Red Sox Seek First Series Win in Minnesota Since ’07 in Rubber Game Against Twins

Red Sox Seek First Series Win in Minnesota Since '07 in Rubber Game Against Twins Red Sox Seek First Series Win in Minnesota Since '07 in Rubber Game Against TwinsThe first series at Target Field comes to a close when the Red Sox and Twins meet in the rubber game on Thursday afternoon.

The Sox evened the series with a 6-3 win Wednesday. Dustin Pedroia homered and had two RBIs, and John Lackey threw 6 2/3 strong innings as Boston won for the third time in four games overall.

With Tim Wakefield on the mound, the Sox will vie for their first series win in Minneapolis since 2000 in the Metrodome. Mike Lowell is expected to get his first start at designated hitter in place of David Ortiz.

It is the last of six straight games on the road for Boston. The club opens a 10-game homestand — one of two all season that lasts that long —  on Friday against Tampa Bay.

WHEN AND WHERE

Red Sox (4-4) vs. Twins (6-3)
Thursday, April 15, 1 p.m. (NESN)
Target Field, Minneapolis, Minn.

HEAD TO HEAD

The teams have split the first two games of the season series. They only play five times in 2010, the fewest meetings ever in one year.

PITCHING MATCHUP

RHP Tim Wakefield (0-0, 2.57 ERA) vs. LHP Francisco Liriano (0-0, 4.50 ERA)

At 43 and coming off back surgery, Wakefield said all spring he felt as good as ever. If his first start of the season was any indication, he wasn’t lying.

Wakefield allowed two runs in seven innings at Kansas City on Friday. The Sox’ bullpen blew Wakefield’s lead, but the knuckleballer’s history against the Twins figures to give him a chance to get career win No. 190.

The righty is 14-5 in 26 games (23 starts) lifetime against Minnesota.

Looking to rediscover the form that saw him go 12-3 in 2006, Liriano reportedly found his fastball over the winter and had a dominant spring. He had some control problems in his 2010 debut, however, walking five in six innings of a 4-3 win over Chicago.

Liriano has been abysmal against Boston. In eight innings over two starts against the Red Sox, he has given up 12 runs on 15 hits.

LINEUPS

Red Sox Twins
Marco Scutaro, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Victor Martinez, C
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Mike Lowell, DH
JD Drew, RF
Mike Cameron, CF
Bill Hall, LF
Span, CF
Hudson, 2B
Mauer, C
Morneau, 1B
Cuddyer, RF
Thome, DH
Kubel, LF
Hardy, SS
Punto, 3B

STAT SHEET

Red Sox

  • Dustin Pedroia is 8-for-16 with three home runs and eight RBIs in his last four games.
  • When shortstop Marco Scutaro struck out to end the top of the eighth inning on Wednesday, it snapped a streak of 29 straight plate appearances without a whiff to start the season. It was the longest such run in the American League.
  • David Ortiz, J.D. Drew and Mike Cameron have struck out 30 times in a combined 73 at-bats.

Twins

  • Minnesota relievers had walked one batter in 21 2/3 innings entering Wednesday. Pat Neshek and Jesse Crain each issued a free pass in a combined 2 2/3 frames.
  • Center fielder Denard Span has drawn nine walks against only four strikeouts.
  • Catcher Joe Mauer has five doubles. The rest of the Twins’ regulars have six.

BLACK AND BLUE

Red Sox
  • Manager Terry Francona said on Wednesday that outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury likely won’t return until the homestand begins Friday, at the earliest. He is out with a bruised rib.
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka will make his second rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday at Buffalo. He is on the disabled list with a neck strain.
  • Boof Bonser, who gave up nine runs in just two innings in his second rehab start on Tuesday for Pawtucket, has returned to Boston to have his surgically repaired shoulder examined.

Twins

  • Right-hander Clay Condrey was placed on the disabled list earlier this month with a right elbow flexor strain. He is scheduled to be shut down for 10-14 days.
  • Catcher Jose Morales is set to begin extended spring training this week. He is out following right wrist surgery.

OUTLOOK

Based purely on the numbers, this figures to be a mismatch. Wakefield has had great success against the Twins, while Liriano has been a mess when facing the Sox.

Just keep an eye on the Minnesota running game. Led by Span, the Twins figure to run at every chance against Wakefield and Victor Martinez, who has thrown out 1-of-12 runners thus far.

TMZ logo

© 2018 NESN

Partner of USATODAY Sports Digital Properties