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.

For Mauer, facing Verlander is a good thing

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: April 29, 2013 - 10:27 PM

Three thoughts on the Twins' 4-3 loss on the first day of a nine-game trip:

-- Hard not to feel sorry for Joe Mauer. As if extending his hitless streak to a career-high 20 straight at-bats wasn't bad enough, the Twins' catcher took two hard foul balls off his mask in the space of three pitches in the seventh inning Monday. Both of them seemed to rattle Mauer a little, and umpire Paul Schrieber stalled by brushing off the plate and requesting new baseballs to give him some time.

Mauer is now batting .289, which actually is the highest among the nine players in the lineup tonight. But it's 82 points off his average just six days earlier.

It sounds funny to say, but maybe facing Justin Verlander on Tuesday is what Mauer needs. In the battle between the 2009 A.L. MVP and the 2011 A.L. MVP, Mauer is batting .373, with a .479 on-base percentage (including 12 walks, more than against any other pitcher he's ever faced), and a .593 slugging percentage (including three home runs, which is also the most he's hit against any pitcher).

-- You can tell Mike Pelfrey is getting tired of giving the same answers after every start, as he wonders when his arm will bounce back and he'll be the pitcher who won 15 games back in 2010 again. "The standards I set for myself, I'm just not meeting," he said after the Twins' 4-3 loss to Detroit.

He hates talking about his Tommy John surgery, refuses to say much other than "I feel great. I never throw a pitch where I think about my elbow." He considers it an excuse that he won't use. Admirable, sure -- but realistic?

Pelfrey has made five starts for the Twins, plus another half-dozen shorter ones in spring training -- and tonight was 363 days since his surgery. It really is a remarkably fast recovery, and while he can't figure out why it's taking awhile to get better results, I have to think it's just the nature of coming back from something that serious.

He's been having trouble with pitch counts, but tonight, after a 23-pitch first inning, his counts went: 9, 17, 7, 16, 18. "He hasn't done that in the last couple of outings," Ron Gardenhire said. "He got us into the second half of the game. ... He just needs innings, and the only way to get them is to pitch like that."

-- If anyone but Miguel Cabrera was at the plate in the sixth inning, the foul popup he hit to short right field gets caught. And then Fielder's home run just ties the game, rather than beats the Twins. But "you're playing deep back there," Gardenhire said. "Parm's out there in right center [and] deep, and the second baseman's playing to pull. It just landed in the right spot."

Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)


San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
UCF 6:00 PM
Arizona 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
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