Wakefield will try to salvage finale

Wakefield will try to salvage finale vs. Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- Red Sox manager Terry Francona is hoping Tim Wakefield, or any of his starters for that matter, can give him quality starts on a regular basis.

With Keith Foulke on the 15-day disabled list and Mike Timlin just returning, the Red Sox are somewhat limited in the bullpen. Francona said they're lacking a pitcher who can throw three-plus innings if a starter finds himself in early trouble.

"We don't have that guy right now," he said. "Rather than one guy, we would lump it together with some guys going two [innings]."

Francona said he'll start looking to his younger pitchers, like right-handers Manny Delcarmen and Jermaine Van Buren, in tight situations.

Both pitched Wednesday night against Minnesota with the score within striking distance.

Van Buren recorded two outs against the Twins, but loaded the bases in the sixth inning and walked in a run before being pulled. Delcarmen entered the game and surrendered a grand slam to Justin Morneau.

"Part of my responsibility is helping these guys develop, but we'll try to give the younger guys a little bit more rope in some situations," Francona said. "I think it's sooner rather than later. Part of the dilemma is how to bring them along, and that's something I fight with."

And until Timlin becomes more comfortable, he probably won't be throwing a lot innings.

In his first game off the disabled list on Tuesday night, Timlin pitched a perfect 11th inning, but Francona didn't want to send him out for a second inning so soon. Timlin didn't pitch Wednesday night, either, even though the Red Sox handed the ball to three relievers after Matt Clement's early exit.

"Getting [Timlin] stacked up this early might not be a good idea," Francona said.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Tim Wakefield (4-7, 3.93 ERA)
Another strong performance by Wakefield went unrewarded after Jonathan Papelbon uncharacteristically gave up the lead against Texas on Friday. Wakefield pitched seven innings against the Rangers, giving up two earned runs, four hits and striking out six. Wakefield has given up three earned runs or fewer in his last three starts, but has only gotten one win.

MIN: RHP Carlos Silva (2-8, 7.73 ERA)
There still is a little too much sink missing from Silva's sinker. In only his second start since rejoining the Twins rotation, Silva struggled to make it through six innings. The Twins seemed to be pleased by some progress that Silva made by keeping more pitches down in the zone, but he will have to severely limit his mistakes against the Red Sox if he is to pick up his first victory since May 9. Silva's eight losses so far this year equal his total number of losses in each of the past two seasons.

Player to watch
With 451 home runs, Manny Ramirez is ranked 30th on the all-time list and sits one behind Carl Yastrzemski. Ramirez has two hits in his last 13 at-bats; however, both hits have been home runs. The slugger is a career .337 hitter against the Twins with 27 home runs, but 0-for-6 all-time against Silva.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WEEI 850

Up next
• Friday: Red Sox (RHP Jon Lester, 0-0, 6.23) at Braves (RHP Tim Hudson, 6-4, 3.79), 7:35 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Red Sox (RHP Josh Beckett, 7-3, 5.26) at Braves (LHP Horacio Ramirez, 2-2, 5.06), 1:20 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Red Sox (RHP Curt Schilling, 9-2, 3.59) at Braves (RHP John Smoltz, 4-5, 3.78), 8:05 p.m. ET

Jason Brummond is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.