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.

Twins pregame: Two teams looking for a slump buster

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 5, 2013 - 5:16 PM

One team has lost five straight games, the other eight of its last 11. Something's gotta give this weekend at Rogers Centre.

Toronto entered the season with big expectations but the Jays fell on their faces coming out of the gate and are still paying for it. They did win 11 in a row last month but have fallen back to their old ways. Starting pitching has let them down, especially Josh Johnson.

The Twins were just swept by the Yankees. While many expected the Twins to be a little better this season, its starting to look a lot like 2012. The starting pitching is letting them down again, and that might lead to the bullpen falling apart later in the season.

To me, it's all about watching the younger players and seeing if they can get a little better each day. You look at tonight's lineup, and there are six players who are in their formative MLB years.

At least we have a shot at a fast game tonight. Mark Buehrle pushes the pace as well as anyone, and Kevin Correia, while he's no Buehrle, can have quick innings, too.

Twins assistant GM Rob Antony said Miguel Sano is battling arm fatigue. He did not start for Class AA New Britain last night and will not start today. Another factor is that Sano is headed for a busy weekend next week when he heads for New York for the All-Star Futures Game.

Twins have signed another international player: Callan Pearce, a righthander from Durbin, South Africa.

Twins (36-46)

1. Brian Dozier, 2B
2. Joe Mauer, DH
3. Ryan Doumit, C
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
6. Oswaldo Arcia, LF
7. Chris Parmelee, RF
8. Aaron Hicks, CF
9. Pedro Florimon, SS

Pitching: Kevin Correia, RHP

Blue Jays (41-44)

1. Jose Reyes, SS
2. Jose Bautista, RF
3. Edwin Encarnacion, DH
4. Adam Lind, 1B
5. Colby Rasmus, CF
6. Rajai Davis, LF
7. Maicer Izturis, 3B
8. J.P. Arrencibia, C
9. Munenori Kawasaki, 2B

Pitching: Mark Buehrle, LHP



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