Red Sox seek to extend streak

Red Sox seek to extend streak

Tim Wakefield and the Red Sox seem to be making a weekly habit of proving that a pitcher's record is one of the more deceptive statistics in baseball.

In 2005, Wakefield finished with 16 wins and a 4.15 ERA. His 3.97 ERA this season, which ranks in the top 20 for American League starters, has only earned him a record of 4-8 on a first-place team.

Squaring off against Nationals right-hander Livan Hernandez on Tuesday, Wakefield will look for his team to revive their sleepy bats and provide his win column with some company.

"In the early part of the season the run support wasn't there, but that's the way it goes. He's definitely been pitching well, keeping us in games and ahead in games," outfielder Coco Crisp said.

The Red Sox are scoring an average of 3.79 runs in games that Wakefield starts as opposed to 5.72 runs in games started by other Boston pitchers.

Wakefield has not allowed more than three earned runs in his last four outings, but he has only won one of those starts.

In his last outing, Wakefield gave up three earned runs and eight hits while pitching six innings at Minnesota.

As one of only four Boston pitchers who have started more than five games this season, Wakefield, the longest-tenured Red Sox player, has been one of the few reliable arms in their unpredictable rotation.

After making the start on Tuesday against Washington, Wakefield will jump a spot in the rotation and take his knuckleball out dancing on Sunday against Philadelphia as well.

"The ball moves so much, especially [in] his last start. I was in center and it was unbelievable how much his ball was moving," Crisp said.

Wakefield is 2-3, with a 3.14 ERA at Fenway Park this year. In his career, he is 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA against the Washington franchise.

Winners of four straight, the Red Sox are 6-1 against the National League this year while Washington is 4-3 in Interleague Play.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Tim Wakefield (4-8, 3.97 ERA)
Wakefield returns to Fenway Park searching for his first victory since May 28 against Tampa Bay. In his last start against Minnesota, Wakefield pitched six innings and allowed eight hits and four runs -- one of which was unearned. Perhaps more troubling is that Wakefield was hit consistently, surrendering a run in each of the first three frames against the Twins.

WAS: RHP Livan Hernandez (5-7, 5.18 ERA)
Hernandez will face the Red Sox for the second time in his career. He has given up five runs in 6 1/3 innings against them. Hernandez is looking to break a personal two-game losing streak. In his last start, Hernandez didn't have a quality outing. He pitched 6 2/3 innings and gave up six runs -- five earned -- against the Rockies. He threw a season-high 138 pitches.

Player to watch
Third Basemen Mike Lowell is batting .389 (7-for-18) in his last five games. Unlike most of his teammates, Lowell, who played in the NL for most of his career, has faced Hernandez on several occasions. Lowell is hitting .362 (17-for-47) in his career against the former World Series MVP.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WEEI 850 AM, WROL 950 AM (Español)

Up next
• Wednesday: Red Sox (LHP Jon Lester, 1-0, 3.48 ) vs. Nationals (RHP Shawn Hill, 1-1, 2.42), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Friday: Red Sox (RHP Josh Beckett, 8-3, 5.09) vs. Phillies (RHP Ryan Madson, 7-4, 5.79), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Red Sox (RHP Curt Schilling, 9-2, 3.55) vs. Phillies (RHP Brett Myers, 5-3, 3.77), 1:20 p.m. ET

Howard Kussoy is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.