The Boston Red Sox look to gain revenge from an opening series loss to the Minnesota Twins on Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park
Minnesota Twins at Boston Red Sox
Minnesota is 3-3 on its current road trip after being swept in a three-game series at Kansas City, sweeping a two-game series versus the White Sox in Chicago and winning the first game in Boston last night. The Twins recorded their highest road run total Friday with nine runs and ended their seven-game skid at Fenway Park. “We slapped the ball around. They made a couple of mistakes and we took advantage of it,” manager Ron Gardenhire commented. “I can’t remember who got all the hits, but we beat it around pretty good.” The club combined for 12 hits and went 5-for-17 with runners in scoring position. Minnesota is 6-7 in day games and 7-14 against right-handed starters.
Twins starting pitcher Brian Duensing is 2-1 with a 2.91 ERA in five starts this season and is making his fourth road start of the 2011 campaign. The left-hander has tallied a 1-0 record and 4.37 ERA in six career starts against AL East opponents, with Minnesota going 3-3 in those games. Duensing has tossed 6.0-plus innings in 16 of his last 17 starts and has posted a 12-3 mark and 2.36 ERA in those contests. Left-handed batters have a tough time against him, combining for a .162 batting average against in 2010, which was the second-lowest of any left-handed pitcher in the Majors. He is making his first career start versus the Red Sox, as he has no record and allowed a single earned run in 2.1 innings pitched against them.
Boston continues its longest homestand of the season tonight and is 3-5 in the 11-day, 11-game stretch at Fenway Park. The Red Sox offense has yet to make noise like it did during the 2010 campaign, when it finished second in the majors in runs (818), home runs (211) and slugging percentage (.451). The unit ranks ninth in the AL in runs and is tied for eighth in round trippers. “I think one of the things we’ve got to play better baseball overall, pay attention to detail,” said first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. “We are going to be able to outslug and outplay teams just on talent alone.” Boston is 8-9 at home this season.
Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz is 2-3 with a 4.81 ERA in six starts this season and threw his first quality start of 2011 last time out versus the Angels. In that particular outing, the right-hander earned the win by giving up two runs and eight hits over 6.2 innings. Buchholz has compiled an impressive 7-2 record in 10 career starts in May, as his .778 winning percentage is the best of any month during the regular season. He is an even 1-1 with a 6.57 ERA in two starts versus Minnesota, but captured his only victory against them at Fenway Park by surrendering just two runs over eight frames.
Bettors will likely aim for a price and back the Twins due to their 4-1 record in Duensing’s last five starts, while the Red Sox are 1-10 versus the AL Central.