Already the franchise leader in starts and innings pitched, Boston Red Sox right-hander Tim Wakefield(notes) is closing in on the team’s wins record. The 44-year-old knuckleballer has a good chance to move closer to that mark if the Red Sox can continue their run-scoring surge.
Coming off his first win of the season, Wakefield will try to help Boston post its sixth straight victory over Detroit on Friday night when Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello(notes) looks to win his fourth consecutive start.
With starters John Lackey(notes) and Daisuke Matsuzaka(notes) on the disabled list with right elbow injuries, the Red Sox (28-22) will try to get as many innings possible out of Wakefield (1-1, 4.50 ERA).
Making his third start of 2011 - and team-record 410th - the right-hander allowed one run and four hits while lasting a season-high 6 2-3 innings in Sunday’s 5-1 win over the Chicago Cubs. Wakefield, the franchise leader with 2,881 1-3 innings pitched, is six wins shy of 200 and 13 from passing Roger Clemens and Cy Young for the most in Red Sox history.
“… There isn’t (any personal record) on my mind right now, just getting ready for my next start,” Wakefield told the Red Sox’s official website.
Wakefield, 10-3 with a 3.51 ERA in his last 14 starts versus the Tigers, could be working with a nice cushion Friday if the Red Sox can keep pounding the ball.
After recording a season-best 20 hits in Wednesday’s 14-2 victory at Cleveland, Boston had 16 hits and won 14-1 over Detroit (25-24) on Thursday in an eight-inning, rain-shortened contest.
“I’m glad we had two good days in a row,” said manager Terry Francona, whose team is the first to score 14 or more three times in a seven-day span since Atlanta in 2006.
“That’s the guy we’ve been waiting for, and it’s exciting,” Francona said.
So has been the play of Drew Sutton(notes) and Josh Reddick(notes). Sutton is 5 for 10 with four doubles in the last two games, while Reddick went 3 for 5 with three RBIs Thursday after getting called up from Triple-A Pawtucket.
Boston has outscored its opponents 88-42 while winning 11 of 13, but Francona is not getting overly excited about his team scoring 14 or more runs in consecutive games for the first time since July 2-3, 1998.
“Porcello will have something to do about that (Friday),” he said.
Porcello (4-2, 3.08), 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his last six starts, threw eight innings of one-hit ball in Sunday’s 2-0 victory at Pittsburgh.
“He was pounding the strike zone pretty good,” manager Jim Leyland said after Porcello threw 53 of his 84 pitches for strikes. “He was fantastic. No question about it, he was fantastic.”
Porcello hasn’t been great in two starts against Boston - both in 2009 - going 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA.
Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz(notes), 1 for 2 off Porcello, will try to extend his season-high hitting streak to nine. He is batting .429 (15 for 35) during this stretch and .343 (24 for 70) with nine homers and 25 RBIs in his last 18 games in Detroit.