Tim Wakefield Opposed by Tommy Hunter, Who Brings Haunted Fenway Memories

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July 15, 2010

Tim Wakefield Opposed by Tommy Hunter, Who Brings Haunted Fenway Memories The Red Sox begin the second half of a trying, yet largely successful, season Thursday at Fenway Park when they welcome in the American League West-leading Texas Rangers for the first of four games.

Boston enters the second half of the season still waiting on several injured stars but a few of them, notably starters Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz, should return soon.

In the meantime, it’s old standby Tim Wakefield getting things going in the second half. Wakefield, who was victimized by the Rangers on the bases the last time he faced them, is seeking his 193rd career win.

Texas is coming off a somewhat stunning four-game sweep to lowly Baltimore at home before the break. One of those losses came in the Rangers debut of star lefty Cliff Lee. They’ll be sending Tommy Hunter to the hill. Last time he did that at Fenway, he was lit up for nine earned runs on seven hits and a walk in just 1 2/3 innings on Aug. 14, 2008. The Red Sox went on to win 10-0. That game came just two days after the Sox beat the Rangers 19-17.

WHEN AND WHERE

Rangers (50-38) at Red Sox (51-37)
Thursday, July 14, 7:10 p.m.
Fenway Park, Boston

HEAD TO HEAD

The Sox have won 10 of the last 13 meetings in Fenway Park.

PITCHING MATCHUP

RHP Tommy Hunter (5-0, 2.34 ERA) vs. RHP Tim Wakefield (3-7, 5.22 ERA)

Wakefield had been quietly cruising along over a stretch of five starts (2-2, 3.25 ERA) but struggled with his command in his last outing before the break. In a 6-4 loss to Tampa Bay, he walked a season-high six and gave up six runs in 5 2/3 innings.

When the 43-year-old faced Texas at Fenway back in April, the Rangers swiped a team record nine bases in the first five innings alone. That was the game that Darnell McDonald made his debut with the Sox and won the game with a walk-off hit.

Victor Martinez was behind the plate with Wakefield in that one. Kevin Cash is the likely starter Thursday.

Hunter remains undefeated in seven starts but Texas lost a game he started for the first time last Friday, falling to the Orioles 6-4. Still, the 24-year-old remained rock solid. He gave up three runs and struck out seven in six innings.

Hunter’s only start in Fenway Park nearly two years ago saw him give up nine runs in 1 2/3 innings. As a result, his Fenway ERA sits at 48.60.

LINEUPS

Lineups will be posted approximately four hours before first pitch.

STAT SHEET

Red Sox

  • Third baseman Adrian Beltre is batting .156 (5-for-32) in July.
  • Outfielder Daniel Nava has struck out 24 times in 24 games with the Sox.
  • Closer Jonathan Papelbon has yielded just one hit in 4 1/3 scoreless innings since his back-to-back rough outings in Colorado in late June.

Rangers

  • Reliever Darren O’Day has thrown 15 2/3 scoreless innings.
  • Outfielder Josh Hamilton has followed up a .454 June by hitting .366 in July.
  • Second baseman Ian Kinsler is batting .393 (11-for-28) during a seven-game hitting streak.

BLACK AND BLUE

Red Sox

  • Right-hander Josh Beckett (back) will make a second rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday. He is expected to rejoin the rotation after that outing.
  • Right-hander Clay Buchholz (hamstring) will make a rehab start Friday for Pawtucket.
  • Righty reliever Manny Delcarmen (forearm) will pitch for Double-A Portland on Thursday.
  • Catcher Jason Varitek remains sidelined with a broken right foot. He will have the foot scanned Friday and is targeting a return in early August.
  • Second baseman Dustin Pedroia is on the DL with a broken left foot. He will get a scan Friday and if the results are promising, he may be able to get off the crutches he has been using for three weeks.
  • Catcher Victor Martinez was put on the DL on June 28 with a minimally displaced fracture on the tip of his left thumb. Martinez is eligible to return after the All-Star break but will not be activated immediately and still may be a week or two from returning.
  • Outfielder Jeremy Hermida (broken rib) will begin a rehab assignment Thursday with Portland.
  • Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury will head to Florida to continue his rehab from a broken rib with the club’s Gulf Coast League affiliate.
  • Mike Lowell was eligible to return from the DL last Friday but was not with the team. There is no set date for him come back from a sore hip.
  • Infielder Jed Lowrie will continue his rehab stint as he recovers from mononucleosis at Pawtucket..
  • Righty Junichi Tazawa underwent Tommy John surgery in March. He is out for the year.

Rangers

  • Right-hander Rich Harden is due to return soon from a strained left gluteus muscle.
  • Lefty Derek Holland is on the DL with mild left rotator cuff inflammation.
  • Righty Eric Hurley is likely out for the year following two surgeries on his left wrist.
  • Righty Mark Lowe, acquired in the Cliff Lee trade, is out for the year following back surgery.

OUTLOOK

Keep the Rangers off the bases and the Sox will be OK. Then again, when Texas ran wild on Wakefield back in April, Boston was having all sorts of issues limiting opponents on the basepaths.

The Sox have solved those issues to a degree, but the Rangers will take every opportunity to keep Wakefield on his toes.

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