The series opener will feature the first start of the season for 43-year-old Tim Wakefield, who is coming off a very strong spring. He will be saddled with the task of trying to deliver Boston its first win in five days.
The Sox took the opener of a three-game set against the New York Yankees on Sunday but lost the last two. Jonathan Papelbon gave up two runs in the top of the 10th inning in Wednesday’s 3-1 loss.
Boston is coming off consecutive losing seasons on the road for the first time since 1996-97.
Kyle Davies will be on the mound for the Royals.
Boston won last year’s season series 5-3. Kansas City leads the all-time series 209-206, meaning the Red Sox would tie it up with a sweep.
RHP Tim Wakefield (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. RHP Kyle Davies (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Despite having offseason back surgery and coming into camp with a few question marks, Tim Wakefield has proven he is more than ready to enter his 16th season with the Red Sox.
He enters just 11 wins shy of 200 for his career and 17 short of tying Roger Clemens and Cy Young atop the franchise list. He needs just 65 innings to surpass Clemens and become the all-time team leader in innings pitched.
Wakefield, who was 4-1 with a 3.04 ERA in Grapefruit League play, is 11-6 lifetime against the Royals.
Davies is coming off a season in which he established career highs in starts (22), innings (123) and strikeouts (86) — but he was just 8-9 with a 5.27 ERA.
The 26-year-old threw five shutout innings and got the win in his major league debut against Boston back in 2006. It is the only time he has faced the Sox.
|Jacoby Ellsbury, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Victor Martinez, C
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF
Mike Cameron, CF
Marco Scutaro, SS
|David Dejesus, RF
Scott Podsednik, LF
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Billy Butler, 1B
Rick Ankiel, CF
Jose Guillen, DH
Jason Kendall, C
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
Chris Getz, 2B
When the Red Sox hit the field, it will have been five days since they last tasted victory. Wakefield should give them a chance to get that taste again against a Royals lineup that offers few major challenges.
Francona said that some of the reserves will get time this weekend. He has used the same lineup in all three games and has yet to make a substitution.
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