Series: Game 1 of 2

Series starts Tue 4/21

Game 1: Tuesday, April 21
Game 1: Wednesday, April 22
in 7
Game 2: Wednesday, April 22

7:10 PM ET, April 21, 2009

Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts 

Starting Pitchers

Minnesota: Baker (15-9, 4.37 ERA)

Boston: Wakefield (11-5, 4.58 ERA)

Twins-Red Sox Preview


For teams with playoff aspirations, neither the Boston Red Sox nor Minnesota Twins got off to impressive starts to the season. Neither panicked, though, and they're starting to get things turned around.

Both teams look to carry some momentum from their weekend sweeps into the opener of a two-game series at Fenway Park on Tuesday, when the Red Sox look to win their sixth straight game and the Twins go for their fourth in a row.

After winning only two of its first eight games, Boston (7-6) is finally starting to resemble the team that advanced to last season's ALCS.

The Red Sox have won five straight and are coming off a four-game sweep of Baltimore, capped by Monday's 12-1 victory. Boston, which had season highs in runs and hits (15) Monday, is averaging 7.6 runs and batting .318 during the winning streak after averaging only 3.6 runs and hitting .237 in its first eight.

David Ortiz entered Monday's Patriots' Day game hitting just .170 with one extra-base hit before getting a double and two-run triple.

"He'll be all right. He swung the bat well," said Dustin Pedroia, who went 4-for-6 with three RBIs. "It's a long year. Six hundred at-bats. The season isn't 50 at-bats."

Pedroia was also slumping, but he seems to have found his stroke. He finished the series against the Orioles 9-for-18 with four RBIs after going 7-for-39 (.179) with one RBI in his first nine games. The reigning AL MVP is batting .390 (23-for-59) with six doubles in 16 career games versus the Twins (7-7).

Minnesota had dropped seven of its first 11 games before sweeping a three-game series from the Los Angeles Angles this past weekend.

"If we had gotten swept, it would have been a morgue in here," third baseman Brendan Harris told the Twins' official Web site after Sunday's 3-1 win. "(Manager Ron Gardenhire) talked about not panicking. He just talked about coming in here and playing hard and we'll get it turned around. And we did."

Minnesota was swept in a three-game series at Fenway last season, and they haven't met since Boston's 18-5 victory on July 9.

Justin Morneau was 13-for-26 with a homer, double and five RBIs in seven games against the Red Sox in 2008, and is 5-for-12 with a double lifetime versus Tuesday's scheduled starter Tim Wakefield (1-1, 3.00 ERA).

Wakefield was outstanding his last time out, coming within five outs of his first no-hitter. The 42-year-old knuckleballer walked two while throwing a four-hitter in an 8-2 win over Oakland on Wednesday, and the Sox haven't lost since.

Wakefield wasn't as sharp in his only start against the Twins last season, yielding seven runs and seven hits in 2 2-3 innings of a 9-8 loss at the Metrodome on May 11.

Minnesota counters with Scott Baker (0-1, 13.50), who is coming off a rough outing.

The Twins originally named Baker their opening day starter, but he developed some soreness in his shoulder on April 1 and was placed on the 15-day disabled list. His first start off the DL wasn't encouraging.

Baker was tagged for six runs and five hits -- including a career-high four home runs -- in Wednesday's 12-2 loss to Toronto.

"There's probably a mechanical adjustment that needs to be made," the right-hander said.

This forgettable start could lead to bigger problems for Baker, who struggled in spring training, allowing 18 runs and 38 hits -- nine of them homers -- in 23 2-3 innings over six Grapefruit League starts.

Baker had one of the best starts of his career against the Red Sox last season, giving up five hits and striking out seven in seven scoreless innings of a 1-0 loss on July 7.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Gameday Matchup

Current StreakW5W4
Last 107-34-6

Pitching Matchup

S. Baker
15-9, 4.37 ERA

Last Game:
10/6 at MIN
6.0 IP, 3 ER
Dec = ND
T. Wakefield
11-5, 4.58 ERA

Last Game:
9/30 vs TOR
3.0 IP, 5 ER
Dec = Loss

Gameday Lineups

1. D. Span, LF J. Ellsbury, CF
2. A. Casilla, 2B D. Pedroia, 2B
3. J. Morneau, 1B D. Ortiz, DH
4. J. Kubel, DH K. Youkilis, 1B
5. M. Cuddyer, RF J. Drew, RF
6. J. Crede, 3B J. Bay, LF
7. M. Redmond, C M. Lowell, 3B
8. N. Punto, SS G. Kottaras, C
9. C. Gomez, CF N. Green, SS