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: Vargas, Abreu, turning two

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: August 2, 2014 - 12:19 AM

KENNYS VARGAS DEBUTS: Kennys Vargas debuts"  first at-bat came with the bases loaded in the first inning. He struck out. He batted with two on in the third. A sinking liner fell just foul down the left field line, but he later stroked a ground rule double to right to drive in two runs. He flew out in the fifth, grounded out in the seventh and struck out looking in the ninth on a questionable umpire decision. He earned the error in the second inning for missing the catch. That part of his game has come a long way but he still has to keep working. But coming up from double-A, it was a decent debut. I asked Gardy before the game about him adapting to the speed of the game on this level, and it sure looked to be an issue early. ``He came up with a big one for us and drove in a couple runs and he competed pretty well out there,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``Once he slowed down a little bit - the ball was going pretty quick for him even at first base - once he slowed down...I think he looked a little more comfortable.

JOSE ABREU IS ONE BAD MUTHA.....He reached base all five plate appearances, going 3-for-3 with a walk and hit by pitch, But wait, he's reached base in 10 straight plate appearances, five shy of Frank Thomas' club record. He extended his hitting streak to 21 games. But wait, he has a hit in 39 of his last 40 games. Who is this guy? The toughest out in the league, playing for the team that used to have the toughest out in the league in The Big Hurt. ``He's a tough out,'' Twins lefthander Logan Darnell said. ``His plate coverage is unreal,'' Casey Fien said. ``You definitely have to make good pitches to him.''

DOUBLE PLAYS: Darnell could have made some better pitches, but the Twins might have missed out on turning three double plays, and giving Chicago extra life like that helped them score two runs. They missed two in the third that definitely led to one run. And it's up to you to determine if they should have turned the one that Adam Eaton hustled on in the fourth. ``There you go. We missed a few that cost us,'' Gardy said.


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