BOSTON — The Red Sox don’t lose much, especially here at home. They’re on pace to win a franchise-record 112 games, they’ve won 11 of their last 12 in Fenway Park, and they have put an astonishing 41 1/2 games in the standings between themselves and the Orioles.
Paul Molitor believes all those facts should energize the Twins, even more than their sweep of Toronto.
“They should really enjoy coming in here,” Molitor said before the first of four games against their spring-training neighbors. “You’re playing a team that has a very impressive record. They have some really good players having tremendous offensive years, not to mention their pitching staff. … It’s a challenge. We just have to try not to beat ourselves.”
The ballpark itself, packed for all four games this weekend, should give the Twins extra energy, too. “I’ve been fortunate to [play] in this park a long time, and I still look forward to that Boston trip. It’s such a unique venue. It was always my favorite place to play,” Molitor said. “A lot of guys get a big thrill to have a chance to compete here.”
It’s also a good way to measure how serious we should take the Twins’ vow that they’re not out of the AL Central race. They remain 7 1/2 games behind Cleveland, which has the night off, and 62 games remain to be played. It won’t be easy to hold their ground, much less make any up, while they’re here. “We’re not in the best position,” Molitor said. “You realize every time you go out there and [win], it’s important.”
Here are the lineups for tonight’s first of four: