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Beckett in search of a dozen wins

Beckett in search of a dozen wins

Eight days before Major League teams break for a three-day summer vacation, Fenway Park is a stage. The event: Josh Beckett's pursuit of a league-leading 12th win, made all the more remarkable by the obstacles he has overcome.

Beckett is the only member of baseball's 10-win club -- which includes the Indians' C.C. Sabathia, the Angels' John Lackey and the Dodgers' Brad Penny -- to have spent any time on the disabled list. But his mid-May finger injury is now little more than a smudge on Beckett's sterling 2007 record; he is 4-1 with a respectable 3.57 ERA since missing 15 days due to the injury.

Beckett's two worst starts of the season, nevertheless, are his most recent two at Fenway Park, where he will take the mound on Saturday against Texas. Against the Yankees on June 3, Beckett yielded 11 baserunners and four runs. Battling dead-arm symptoms, he fared even worse against the Rockies on June 14, allowing six earned runs in five innings.

In 14 innings since, Beckett has allowed a total of two earned runs, with his fastball regaining velocity and movement.

The last-place Rangers, owners of the American League's worst record, will bring one of baseball's stronger offenses into Fenway. Despite batting .259 as a team, low enough to place in the bottom third of the league, Texas has scored the third-most runs in baseball. No American League team has more than the Rangers' 99 home runs.

The Rangers are still missing first baseman Mark Teixeira, who will likely return from injury after the All-Star break. On the mound, they'll counter with struggling right-hander Robinson Tejeda.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Josh Beckett (11-1, 3.07 ERA)
Beckett, a native of Spring, Texas, has a 2.92 ERA in two career starts against the Rangers, spanning 12 1/3 innings. Those both occurred in the first half of last season.

TEX: RHP Robinson Tejeda (5-7, 6.57 ERA)
Tejeda leads the Rangers with five wins, but with an 8.41 ERA since May 1 for the AL's worst team, that isn't saying much. Tejeda fans will find solace in the fact that his stellar first start of the season, in which he allowed just two hits over seven scoreless innings, came against the Red Sox. That was his only career start against Boston.

Players to watch
Texas' Brad Wilkerson and Marlon Byrd, a pair of National League East veterans who routinely squared off with Beckett during his turn as a Florida Marlin, have faced him a total of 52 times, reaching base at a .415 clip.

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
• WRKO 680, WROL (Español)

Up next
• Sunday: Red Sox (Julian Tavarez, 5-5, 4.60) vs. Rangers (Kameron Loe, 4-6, 6.02), 2:05 p.m. ET
• Monday: Red Sox (Kason Gabbard, 1-0, 6.48) vs. Rangers (Brandon McCarthy, 4-4, 5.90), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Tuesday: Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 9-5, 3.80) vs. Devil Rays (Scott Kazmir, 5-4, 4.26), 7:05 p.m. ET

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

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