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.

Postgame: Plouffe's replacements at third went 10-for-88

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: June 15, 2013 - 12:52 AM

A couple of leftovers from another quiet night, offensively, for the Twins:

-- Trevor Plouffe will be back in Minneapolis on Saturday, and I'm guessing he'll be back in the lineup. The Twins went with their utility men while Plouffe was out with a concussion and a calf injury, but the offense definitely suffered. Eduardo Escobar and Jamey Carroll combined to go 10-for-88 in the 22 games Plouffe missed, with one RBI apiece. That's a .114 average and only one extra-base hit (none since May 23) from a position that's supposed to provide some sock. Plouffe might not be Mike Schmidt, but the Twins need him.

Adding Plouffe and subtracting Chris Herrmann does change a few things, however. For one thing, it probably means whoever plays second base, whether it's Carroll, Escobar or Brian Dozier, will be the leadoff hitter, almost by default. And it means Ron Gardenhire can no longer pull Ryan Doumit for a defensive substitute in the late innings; with only two catchers once more, he won't risk removing one from the game, in case the other is hurt.

-- It's sort of moot considering the Twins couldn't scratch out a run against Detroit, but amid the disastrous three-doubles outburst in the sixth inning came a Twins misplay that added to the mess. Ryan Doumit judged Prince Fielder's high, deep fly ball to be off the wall almost instantly, and he turned to get into position rather than racing back to try to catch it.

Tough call, especially on the run, but the ball bounced low enough for him to reach. But once Doumit reached the ball, he turned and fired it over cutoff man Brian Dozier's head. The ball carried to second base, and Miguel Cabrera, who wasn't running full speed around third until he saw the throw, scored from first base.

"I don't think Cabrera should have scored on that ball. We didn't make a relay play right there," Gardenhire said. "He had slowed up around third, but obviously we didn't get the ball in the right hands in the infield. An errant throw from the outfield got us twisted a little bit."

-- The middle of the Twins' lineup has looked exhausted for a couple of days. Josh Willingham's knees are bothering him a bit, Gardenhire said before the game, and maybe it's affecting his at-bats. Willingham is 3-for-26 (.115) over his last seven games, with eight strikeouts and no walks. Justin Morneau is 4-for-19 in six games, and one of them was his three-hit rescue of the Twins against Philadelphia on Tuesday; it's 1-for-15 in the others. Facing Cliff Lee and Rick Porcello is part of it, since both pitchers have a track record of effectiveness, obviously in Lee's case especially. But the Twins need to recharge their bats if they're going to stay in the A.L. Central race. They're 7 1/2 games out now.

-- And finally, a mea culpa: There's a bad statistic in my Twins' game story in Saturday's paper (I caught it a few minutes too late to make the press run). Prince Fielder is 12-for-19 in his last 21 plate appearances following a walk of any kind to Miguel Cabrera, not just intentional walks. But the point remains: It's a decision with no correct answer.

La Velle E. Neal III has the rest of the series, so check his blog, Twins Insider, and follow him on Twitter @lavelleneal.

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New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 62 4th Qtr
New Orleans 85
Minnesota 56 3rd Qtr 0:51
Oklahoma City 65
Orlando 73 3rd Qtr 0:35
Memphis 89
Boston 41 2nd Qtr 5:50
Utah 26
Denver 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 2nd Half 0:03
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 68 2nd Half 4:33
NC A&T 61
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 50 2nd Half 4:00
Campbell 66
MD-Eastern Shore 48 2nd Half 16:00
Florida A&M 34
Stephen F Austin 73 2nd Half 6:25
Lamar 55
Central Arkansas 58 2nd Half 6:02
New Orleans 82
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
TX A&M-CC 59 2nd Half 3:19
SE Louisiana 53
Sam Houston St 75 2nd Half 5:21
Abilene Christian 57
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 35 2nd Half
Alabama A&M 42
Southern U 36 1st Half 0:28
Alabama State 26
Prairie View 30 1st Half 1:00
Ark-Pine Bluff 47
Texas 23 1st Half 0:58
Iowa State 34
Texas Southern 28 2nd Half 20:00
Miss Valley St 32
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 26 2nd Half
Auburn 22
(15) Nebraska 28 2nd Half
(20) Iowa 21
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