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: Gardy's speech, Buehrle, Arcia

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 5, 2013 - 10:52 PM

Here are three thoughts following the Twins' loss to the Blue Jays:


1. WILL RELAXING LEAD TO MORE WINNING?:
Gardy had to do something because this team looked headed for the drain. So he went the positive reinforcement route, telling them that they are going a lot of things right so they shouldn't get wound up when something goes wrong. I think the players appreciated the message and will try to loosen up a little. Kevin Correia is right in that teams can play their best when they are relaxed - but they can also play well when they are ticked off. I think pitching has a lot to do with it. A good pitcher on the mound can add confidence to a team. A struggling staff - the like Twins - can make players feel like every run scoring opportunity is critical. The Twins were 18-27 in May then turned it on, winning eight of 10. So they have it in them. Time will tell if Gardy's words were the right ones to ignite this team. But, again, they need to pitch.

2. IT'S ALL BUEHRLE'S FAULT: There was a stretch, from 2008 to 2010, where Mark Buehrle went 5-8 against the Twins. Take that out and he's 22-11 against them. I think Buehrle might have had an even more dominant stretch against them but it's late. Trevor Plouffe put it the best. Buehrle takes advantage of hitters when they are aggressive and takes advantage when they are passive. How else can you explain his 85 mile and hour fastball being effective?

3. OSWALDO ARCIA: Does this kid have a shot at rookie of the year? I love watching him swing. He's the one showing the most confidence while this team went to pieces this week. Arcia collected two more singles on Friday and is batting .286. One came when he broke his bat on and swing and sent it flying in the direction of first baseman Adam Lind. Lind tried to be a man and attempted to field the ball while saving his life, but he flinched as the bat sailed toward the first base dirt, just enough for the grounder to slip under his glove.

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