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: April 12, 2012 - 12:46 AM

Recap: The Twins shook off 1-0 and 5-3 deficits to defeat the Angels 6-5 at Target Field.

Here are three things that are important to note after the game - or three things that aren't important that I just want to wrote about.

1. Carl Pavano's velocity: Actually, it didn't come up after the game, but Pavano hit 85-88 on the stadium radar run. A few people on twitter (follow me at @LaVelleNeal) said Pitch F/X had it a couple mph higher, but I can't believe the Twins gun is two mph slow. Maybe it is.

Anyway, Pavano doesn't seem to be as concerned about his velo as he is his location. And he felt that he failed to execute a few pitches on Wednesday that got him into trouble. "I made it tough on us today. I kept letting those guys back in the door."

Pavano said he felt better than he did on Opening Day but started feeling a little tired after the fifth inning. I expect his velo and stamina to go up over his next two starts before settling into what we can expect from him through the bulk of the season.

2. Chris Parmelee against left-handed pitchers: Parmelee hit .226 against left-handed pitchers last season at New Britain. So how in the heck was he able to look comfortable against Angels left-hander Hisanori Takahashi?

Parmelee hit .316 against lefties during his September callup. Then he spent a chuck of his offseason having a buddy who's left-handed throw to him.

"A guy throws batting practice to me left-handed," Parmelee said. "That definitely helps me, facing lefties and stuff. But every year that goes by, every half season that goes by, almost every at-bat that goes by I start to feel more and more comfortable against left-handers. I have a little better approach against lefties."

So I asked him if hitting .226 against lefthanders last year at New Britain motivated him to address the issue.

"I don't know, did I really hit .226 against lefties?" He said while chuckling.

One reason Twins manager Ron Gardenhire left Parmelee in against Takahashi: He was tougher on right-handed hitters (.206) then left-handed hitters (.261). And Parmelee came through with his first career triple, scoring two runs to tie the game.

3. Gardy's late-inning defense. I thought the game was set up for a Ben Revere appearance in the ninth inning to boost the defense. But Revere didn't enter the game.

I asked Gardenhire if he was tempted to use Revere. He said he was but he didn't want to take Josh Willingham (who's thumping the ball) out of the game. He could have pulled Ryan Doumit but Gardenhire said that taking his backup catcher out of the game worries him. If the game goes extras, and Mauer wears down or gets dinged, then he has to use Luke Hughes behind the plate.

Gardy is always concerned about being short a catcher. It doesn't help that Willingham prefers to play left and Doumit is the least comfortable at first (I was thinking Revere could replace Parmelee and go to right with Doumit going to first). I can see why Gardy feels the way he does. But I think Revere should have been on the field somewhere in the ninth inning yesterday, If he can't get on the field in those situations why is he here?

 

 

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