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:Casilla, Hendriks, tipping pitches

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: April 20, 2012 - 11:28 PM

The Twins beat Tampa Bay 5-4 on Friday. Here are three things on my mind as rain is pounding on the Tropicana Field roof and I have a long walk to my car!!!!!!!!!

1. Alexi Casilla needed to rally:  Alexi Casilla singled to center with one out in the seventh inning, the first of three hits and a walk in that inning that changed the outcome of the game. Casilla need to rally in the game. In the sixth inning, he misplayed a hard-hit ground ball that was initially ruled an error but changed back to a single. "Casilla knows he's got to make that play," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. On the next at-bat, Casilla was late covering first on a bunt play to the pitcher. I thought Casilla had a long way to go to get to the bag, but Gardenhrie said Casilla needed to take a direct route and was late. "That tells me he was thinking about his mistake on the previous play." It ended up being a happy ending, but Casilla can't afford to have innings like the sixth.

2. Watching Liam Hendriks pitch is interesting: Hendricks is not afraid to mix his pitches. He started off Evan Longoria with a slider in the second and a curve in the fourth. He started off B.J. Upton with sliders. With the bases loaded in the sixth, he started off Carlos Pena with a curveball. Pretty impressive for a young starter. He's still searching for his first major league win.

3. Tipping pitches: There were reports out of Boston during Matt Moore's last start that he was tipping pitches. The Twins scored three runs on eight hits off of him on Friday. Did they take advantage? Heard the tipping pitches thing was part of the scouting report, but the Twins looked tape and didn't detect a solid pattern. So the Twins didn't use the info against him.

 

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