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: Thielbar, Dozier, Torii

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: August 21, 2013 - 10:38 PM

 

Here are three thoughts following the Twins' 7-1 loss to Detroit on Wednesday.

1. DON'T GET CAUGHT WATCHING THE PAINT DRY: When Justin Morneau wound up to throw home in the seventh inning, I knew something had gone wrong. Sure enough, Caleb Thielbar forgot to cover home and Torii Hunter was going to score. ``They drill that into you in minor leagues,'' Thielbar said. The play began when Thielbar struck out Prince Fielder but missed his spot badly, the ball was up and in and hard for catcher Ryan Doumit to get to. Then the ball rolled to the backstop, and Doumit's throw to first looked late. When stuff like that starts happening, a team is usually doomed. What a bad inning....but then there was the eighth....

2. ACTUALLY TWO BAD INNINGS: Brian Dozier was charged with two errors in the eighth inning, one when he mishandled Hunter's hard grounder and another when his throw on Prince Fielder's grounder pulled Morneau off the bag. Tough inning for Dozier, who entered the game with just three errors all season. Got into a debate after the game. Was Hunter's ball hit so hard that it should have been ruled a hit? I thought it was an error. What did you think?

3. TORII: Hunter had a heck of an at-bat against Correia in the seventh. He fouled off one pitch that was off the plate to keep the at-bat alive, then hit the two-run double to give Detroit the lead. ``I'm glad I didn't face him when he was in his prime,'' Correia said. That comment was relayed to Hunter, who busted up laughing. ``Did he really say that? Really? Man, that's tough,'' Hunter said. ``I guess I have to take that as a compliment. Go tell him that he's a great pitcher and not to worry, I'm a better hitter now than in my prime, Back then, I just tried to hit everything deep. Now I use my veteran-ness and my experience-ness and my age-ness to do a better job of hitting smarter." Torii has brought that laugh and a lot of veteran savvy to the Tigers. He doesn't try to kill the ball anymore and slaps it a lot to the opposite field a lot. He knows he needs to get on base for Miguel Cabrera and stay there - he has attempted just five stolen bases all season. ``I’ve said he’s one of the toughest players I’ve ever managed, (and) in big situations he gets tougher,” manager Jim Leyland said. “He knows how to grind out a tough at-bat against a good pitcher, and I think that’s one of his biggest assets. That’s why he’s been so successful for a long time.''

 

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