The Boston Red Sox are playing with the confidence of a team that expects to win. Right now, there’s no reason they shouldn’t.
The Red Sox (44-28) try to extend their season-high winning streak to nine games when they host the Philadelphia Phillies (35-39) in the finale of a three-game set Sunday.
Boston has not won nine in a row since a 10-game winning streak from Aug. 24-Sept. 3, 2004, the same season it went on to win the World Series.
David Ortiz hit his ninth career walkoff homer Saturday to give the AL East leaders a 5-3, 10-inning victory over Philadelphia, improving them to 10-1 in interleague play.
“The confidence that he feels, it just makes you jealous,” said Red Sox starter Curt Schilling, who struck out 10 in six innings but didn’t get the win.
The Red Sox have little to be jealous about as they have outscored opponents 60-25 during their winning streak and averaged 12.4 hits per game.
Tim Wakefield (5-8, 3.82 ERA) hopes to benefit from some of that offense when he takes the mound for Boston on Sunday. The right-hander has only two wins in his last seven starts, but has posted a 3.59 ERA in that span and has gone at least six innings in each outing.
Wakefield’s biggest nemesis has been his own team’s lineup, as the Red Sox are averaging only 2.38 runs in his eight losses.
That was not the case Tuesday, however, as Boston recorded 17 hits and the knuckleballer held Washington to one run over six innings in an 11-3 win.
“It was unbelievable (the run support),” Wakefield said. “I have always said that it makes our job easier when we get some runs on the board early.”
Wakefield is 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA in eight appearances against Philadelphia, including a dominant performance in his last game against the Phillies. He pitched eight innings and gave up two hits in an 8-0 victory June 24, 2005.
One of Wakefield’s challenges Sunday will be getting out Philadelphia center fielder Aaron Rowand, who is batting .714 (10-for-14) with four homers against Wakefield.
The Phillies have dropped four in a row and 12 of their last 15. They are 3-8 in interleague play, losing all four series.
Philadelphia starter Brett Myers went five innings Saturday, one day after being arrested and charged with hitting his wife in the face. The right-hander was freed after his wife posted $200 bail, and he faces a court date of Aug. 4.
Cory Lidle (4-6, 5.00) will take the mound for Philadelphia looking to win for the first time since May 21—when he defeated Boston 10-5 with six innings of three-run ball. The right-hander is coming off one of his shortest starts of the season Tuesday, when he gave up eight hits, two homers and four runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 9-7 loss to the New York Yankees. Lidle didn’t get the decision.
Lidle, 0-2 with a 5.30 ERA in seven starts since that last win, has failed to pitch seven innings in 14 of his 15 starts this season. He is 2-2 with a 6.46 ERA in 12 games—seven starts—against Boston.
The Red Sox have won 10 of their last 12 matchups with the Phillies and five of six at Fenway Park.
Red Sox second baseman Mark Loretta, who went 3-for-3 on Saturday to extend his hitting streak to eight games, left with a mild neck strain in the seventh inning and is listed as day-to-day.