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.

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.

Twins postgame: Blackburn the stopper

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: May 24, 2011 - 11:49 PM

There's always something new to learn about baseball. Some little nuance that makes you gad you showed up at the ballpark.

There was one of those moments after the Twins' 4-2 win over Seattle. Twins righthander Nick Blackburn pitched very well. His only mistake was Miguel Olivo's two-run homer in the fourth. The rest of the night, Blackburn was in control. He really pitched inside effectively, which opened up the outer half of the plate for him,

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said after the game that  Blackburn and catcher Rene Rivera have really clicked as a battery. So Blackburn was asked about it after the game.

``Rene is great,'' Blackburn said. ``We go over our game plan before the game. I tell the guys that I want to....keep them off balance and crowd them and that's exactly what he does.''

Then Blackburn added:

``For you guys, I might be shaking (off signs) up there a lot, but a lot of times he's back there telling me to shake to throw the hitter off.''

That's a new one for me. Blackburn and Rivera must really have a good thing going to pull that off, It's always neat to find out the litltle things about this game.

It was Blackburn's first win at Target Field since Sept. 22 of last season,

Time to sleep fast for tomorrow's noon game. Kevin Slowey's visit to the hernia specialist is set for early tomorrow morning. So we should find out by the end of day that  the Twins intend to do with him.


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