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: De Vries, bullpen, Revere

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: August 27, 2012 - 4:04 PM

Here are three thoughts following the Twins' 6-5 win over the Rangers:

1. Cole De Vries had to be removed after five innings. People were fired up on twitter and my e-mail account after De Vries was lifted from the game following five innings and 98 pitches. He was on a roll, having retired 12 straight batters. It was amazing to watch this guy pick the right time to leave the strike zone and get hitters to chase. Anyway, the 86-minute rain delay had taken its toll on De Vries. "I was getting tired at that point," he said. "The shutdown and restart and all those foul balls they were hitting." De Vries said he noticed his pitches were starting to get up in the zone late in his outing. "I thought it was a great decision to get me out at that point," he said.

 2. As for the bullpen. The group has left it all out on the field in recent outings, and most of the results have been positive. Tyler Robertson was not available on Sunday after appearing in FOUR of the previous five games. The only hiccup was when Gardy went with Jeff Gray in the sixth. Lefties were hitting .300 with a .980 OPS against Gray, and  he ended up giving up home runs to Mitch Moreland and Josh Hamilton (correction: it was a single to Moreland and a homer to Hamilton). If you can't match up lefty on lefty then why not go with velocity. Gardy did that when he brought in Casey Fien, who stopped the change of momentum. I think Gray can be useful, just not at that time. The bullpen was excellent from that point on. Glen Perkins got his first save since Aug. 7. Wow. That shows how things have been going with this team. If starters can pitch deeper into games, it will be easier for the Twins to set up the pitchers they want to protect leads,

3. Ben Revere is coming along nicely. One positive thing about this season is that the Twins know they have a major league player in Ben Revere. He's not afraid to give up his body to make plays, his arm hasn't been that bad in right field, he'll run out triples on a bad ankle, all those taps to the mound last season are becoming singles to center and he's learning to bunt. A very good season for the diminutive dynamo.


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