Game 53 Preview: Twins at Red Sox

When the owner of the Boston Red Sox holds an impromptu press conference, everyone listens. John Henry expressed his displeasure of his teams performance through the first 51 games and gave the dreaded vote of confidence to GM Ben Cherington and Manager John Farrell. Clay Buchholz then went out and continued his recent stellar pitching by shutting down the Twins for 8 innings and luckily came away with a 1-0 win. Buchholz has now gone 4 straight starts of at least 7 1/3 innings and giving up 3 runs or fewer, with a 1.51 ERA. The problem with this team continues to be the offense and Buchholz has seen it first hand because in those last 4 starts, the team has scored 1 run in each of those games.

Today the Sox and Twins will be playing two, in a day/night doubleheader after Monday nights game was rained out. The first game will be played at 1:35 pm and Eduardo Rodriguez (1-0 0.00) will be making his second career start hoping to build on his incredible debut last week against the Rangers. The Sox will go up against Phil Hughes (4-4 4.59) once again after losing to him last Saturday even though he didn't pitch particularly well, giving up 4 runs in 6 2/3 including two homers from Dustin Pedroia. Hughes has now given up 12 homers this year in only 64 2/3 innings and has taken a couple of steps back after his tremendous 2014 season.

A few Sox hitters have really enjoyed facing Hughes over their careers, most notable Pedroia. The former MVP has 5 homers against Hughes, the most he has off any pitcher, and is hitting .342 with 15 RBIs in 40 at-bats. David Ortiz has hit .313 with two homers and 7 RBIs in 37 at-bats and Mike Napoli in 18 at-bats is hitting .333 with two homers and 6 RBIs. So today has the potential to get the entire team back on the right track.

Here is today's Sox lineup:

Pedroia (2B)
Betts (CF)
Ortiz (DH)
Ramirez (LF)
Napoli (1B)
Holt (3B)
Bogaerts (SS)
Leon (C)
Castillo (RF)

Quick Hits:

- Phil Hughes will be making his 17th career start against the Red Sox, and at Fenway he's 3-5 with a 5.77 ERA
- The Red Sox have a worse batting average this season compared to last, currently hitting .241 as a team and last year's team hit .244
- The Sox acquired OF Alejandro De Aza from the O's this morning after he was DFA'd last week, De Aza is batting .214 with three homers and 7 RBIs
- Pablo Sandoval is not in the lineup for the first game, he's struggled at the plate in 49 games hitting just .249, well below his career average of .292

Have a question for Mike during the game or whenever a baseball discussion is going on, reach out via Twitter: @86flynn