Wakefield kicks off second half

Wakefield kicks off second half

The Red Sox begin the second half of the season in first place in the American League East with a double-digit lead and as the only team in the division over .500.

And while any start that gives a team a record 19 games over .500 and a 10-game lead in its division is obviously good, Boston doesn't want to continue to play the way it did in the last few games before the All-Star break.

In their last series before the break, the Red Sox were swept by the Tigers.

That series was on the road, where the Red Sox had been struggling before getting into Detroit. Boston has lost six consecutive games on the road, and seven of the last eight away from Fenway.

So this is a perfect time for the team to begin an 11-game homestand, starting with a four-game series against the Blue Jays.

David Ortiz says it will be simple to continue the team's success.

"[We need to] come in and play the game like we've been [playing] in the first half of the season," he said.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Tim Wakefield (9-8, 4.39)
Wakefield left to a standing ovation in his last start against the Devil Rays. Unfortunately for his final line, he also left the bases loaded. All three runners eventually scored, as the Red Sox's setup corps was unable to hold the inherited runners. Ultimately, Wakefield hung on for his ninth win, running his career record against the Rays to 16-2. He owns a more modest 14-9 record against the Blue Jays, but a career ERA of 3.75.

DET: RHP Roy Halladay (10-3, 4.46)
Halladay picked up his team-leading 10th victory of the season in his outing against the Indians on Friday. The Jays ace didn't have his best stuff, but he battled through 5 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on nine hits while striking out three. Halladay is now 5-1 since returning from an emergency appendectomy on May 31.

Player to watch:
Julio Lugo has six RBIs in his last six games, including going 3-for-3, with a homer, double, two RBIs and two runs scored in Sunday's 6-5 loss to Detroit.

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

On television
• NESN

On radio
• WRKO 680 AM, WROL 950 AM (Español)

Up next
• Friday: Red Sox (Julian Tavarez, 5-7, 4.97) vs. Blue Jays (Shaun Marcum, 4-3, 3.62) 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Red Sox (Kason Gabbard, 2-0, 3.87) vs. Blue Jays (Dustin McGowan, 5-4, 4.65) 7:05 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 12-3, 3.44) vs. Blue Jays (Jesse Litsch, 1-3, 4.65) 2:05 p.m. ET

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