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: The Hammer. Gardy. A Pavano sighting

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 13, 2012 - 11:57 PM

Wow. Frankie was on tonight. But the Twins screw up another good outing by a starter (remember De Vries in Texas?) and lose 6-3 to Oakland.

Here are three thoughts following the game.

1. Hammer Time: Michael Cuddyer led the Twins last season with 20 home runs. Josh Willingham now has more than that after hitting two homers in a game for the 11th time in his career. His night might have been set up by Denard Span getting picked off first base in the first inning. Willingham saw seven pitches in that at-bat and had plenty of information on A's righthander A.J. Griffin when he faced him again in the second. "I got a couple good pitches to hit," he said. "I sure did. I think the first at bat helped me when Denard ended up getting picked off I think. I kind of got into the at-bat, into the game early and saw a lot of pitches. I think that helped me the rest of the game. Just seeing all his pitches. I knew pretty much every pitch that he had, and I hadn't had an at-bat yet. I was in the box for 6-8 pitches, and I think that helped more than anything."

2. Gardy knew he didn't have a chance. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire knew the umpires made the right decision to change Yeonis Cespedes' fly out to an error in the fourth. He knew Span did not catch the ball cleanly. But he said he had to take a shot at talking them out of it, so he went to the field to argue anyway. "I tried persuading them a little bit but I knew I wasn't going to win the argument," he said. "I threw everything out there I could, other than getting thrown out. That wasn't going ot be good."
 

3. A Pavano sighting: It took longer than Carl Pavano anticipated, but he's regained the strength in his shoulder, he's playing catch and is building up to throwing off the mound in a week or so. He spoke with us before the game, and clearly has been frustrated at the parade of starting pitchers the Twins have tried out. He feels partially responsible. "You see the team struggling. You see the team going through a lot of starters, calling up guys that maybe weren’t quite ready to start, but we have no one because I’m not available. You feel like you put your team in that position and I did in essence. It’s not something I did on purpose. They paid me a lot of money to go out there and be the guy they can count on and they haven’t been able to do that. There’s no doubt that it’s frustrating for me and everyone involved. There’s not much I can do, there’s not much I can control then work hard, stay positive and be here for my teammates and do everything I can do to get back."

 

 

 

 

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