Gibson's 180 gives Rangers series win

Righty rebounds from rocky Opening Day start, striking out 8 in 6 sharp innings

April 7th, 2021

’s Opening Day start for the Rangers was not the outing he or anyone would have imagined.

Gibson was pulled after recording just one out and allowing five runs against the Royals. On Wednesday afternoon, he pulled a complete 180 with his bounce-back performance against the Blue Jays.

Gibson put up six innings of shutout ball in a 2-1 win over Toronto in the series finale at Globe Life Field. He struck out eight batters, six of them swinging, on 82 pitches. Gibson also walked just one, compared to the three he handed out to Kansas City on Opening Day.

“It was just nice to see [Gibson] get back out there and do what we’ve expected,” manager Chris Woodward said. “He looked like the No. 1 today.”

The Rangers' biggest trouble of the game came in a one-out, bases-loaded situation in the fifth inning.

After walking Marcus Semien, Gibson got out of the jam with the help of a double-play ground ball to shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa, an American League Gold Glove Award winner last year.

“In those situations, your confidence stays high no matter what situation you’re in when your mechanics are on and when you feel like no matter what, you have a good ability to execute the pitch,” Gibson said.

Gibson mixed his arsenal and recorded a strikeout on five types of pitches. He said getting ahead of batters helped with his strikeout total.

“So if I can get myself in a situation where I have an idea of what the hitter is trying to do and I can execute that pitch, then I have a good feeling that I can get strikeouts when I need them,” Gibson said.

Gibson came into the regular season off a solid Spring Training. He had a 2.70 ERA in 10 innings of Cactus League action.

But in the Rangers' 14-10 loss on Opening Day, Gibson gave up back-to-back singles to start the game, then walked the next three batters before he was able to record his only out. He exited after throwing only 32 pitches.

Woodward said that was just a speed bump.

“[Gibson’s] been really good all spring, just like he was today. He never really got comfortable in that first game and couldn’t really recover,” Woodward said.

From start to finish, Wednesday’s outing much more resembled the ace that the Rangers hoped for coming into the season.

Gibson got Semien to ground out on the first pitch he threw, then he struck out Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio to end the first inning. He allowed just three baserunners in the first four innings.

Woodward said he noticed a more relaxed Gibson.

“This is what he has been doing all Spring Training,” he said. “So today [for Gibson] to kind of relax and go out and execute his pitches, this is what we expected.”

Gibson said some mechanical issues were pointed out to him after his first start. He worked with pitching coach Doug Mathis to fix those issues, helping with his command.

“When [Mathis] said, ‘Hey, this is what I’m seeing,’ that kind of solidified it for me,” Gibson said. “When your mechanics are off just a little bit and it’s consistently off, you have similar misses.”

A year ago, Gibson had a 5.35 ERA in 12 starts. Woodward said he expects more of what the Rangers got from Gibson on Wednesday. He said Gibson's overall improvement and the work he's done on his sinker and slider put him in a position to be a reliable ace.

“This is what we were expecting,” Woodward said. “[Gibson has] made improvements, and now he’s got that attack mentality to go right after these guys.”