An open letter to Phil Miller from fellow Star Tribune Twins beat writer La Velle E. Neal III:

Dear Phil,

 
Hope you enjoyed your time away from the team. A lot of things have changed since the last time you covered this squad. Mainly, they are wild card contenders again. I'm not sure how they did it because the numbers they put up on the road trip are a little shaky. They pulled off four one-run victories during their journey, so it was a combination of making breaks and getting breaks. which can lead to winning streaks. They had a couple big offensive nights. And the bullpen, even with the closer needing re-calibration - has been nails.
 
The starting rotation situation bears watching. The unit simply just isn't getting it done and it's leading to bullpen abuse. What's that? September callups are on the way? Ya right. The Twins won't call up anyone that manager Paul Molitor will be willing to put into a highly-leveraged situation. He proved that during the road trip. Question: When was the last time Ryan O'Rourke pitched? 
 
Phil, I believe that Jose Berrios should already be here and pitching out of the bullpen. Their big mistake was starting Trevor May on Aug. 14 against Cleveland in what ended up being a bullpen game. That began a chain of events that included Casey Fien, Kevin Jepsen and Glen Perkins pitching three straight games. That, combined with May being out multiple days, led to J.R. Graham facing A-Rod with the bases loaded on Aug. 18.  That cost them one of the Yankee games.  They shouldn't worry about burning an option year with Berrios, he won't need it. I watched him pitch at Fort Myers last year and at the Futures Game this year. He knows what he's doing. He should have started the Aug. 14 game then moved to the bullpen. Now he might not be promoted because of his innings count.
 
I know you have a lot on your plate today, Phil, so I'll wrap things up with my MVP's of the road trip.
 
No. 3: Eduardo Escobar. His hustle won the Twins a game in Baltimore, and his four home runs on the trip showed that Eddie The Stick is back. He's playing most of the time at short, he's relaxed and he's driving the ball.
 
No. 2: Miguel Sano. The big man had his power game working, bashing four home runs, including one in the first game of each series. Fans are asking me if he can win rookie of the year. I'm sure you're getting the same messages.
 
No 1. Kevin Jepsen. This man has been a horse, putting up zeroes all over the coast.  The Twins used him three straight games during that Cleveland series and into the Yankees series. Then he pitched in FIVE straight games during the road trip.  The Twins are killing this guy, and we might have to testify at the trial. Hope you have a good lawyer.
 
Have fun with this squad. See you soon,
 
 
La Velle

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Postgame: Thoughts on the Twins rotation, Buxton and Sano

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Sano has sore hamstring, won't play in series opener against Houston