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: Bullpen, McAllister, Dozier

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: August 24, 2013 - 10:56 PM


Here are three thoughts following the Twins' 7-2 loss to Cleveland on Saturday


1. BULLPEN WATCH: Brian Duensing pitched three innings on Friday. Anthony Swarzak pitched 2.2 innings on Saturday. The Twins have no long relief in place for Sunday, in case Mike Pelfrey falters early.  It will be interesting to see who gets the call if Pelfrey doesn't have it on Sunday. They sure could use a strong outing.

2. THE SECRET PITCH: Zach McAllister pitched 7.1 solid innings on Saturday. He also had the Twins wondering about what he was using for an off-speed pitch. ``It was a change up or splitter or something that was really diving,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhrie said. ``It was a really nice pitch for him. He just pounded the strike zone and used his breaking ball and attacked us, went right at us and made us chase early. A nice change up. Whether it was a forkball or straight change, we could not figure out which what it was. But it was something we hadn't seen before with that much movement.'' I asked the Cleveland writers about it, and they weren't sure either. They plan to investigate on Sunday. Everyone wants to know what McAllister was using for an off-speed pitch on Saturday.

3.  DOZIER'S DAY: I look at Brian Dozier's batting average and it seems like it should be higher than .243. It seems as if he's been getting on base more over the last month of games. He definitely has been driving the ball more. His home run in the eighth inning on Saturday was his 13th of the season, moving him into sole possession of second place on the team (ugh, 13 homers is SECOND?). Anyway, Dozier also kept Jason Kipnis from going  3-for-3 by making a diving catch of his liner in the fifth inning. Dozier has been playing well in recent weeks, in the field and at the plate.

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