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.

Three postgame thoughts from LEN3: De Vries. Morneau. Twinsness

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: May 25, 2012 - 1:33 AM

The Twins lost 11-8 to the White Sox on Thursday. Here are three things on my mind after the game.

1. Not sure about Cole De Vries yet. A wise baseball man once told me that it's hard to judge pitchers making their major league debuts because nerves get in the way of them showing their best stuff. Cole De Vries admitted the butterflies were all over the place with him tonight as he debuted for his hometown team. I would like to see him after he gets a couple more starts - and hopefully settles down. He has nice curveball but lack of velocity gives him little room for error. What type of improvement will he make after his first outing?

2. Justin Morneau. The Twins are a different team when he's in the lineup. And his wrist must be feeling pretty good because he had his second two-homer game of the season and 16th of his career. His first home run was estimated at 430 feet, which is a joke. His third hit was a double that that hit the base of the fence. He's locked in. Not quite Paul Konerko locked in (my goodness is HE dialed in right now)  but locked in.

3. Twinsness. This year, Twinsness is about a starter getting through the sixth inning. It looks like they have the sticks to score runs on most nights. The starter just has to get through six so Burton, Perkins and Capps can be deployed over the last three innings.The game got out of hand, so Gardy's decision to leave De Vries in wasn't as glaring. Gardy said De Vries looked so strong after the fifth that he gave him a chance to face Konerko and Rios in the sixth. Duensing was warming up to face Pierzynski. De Vries said he felt good going into the sixth but just left two pitches up. People appear to be wound up over not pulling De Vries so he could have left on a positive note. Gardy said he needed De Vries to get through the sixth and thought he was up for it. I think I would have let De Vries start the sixth but would have had double barrels in the bullpen and pulled him after Konerko.

Again, it didn't matter because Duensing was a mess tonight.

And, how about the unearned runs? The middle infield hasn't done their starters any favors the last two nights.


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