After getting no run production in their series-opening defeat, the Boston Red Sox hope for a better showing when they face Texas Rangers ace Kevin Millwood on Saturday in the middle game of their three-game set.
The Red Sox (2-2) mustered just three hits and were unable to get a runner past second base in Friday’s 2-0 loss to the Rangers (1-3).
“We hit some balls well, but not enough to get going,” Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia said.
Texas got the winning run of its home opener in the first inning on a bloop single from Sammy Sosa, who was trying to check his swing, in his first home game for the Rangers since his rookie season in 1989.
“It’s definitely nice to get the first one out of the way,” shortstop Michael Young said. “It doesn’t matter how you win as long as you get one on the board.”
The victory was the first for rookie manager Ron Washington, whose team never had a lead in its season-opening three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels.
The Red Sox have not lost two in a row to Texas since being swept in a three-game set May 1-2, 2004 (which included a doubleheader), a span of 25 games.
Ortiz led the AL in home runs (54) and RBIs (137) last season, but is 2-for-15 (.133) with one RBI in 2007. He could stand a good chance of breaking out of his slump against Millwood (0-1, 5.40 ERA), against whom he’s 5-for-9 with three homers and seven RBIs.
Millwood lost both of his starts against the Red Sox last season, giving up seven runs in 11 innings, and is 3-3 with a 4.12 ERA in nine career starts against them.
Texas will skip its fifth starter Saturday so Millwood can make his second start of the season on his normal five days’ rest.
The right-hander suffered the loss in the Rangers’ season opener, allowing three runs in five innings of a 4-1 defeat to the Angels on Monday.
He was 7-7 with a 5.38 ERA in 17 starts at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington last season, but went 4-1 with a 3.63 ERA in his final five home starts.
The Red Sox will counter with Julian Tavarez, who is beginning the season as a starting pitcher for the first time 2002 with Florida.
Tavarez made 52 appearances out of Boston’s bullpen last season before finding success when he was moved to the starting rotation in late August, going 3-0 with a 4.01 ERA in six starts.
The right-hander followed up his impressive finish to 2006 with a solid spring, posting a 3.93 ERA in eight games, including one start.
Tavarez gave up three runs in 3 2-3 innings in two relief appearances against the Rangers last season, and is 2-3 with a 5.86 ERA in 19 career games against them. His only start against Texas came in his second career start in 1993 while with Cleveland.
Sosa, hitting .200 (2-for-10) with four strikeouts this season, is 4-for-15 (.267) with a home run against Tavarez.