Sox hope resurgent offense powers them to sweep
Hernandez looks to cool off Boston's red-hot bats in series finale
By Jason Mastrodonato / MLB.com
5/18/2013 11:57 PM ET
The Red Sox's all-or-nothing offense has seemed to hold much more potential energy than anything else over the past few weeks, with outbursts occasional but consistency lacking.
After scoring 135 runs in April, fourth most in the Majors, they've fallen to the middle of the pack during May. Manager John Farrell said his team's luck may just be evening out.
And yet even at its unlucky points, the Boston offense has firepower.
Twins lefty Pedro Hernandez, who has a 5.79 ERA in seven games this season, will try to halt the Sox's momentum and avoid a sweep in the series finale Sunday.
The Red Sox put up 12 runs Saturday as they won their fourth straight game, having scored 28 runs over the stretch, highlighted by David Ortiz's sixth and seventh homers in 24 games and another two hits from Dustin Pedroia, who has hit safely in 10 straight and is batting .341 on the season.
"He's just game-on," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Pedroia. "He really plays. He's into the game all the way. He's their lead over there with David Ortiz. He's some kind of player."
The Minnesota offense might have similarly potent bats, though they have simply yet to click all at once.
While the Twins have been among the highest-scoring teams in May, cleanup hitter Josh Willingham has just five homers with a .198 batting average and No. 5 hitter Ryan Doumit has three homers while hitting .220.
With Joe Mauer hitting .351 and Justin Morneau still proving to be dangerous, even without the power, the threat of an intimidating lineup still looms for Twins' foes.
"If you look up and down our lineup, we still have some guys who haven't been clicking for any amount of time," Gardenhire. "You hope that if we can all get them going up and down the lineup at the same time we can do some things. We've been able to score some runs. We've seen that, but we've been inconsistent. Hopefully we can get everyone clicking."
On the mound for the Red Sox on Sunday is John Lackey, who had the Twins shut down for most of the game in a May 9 start, but allowed four unearned runs in one defensive-lacking inning as he was charged with the loss.
Since returning from a right biceps strain, Lackey is 1-3 with a 4.03 ERA and 19 strikeouts to seven walks in 22 1/3 innings.
Red Sox: Patience with Ellsbury
Jacoby Ellsbury entered Friday with a .312 on-base percentage, 47 points lower than any other player who had at least 190 plate appearances, but the Red Sox will continue to stick with the former All-Star as their leadoff hitter -- for now.
"Not at the moment," Farrell said when asked if he would move Ellsbury down in the order. "That's not to say that there are absolutes, but what we have to do, we have to get Jacoby going. And I know we're 175, 180 at-bats into the season already, and there's been a lot of opportunity, and yet he's had time. He's done a good job of getting on base.
"The month of May has been less than what he has shown he is capable of, but we have to continue to work with him and get him on track."
If Shane Victorino were fully healthy, he could provide a quality stop-gap at leadoff until Ellsbury returns to form, but the right fielder has been dealing with lingering back stiffness following a collision with the outfield wall earlier this week.
Twins: Mauer feeling better
It's rarely easy to give Joe Mauer a clean bill of health, as he's averaged about 33 missed games per full season over his career, but the 30-year-old said Saturday that his back, which had been feeling stiff and caused him to miss Friday's game, was no longer an issue.
"I feel better," Mauer said. "I'm in the lineup [Saturday], so that's good. I'm glad it's feeling better today. I got treatment yesterday, and so I'm glad to be back in there."
Gardenhire said Mauer would likely catch on Sunday.
• Twins outfielder Darin Mastroianni will have surgery to repair a bone chip in his left ankle on Wednesday and is targeting some time after the All-Star break for a return.
• Twins right-hander Cole De Vries was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday and optioned to Triple-A Rochester, where he'll remain a starter should the Twins need another.
• Red Sox left-hander Andrew Miller has held opponents scoreless in 11 of his last 12 outings, with 15 strikeouts in nine innings.
Jason Mastrodonato is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jmastrodonato. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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Obviously this was written late last night, Ells not in the line-up & Vic is leading-off. Still Enough info in it to post.