La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Twins: Rays poised for a sweep with Shields on the mound

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: August 12, 2012 - 12:06 PM

The Twins have been swept eight times this season - six at home.

They hope to avoid another sweep on Sunday as they face Rays righthander James Shields, who is 10-7 with a 4.08 ERA.

In Shields' last two starts, he's given up one earned run on five hits with 17 strikeouts and one walk in 17 innings. Shields is excellent at changing speeds, so the Twins will have to avoid being too aggressive against him.

Will check back later with updates.


Trevor Plouffe, in his first rehab game at Class AAA Rochester, went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and left seven runners on base. But Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Plouffe probably will join the club in time for tomorrow's series opener against Detroit.

"He'll play today and he will be back tomorrow, if everything goes good," Gardenhire said.

If that happens, then this could be Tsuyoshi Nishioka's last day with the Twins. Someone will have to go to make room for Plouffe, and Nishi has not played since three horrid games in Cleveland. And he's not in the lineup today.

Despite not getting a hit on Saturday, Plouffe was sharp at third base. Read about it here.


Gardenhire spoke highly of righthander Casey Fein and lefthander Tyler Robertson, who pitched well last night. Gardenhire said Robertson is learning that he has to show his fastball to left-handed hitters instead of throwing slider after slider.

"I think we want him in some situations where he can face some righties too," he said. "Not to get so locked in on lefty, lefty, lefty and he'll use his fastball then. That will help him."

Rays (61-52)

1. Desmond Jennings, LF
2. B.J. Upton, CF
3. Ben Zobrist, RF
4. Evan Longoria, DH
5. Jeff Keppinger, 3B
6. Carlos Pena, 1B
7. Ryan Roberts, 2B
8. Sean Rodriguez, SS
9. Jose Lobaton, C

 Pitching: RHP James Shields

Twins (49-64)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Ben Revere, RF
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Josh Willingham, DH 
5. Justin Morneau, 1B 
6. Ryan Doumit, LF
7. Alexi Casilla, 2B 
8. Brian Dozier, SS 
9. Jamey Carroll,3B

Pitching: LHP Scott Diamond


Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Brooklyn 109 FINAL
Boston 107
Cleveland 98 FINAL
Orlando 89
Indiana 109 FINAL
Detroit 119
Milwaukee 107 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Houston 117 FINAL
Memphis 111
San Antonio 90 FINAL
New Orleans 97
Charlotte 75 FINAL
Oklahoma City 98
LA Lakers 98 FINAL
Dallas 102
Minnesota 102 FINAL
Denver 106
Philadelphia 93 FINAL
Portland 114
Phoenix 115 FINAL
Sacramento 106
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(15) Arizona State 12/27/14 1:10 PM
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State


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