The Red Sox turn to Tim Wakefield to help nail down their second three-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays in just over two weeks.
Wakefield, who was sent to the bullpen near the end of April to make room for Daisuke Matsuzaka, was given the start in order to push back Josh Beckett and to ensure that he remains stretched out going forward.
Matsuzaka gave the Sox five straight wins over the Blue Jays with seven dominant innings in Tuesday's 6-1 victory.
Boston is two games above .500 for the first time all year and with a win will move into third place in the American League East for the first time since April 28.
WHEN AND WHERE
Blue Jays (19-16) vs. Red Sox (18-16) Wednesday, May 12, 1:35 p.m. (NESN) Fenway Park, Boston
HEAD TO HEAD
The Sox have won all five meetings this year and 11 of 14 since Aug. 18, 2009.
RHP Shaun Marcum (1-1, 3.19 ERA) vs. RHP Tim Wakefield (0-1, 6.03 ERA)
Wakefield's last start came April 25, before he became the odd man out among six starting pitchers. Since then, he has thrown 6 1/3 innings out of the bullpen, giving up six runs.
As a starter, Wakefield was 0-1 with a 5.33 ERA, but his last start was his best. In a loss to Baltimore at Fenway Park, Wakefield allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings and left with a 4-1 lead.
The 43-year-old knuckleballer is 17-13 with a 3.93 ERA in his career vs. Toronto.
Marcum matched Clay Buchholz in a pitchers' duel at Rogers Centre on April 27. In a game the Sox eventually won 2-1, Marcum allowed a run on four hits in seven innings.
He is 4-2 with a 3.33 ERA against Boston.
Fred Lewis, LF Alex Gonzalez, SS Randy Ruiz, DH Vernon Wells, CF Lyle Overbay, 1B Jose Bautista, 3B Travis Snider, RF John McDonald, 2B Jose Molina, C
Marco Scutaro, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Victor Martinez, C
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
J.D. Drew, RF David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Jeremy Hermida, LF Jonathan Van Every, CF
Catcher Jason Varitek hit his sixth home run Tuesday in just his 40th plate appearance of the season. He didn't get his sixth homer in 2009 until his 125th plate appearance. Varitek is averaging a home run every 7.16 plate appearances or a homer per every 6.33 at-bats.
J.D. Drew's bunt single in the fifth inning Tuesday was his first since July 6, 2004.
Kevin Youkilis was hit by a pitch for the 63rd time Tuesday. He is one shy of tying Jim Rice for second on the team's all-time list. Mo Vaughn is the all-time leader with 71.
Outfielder Fred Lewis has hit 16-for-38 (.421) during an eight-game hitting streak.
Dana Eveland went just four innings Tuesday and is the first pitcher since 1952 to go less than five in each of his first five starts against the Red Sox.
Blue Jays pitchers have walked 15 batters in the series.
BLACK AND BLUE
Starter Josh Beckett will miss his scheduled start Friday in Detroit due to back spasms. He tweaked his back swinging in the cage before Monday's game as pitchers get prepared to visit a National League park next weekend. There is no immediate date set for his return.
Center fielder Mike Cameron went 1-for-3 with a walk in his second rehab game for Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday. He played center field and led off. Cameron, out since April 18 with an abdominal strain, is expected to take Wednesday off and then play another game with Pawtucket on Thursday.
Left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury ran the bases Tuesday afternoon and increased the intensity throughout the workout. He remains at least a few days away.
Righty Boof Bonser allowed a run in three innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday.
Infielder Jed Lowrie has gained four pounds and is combining baseball-related activities with strength and conditioning this week for the first time since he came down with mono in March. Francona said he could be playing games again in about four weeks.
Third baseman Edwin Encarnacion is playing extended spring training games in Florida as he recovers from a sore right arm.
Left-hander Marc Rzepczynski is also in Florida pitching in extended spring training games. He is on the DL with a broken left middle finger.
Fellow southpaw Brian Tallet threw on flat ground in Florida on April 28 as he attempts to come back from left forearm soreness.
The status of Beckett remains up in the air, so it would seem that Wakefield is not just keeping a seat warm for one turn of the rotation. There is a chance he could make multiple starts as the Sox navigate a dangerous portion of their schedule.
With a victory Wednesday, Boston would finish its 10-game homestand at 8-2 and enter its first day off in two weeks on a high note.