Game 35: Twins at Red Sox - Slumping Sox turn to Lackey

Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

The Boston Red Sox (21-13) are in a bit of a slump. They’ve dropped five of their last six games and if not for a late rally to win in extra innings Monday, they’d have a six-game losing streak. Now is the time to break out, as they look for a series split against the Minnesota Twins (15-15) at Fenway Park. John Lackey (1-2, 3.52 ERA) has been fairly consistent since returning from Tommy John surgery, but hasn’t received much run support this season. He and the rest of the Sox will try to get the team back on track tonight.

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

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

Lackey, P

Kevin Correia takes the mound for the Twins. Correia is 3-2 with a 2.83 ERA in six starts. The right-hander is in his first season in the American League, after spending the previous 10 with San Francisco, San Diego and, most recently, Pittsburgh. He is not a big strikeout guy, with just 19 Ks in 41.1 IP this season. He’s walked seven, given up 40 hits and 13 runs.

Welcome sight
One glance at the lineup and two names stick out: Will Middlebrooks and David Ross. The two collided while sliding in foul territory in Tuesday’s game, Middlebrooks making the catch for an out. Ross left the game first, with a left quad bruise. His shin guard appeared to peel back during the slide and his knee banged into Middlebrooks’ right side. Middlebrooks left an inning later with pain in his right side. He had a CT scan and X-rays, but no fracture in his ribs was found. Both players sat out Wednesday’s contest for precautionary reasons. It’s good to see both back in the lineup, but keep an eye on them, particularly Middlebrooks to see if he flinches any while swinging or making a throw (lot of twisting of the core area involved).

You can also make your own assumptions as to whether the Red Sox have forced Middlebrooks back into the lineup too soon, even if he’s not 100%, and if that will cause him to hurt himself further and miss more time. The reason? Lack of depth at third base. Carry on…

Ortiz streak over
With an 0-for-5 night Wednesday, David Ortiz’ 27-game hitting streak came to an end. The day prior, Ortiz was questioned by Boston Globe writer Dan Shaughnessy regarding performance-enhancing drugs and whether or not Ortiz uses them. After last night’s game, Ortiz, frustrated for sure, fired out this tweet:

Hopefully, Ortiz puts this all behind him and doesn’t let a media shark like Shaughnessy get and stay in his head.

Telling stats
Finally, Maureen Mullen, of, tweeted out a few stats that really tell the story of the Red Sox the last six games (1-5 record). First is the Sox offensive numbers with runners in scoring position (RISP):

Then, there's this on the Boston starting pitchers:

Let us know what you think about tonight’s game by commenting below.

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