Ortiz looks to extend his hitting streak to 28 games while staying hot against his former team as rookie Allen Webster makes his second career start against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.
Boston (21-12) had won seven of eight before being swept in a three-game series at Texas over the weekend. After a 6-5, 11-inning win over Minnesota in Monday’s series opener, the Red Sox’s offense was held in check during a 6-1 loss Tuesday that ended a six-game home winning streak.
They’ve scored only 11 runs over their last five games, and third baseman Will Middlebrooks and catcher David Ross each left Tuesday’s contest early after colliding with each other. They are both uncertain for this game.
Ortiz went 1 for 4 and is hitting .423 during his streak that dates back to July 2. He’s hitting .414 in 15 games this season after returning from an Achilles injury that sidelined him for the end of 2012.
The designated hitter, who was with the Twins from 1997-2002, is hitting .433 with three homers and eight RBIs in his last eight versus his former team.
Boston is slumping, though, despite Ortiz’s hot hitting. Felix Doubront gave up six runs and 12 hits in just 3 2-3 innings of Friday’s 7-0 loss to Texas, and Webster (0-0, 3.00 ERA) was called up from Triple-A on Tuesday after reliever Joel Hanrahan was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right forearm strain. Webster is starting in place of Doubront, who has a disappointing 5.67 ERA.
Farrell had high praise for Webster, who is rated as one of Boston’s top prospects after coming over in last season’s blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The right-hander gave up three runs in six innings of Boston’s 5-4, 10-inning loss to Kansas City in his major league debut April 21.
“I think everyone looks forward to seeing that guy on the mound,” Farrell told the team’s official website. “He’s got great stuff. He showed he’s got very good poise in the first outing that he made for us.”
Minnesota will counter with a youngster of its own in 24-year-old Pedro Hernandez who hopes this outing goes better than his last trip to Fenway.
Hernandez (1-0, 3.92), set to make his fifth career start, earned his first major league win after allowing five hits in five scoreless innings of a 7-2 victory over Texas on April 27, but he followed that up by giving up five runs and walking four over 5 1-3 innings of Friday’s 7-6 loss to Cleveland.
The left-hander will be returning the site of his first career start July 18, when he gave up eight runs and 12 hits in four innings of a 10-1 defeat while pitching for the Chicago White Sox.
Jacoby Ellsbury hitting just .161 in his last eight versus Minnesota, went 3 for 3 off Hernandez in that contest.
The Twins (14-15), though, have won four of their last six at Fenway after Ryan Doumit went 2 for 4 and hit his first homer of the season Tuesday. They improved to 3-5 on a 10-game road trip that concludes with Thursday’s series finale.
Joe Mauer hitting .368 over his last 10 against the Red Sox, has hit safely in six straight games.