Game 33: Twins at Red Sox - Keep the streaks alive

Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

The Boston Red Sox (21-11) picked up a huge come-from-behind walk-off win Monday night against the Minnesota Twins (13-15). The win extended the Sox home winning streak to six games. They are now 12-5 at Fenway Park this season. Boston now turns to Ryan Dempster (2-2, 3.00 ERA), who will attempt to win his third straight game. Dempster ran to the pen to begin warming up in the extra frames of last night’s win, but Red Sox manager John Farrell said he is good to go today.

Here’s tonight’s lineup (first pitch – 7:10 pm EDT):

1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Victorino, RF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Ortiz, DH
5. Napoli, 1B
6. Gomes, LF
7. Middlebrooks, 3B
8. Drew, SS
9. Ross, C

Dempster, P

Minnesota’s Scott Diamond will oppose Dempster on the mound. Diamond is 2-2 with a 3.97 ERA this season. He went six innings and allowed two runs on four hits against the Detroit Tigers in his last outing.

Pressure on the pen
After a rough weekend in Texas and Monday’s extra-inning affair, the Red Sox bullpen could use a long outing by Dempster tonight. Not to mention the two players billed as closers are injured. Andrew Bailey went to the 15-day disabled listed with a right biceps straight (retroactive to April 29). Joel Hanrahan, who just came off the DL with a hamstring injury, proceeded to blow his second save of the season and left Monday’s game a few pitches later with what the Red Sox are terming right forearm tightness. He was place on the 15-day DL earlier today, and the Sox brought up Allen Webster. It was then announced that Webster would start tomorrow’s game and Felix Doubront (3-1, 5.67 ERA) will be relegated to the bullpen, effective immediately.

Farrell said the other day he’d like to not use Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa as much as he has. Neither pitched in the opener against the Twins, so they are available tonight. Farrell also announced with Bailey and Hanrahan on the DL that Uehara will be the setup man with Tazawa closing, until further notice. Still, the deeper Dempster can get into the game, the better for the taxed bullpen.

Power in “short” supply
The Red Sox hit three home runs in their return to the Fens Monday. None, however, came off the so-called “big bats.” Rather, Shane Victorino (5’9), Stephen Drew (6’0) and Dustin Pedroia (5’8) supplied the power. The only Red Sox regular listed as shorter than Drew is Daniel Nava (5’11). Hey, the Sox will take home runs in all shapes and sizes and from all shapes and sizes.

After the game, Farrell noted that Drew is finally up to speed as far as at-bats go, similar to the amount he would have received had Drew had a full Spring Training. Because of that, Farrell said, Drew is getting his timing down and seeing the ball better than he did early on with the club. Drew went 4-for-5 with his home run and three RBIs, the last coming on a double in the 11th inning for the walk-off win. Sure would be nice to get that kind of production from the shortstop on a nightly basis.

26 and counting…
Following Pedroia’s home run in the eighth inning, David Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 26 games with a double down the right field line. Big Papi’s streak dates back to July 2, 2012, and is the longest since Manny Ramirez had a 27-game streak in 2006.

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