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-A's: How will the Twins respond after a beatdown?

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: September 12, 2013 - 11:26 AM

I don't know how you people with 9-to-5 jobs do this every day.

It took me 20 minutes to go two miles on interstate 94 this morning as I slowly rolled to Target Field to see if the Twins were hung over from their 18-3 gangster-slapping by Oakland. If I had to drive through rush hour every day I would be mentally spent by the time I got to work. And I already get borderline road rage when drivers don't use their turn signals or block me from making a lane change

No hangover from last night, I think. But we were warned that Gardy didn't want any questions about last night's game. He did seem a little grumpy this morning. One player told me, ``we're winning a series today...last night, that ----- didn't happen.''

Cool, go back it up then. Prove that there's some pride in the clubhouse and there can be some emotion, because this team doesn't show much fire. It's understandable when the two best players through the years - the M & M boys - are not alpha personalities. That doesn't mean the rest of the team has to be that way.  And when the front office starts team-building for 2014 it would help if they bring in some grit and some edge. Aren't those hockey terms? Should I be griping for some snipers, too?

Mini-rant over. These are the dog days.

Scott Diamond makes his first appearance for the Twins since Aug. 1, when he was sent down after a loss to Kansas City. He apparently go his mojo back while at Rochester, throwing more strikes and working on his pitches. Let's see if it works when he's in  spoiler role.

Still no plans to shut Mike Pelfrey down after a rough outing last night. He just missed on a lot of pitches and might have been done wrong on a couple others, but he's got to fight through that. Gardy said they are watching Pelfrey closely, but he'll definitely make his next start. ``I don't think he would want to end the season after that (outing).'' Gardy said.

Ryan Doumit said the reason for him not catching any more this season is "100 percent" related to the concussion he suffered last month. He doesn't see any reason to risk another blow to the head. He does plan to get behind the plate next season.

Speaking of catchers and concussions, we hope to get an update from GM Terry Ryan on Joe Mauer, who suffered a setback on Wednesday.

Oakland (84-61)

1. Covelli "Coco" Crisp, CF
2. Josh Donaldson, 3B
3. Jed Lawrie, SS
4. Yoenis Cespedes, DH
5.  Alberto Callaspo, 2B
6. Chris Young, LF
7. Josh Reddick, RF
8. Derek Norris, C
9. Daric Barton, 1B

Pitching: A.J. Griffin, RHP

Twins (63-81)

1. Alex Presley, CF
2. Josmil Pinto, C
3. Brian Dozier, 2B
4. Oswaldo Arcia, RF
5. Ryan Doumit, DH
6. Josh Wllingham, LF
7. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
8. Chris Colabello, 1B
9. Pedro Florimon, SS

Pitching: Scott Diamond, LHP - A's are 27-19 against lefty starters.

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