Red Sox-Twins Preview
Rick Porcello and the Boston Red Sox will attempt to polish off a three-game sweep of the slumping Minnesota Twins on Sunday afternoon in Minneapolis.
Boston (36-25) has won three of its last four games after Saturday's 15-4 rout. The Red Sox also took Friday's opener 8-1 after splitting a two-game series at San Francisco.
"I think we're a pretty special offense," Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. told reporters. "When somebody doesn't get the job done, we have a whole lot of faith in the next person that they're gonna get the job done."
It has been a wasted weekend for Minnesota (18-43), which entered the series with momentum after taking two of three against Miami. Overall, the Twins have lost nine of 12.
"We've been having trouble on the defensive side, not getting outs that we should get," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Good teams capitalize on those mistakes."
Porcello (7-2, 4.04 ERA), who pitched six seasons in the American League Central with the Detroit Tigers, is 8-9 with a 4.00 ERA against Minnesota in 25 career starts, his most against any opponent. He is 5-3 with a 3.69 ERA in 10 starts at Target Field.
Twins hitters have hit 18 home runs off Porcello -- another personal high -- while batting .278. Minnesota is one of six teams that Porcello has a losing record against.
Minnesota's Brian Dozier, Oswaldo Arcia and Trevor Plouffe have all taken Porcello deep.
Dozier has hit three homers against Porcello while batting .258 (8-for-31) and driving in eight runs. Joe Mauer has a career .255 average (13-for-51) with five walks and five RBIs versus Porcello and Kurt Suzuki (.217, 5-for-23) has also driven in five runs against him.
Of the five active Minnesota hitters with at least 15 at-bats against Porcello, none boast averages higher than .267.
Porcello emerged with his third straight no-decision in Wednesday's start, giving up three runs, five hits and a walk while striking out six in six innings against the Giants.
Pat Dean (1-2, 4.75 ERA) gets to face his hometown team in his own ballpark on Sunday.
The 26-year-old southpaw is a Waterbury, Conn., native who also pitched at Boston College. It will be his first start against the Red Sox, and he hasn't faced anybody on their active roster.
Dean is seeking his first win at Target Field, where he's 0-0 with a 5.54 ERA in three outings.
Dean lasted 4 1/3 innings in Tuesday's start against Miami, allowing four runs, seven hits and a walk with two strikeouts. He has a 7.71 ERA in his last 9 1/3 innings.
Dean has been noticeably better as a starter this season, with opponents hitting .267 (23-for-86) against him in four starts compared with .389 (14-for-36) in two relief appearances.