The Boston Red Sox are back in a familiar place, sitting at the .500 mark (53-53) for the 16th time this season after dropping the opener of a four-game series to the visiting Minnesota Twins on Thursday night. The Red Sox managed only two hits – both by Adrian Gonzalez – and were shut out for the first time since June 28. The second straight loss dropped Boston to an even 10-10 since the All-Star break and four games behind the Los Angeles Angels for the second wild card spot.
The Twins have won five of seven and are looking to put a dent in the Red Sox’s playoff chances, much as they did in sweeping Cleveland last weekend. Minnesota is getting great production at the top of the batting order. Denard Span and Ben Revere, batting 1-2 in the lineup, are riding hitting streaks of 11 and 16 games, respectively. Minnesota also came through in the clutch in the series opener, scoring all five runs with two outs.
Twins Red Sox Betting
When: 7:10 PM ET, Friday, August 3, 2012
Where: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSNO, NESN
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins LH Brian Duensing (2-6, 4.53 ERA) vs. Red Sox LH Felix Doubront (10-5, 4.37)
Duensing was thrust into a spot start hours after the Twins traded Francisco Liriano and responded with his best effort of the year. He limited Cleveland to one run on five hits in six innings to earn his first win since June 2. Duensing had been dropped from the rotation following four straight rocky starts in which he went 0-4 and failed to get through five innings.
Doubront turned in a solid effort last time out, holding the New York Yankees to one run on five hits in 6 1/3 innings but settling for a no-decision. He did walk five batters, continuing a trend that has seen him issue 17 free passes in 28 innings over his last five starts. He is 5-3 with a 5.20 ERA at Fenway Park, where Boston has scored 40 runs in his last four outings.
1. Boston is 27-30 at Fenway and owns the most home losses in baseball among teams with a non-losing record.
2. The Twins blanked the Red Sox at Fenway Park for the first time since Aug. 3, 1996.
3. Gonzalez has hit safely in 33 of his last 37 games to raise his batting average from .257 to .302.