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:

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 27, 2013 - 2:18 AM


1. DIAMOND COMES THROUGH: Scott Diamond held Seattle to one run over 6,2 innings on Friday in an outing he sorely needed.  He's wasn't dominating but effective as he stayed out of trouble until the fifth when he gave up a run. This is one he can take off from, though. ``That's always the hope,'' he said. ``I'm not going to read into it too much because I've said that in the past and have come out and it hasn't worked out that well. I think it's a sign of things to come and to continue to work.'' One thing Diamond is doing differently these days: Throwing sinkers. This is the second start he's made a real effort to use the pitch, and he's getting results. And...Diamond gave a lot of credit to Drew Butera behind the plate. You can complain about his lack of offense but the man saves runs with his game-calling.

2. COLA-BANGO: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said this week that he's still trying to figure out what he has in Chris Colabello, who entered Friday batting .135 in 13 games. Colabello finally showed him something, blasting an opposite-field homer for his first major league homer - first major league extra base hit, for that matter. Colabello has made outs to all fields since being called up, so it wasn't a surprise that he went to the opposite field for his homer. ``When I'm hitting the ball hard from second base over it is usually a good sign of things to come,'' he said. Teammates were thrilled for him. And Gardy was happy, too. ``He's been chewing it up in Triple-A and we're going to give him at bats. That was fun to see.''

3. KING FELIX IS AMAZING: Bear with me here because I've watched him pitch before. But I was fascinated at how the Twins could not hit one of Hernandez's pitches. It was 90-91 miles an hour and dropped out of zone. It broke so sharply that it looked like a splitter. Tim Hevly, the Mariners' PR maven, said it was a change up. I looked at a replay and, sure enough, he throws a circle change. But what I couldn't understand is how he throws a change up that hard and his best fastball was 94 mph. Usually, a pitcher needs at least 8 mph difference between his fastball and change up. ``Not Felix,'' Trevor Plouffe said. That's just sick. He probably could throw 96 mph if he really wanted to. What a pitcher.

BONUS THOUGHT: The Twins botched a double play in the fifth that lead to Seattle's first run of the game. But the Twins played outstanding defense on Friday. In the seventh, Aaron Hicks raced to the gap in left-center and went horizontal to steal a hit away from Henry Blanco. Brian Dozier raced in on a slow roller to throw out Brad Miller in the ninth. The Justin Morneau made a sprawling stop of Kyle Seager's grounder in the 11th, threw from his knees to second to get one runner then got back to first in time to take the return throw and complete a double play. The Twins' defense has been really good lately.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

more twins blogs

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT