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Wakefield looks to bounce back

Wakefield looks to bounce back

Boston manager Terry Francona doesn't bother thinking about how far in front his Red Sox are in the American League East standings, or how low the New York Yankees have sunk.

"This is baseball," he said. "You show up and you play. And our guys want to play the game right. We don't hold a lot of team meetings. If we're having a meeting, it means something has gone too far."

Tim Wakefield knows about extremes. At one point he was among the AL ERA leaders. Now he's looking to lower his ERA below 4.00 when he takes the mound against the A's on Wednesday night.

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After allowing just nine earned runs in his first 45 1/3 innings, Wakefield has given up 23 in his last 22 2/3 innings.

There's good news, though. He's 9-4 in 34 games against the A's and hasn't lost in Oakland since Aug. 9, 2001.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Tim Wakefield (5-6, 4.24 ERA)
Not since Sept. 4, 2004, had Wakefield been pounded for eight earned runs before his last start, on Friday night. But Wakefield's control deserted him against the Yankees, who touched him for five hits and six walks and scored eight times in 3 2/3 innings. Wakefield's ERA has ballooned from 1.79 to 4.24 in four starts since May 15.

OAK: LHP Joe Kennedy (1-4, 3.30 ERA)
Kennedy bounced back from a seven-run beating at the hands of the host Orioles to put together his strongest start of the season Friday night against the visiting Twins, holding Minnesota to a run on six hits over eight innings while throwing a season-high 110 pitches. As has often been the case this year, though, the A's offered little offensive support, so Kennedy, who has allowed one run in six of his 10 starts and has allowed more than three runs only once, was stuck with his fifth no-decision.

Players to watch
Catcher Jason Varitek and outfielder Manny Ramirez can't wait to grab a bat against Kennedy. Varitek is a .538 hitter against the A's left-hander, with a pair of doubles and a triple. Ramirez is 9-for-17 (.429) with five doubles and five RBIs against Kennedy.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

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

On television
• NESN

On radio
• WEEI 850, WROL (Español)

Up next
• Thursday: Red Sox (Curt Schilling, 5-2, 3.91) at Oakland (Joe Blanton, 5-3, 3.81), 3:35 p.m. ET
• Friday: Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 8-0, 2.95) at Arizona (Doug Davis, 4-6, 3.05), 9:40 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Red Sox (Julian Tavarez, 3-4, 5.33) at Arizona (TBA), 9:40 p.m. ET

Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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