Game time: 1:10, Target Field. TV: NESN Radio: WEEI 850, SBN 1150
Matchup: Tim Wakefield (0-0, 2.57) vs. Francisco Liriano (0-0, 4.50)
Who'll go off: Mike Lowell! Mike's in the lineup for Ortiz against the lefty Liriano, and sentimentally, I'd like to see Mike show that he's still got it.
Based on pure numbers, it's difficult to predict (though Lowell is 2-2 career against Liriano). Liriano has had such an up-and-down career, you can never tell what you're getting. The former all-star who some thought would be better than former teammate Johan Santana...or the rehabbing guy who had a 5.80 ERA last year? This year will probably be the turning point for Liriano, heading him back on track toward stardom or placing him in the Chien-Ming Wang Hall of Guys Who Fell Apart.
Who needs to be stopped: Boring to say Mauer and Morneau, but they're the only two Twins with more than 10 PAs who hit better than .227 against Wake. Keep the ball down (and in the park), and Wake should find success.
The Sox will lose if... Wake is run from the game early. I don't feel comfortable turning this game over to the 'pen, considering even our best two guys can't get clean innings lately. Throw strikes, keep the ball in the ballpark, and let the offense do the rest.
Miscellany: Michael Cuddyer has struck out in nearly half of his at bats (10 of 22) against Wakefield...Yesterday began a string of 15 straight days in which the Sox play...All players will wear Jackie Robinson's #42 today in celebration of his breaking baseball's color barrier 63 years ago.
Prediction: Red Sox 5, Twins 4