The veteran knuckleballer will try to help the Red Sox avoid a three-game sweep to the surprising Texas Rangers at The Ballpark in Arlington.
Wakefield has proven himself to be Boston’s most versatile pitcher since 1995, shuffling between the bullpen and starting rotation based on the needs of his manager.
After going 2-0 in his first three starts this year, yielding two earned runs or fewer in each outing, the right-hander was again asked to work out of the bullpen during Thursday’s doubleheader with Tampa Bay.
Wakefield responded by tossing two perfect innings in the opener, helping newly activated fifth starter Byung-Hyun Kim and Boston to a 4-0 victory.
Wakefield has not started since a 4-2 victory at Toronto on April 21, when he yielded two runs and six hits over 6 2-3 solid innings, striking out four and walking two. His 2.14 ERA is tops among Boston starters, more than a run lower than both Schilling (3.31) and Martinez (4.17).
After announcing that he would test the free-agent market this winter, Martinez was pounded for six runs and a season-high nine hits over four innings of an 8-5 loss the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader. Texas took the opener 4-3, and has won seven of eight to continue its unexpected strong start.
Rod Barajas had three of Texas’ 14 hits in the second game, including a two-run double in the eighth as the Rangers maintained their early lead in the AL West—a division they’ve finished last in each of the previous four years.
Boston had won a season-high six in a row before Saturday’s doubleheader.