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: Carroll, Offense, Stolen bases

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: September 3, 2012 - 10:39 PM

Here's are three quick thoughts after the Twins' 4-2 loss to the White Sox:


1. Carroll's memorable night: We're at the time of year where we try to write about anything other than the games as the Twins head for another 90 loss season. Jamey Carroll's first home run since 2009 - on the day he hit 10 years of service time in the majors - was a slam dunk.

There were two cool things about the day. One, Carroll's son, Cole, actually saw the old man hit a home run.

“First and foremost I’m excited to see my son," Carroll said. "He’s been known to let me know, even though he’s only 4, that I don’t have enough energy, or I’m not strong enough to hit homers. Mastroianni got the ball for me, so I’m anxious to get out there and give him the ball. You’re just trying to help the team win, and it’s exciting. But at the same time, we like to go home with a W.”

The second cool thing, for Carroll, was that his father and brothers were in town. Carroll's wife, Kim, flew them in for the game, which Jamey didn't know about until he saw them Sunday night after the team arrived in Chicago.

"I walked around the corner and saw my brothers and my Dad, and I had been had," Carroll said. "My wife pulled a good one on me and they came out today."

2. Get the offense going: The Twins have been blowing run scoring opportunities lately, and they were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Monday. Josh Willingham, the team leader with 96 RBI, left five runners on base. The Twins got a bad call in the sixth when Joe Mauer was thrown out on the back end of a double steal attempt. Replays showed he was safe. There would have been runners on second and third with no outs.

3. Men of steal: Chicago tied a season high with three stolen bases. Coming into the game, opponents had been thrown out just 17 percent the time by the Twins. And that's not on the catchers. To me, it looks like inexperienced pitchers need to learn how to hold runners on base or Twins pitchers are trying so hard to make good pitches they are letting baserunners get good leads and big jumps. Drew Butera has thrown out 28 percent of basestealers, and we saw him hit 94 on the gun when he pitched in Milwaukee. So the masked men behind the plate aren't at fault here, totally. For example, basestealers are 7-for-7 when Alex Burnett is on the mound.

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