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: Nolasco, Mauer, Dozier

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: April 12, 2014 - 6:53 PM


1. NOLASCO STRONG: After making a mechanical adjustment, Ricky Nolasco resembled the pitcher the Twins hoped they bought on the free agent market. Nolasco racked up 12 ground ball outs as Royals hitters had trouble squaring up pitches for the second straight game.

2. MAUER POWER: Someone wanted to know when was the last time Joe Mauer hit a three-run home run. In terms of runs scored, it was his biggest since the grand slam he hit off of Luke Hochevar on Sept. 1, 2012. His last three-run homer was Aug. 4, 2012 off of Alfredo Aceves. I thought Mauer had missed his chance when James Shields threw a meatball over the plate on 3-1, and Mauer fouled it back. The next one, however, was a meatball with mashed potatoes and gravy, and Mauer didn't miss that one.

3. DOZIER SHOULD JUST MASH: Yes, Brian Dozier squared to bunt in the second inning on Saturday. No, it was not called by the bench. ``He kind of bunted on his own,'' interim manager Terry Steinbach said. ``We'll discuss that a little bit. I prefer to get four there.'' Dozier said Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas usually plays way in against him but had dropped back and looked vulnerable.  Dozier leads the Twins with four home runs. He should be looking to drive a ball there.

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