Howard*: 3 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 68 pitches
*Velasquez’s first game of the season was a relief appearance in which he allowed four earned runs over 1 1/3 innings. Howard also didn’t start until his fourth game of the season.
This was Gibson’s seventh start of the season in which he threw over 100 pitches. Wheeler has exceed 100 pitches 12 times, Nola nine times, Eflin thrice, and Velasquez once.
So, Gibson’s first impression might be that he’s somewhat similar to the pitchers in the rotation not named Wheeler. But when you dive deeper, his consistency is what sets him apart: Gibson has thrown five or more innings in all but one of his 20 starts this season. Wheeler can’t even say that (19/21 starts).
Gibson’s ability to pitch deeper into games was undoubtedly a key factor in Dave Dombrowski’s decision to trade for him.
And it’s something Gibson prides himself on, as this was his message to fans:
"“I hope that you’re able to get used to seeing me go out there for the seventh inning, especially with a high pitch count. I really enjoy going deep into the game. I take pride in my defense and in being a competitor.”"
That’s got to be music to this fanbase’s pitching-depth-starved ears.