The veteran right-hander hopes to continue his solid pitching as the Red Sox conclude a three-game series with the major league-worst Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.
Wakefield, who is often lost in the shuffle behind Martinez and Lowe, has yielded two earned runs or fewer in five of his last six starts. He allowed one run and six hits over seven strong innings Tuesday, striking out seven without a walk, to help Boston to a 2-1, 12-inning victory at Toronto.
“Wakefield gave us everything he had out there for seven innings, and then the bullpen came in there and pieced together a good outing,” Boston manager Grady Little said. “We’re awfully proud to see that.”
Despite his recent run, Wakefield is winless in three starts since beating Detroit 3-1 on June 23. He tossed six scoreless innings at Fenway Park in that contest, improving to 9-7 with a 4.38 ERA in 25 career appearances, including 13 starts, against the Tigers.
The Red Sox pulled within one game of the New York Yankees for first place in the AL East by beating the Tigers 4-2 in 11 innings Saturday.
Johnny Damon, back in the lineup after missing two games with a bruised hip, homered and singled in the go-ahead run in the 11th as Boston improved to 6-0 against Detroit this season.
The Red Sox have won five in a row since losing the final two games of their four-game set with the Yankees last weekend.
Detroit had won three straight before dropping two in a row to Boston. The Tigers have lost seven straight to the Red Sox since a 4-3 win at Comerica on July 15, 2002.
STANDINGS: Red Sox - 2nd place, 1 GB, AL East. Tigers - 5th place, 25 GB, AL Central.
RED SOX PROBABLE STARTER: Wakefield (6-3, 4.21 ERA). Wakefield is 3-2 with a 4.82 ERA in 11 appearances, including 10 starts, on the road this season. He is 0-1 with a 4.97 ERA in five career outings, including one start, at Comerica.
TIGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Wilfredo Ledezma (2-2, 3.60 ERA). Ledezma pitched five scoreless innings in his first career start, scattering five hits and striking out four without a walk in Detroit’s 2-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday. The rookie left-hander did not receive a decision, but earned another start. Ledezma yielded two runs over 1 1-3 innings of relief in his only preivous appearance against the Red Sox on June 24.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Red Sox - Bill Mueller, .333 avg.; Manny Ramirez, 21 HRs and 68 RBIs; Nomar Garciaparra, 73 runs; Damon, 19 SBs. Tigers - Dmitri Young, .286 avg., 17 HRs, 48 RBIs and 46 runs; Alex Sanchez, 15 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Red Sox, 6-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Red Sox - Little says he’s more worried about OF Ramirez’s availability to the Red Sox than whether or not he plays in the All-Star game. Ramirez was voted an All-Star starter, but will be replaced by Chicago White Sox OF Magglio Ordonez at the Midsummer Classic due a sore left hamstring. Ramirez went 1-for-5 Saturday. … LHP Casey Fossum, who has been on the DL since June 11 (tendinitis), might be recalled from a rehabilitation assignment after the All-Star break. OF-DH Jeremy Giambi, put on the DL on June 28 (bursitis), also is close to being recalled. … SS Garciaparra is 2-for-34 in his last eight games. Tigers - 2B Warren Morris is hitting .355 at Comerica Park and .229 on the road in 110 total at-bats since he was recalled from Toledo on June 5. … RHP Byung Hyun-Kim has converted all five save opportunities since moving into the closer’s role. … OF Craig Monroe ended an 0-for-12 slump with a double in the seventh inning Saturday.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Red Sox - 27-25 on the road; Tigers - 11-35 at home.
INJURIES: Red Sox - OF-DH Giambi (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Fossum (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Robert Person (hip), 15-day DL. Tigers - OF Bobby Higginson (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Danny Patterson (elbow), 60-day DL; 3B Dean Palmer (shoulder/neck), 60-day DL.