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 look lousy in loss 11-5 to O's but these games don't count, right?

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 6, 2014 - 10:33 AM

Yuck. This was a sloppy game, as Baltimore had two, five-run innings as they smoked the Twins 11-5 Hammond Stadium. Mike Pelfrey got them off on the wrong foot by leaving several pitches over the plate that were feasted on by Orioles hitters. ``I definitely need to be better,'' he said.

Defense let the Twins down as well. Jorge Polanco and Eduardo Escobar didn't turn a couple double play opportunities in the sixth, with Polanco committing a throwing error on the first missed opportunity. That led to four unearned runs off of Scott Diamond - but the O's were making solid contact off of him.

Kurt Suzuki was hit on the right instep with a pitch in the fourth inning. He fell over when he was hit but went to first base after trainer Tony Leo checked on him. Suzuki was pulled after the inning, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said it was scheduled. ``He's fine,'' Gardy said. ``He was ticked off about the pitching.'' Suzuki is scheduled to play tomorrow.

Other observations:

Alex Presley came through with a sharp opposite field single to drive in the Twins' third run of the game. The Twins need a leadoff hitter and have been talking to Presley about handling that role. He's battling Aaron Hicks for the center field job.

Chris Parmelee was 1-for-2 with sharp single to right. ``He's got a different look in his eyes right now,'' Gardenhire said. ``He's not worried about anything, just going out and playing. He knows what's at stake with him.''

James Beresford has soft hands in the field and could be called up during the season. I'm wondering how much he can/will hit.

Of the three starters who are out of options, I would rank them: 1. Worley. 2. Deduno. 3. Diamond at this time. Worley is keeping the ball down better and is showing some Vanimal-like tendencies that didn't exist last year when his ERA was 7-something.

Saw Suzuki, Mauer, Dozier on the list to play tomorrow. No Byron Buxton.

Jason Bartlett is now 0-for-10. I'm not surprised because of the layoff. He needs a hit, however, so he can remember what the feeling was like.

What would this team look like if they had actually won the battles for Garza and Pierzynski and also had Santana on the back burner?

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