Chicago (76-59) at Boston (79-56)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Boston, MA
Temp: 80° F
  • Game info: 1:35 pm EDT Sun Aug 31, 2008
  • TV: CSN, NESN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Considering how successful second baseman Dustin Pedroia has been at the plate lately, it’s no surprise the Boston Red Sox continue to roll through opponents.

Pedroia looks to build on his latest offensive outburst on Sunday when the Red Sox—winners of eight of their last 11—try to complete a three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park.

Boston (79-56) has been outstanding in August, and its 18-8 mark is the second-best among AL teams during the month. The club clinched its fourth straight series on Saturday, pounding out 15 hits for the second night in a row in an 8-2 win over Chicago (76-59).

Mark Kotsay had three RBIs, while Jed Lowrie and Jason Bay each drove in two runs, but it was Pedroia that keyed Boston’s offensive attack with his second straight four-hit performance.

Pedroia, who leads the AL with a .327 average, has batted .423 (30-for-71) with five homers, 15 RBIs and 25 runs scored over his last 16 contests.

“You go through times in the year where you’re not very good and then you go through times when you are good,” Pedroia said. “The last couple of days I got on base every time, so it’s just one of those things.”

On Saturday, he batted cleanup for the first time in his professional career as usual No.4 hitter Kevin Youkilis missed the game due to an illness.

Adjusting the order, though, didn’t affect Pedroia’s success versus the White Sox. He has hit .382 (21-for-55) with a homer and nine RBIs in 13 career games against them, though he is just 1-for-5 versus scheduled starter Gavin Floyd.

Meanwhile, Boston—the AL’s wild-card leader—won for the eighth time in 10 games at Fenway Park, and picked up its 11th victory in its last 13 games against Chicago, which dropped its third straight and fell to 2-4 on its nine-game road trip.

“Right now, I think we’re struggling as a club,” manager Ozzie Guillen told the White Sox’s official Web site. “In my mind, we thought we’d be better the last couple of days. We weren’t.”

Still, Guillen’s club maintained its half-game AL Central lead over second-place Minnesota, which also lost Saturday.

Chicago hasn’t lost more than three consecutive games since its season-high seven-game slide from April 28-May 5.

To avoid moving closer to that mark, the White Sox turn to Floyd (14-6, 3.70 ERA), who has gone 4-0 with a 4.22 ERA in his last seven starts.

The right-hander was efficient Tuesday, holding Baltimore to two runs and four hits over eight innings—throwing 98 pitches—of an 8-3 road win. It was his team-leading 14th triumph this year after totaling eight over his first professional four seasons.

Floyd has never pitched in Boston, but beat the Red Sox on Aug. 10 in Chicago despite giving up five runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-5 win.

He’ll be opposed by knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (8-8, 3.73), who will be making his second start since coming off of the disabled list due to right shoulder tightness.

On Tuesday, the right-hander lasted just five innings, but held the New York Yankees to three runs and eight hits in a 7-3 road victory.

Wakefield hasn’t pitched versus the White Sox yet this season and is 7-10 with a 5.14 ERA in 27 career appearances against them, but he has won his last three versus Chicago.

He tossed seven scoreless innings, fanning six and scattering three hits in a 14-2 rout in Chicago on Aug. 25, 2007.

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Starting Pitchers

G. Floyd Atl vs. T. Wakefield Bos
17-8 Record 10-11
3.84 ERA 4.13
145 K 117
70 BB 60
1.26 WHIP 1.18

Scoreboard

Sunday, Aug 31