Red Sox Streak Into Kansas City for Tim Wakefield’s Return

Red Sox Streak Into Kansas City for Tim Wakefield's ReturnAfter sweeping the Orioles in Baltimore with ease, the Red Sox will jump from one division cellar dweller to another, with a four-game series in Kansas City against the Royals.

Tim Wakefield takes the ball in the series opener, making his first start since Sept. 5, as the Red Sox fill in the holes in their rotation left vacant by injuries.

With just over two weeks left in the regular season, a big start for Wakefield would go a long way for the veteran's chances of making the postseason roster after an injury-riddled second half.

When and Where

8:10 p.m. ET (NESN), Sept. 21, 2009
Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.

RECORDS

Red Sox  (89-59, 2nd  place in AL East)
Royals (61-88, 5th place in AL Central)

HEAD TO HEAD

The Sox swept three games from the Orioles in Baltimore to start the 10-day road trip, their last trip of the regular season. Daisuke Matsuzaka was not as sharp in this outing as he was in his first outing coming of the disabled list last week at Fenway. But, against the O’s he did not need to be. 

SKINNY

The Sox head to Kansas City for four games, against the Royals, who are tied for last place in the AL Central. The Sox took three of four games from the Royals just before the All-Star break at Fenway, their only other meeting of the season. The Royals have won 10 of their last 13 games, while the Sox have won 11 of their last 13.

STARTING LINEUPS

Red Sox Royals
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Willie Bloomquist, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B Mitch Maier, LF
Victor Martinez, C Billy Butler, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 1B Mike Jacobs, DH
Jason Bay, LF Alberto Callaspo, 2B
David Ortiz, DH Miguel Olivo, C
Mike Lowell, 3b Alex Gordon, 3B
Rocco Baldelli, RF Yuniesky Bettancourt, SS
Alex Gonzalez, SS Josh Anderson, CF

STARTING PITCHERS

RHP Tim Wakefield (11-4, 4.22 ERA) vs. LHP Lenny DiNardo (0-1, 5.23 ERA)

Wakefield is making his first start since Sept. 5, a 5-1 loss to the White Sox in Chicago. He has missed his starts since then with an ailing back. In that outing, he gave up four runs on six hits and three walks with four strikeouts in six innings.  Wakefield has 12 quality starts in 19 outings this season.

In 25 career games against the Royals — 18 starts — he his 11-6 with one save and a 3.79 ERA (60 earned runs in 142 2/3 innings). At Kansas City he is 7-4 with one save and a 3.30 ERA in 13 games and 10 starts. This is his first appearance against the Royals since Aug. 6, 2008, when he earned the win in Kansas City. The Sox have won six of his eight starts against the Royals since 2000 despite his 5.46 ERA (37 earned runs, 61 innings) in that time.

DiNardo is making his third start for the Royals this season, after being called up from Triple-A Omaha Sept. 8. In his last start, Sept. 16 against the Tigers, he took the loss. He is looking for his first big league win since April 12, 2008, at Cleveland while with Oakland. 

He has made five career appearances and one start against the Sox, the team with which he made his big league debut in 2004. Against the Sox, he is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA (six earned runs, 15 innings). The win was while he was with the A's, June 5, 2007, pitching six shutout innings, allowing two hits and six walks.

STAT SHEET

Red Sox
The Red Sox' magic number for the wild card is seven.

Each player in the Sox' starting lineup Sunday had at least one hit, except J.D. Drew.

Victor Martinez went 2-for-4 Sunday, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 19 games.

Dustin Pedroia went 2-for-5 Sunday, extending his hitting streak 12 games.

Alex Gonzalez
scored the 500th run of his career Sunday in the second inning.

Jason Bay hit his 35th home run of the season on Sunday, his 31st birthday, tying a career high. He also had three RBIs in the game, giving him 110 for the season, a career high.

Jacoby Ellsbury’s three-RBI Sunday matched a career high.

Royals
The Royals have won 10 of their last 13 games.

Closer Joakim Soria has 26 saves in 29 opportunities.

Billy Butler leads the Royals with a .299 average, 83 RBIs, and .356 on-base percentage.

Miguel Olivo leads the Royals with 23 home runs.

Zack Greinke
leads the league with a 2.14 ERA and has 24 quality starts in his 30 outings.

The Royals are 13th in the AL with 624 runs scored.

The Royals are 13th in the AL with a .258 team average.

BLACK AND BLUE

Red Sox
Tim Wakefield has been dealing with an ailing back but is expected to start Monday in Kansas City.

Royals
Shortstop Mike Aviles has been on the DL since May 23 with a right elbow injury.

Outfielder Coco Crisp has been on the DL since June 14 after surgery for a right labrum tear.

Outfielder Jose Guillen has been on the DL since Sept. 18 with right hamstring and knee injuries.

Right-hander Doug Waechter has been on the DL since Aug. 13 with a right shoulder strain.

Right-hander Juan Cruz has been on the DL since Aug. 6 with a right shoulder strain.

THIS DATE IN RED SOX HISTORY

In 2006, David Ortiz hits two home runs against the Twins at Fenway, passing Jimmie Foxx’s team record of 50 home runs in a season, set in 1938.

OVERHEARD

“Often when we get an early lead I’m told to really go after the hitters. But going back all the way to when I was pitching in Japan, I think when we get too much of a lead I don’t usually pitch as well. With the lead that we had [Sunday] I wanted to go deeper into the game but I think for me I can pitch better when the score’s a little tighter.”
– Daisuke Matsuzaka, on pitching with an early lead in Sunday’s win over the Orioles

PRESS BOX

Red Sox
The Sox swept the O’s in Baltimore.

Jason Bay celebrated his 31st birthday with a home run.

Tim Wakefield should be ready to go Monday against the Royals.

Royals
The Royals have won 10 of their last 13 games.

Alex Gordon is trying to look past a disappointing season.

Zack Greinke will take the hill against the Sox on Tuesday.

MLB

The Rangers are another loss closer to elimination.

Milton Bradley has been suspended for the rest of the year.

The Rays beat Roy Halladay again.

OUTLOOK

After three games with the AL East last-place O’s, the Sox have four more games against a last-place team. This game will be a test for Wakefield and his back after spending more than two weeks on the shelf. The Sox were 2-1 against the Royals in Kansas City in 2008, 6-1 overall. 

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