Byron Buxton received congratulations for being named American League Player of the Month from one person who's happy for him — but who would like to put a stop to his success, too, at least tonight.
Kyle Gibson, the winning (and losing) pitcher in more Target Field games than anyone else, will face his old team for the first time, and after watching plenty of scouting video, he's noticed the difference in Buxton.
"He's the guy that all of us thought he was and knew that he was going to become," Gibson said after adjusting to the weirdness of occupying the visitors' clubhouse at his old home. "He just looks so confident at the plate right now. It's so cool to see."
Seeing Minneapolis again was cool for Gibson, too.
He left as a free agent in 2020 after seven seasons with the Twins, and "it feels good to be back," he said, growing nostalgic about the city's skyline and his history here. He can't visit with his old teammates as much as he'd like due to COVID-19 protocols, but hopes to next season.
Gibson, whose 32 wins are two more than Jose Berrios for most in Target Field history, is enjoying one of the best months of his career. He allowed five runs in one-third of an inning in his first start of 2021, but only 3 earned runs in 33 innings in five starts since, an 0.82 ERA that accounts for his 4-1 start. He hasn't allowed a home run this season.
The Twins will try to change that Tuesday. "I'm sure there will be nerves and anxiety and a little bit of excitement to get back out there on the mound that I spent a lot of time on," Gibson said. "I'm really looking forward to it."
He will be facing J.A. Happ, who has a 2-0 record and 1.96 ERA over his first four starts.