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 look for the sweep against the Astros

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: August 4, 2013 - 11:55 AM

The Houston Astros are built for these moments.

The league's worst team with a 36-73 record. Houston has been swept in a series 10 times this year, Ten. The Twins have rallied for wins in the first two games of this series and can finish off the lowly Astros with a win today at Target Field. I would allow the Twins to finish with a 3-3 homestand and shake off the three-game sweep the Royals laid on them early last week.

Mike Pelfrey lasted just four innings in his last start, giving up eight hits and walking two. It was a big step back for him after proclaiming himself back to pre-Tommy John form just before that. Pelfrey gets a chance to turn things around against baseball's slumpbusters.

The lineups are not in the pressbox yet, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said on his radio show this morning that Jamey Carroll is starting at third today so Trevor Plouffe can get a breather. Plouffe has been struggling lately. And Doug Bernier is back at shortstop again, as Pedro Florimon's wrist is still sore.

Will check back later with the lineups and any updates.


Florimon will have his wrist checked out today by doctors.

The Twins will call up a pitcher to start on Friday in Chicago for one of the doubleheader games. Righthander Liam Hendriks has a shot to be that callup since that will be his day to pitch. Anthony Swarzak will remain in his long-relief role. The Twins are playing a doubleheader on Friday because a game in Chicago in April was rained out.

Outfielder Darin Mastroianni could join Class AAA Rochester on Tuesday.

Gardenhire believes that Chris Colabello is trying to hit, `an eight-run home run,'' with each swing and should relax and wait for a good pitch to put a good swing on.

Houston (36-73)

1. Robbie Grossman, LF
2. Jose Altuve, 2B
3. Jason Castro, C
4. Brett Wallace, 1B
5. Chris Carter, DH
6. Marc Krauss, RF
7. Matt Dominguez, 3B
8. Brandon Barnes, CF
9. Jonathan Villar, SS

Pitching: Brad Peacock, RHP

Twins (47-60)

1. Brian Dozier, 2B
2. Chris Herrmann, RF
3. Joe Mauer, DH
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Ryan Doumit, C
6. Oswaldo Arcia, LF
7. Clete Thomas, CF
8. Jamey Carroll, 3B
9. Doug Bernier, SS

Pitching: Mike Pelfrey, RHP



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