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 postgame: Three thoughts from LEN3

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 13, 2012 - 6:30 PM

It was a blah game at Hammond Stadium on Tuesday as the Twins were held to five hits by  Brett Cecil and friends in an 8-2 loss. They are 6-6 in spring training games, if that matters.

Here are three thoughts I scrubbed the sides of my brain to come up with after this one.

1. Frankie's struggles. Joe Mauer once said he has to work on Francisco Liriano more than others to remain focused and under control. That came to mind today as Liriano paid the price for leaving pitches up in the strike zone. He's walked one batter and has struck out 12 this spring, so it's not all bad. But it seems like he's not quite locked in. And that's fine if he knows how to turn the switch on once the season starts. But does he?  This is why it's hard to evaluate him until the games start to count.

2. Carroll v. Nishioka. Jamey Carroll is 1 for 17 so far, and the Japanese media is taking note as the Nishi watch is in full effect. But there is zero chance that Nishi takes over for Carroll. In years of covering spring training, I've seen players stink in camp and rake once the season begins, and I've seen the opposite. So I'm not sure what to make co Carroll's struggles. He's apparently getting a little frustrated about it but he's got many games left to get his swing right. My thing: He's walked once, and I would like to my No. 2 hitter to get on base in various ways.

3. Can Waldrop break through? Kyle Waldrop was drafted as a starter with the 25th overall pick in 2004. He was known for good control and a solid pitching acumen. But he missed all of 2008 with shoulder problems and was moved to the bullpen when he returned in 2009. He has a decent sinker and keeps the ball down. At age 26, this is his time to break through to the majors.  Three scoreless innings are a good start, but the key will be what he does when he starts facing more major leaguers later in camp, But he's gotten some people's attention.

ADVERTISEMENT

more twins blogs

See all similar bloggersFull story

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT