Phillies-Red Sox Preview
The last time he faced the Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox
right-hander Tim Wakefield won his first game in more than 10
months. When he takes on the Phillies this time, the veteran
knuckleballer will go for his first victory at Fenway Park in
nearly a year.
Trying to beat the slumping Phillies for the second time in less
than a month, Wakefield gets the ball Sunday when the Red Sox try
to sweep their series.
Facing Philadelphia for the first time in four seasons,
Wakefield (2-4, 5.48 ERA) threw eight shutout innings in an 8-3 win
at Citizens Bank Park on May 23 for his first victory since July 8
against Oakland. Since that 5-4 win against the Athletics,
Wakefield is 0-4 with a 6.85 ERA in nine appearances at Fenway
The 43-year-old, though, won his second straight road start
Tuesday, retiring 15 straight at one point in a 3-2 victory against
Cleveland. A member of the Red Sox since 1995, Wakefield
surrendered four hits in 7 1/3 innings to move past Roger Clemens
for the franchise lead with 2,777 innings pitched.
“Wake was nails,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “That’s
kind of neat on a night he sets a record. He pumped a lot of
strikes and used his fastball and breaking ball at times, too.”
Wakefield will try to help the Red Sox (37-27) win their seventh
straight at home over the Phillies. Called up from Triple-A
Pawtucket before the game, Daniel Nava became the second player in
major league history to hit a grand slam on the first pitch he saw,
sparking Boston to a 10-2 victory and its eighth straight series
win in this matchup.
He came up the next inning with the bases loaded but struck out
on a check swing.
“I wanted to treat it like I normally do,” said Nava, the 10th
player in Red Sox history to homer in his first at-bat. “I just
said, `How are you guys doing (to umpire Bill Hohn and catcher
Brian Schneider)?’ They didn’t say anything.”
Nava added a double and J.D. Drew went 3 for 4 with a homer to
lead the 16-hit attack. The Red Sox are batting .418 with 15
extra-base hits in the series.
Philadelphia (31-29) hasn’t been nearly as successful at the
plate, scoring four total runs and batting .216 in its last three
Philadelphia, which has lost 17 of 23, will try to get back on
track with Cole Hamels (5-5, 3.98) on the mound. The left-hander is
trying to avoid losing four straight starts for the first time
since June 11-28, 2006.
Hamels did not allow a hit through 7 1/3 innings Monday against
San Diego before Adrian Gonzalez and Scott Hairston hit
back-to-back solo homers.
“You don’t expect to get beat by solo home runs, but
unfortunately, I’ve had a few of those in there,” Hamels told the
Phillies’ official website following the 3-1 loss. “But I just have
to go out there and keep plugging away.”
Hamels, 1-3 with a 7.48 ERA in five career interleague road
starts, struck out eight and pitched seven innings of three-hit
ball in a 5-1 victory over the visiting Red Sox on May 21.
Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez will likely be behind the plate
Sunday after getting Saturday off. Martinez, who is batting .438
with five home runs and 17 RBIs in his last 20 games, is 2 for 6
with a homer lifetime versus Hamels.
Boston has won 19 of 24 against Philadelphia.