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: Suzuki, Hughes, Parmelee`

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: August 16, 2014 - 10:25 PM


Here are three thoughts following the Twins' 4-1 win over Kansas City.

SUZUKI SHINES: He doesn't throw out a high percentage of base stealers and he doesn't hit for power. But Suzuki has been Kurt Clutch for them in other ways this season. He kicked off the Twins' three-run seventh inning with a single and then scored the first run with a nifty slight-of-hand at home plate. He then added a home run. And he has the respect of the pitching staff who enjoy working with him.  And he's batting .310. ``He's always been known as a good catcher,'' Twins nighthander Phil Hughes said. ``Hitting has been kind of his issue the last few years.  This year, I don't know if it is from the work he's done with Bruno or what has changed. But he's been dynamic in every way that we have needed him.''

HUGHES NOTE: Phil Hughes is 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA his last three starts. At 13-8, he has a chance to match his career high in wins, which is 18, set in 2010. He also has won the most games by a Twins starting pitcher is a season since Carl Pavano won 17 in 2010. The Royals were one of the teams interested in Hughes during the offseason. But the Twins were only ones willing to give Hughes a three-year deal.  Looks like it ended up being one of the moves that worked.

PARMELEE CAN BUNT: The seventh inning picked up when Chris Parmelle laughed at the Royals' shift (I kid) and dropped a bunt toward third. Mike Moustakas was playing too far back to make a play. That put two runners on, and both eventually scored in the game-changing inning. ``Parmelee showing off the speed,'' Brian Dozier said. ``Parmelee is not slow. He can run a little bit for his size. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was pleased his team took advantage of the opportunity. ``We've preached to these guys late in the game in certain situations, they are giving you a bunt,'' Gardenhire said. ``He's been practicing. It was a beautiful thing. A nice drag bunt.''

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