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.

Three Twins postgame thoughts from LEN3: A clunker, Cain's catch, roster moves

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: August 1, 2013 - 7:49 PM

 Here are three thoughts following the Twins' 7-2 loss to the Royals

1. YUCK: One of the worst games of the year in terms of the mistakes being and failing to take advantage of run scoring opportunities. Royals righthander James Shields walked five batters - FIVE - and lasted six innings to get the win. Twins were 5-for-28 with runners in scoring position in the series. When Trevor Plouffe committed that error in the second inning, you knew it was going to be a long day.

2. CAIN'S CATCH: Plouffe almost made up for it in the fifth inning when he blasted a Shields pitch toward the bullpen area. But Lorenzo Cain raced back and jumped at the fence to rob Plouffe of a two-run homer that would have made the score 5-4. We've seen Aaron Hicks to that to opponents all season. Twins fans seemed stunned to see it happen to them.

3. ROSTER MOVES: It was time for both Scott Diamond and Aaron Hicks to go to Rochester and regroup. Jim Souhan and I were discussing the possibility in the middle of the game. We didn't know the Twins were listening. Diamond has just started working on a sinker and could use the time away to perfect the pitch (although I'm a little surprised he didn't already have one). Diamond analyzes things so much - and he's talked about being on the hot seat for so long, that I think he put a lot of stress on himself. ``He puts a lot of pressure on himself to do well,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. Hicks knows what a strike is. But when he gets pitches in the zone to hit, he either takes them or just misses them. I thought Hicks would be doing more damage by now. But it's a good time for him to play for a month and get back up in September (man, Rochester is going to have a good team). ``At one point he was going up the ladder and now he's going right back down,'' Gardenhire said. ``A lot of poor at bats. The kid is trying, playing a great centerfield. I'm happy with that but unfortunately right now his swing is not where it needs to be. He's lost some confidence too.''


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