Game 34: Twins at Red Sox - Web(by) Gem on tap?

Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

After colliding on a foul ball catch, both Will Middlebrooks (right side pain) and David Ross (left quad bruise) take the night off as the Boston Red Sox (21-12) look to somehow get things going after losing four of their last five. The Sox take on the Minnesota Twins (14-15) in Game 3 of this four-game set at Fenway Park. The teams split the first two games and both turn to young bucks to take the series advantage.

Allen Webster (0-0, 3.00 ERA), a 23-year-old, makes his second start for the Red Sox. The righty gave up three runs (two earned) in six innings in his only other start, which came on April 21 against the Kansas City Royals.

The Twins counter with Pedro Hernandez, a 24-year-old lefty, who is 1-0 with a 3.92 ERA in five appearances (three starts) this season.

Here’s the lineup John Farrell has put together (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. Saltalamacchia, C
8. Drew, SS
9. Ciriaco, 3B

Webster, P

27 and counting…
David Ortiz wasted no time extending his hit streak to 27 games, as he singled to left field in the second inning Tuesday. Ortiz is batting .414 in 15 games with 13 extra-base hits (four home runs, nine doubles). He was questioned, nay badgered, prior to Tuesday’s game by the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy about whether or not he’s on steroids. Read my thoughts here.

Audition for rotation spot?
Webster’s first start with the big club came when the Sox scheduled a double-header following a rainout. Webby came up as the 26th player that day and made the start in the nightcap. This time, he’s been brought up, in my opinion, to either audition for a spot in the rotation, or at least prove a point to the struggling Felix Doubront. That point: You can be replaced. Webster passed his first test against the Royals, as mentioned above, with a full line of: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R (2 ER), 5 K, 1 BB.

Depth perception
The Sox bullpen is already thin with both closers (Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey) on the 15-day disabled list. Jarrod Saltalamacchia is the lone catcher with the injury to Ross, although Farrell has said Ross can catch if Salty leaves the game for some reason tonight. Now, the infield takes a hit with the only true third baseman (Middlebrooks) on the roster nursing his bruised right side. Pedro Ciriaco was a fantastic story in 2012 (one of the few that was), but has already shown a lack of confidence in the field (two errors in one inning last night) and at the plate (.240 average, six hits in 25 ABs).

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