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 Twins postgame thoughts from LEN3: Duensing, Gibson, Missed opportunites

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: August 25, 2012 - 7:54 PM

Here are three quick thoughts following the Twins' latest clunker:

1. Duensing blowing his chance. Brian Duensing has a chance to pitch himself into consideration for the starting rotation next season, but was pounded by the Rangers for a career-high nine earned runs over 21/3 innings. He's 2-9 as a starter. He's only comfortable in the stretch, And, on Saturday. He couldn't put Mitch Moreland away with two on in the second. Duensing said he wanted to throw a fastball on the inside corner but grooved one down the middle. The count was 1-2, so Duensing had the option of throwing something off the plate to see if Moreland chases.

2. Gibson update. Kyle Gibson's start at Class AAA Rochester began well, as he struck out three batters in the first inning and two in the second. But then he gave up four runs in the third inning. He didn't walk a batter but gave up six hits. He threw 47 pitches, 32 for strikes. He was supposed to throw 60-65 pitches, and there are no indications that he threw in the bullpen after he was pulled, which happens sometimes. Gibson, coming back from Tommy John surgery, will get a good idea of where he's at in his recovery while finishing the season with Rochester.

3. I'm not saying the Twins would have rallied, but things could have been different if the Twins cashed in on a big scoring opportunity in the fifth with their big hitters up. With runners on second and third, Texas righthander Ryan Dempster struck out Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham with sliders to end the inning. If two runs score there, it's  9-4, Dempster is on the ropes and the Twins have a better chance of chipping their way back in. But that's the way things are going for the Twins right now. A couple former Twins over in the Rangers clubhouse - Joe Nathan and Ron Washington - admit it's tough to see what the Twins are dealing with right now. "We all go through those type of tough times during the year," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of the Twins. "That's what they're going through right now."

 
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