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: Dozier, Shut out, Nolasco, BONUS

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: August 21, 2014 - 12:11 AM

Here are three thoughts following the Twins' 5-0 loss to Cleveland

WELCOME TO THE CLUB: Brian Dozier stole second base in the first inning, giving him 20 homers and 20 doubles on the season. He's the sixth Twin to do so, joining Larry Hisle, Kirby Puckett, Marty Cordova, Torii Hunter and Corey Koskie. Dozier gave credit to hitting coach Tom Brunansky for helping him use his legs more and get more power, and coaches Paul Molitor and Joe Vavra for giving him daily information that helps him look for ways to steal bases. ``Kind of takes me to what went through Molitor's head every time he was on the bases,'' Dozier said. In the end, it was hard for him to enjoy the achievement. "If you're not winning games, it's not going to taste as good,'' he said.

SHUT OUT BY A LEFTY: The Twins were shut out on Wednesday for the 10th time this season. Six of those have come from the following left-handed starters: Jason Vargas, Joe Saunders, Jason Vargas, Chris Sale, Jon Lester and now TJ House. Not sure if that means much of anything, but teams see far fewer lefties than righties. As manager Ron Gardenhire pointed out, they are a sub-.500 team against lefties and righties.

RICKY NOLASCO: I was going to focus my game story on him before the Twins ran their scoreless streak to 18 innings. Another problem, it was kind of a so-so performance. I thought he was going to get knocked out early, with some of the pitches he left up in the zone. But he did improve some as the game went along. He had a shot at a quality start, but Chris Dickerson stole second as Nolasco struck out Roberto Perez for the second out of the seventh inning. Nolasco was replaced by Caleb Thielbar, who gave up a RBI single - Nolasco's fourth earned run -  to Michael Bourn. ``I feel bad we gave up his fourth run,'' Gardenhire said. I need to see Nolasco get a little sharper before I can say he's looking like the $12 million a year pitcher they signed during the offseason.

SEPTEMBER CALLUPS: The Twins are having discussions about who to call up in September, and Twins GM Terry Ryan is headed to Rochester (this weekend, I'm guessing) to make some final decisions. Who deserves the call up? Josmil Pinto? James Beresford? AJ Acter? Michael Tonkin? Lester Oliveros? What about Alex Meyer? There are some in the organization who believe he should not be called up because, after two more starts, he will have added 30 percent to his workload over last season and there's no sense in pushing it. I get the feeling he's not coming up. That stinks, because I believe if a team thinks a player has a chance to make a team next season - and Meyer could push for a spot in the Opening Day rotation - then it's smart to get him up in September and the baptism out of the way. But it's a tricky situation with his workload.

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