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.

The morning after

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: September 22, 2010 - 11:34 AM

PREGAME UPDATE: Ron Gardenhire didn't mince words when he said the goal is to win as many games as possible, and pointed to the advantages of playing at Target Field as motoivation for finishing the regular season strong.

He said that the postseason rotation, for now,  is Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano, Brian Duensing and Nick Blackburn. That could change if someone pitches poorly down the stretch.

Carl Pavano is getting eight days off between starts. He pitched last Thursday in Chicago and won't pitch again until Saturday.

Joe Mauer has not received a cortisone shot in his balky left knee yet. They wanted to make sure the dye that's in his knee - the result of the enhanced MRI he had - is gone first.

While the Twins want to win as many games as they can the rest of the way, several regulars are getting a day off today.


Indians (62-89)

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

Carlos Carrasco, RHP

Twins (91-60)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Alexi Casilla, SS
3. Jason Kubel, DH
4. Danny Valencia, 3B
5. Jose Morales, 1B
6. Matt Tolbert, 2B
7. Ben Revere, LF
8. Jason Repko, RF
9. Drew Butera, C

Nick Blackburn, RHP

As celebrations go, the one last night was fairly tame.

There was the usual careless wasting of the sparkling water and dumping of beer on unsuspecting souls, but with today's 12:15 pm game there just wasn't a lot of time to let loose with full-contact partying.

I can't imagine what this town would have been like if the Twins had clinched today then barreled out of Target Field in time to meet the happy hour crowd. With no game on Thursday things might have reached The Hangover level, complete with tigers, chickens and nude men locked inside trunks of cars.

It was cool to see the inured players brought in to enjoy the celebration. Clay Condrey, Ron Mahay, Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan were in the clubhouse after the game. Mahay posed with Nathan for picture while screaming, ``this is the M*A*S*H unit!'' Anyone who's been around Mahay knows he likes to scream things.

I chatted with Nathan for awhile. He really has a good feeling about this team, based on it ability to keep winning when players are injured. Nathan will not accompany the team during the playoffs. ``I'm going back to Tennessee,'' he said. ``It's time to get my rehab going.''

I didn't get a chance to talk to Morneau. His wife, Krista, was there. Let's hope that the Morneaus enjoy a safe and uncomplicated family expansion.

Talked to Jim Thome. He's been to the playoffs four  eight times but looked on Tuesday as if he was experiencing it all for the first time. The impact he's had on this team has been enormous and he seems to be having a blast.

``This has rejuvenated me,'' said Thome, who indicated he would like to play next season.

Headed to the clubhouse to see what wasn't cleaned up. Will check in later with updates. Curious to see that the  lineup is.



 

 

 

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