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.

Three postgame thoughts from LEN3: Clutchness, the Rotation, the Grandyman

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: April 19, 2012 - 11:27 PM

Gotta sleep fast before a 4 a.m. wakeup call. Here are three quick thoughts following the Twins' 7-6 loss to the Yankees.

1. Clutch up. There have been at least two games this year where the Twins needed one or two hits that could have turned a loss into a win, The Twins were 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position on Thursday. The ones that stand out: Casilla's pop up with a runner on third and one out in the fourth; Morneau and Doumit striking out with two on in the seventh; and Valencia's leadoff double wasted in the eighth. They should be kicking themselves after this one because the Yankees aren't clicking right not and could have been had.

2. The rotation: Twins starters have a 6.52 ERA. Getting Nick Blackburn back in the rotation should help, but man, that is a BIG number.

3. Curtis Granderson. I remember going to watch Arizona Fall League action in 2004. My assignment was to write a story about Jason Bartlett being the shortstop of the future. Scott Baker, Jesse Crain, J.D. Durbin, Rob Bowen and Kevin West were the other Twins prospects there that year. Jason Kubel tore up his knee the week before I got there. I had a chance to meet Curtis Granderson while I was there and he was impressive. Twins GM Terry Ryan was there and said, "he's going to be a good player. He can run, hit, throw - and he's going to hit for power." Granderson has become all of that while playing on the big stage and under the bright lights. He's a high-quality person too. He's also a former Mankato Masher in the Northwoods League.

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