Rained out, Twins and Red Sox to play two Wednesday
A rainout can often mean two different things to the teams involved.
That was certainly the case on Monday, when the opener of a three-game series between the Minnesota Twins and the Boston Red Sox was postponed by all-day rain in the area that was to get worse as the night wore on. The teams were scheduled to play a day/night doubleheader on Wednesday.
For the high-flying Twins, the postponement meant a break from the momentum that saw them end May with another victory Sunday. When you’re hot, you want to play — and the Twins went 20-7 in May.
For the staggering Red Sox, who just finished a 1-6 trip through Minneapolis and Arlington, Texas, the day off could provide time to sit back and take a collective deep breath. Boston went 11-19 in May, including losing three straight at Minneapolis last week.
After a 6-5 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday, Twins manager Paul Molitor quipped, “It’s May 31st and I think maybe we’re going to change tomorrow to May 32nd.”
The 20-win month was the first for the Twins since 1991, which happens to be the last time they made it to (and won) the World Series. Minnesota starts June in first place in the AL Central, the first time the Twins have been in first place on June 1 since 1977.
Things clearly aren’t going as well with the Red Sox, a team with a $180 million payroll and a 22-29 record — good for last place in the AL East. Because the division is so weak, the Red Sox start June only four games out of first place, the only consolation in a dismal picture.
“Yeah, it’s difficult, but you have to keep your head on, you have to keep fighting through tough moments,” third baseman Pablo Sandoval said Sunday after his error helped the Rangers score twice in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Red Sox 5-4. “The good moments are coming, so you have to keep fighting.”
The month was Boston’s worst since a 9-17 September in 2012, which came at the end of Bobby Valentine’s one year as manager — and also came after the huge selloff deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers and with David Ortiz hurt.
The Twins, 29-13 since a 1-6 start, have won seven of their last eight games. On Sunday, starter Ricky Nolasco left with an ankle injury after pitching an inning and the bullpen worked eight innings en route to the comeback win, which finished off their eighth win in nine May series.
A last-place team no more, the Twins are proving all kinds of people wrong.
“That’s always fun,” said right fielder Torii Hunter, having a blast on his second go-round with the club. “They can swallow their words and choke on them. But, other than that, we’re just out there playing the game the way we know how. I think it starts with Molitor, like I always say.”
Hunter is the only Twin listed in the latest All-Star voting — he’s 14th among AL outfielders. The underachieving Red Sox, meanwhile, have Sandoval third, Ortiz fourth, second baseman Dustin Pedroia and shortstop Xander Bogaerts both fifth and left fielder Hanley Ramirez 11th.
NOTES: Monday’s rainout pushed the starters, Minnesota’s Mike Pelfrey and Boston’s Clay Buchholz, back until Tuesday night, when the weather is supposed to clear in time for the game. Boston RHP Rick Porcello, originally scheduled for Tuesday, will work the night game Wednesday, with rookie LHP Eduardo Rodriguez making his second big-league start in the day game. The Twins were mulling their options beyond RHP Phil Hughes in the twin bill. Someone could be summoned from the minors as a 26th player. … Tuesday night is Mike Napoli Bobblehead Night at Fenway Park. Napoli was selected in fan voting over RHP Koji Uehara. … The Red Sox are just 10-12 at home, where Fenway has long been a haven for the franchise. … RF Torii Hunter has a nine-game hitting streak and leads the Twins with 32 RBIs.