The Boston Red Sox were almost no-hit last Friday night in Texas against Yu Darvish. Since that game, the Texas Rangers were totally flat as the Red Sox took games two and three to end the series. The Red Sox currently stand at 19-18 and two games behind the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the American League East entering tonight’s three-game series meeting with the Minnesota Twins. The Red Sox enjoyed an off day yesterday at the Mall of America in Minnesota, but now get ready to face the Twins at Target Field and try to end the series above .500 on the season. Here’s what we need to know during this three game series against the 17-19 Twins.
The Minnesota Twins haven’t had a great season at home as they only have a .237 batting average. Their pitching isn’t much better as they have a 4.27 ERA at Target Field. As for the Red Sox, they are only hitting .222 and have an ERA of 3.28 away from Fenway Park.
Felix Doubront, Jake Peavy and Clay Buchholz will be the pitching probables for the series in Minnesota. I’m concerned with Buchholz and Doubront on the notion that they have been getting eaten alive at the plate, especially on the 2nd time the batters have faced them as the game progresses. Batters have hit .411 on the 2nd go-around against Buchholz and have hit .316 against Doubront on the 2nd trip as well. Jake Peavy is clearly the best pitcher out of the three probables as hitters are only successful on the 3rd time facing him hitting .267 on average. Peavy is also 2nd in the American League with 25 walks allowed.
Both teams have their 2nd baseman as their leadoff hitters. Minnesota’s Brian Dozier has been having a good season so far given the teams lack of hitting at Target Field. Dozier is currently hitting .235 with eight home runs on the season. Dozier’s great .365 on-base percentage comes from drawing 27 walks on the season, so his plate discipline is very commendable. Dustin Pedroia moved into the leadoff spot for the Red Sox on April 24th and the Sox have been 9-6 since he settled in. Pedroia is hitting .282 with two home runs in the leadoff spot and his .385 on-base percentage is assisted with drawing 13 walks. He is also slugging .449.
Jackie Bradley Jr. has been getting burned at the plate, especially facing breaking pitches. Bradley is batting .050 against the sliders alone while striking out 11 times. To make matters worse, Bradley has struck out 17 times in 51 at-bats against fastballs. Luckily, Boston’s other outfielder Grady Sizemore is on the right track as he is hitting .280 in the month of May. Despite he hasn’t hit a home run since April 11th in a stretch of 76 at-bats, he has hit nine singles, three doubles and a triple during that stretch.
These notes are just food for thought, but all that matters is the performance of the Red Sox out in Minnesota and grabbing some wins along the way. After the series, the Red Sox will return to Fenway Park on Friday night for a weekend showdown against the Detroit Tigers.