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 Twins postgame thoughts from LEN3: Liriano, Dozier, Plouffe

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 23, 2012 - 11:32 PM

The Twins needed this game. And Gavin Floyd tried to keep them in it by walking six batters and giving up six hits. But the Twins negated that by going 0-14 with RISP and hitting into five double plays. Now they have to face Jose Quintana and Jake Peavy. Not good.

Here are three thoughts following the game:

1. Liriano's trade value: It should still exist. But he didn't have it on Monday. A bunch of scouts were on hand to watch him pitch and had no reason to be impressed, Frankie's mission now is to prove he can shake off a bad start. His last start before the trade deadline is against Cleveland this weekend. By then, the pitching market might have tightened up even more, which will help the Twins.

2. Dozier plays well. Brian Dozier made two nice defensive plays and was 2-for-4 with a bunt single. He needed this game because...well he wasn't on the hot seat but more like the warm seat, "Now it's just a matter of him being consistent," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. The Twins have been a little disappointed in his uneven play at short, Tonight's game could be a great jumping off point for Dozier.

3. Plouffe's thumb. The Twins say they are going to wait a couple more days for the bone bruise in Trevor Plouffe's right hand to improve. Plouffe said before the game that he's trying to get to a point where the pain is tolerable. I'm like...put him on the DL now. I've ranted before about how precious a hitter's hands are, and the last thing the Twins and Plouffe need is to battle with this the rest of the season. There's a huge hole in my plan, though. That means they would have to call up Danny Valencia from Class AAA Rochester. And I get the sense that no one wants to do that when he hasn't earned his way back to the majors. So it's wait on Plouffe while Jamey Carroll holds down third base.


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