Red Sox, Beckett take on Rays

Red Sox, Beckett take on Rays

Josh Beckett will make his final start of 2006 on Wednesday night and it's a significant one for the right-hander.

This is the first time Beckett has made it through an entire season without being shut down by an injury. And he needs just two innings to reach the 200-inning plateau for the first time in his career.

"He's still [26] years old," manager Terry Francona said. "He's learned a lot -- he's a hard worker. He's managed that blister. He's going to throw 200 innings. That's a nice goal. I think that was one of his goals. I think he's accomplished a lot. I think next year he'd like to have a lower ERA. I think we all would like for that to happen, and I think it will."

Beckett's 2006 finale will come against the Devil Rays in the finale of a two-game series.

The Red Sox, trying to hold on to second place in the American League East, hold a half-game lead on the Blue Jays.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Josh Beckett (16-10, 4.82 ERA)
Beckett's last start -- a 6-0 victory over the Twins on Thursday -- was as good as any he's had all season. He went eight innings without allowing a walk and struck out five. Beckett has already reached a career high in wins and is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts against Tampa Bay this season.

TB: RHP Tim Corcoran (4-9, 4.73 ERA)
Corcoran has not been able to nail down his fifth win since getting off to a 4-0 start this season. The right-hander made one big mistake in his Sept. 18 start against the Orioles, when he surrendered a three-run homer to Corey Patterson en route to his ninth loss of the season. Corcoran's last win came in a relief appearance against the Yankees at Tropicana Field on July 9.

Player to watch
David Ortiz will take aim at home run No. 55 on Wednesday.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• NESN

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

Up next
• Friday: Red Sox (RHP Julian Tavarez, 4-4, 4.52) vs. Orioles (LHP Erik Bedard, 15-10, 3.67), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Red Sox (RHP Tim Wakefield, 7-11, 4.63) vs. Orioles (LHP Adam Loewen, 6-6, 5.30), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Red Sox (TBA) vs. Orioles (TBA), 7:05 p.m. ET

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.