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.

Twins look to head to Chicago on a winning note

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: September 12, 2010 - 11:52 AM

Some interesting stuff from last night's game.

Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco pitched well and has a pretty impressive change up.``I thought it was a curveball,'' Denard Span said. ``I had to go back and look at the tape and saw it was change up.''

Still, it was surprising that Carrasco dominated a pretty good Twins lineup. I pointed out in my early story some of the top pitchers the Twins have beaten - Tim Hudson, Johan Santana, Trevor Cahill, Zack Greinke, David Price among them - so they know how to beat good pitching.

Carrasco hadn't faced the Twins before, and that often is a big factor. Twins players were coming back to the dugout talking about how nasty Carrasco was, and they never solved him.

+++Gardy spoke with lefthander Randy Flores this morning after Flores gave up singles to the two lefties he faced  in the 11th - Chin-Soo Choo and Travis Hafner.

Both were on fastballs.

``If I wanted a fastball thrown I would have put a righthander in,'' Gardenhire said.

A White Sox scout here said this morning that all the scouts in the stands were wondering the same thing. Twins catcher Joe Mauer was calling for breaking balls but Flores was shaking him off. Flores told Gardy that he had been giving up hits off his breaking balls lately.

I remember Gardy having the same problem with Ron Mahay earlier in the season. Mahay eventually started mixing in breaking balls and was pitching fairly decently until he injured his shoulder and was knocked out for the season.

+++Matt Guerrier replaced Flores. With the infielders around the mound, Gardy ordered the, `dive,' play. Shortstop J.J. Hardy is supposed to dive into second as if there's  a pickoff, which is designed to get the runner to freeze and affect how he breaks for third.. Gardy said when he gave the term for the play, some of them were confused. He had to explain what the play was!

Hardy pulled off the play as Matt Guerrier pitched to Jayson Nix. Choo froze. When Nix bunted back toward the mound, Guerrier then had enough time to throw to third to force out Choo.

Gardy joked on Sunday that he might have to drill his team on the play again.

  • Both Jose Mijares and Randy Flores are available today.
  • Jim Thome, with 587 homers, now trails A-Rod (605) and Sammy Sosa (609) on the all-time list. If Thome plays one more year. I think he could finish seventh all time in homers and seventh all time in RBI. It's a pleasure to cover him. I've been fortunate to cover Hall of Famers George Brett and Paul Molitor. Thome will get his day in Cooperstown, too.

Twins (84-58)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Jason Kubel, RF
5. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
6. Jim Thome, DH
7. Delmon Young, LF
8. Danny Valencia, 3B
9. Alexi Casilla, SS

Kevin Slowey, RHP

Cleveland (58-84)

1. Michael Brantley, CF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
4. Travis Hafner, DH
5. Jayson Nix, 3B
6. Jordan Brown, LF
7. Matt LaPorta, 1B
8. Luis Valbuena, 2B
9. Chris Gimenez, C

Mitch Talbot, RHP

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