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.

Gardenhire: All-Star pressure got to Mauer

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: August 29, 2014 - 4:58 PM

    BALTIMORE -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has in interesting theory about Joe Mauer's awful first half, when the three-time batting champion hit just .271 and struck out more than he ever had before. The problem, Gardenhire believes, was holding the All-Star Game at Target Field.

    "He was pressing. There's no doubt, before the All-Star game, I think he was pressing," Gardenhire said. "It's the first time my career as manager here, [that I've] seen Joe Mauer really want something bad -- that was the All-Star Game, and I think it played a part in it. I don't think he would ever admit to it, but in my opinion, it definitely did."

    Gardenhire is right about one thing: his first baseman doesn't buy the theory. Back spasms and minor injuries were to blame, Mauer said. "I definitely wanted to make the [All-Star] team, but I don't know if that had anything to do with my first half. It's news to me," Mauer siad. "I had back spasms early, and when I started swinging well, something like that always popped up. I don't think it was any added pressure."

    I'll have more on Gardenhire's reasoning in tomorrow's Star Tribune, but there's little doubt that Mauer his closer to his old self again. Even amid a 1-for-15 slump, Mauer has cut way back on his strikeouts since returning from an oblique injury that would have kept him out of the All-Star Game anyway, and his on-base percentage this month is .400.

    The Twins arrived at their hotel at 4:15 a.m., and they have eased into the day's activities, skipping early batting practice. But if they're tired, maybe the electricity of the city will pick them up today, because Baltimore is buzzing. A new casino, the Horseshoe, opened this week just on the other side of M&T Bank Stadium right next door, so there are crowds of people here for that. And the football stadium will be full tomorrow, too, when Ohio State opens its football season in the afternoon against Navy. Plenty of Buckeyes at the car-rental facility when I arrived this morning.

    The Twins sometimes send the next day's starting pitcher ahead of the team when they expect difficult travel days, but Trevor May was on the team charter last night, I'm told. I imagine he spent the day resting for tonight's start, the fourth of his career.

    On the field, the Twins will try to hit a little better than they did in Kansas City, where their 13-13 scoring standoff with the Royals is a little deceiving, since 11 runs came in last night's game. Kurt Suzuki gets the night off, so Eric Fryer can catch May, his former Rochester teammate. One other benefit, too, manager Ron Gardenhire said: "It gives Suzuki a chance to chill out in the dugout with me and drive me crazy." Kennys Vargas is playing first base for the fifth time since joining the team, and first time since last Sunday, but the lineups are otherwise the usual.

    After facing ex-Twins Liam Hendriks and Josh Willingham in Kansas City, the Twins see a couple more of their former players here, in outfielder Delmon Young and shortstop J.J. Hardy. There's one other, lesser-known connection: Orioles first baseman Steve Pearce, who spent spring training with the Twins in 2012, but was cut before the season started.

    Here are the lineups for tonight's game against the first-place Orioles:




Santana CF

Dozier 2B

Mauer DH

Vargas 1B

Arcia RF

Plouffe 3B

Escobar SS

Fryer C

Schafer LF






Markakis RF

Pearce 1B

Jones CF

Cruz DH

Young LF

Hardy SS

Davis 3B

Joseph C

Schoop 2B


Gonzalez RHP


Atlanta 2
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 5 FINAL
Baltimore 4
Toronto 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2 FINAL
Cleveland 4
San Diego 3 FINAL
Seattle 4
Chicago WSox 6 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Kansas City 13 FINAL
Texas 2
Oakland 9 FINAL
San Francisco 2
Wisc-Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Milwaukee 8
Arizona 6 FINAL
Colorado 3
Univ of Minnesota 1 FINAL
Minnesota 3
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 105
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Orlando 100
Cleveland 120 FINAL
Toronto 112
Utah 84 FINAL
Boston 85
Charlotte 115 FINAL
Brooklyn 91
Denver 100 FINAL
Minnesota 85
Detroit 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
LA Lakers 94 FINAL
Miami 100
Philadelphia 118 FINAL
Oklahoma City 123
Memphis 102 FINAL
Houston 100
Sacramento 85 FINAL
San Antonio 112
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
Golden State 102
Portland 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Ottawa 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 2
Pittsburgh 1 FINAL
Colorado 3
Montreal 1 FINAL
Anaheim 3
Longwood 65 FINAL
Presbyterian 61
Campbell 64 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 80
Ohio State 77 FINAL
Penn State 67
Maine 66 FINAL
Albany 83
Duquesne 81 FINAL
Fordham 66
George Washington 67 FINAL
George Mason 51
Tennessee 78 FINAL
LSU 63
Notre Dame 71 FINAL
Louisville 59
SE Missouri St 74 FINAL
Morehead State 79
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Mount St Marys 58
Hartford 63 FINAL
New Hampshire 67
Wagner 68 FINAL
Robert Morris 91
Long Island 70 FINAL
St Francis-NY 79
La Salle 50 FINAL
Saint Josephs 55
Providence 79 FINAL
Seton Hall 66
South Florida 74
Binghamton 57 FINAL
Stony Brook 62
Vermont 66
Sacred Heart 85 FINAL
Bryant 91
Richmond 56 FINAL
Massachusetts 53
Wake Forest 51 FINAL
Duke 94
Purdue 66 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Miami-Florida 67 FINAL
Pittsburgh 63
St Bonaventure 64 FINAL
Saint Louis 48
New Mexico St 69 FINAL
TX-Pan American 48
Houston 68 FINAL
Tulane 63
Howard 62 FINAL
Oklahoma State 82
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
Tulsa 47
Miss State 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Utah State 53 FINAL
Wyoming 76
St Johns 67 FINAL
Marquette 51
SIU Edwardsville 66 FINAL
Eastern Ill 78
Air Force 66 FINAL
Fresno State 68
Nebraska 57 FINAL
Illinois 69
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Nevada 62
Boise State 68 FINAL
San Jose St 51
San Diego St 60 FINAL
Oregon 65 FINAL
Oregon State 62
UC Santa Barbara 98 FINAL
Hawaii 90
Toledo 64 FINAL
Northern Ill 68
Wake Forest 69 FINAL
Boston College 53
Eastern Illinois 35 FINAL
UT Martin 68
Austin Peay 69 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
NC State 56
Massachusetts 55 FINAL
St Bonaventure 49
Auburn 71 FINAL
Florida 49
Penn State 63 FINAL
Indiana 68
Clemson 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 80
Davidson 63 FINAL
La Salle 74
Loyola-Maryland 46 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Boston U 48 FINAL
Colgate 58
Coll of Charleston 58 FINAL
James Madison 107
Delaware 76 FINAL
Elon 77
Drexel 58 FINAL
Northeastern 42
Hofstra 75 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 76
Towson 56 FINAL
William & Mary 68
Miami-Ohio 55 FINAL
Akron 67
Ball State 85 FINAL
Central Michigan 69
Buffalo 55 FINAL
Bowling Green 47
Western Mich 65 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 74
Ohio U 69 FINAL
Kent State 56
Youngstown St 62 FINAL
Cleveland State 73
Illinois-Chicago 54 FINAL
Wright State 74
Alabama 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Detroit 60 FINAL
Milwaukee 56
Purdue 58 FINAL
Wisconsin 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question