Red Sox-Twins series preview
|06.16.14 at 3:49 pm ET|
Boston is coming off of a four-game series against the Indians that featured its fair share of highs and lows. The Red Sox won the first two games of the series with a combined offensive output of 15 runs over the two contests. Friday’s game was particularly impressive, as the Red Sox scored 10 runs — marking the first time all season that the team scored in double figures.
However, Boston dropped the final two games of the series mostly due to a lack of clutch hitting. Red Sox hitters were 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position during both games, leaving 15 men on base.
“We’re getting guys on, but we’re not getting them in,” said Red Sox third baseman Brock Holt after the game. “We’ll get there eventually. Someone’s going to come up and we’re going to get big hit after big hit.”
The Twins are coming off of a series loss against the AL Central-leading Tigers, dropping the final game in crushing fashion. With the game tied 3-3 in the ninth inning and Detroit’s Torii Hunter on first base, Victor Martinez lofted a fly ball to Twins right fielder Oswaldo Arcia, who dropped the ball, allowing Hunter to advance to third. J.D. Martinez followed with a sacrifice fly, scoring Hunter and giving Detroit the win.
“Arcia didn’t see the ball,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire after the game. “That was obvious. He had no clue where the ball went. It was obviously a tough sun field out there, bright. If you can’t see the ball, you can’t see the ball.”
This will be the second meeting of the year between Boston and Minnesota. The Red Sox dropped a pair during a three-game set at Target Field from May 13-15. The Twins have excelled against the AL East this season, posting a 12-6 record and winning all six series that they’ve played against the division.
Here are the pitching matchups for the three-game series.
Monday: Rubby De La Rosa (1-2, 3.93 ERA) vs. Kevin Correia (3-7, 5.60 ERA)
Tuesday: Jon Lester (7-7, 3.33 ERA) vs. Phil Hughes (7-2, 3.17 ERA)
Wednesday: John Lackey (8-4, 3.24 ERA) vs. Kyle Gibson (6-5, 3.55 ERA)
WHO’S HOT: RED SOX
– While he’s now played four different positions so far this season, Brock Holt just continues to hit. Holt has now hit safely in 14 of his last 15 games, hitting .388 with six doubles, one home run and eight RBIs during that stretch. The Texas native is batting .343 since assuming the role of leadoff hitter on May 23.
– It looks like Daniel Nava‘s early-season struggles, during which the 31-year-old outfielder hit .161 in April, might finally be a thing of the past. Since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on June 2, Nava has reached base in 17 of his 35 plate appearances, hitting .379 this month.
– Koji Uehara has continued his dominance during Boston’s current homestand, surrendering no runs or hits while striking out four over three innings against the Indians over the weekend. Uehara has now posted 19 scoreless appearances in a row, giving up just seven hits over his last 20 innings of work.
WHO’S HOT: TWINS
– Twins pitcher Phil Hughes has emerged as one of the best starters out of the AL Central this season. The former Yankee has recorded a quality start in nine of his last 10 starts, posting a 2.27 ERA with 55 strikeouts and an incredible three walks over his last 67 1/3 innings.
– Kurt Suzuki has been a solid pickup for the Twins, as the 30-year-old backstop is leading all AL catchers with a .304 average while his 30 RBIs tie him with Houston’s Jason Castro for the top spot in the league.
WHO’S NOT: RED SOX
– June has not been friendly to Dustin Pedroia, who’s hitting .216 with seven RBIs in 51 at-bats this month. Pedroia has especially struggled with runners in scoring position, batting .210 during the season. The Red Sox second baseman is on pace to record the lowest batting average of his eight-year MLB career (.264).
– David Ortiz has also struggled at the dish, batting .160 with two extra-base hits over his last seven games. Despite his recent slump, Ortiz should benefit from facing his former team over the next few days. In three games against Minnesota this season, Ortiz is hitting .571 with four home runs and six RBIs.
– Junichi Tazawa has played a large role in Boston’s last two defeats. The 28-year-old righty walked Cleveland’s Carlos Santana on Saturday with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, giving the Indians a 3-2 lead they would not relinquish. The following day, Tazawa gave up a go-ahead home run to Nick Swisher in the 11th inning, as the Indians split the four-game series with another 3-2 victory.
WHO’S NOT: TWINS
– It’s been a trying season for former catcher and current first baseman Joe Mauer. The 2009 AL MVP is only hitting .261 this season with just 13 extra-base hits. With a career .320 batting average to his name, Mauer’s struggles this year have been startling. The lowest batting average the St. Paul, Minn., native has ever posted was .287 during an injury-plagued 2011 campaign.
– Twins pitcher Ricky Nolasco has done little to live up to the four-year, $49 million contract that he signed with Minnesota this past offseason. In 14 games this season, Nolasco is 4-5 with a 5.66 ERA ‘ the highest mark amongst qualifying pitchers in the AL.
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