The Mariners look to continue their success against both Wakefield and the Red Sox when the teams continue their three-game series Saturday at Fenway Park.
Seattle (22-39) has won only four of its last 16 games, but three of those wins have come against the AL East-leading Red Sox (38-26). The Mariners took two of three home games versus Boston from May 26-28, then halted a four-game losing streak with an 8-0 win in Friday night’s series opener.
Richie Sexson and Ichiro Suzuki each drove in two runs for the Mariners, who had appeared to be in turmoil entering this series. A three-game sweep to the Los Angeles Angels earlier this week resulted in team president Chuck Armstrong berating members of the coaching staff, and manager John McLaren launching into a profanity-laced tirade against his own club.
“It feels good,” Sexson said of Friday’s win after going 3-for-4 to raise his average to .213. “We needed a win. There’s been a lot of negative things surrounding this team the last month or so.”
Seattle starter Felix Hernandez and two relievers took advantage of an undermanned Boston lineup Friday. Manny Ramirez sat out with a sore right hamstring, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury is day-to-day with a strained right wrist and slugger David Ortiz is on the disabled list with a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist.
Boston is hopeful Ramirez, batting .386 (17-for-44) with five homers and 17 RBIs in his last 11 games, can return to the lineup Saturday.
“Everything’s good,” Ramirez said of his injury before Friday’s game. “Just kind of sore. It’s just going to be one day.”
Friday’s defeat snapped a 13-game home winning streak for the Red Sox, who had not lost at Fenway since May 1 and still have the best home record in baseball at 24-6.
While the Mariners play well against Boston overall, they appear downright unbeatable when Wakefield (3-4, 4.50 ERA) starts for the Red Sox. The 41-year-old knuckleballer has not defeated Seattle since July 29, 1997. He is 0-6 despite a respectable 3.96 ERA against the Mariners in 17 appearances, including eight starts, since the start of the 1998 season.
Wakefield has lost all five of his starts versus Seattle since 2004, although he has received no run support in three of those outings. He limited the Mariners to one run and five hits over eight innings May 28, striking out a season-high eight without a walk, but lost 1-0 as Seattle’s Erik Bedard and two relievers combined on a two-hitter.
Poor run support has plagued Wakefield this season regardless of the opponent, as the Red Sox have scored a total of three runs for him in his four losses.
He did receive three runs of support Monday at Baltimore, where he left with a lead after holding the Orioles to two runs over seven innings. The Boston bullpen squandered the lead in the eighth, though, en route to a 6-3 defeat.
Miguel Batista (3-6, 5.90) will oppose Wakefield this time. The right-hander has had only one quality start in his last six - May 27 against Boston. He gave up three runs - two earned - and five hits in seven innings, although he did not record a decision in Seattle’s 4-3 victory.
Batista was less effective Sunday against Detroit, allowing three runs, five hits and four walks over 5 1-3 innings. He also didn’t factor in the decision of that game - a 7-5 Mariners loss.