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.

Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Twins-Tigers: A win and the Twins take opening series against division favorite

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: April 4, 2013 - 10:37 AM


Not much going on in the clubhouse this morning as the Twins prepare for their rubber match of their series against the Tigers. The Twins will shove off to Baltimore afterward for a weekend series.The Twins will end up being part of three openers this season. Theirs, the Orioles on Friday and Kansas City's on Monday.

Interesting game yesterday. Eduardo Escobar really put a swing on that Phil Coke pitch in the ninth inning. The kid has been encouraged to take a good rip at any pitch he likes, and Escobar has been letting it loose ever since spring training.

``That ball carried,'' Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter said. ``He put a charge into it. He swung the bat hard, that wasn't just to make contact.''

Detroit catcher Alex Avila said the wind had stopped blowing before the inning started, creating the conditions for the game-winning hit.

Now it's on to Tigers righthander Rick Porcello.

Jamey Carroll was in the batting cage early today -  because he's starting at second. Carroll is a career .353 hitter against Porcello. Josh Willingham is 5-for-8. Ryan Doumit is 5-for-7. Joe Mauer (.250) and Justin Morneau (, 174, 1 HR) not so hot against him.

For the Tigers, Omar Infante is a career .538 hitter against Mike Pelfrey,  and Prince is batting .455 with a homer against him.

The minor league seasons are kicking off today. Class AAA Rochester is at Buffalo, with P.J. Walters facing Justin Germano. First pitch is at 1:05 Baltimore.

Speaking of minor leagues, I'll have plenty of content next week while Phil Miller is with the team in Baltimore and Kansas City. And get your picks to click ready, as I will open the polls in the next few days.


1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Torii Hunter, RF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Victor Martinez, DH
6. Don Kelly, LF
7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
8. Alex Avila, C
9. Omar Infante, 2B

Pitching: RHP Rick Porcello, 6-4, 3.24 carrier v. Twins. 0-0, 5.27 in three starts last season.


1. Aaron Hicks, CF
2. Joe Mauer, C
3. Josh Willingham, LF
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Ryan Doumit, DH
6. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
7. Chris Parmelee, RF
8. Jamey Carroll, 2B
9. Pedro Florimon, SS

Pitching: RHP Mike Pelfrey, RHP. First start since April 21.


Chicago WSox - LP: Z. Duke 1 FINAL
Detroit - WP: J. Soria 2
San Diego - WP: J. Shields 5 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: B. Schlitter 4
Philadelphia - LP: S. O Sullivan 2 FINAL
Washington - WP: M. Scherzer 7
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 6
Atlanta - WP: C. Martin 8 FINAL
Toronto - LP: B. Cecil 7
Miami - LP: B. Hand 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: B. Colon 4
Baltimore - LP: B. Matusz 2 FINAL
Boston - WP: K. Uehara 3
NY Yankees - WP: D. Betances 5 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: K. Jepsen 4
LA Angels - WP: C. Ramos 6 FINAL
Houston - LP: C. Qualls 3
Cleveland - LP: B. Shaw 2 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: B. Boyer 3
Oakland - LP: D. Otero 4 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: W. Davis 6
Cincinnati - LP: J. Cueto 1 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Wacha 6
Colorado - LP: K. Kendrick 3 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 7
Texas - WP: Y. Gallardo 3 FINAL
Seattle - LP: J. Happ 1
Arizona - WP: J. Collmenter 9 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: J. Peavy 0
Ottawa 2 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 3
NY Islanders 3 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 2 FINAL
Nashville 6
Calgary 1 FINAL
Vancouver 4
San Jose 0 FINAL
Red Bull New York 2


question of the day

Poll: Who will be the Wild's MVP against St. Louis?

Weekly Question





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