A day after he celebrated his 45th birthday, Wakefield tries a second time to earn career win No. 200 when he takes the mound for the Boston Red Sox against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.
Wakefield (6-4, 5.06 ERA) is on the verge of becoming the oldest major leaguer to win his 200th game. Charlie Hough is currently the oldest to do so at 44 years and 213 days while with the Chicago White Sox in 1992, the same year Wakefield recorded his first career win for Pittsburgh.
Wakefield’s teammates failed to support him offensively in his first attempt at the milestone Friday, when he allowed three runs and three hits - including a tiebreaking seventh-inning homer to A.J. Pierzynski(notes) - in a 3-1 loss to the White Sox for his only defeat in five July starts.
A positive to come out of that result, however, was that Wakefield now has a chance to reach 200 in front of the Fenway faithful. However, he’s not thinking too much about himself.
“I’m excited about it,” Wakefield told the Red Sox’s official website. “I don’t like to talk about my personal numbers. I’m excited about my next start to try to help us win and get us in the postseason.”
The right-hander is 12-7 with a 4.13 ERA in 23 career starts versus Cleveland, including 3-0 with a 2.51 ERA in his last five since losing to the Indians on April 26, 2006.
Wakefield looks to help the AL East-leading Red Sox (67-41) to a second straight victory after All-Star Jacoby Ellsbury(notes) delivered a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth for a 3-2 win Tuesday to even the four-game set.
“It’s fun winning,” said Ellsbury, batting .376 with 25 RBIs in his last 28 games. “We feed off each other. That’s fun.”
Though Boston has won 22 of 29, it only has a one-game lead over the rival New York Yankees, who come to Fenway for a three-game set starting Friday.
After losing the first four in the season series with Cleveland, the Red Sox have won three of the last four. The Indians (54-53) have dropped nine of 12 overall to slip three games behind first-place Detroit in the AL Central.
Carlos Carrasco(notes) (8-9, 4.67) takes the ball Wednesday trying to avoid a sixth straight losing start. After the game, the right-hander will drop his appeal of a six-game suspension and $2,500 fine for throwing at the head of Kansas City’s Billy Butler(notes).
Carrasco finished July 0-5 with a 9.13 ERA after allowing seven runs on three homers in 3 1-3 innings of a 12-0 loss to the Royals on Friday. One batter after giving up a grand slam to Melky Cabrera(notes), he was ejected for throwing at Butler, who had already homered.
Though Carrasco said it was not intentional, his manger was unhappy with the situation.
“We don’t condone throwing at people’s heads,” manager Manny Acta said. “He was talked to by (pitching coach Tim Belcher). That’s a dangerous situation.”
In his only previous appearance versus Boston on Oct. 1, 2009, Carrasco allowed three runs and nine hits in 3 1-3 innings of a 3-0 loss at Fenway Park.