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.

Three Twins postgame thoughts from LEN3: Homestand, Hernandez, Gibson

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III under On the road Updated: May 19, 2013 - 9:51 PM

Here are three postgame thoughts following the Twins' 5-1 loss to Boston:

1, WHAT A CRUMMY HOMESTAND: There were some grumpy ballplayers in the clubhouse as the Twins packed and flew out to Atlanta. Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham never appeared to speak to the media before the clubhouse was closed. They aren't hitting with runners in scoring position, with Mauer the most recent example. He struck out with the bases loaded in the eighth with the score 3-1. We all know Willingham isn't the world's greatest outfielder, but we didn't get a chance to ask him how tricky of a play that was (or not) when he played Pedroia's long drive into a home run. They will have to get right on the road trip and try it again in just over a week when the Brewers come to town. The Twins have 15 of their next 20 games on the road. Yikes.

2. PEDRO HERNANDEZ: He must be tired of facing the Red Sox because of how they have had their way with him. He was pulled from the game with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning - after throwing 107 pitches. Boston scored three runs on nine hits and a walk off him, including a solo homer by Wil Middlebrooks in the second inning. In three career starts against the Red Sox, Hernandez is 0-2 with a 14.80 ERA. In 10.3 innings, Boston has hit six home runs off of him.

3. KYLE GIBSON RAISES THE STAKES: Class AAA Rochester righthander Kyle Gibson had his best outing of the year on Sunday, taking a no hitter into the eighth inning before finishing with a three-hit complete game shutout as the Red Wings beat Lehigh Valley 11-0. Gibson needed just 93 pitches for his gem – 58 were strikes, 35 were balls. He walked two and struck out eight as his record Improved to 3-5 with a 3.25 ERA.  The Twins have wanted Gibson to show more consistency, so his next start will be important. Before Sunday, his previous outing lasted three innings. Before that, he threw a complete game. Before that, he was knocked out in the fifth. Before that, he threw 62/3 scoreless innings. So he needs to string some good outings together. If Gibson has another strong outing in five days I hope they consider bringing him up then. He's on an innings limit, so it would be nice to see him for a few starts. The problem is, Cole De Vries is healthy and was on the team before he was injured. Samuel Deduno is almost ready after recovering from a pulled groin. Even P.J. Walters has pitched well of late. The Twins might replace Hernandez in the rotation, but it might not be with Gibson.
 

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