Red Sox Shoot for Mayor’s Cup Title in Spring Training Battle Against Twins

Clay Buchholz was given the fifth spot in the Red Sox rotation. But he has to overcome his inconsistencies before the season begins, and Sunday at City of Palms Park against Minnesota gives him a great chance to do so.

A solid effort could also mean another Mayor’s Cup win for Boston.

Buchholz had been having a solid spring until he was all over the place facing the Twins on Tuesday. He gave up six runs — five earned — on four hits and three walks in 1 2/3 innings of a 7-2 loss. He said after that performance that he can rebound against the same team in five days. Here is his chance. The Sox carry a 3-2 series lead in the annual best-of-seven Mayor’s Cup contest. They’ve won it each of the past three years.

WHEN AND WHERE

1:05 p.m. ET, March 28, 2010 (NESN)
City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Fla.

RECORDS

Twins (13-9)
Red Sox (12-13)

HEAD TO HEAD

Just one win and the tension surrounding Boston’s pursuit of a fourth straight Mayor’s Cup title can be put to rest. The Red Sox had a chance to wrap it up Tuesday in Hammond Stadium but fell under the weight of massive pressure. We are being sarcastic, of course. The seven-game series is a great thing for Fort Myers and Boston has owned it of late.

LINEUPS

Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Victor Martinez, C
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Mike Cameron, CF
Bill Hall, RF
Marco Scutaro, SS

Twins
Denard Span, CF
Orlando Hudson, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Jim Thome, DH
Jason Kubel, LF
J.J. Hardy, SS
Brendan Harris, 3B

PITCHING MATCHUP

RHP Carl Pavano (2-0, 2.00 ERA) vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (0-1, 10.80 ERA)

Buchholz has not had a good start against major league hitters since March 13, over two weeks ago. He had thrown four scoreless innings in a minor league game before his disaster last Tuesday.

Pavano is making his sixth start of the spring. He has yielded just 10 hits in 18 innings.

STAT SHEET

Red Sox
Tug Hulett‘s RBI single Saturday in Sarasota gives him a team-high 10 RBI this spring.

Before leaving with a tight right hamstring Saturday, Jeremy Hermida had a single to improve to .447 (17-for-38) in Grapefruit League play.

Buchholz threw three wild pitches in less than two innings Tuesday. Among the rest of the staff, only Tim Wakefield has as many as two.

Twins
Scott Baker is 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA in five starts.

Right fielder Michael Cuddyer is 21-for-42 (.500) with 10 RBI.

Catcher Joe Mauer is 13-for-29 (.448) and has yet to strike out.

BLACK AND BLUE

Red Sox
Mike Lowell said he is feeling much better a day after taking a foul ball off his left leg. He remains day-to-day.

Hermida felt something in his right hamstring running the bases in the second inning Saturday. Both he and manager Terry Francona do not consider the injury to be anything serious.

Twins
Starter Nick Blackburn returned from a sore right knee to throw four innings Saturday.

Glen Perkins, who has a strained lower back, played catch Thursday.

Closer Joe Nathan had Tommy John surgery Friday.

OVERHEARD

“He’s louder than I thought, for sure.”
–Starter John Lackey, referring to Dustin Pedroia.

PRESS BOX

Red Sox
Mike Lowell is feeling better.

Scott Schoeneweis makes his appearance in Red Sox camp.

Twins
Here’s a sneak peak at Target Field.

Denard Span is ready for the lead role in Minnesota.

MLB
Phillies closer Brad Lidge likely to stay in Florida.

Rangers set their rotation.

OUTLOOK

Since he will not appear in the regular season until April 11, Buchholz will likely get some more extended starts. After his last outing, he could use some innings.

The Sox were handled rather easily by Pavano, who allowed just two hits in five scoreless innings Tuesday.

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