Wakefield faces KC, seeks win No. 11

Wakefield faces KC, seeks win No. 11

In many ways, it's his most enduring characteristic: consistency.

Other words for it: regularity. Longevity. Despite his command of a pitch that makes him unique in the Majors -- at least, until the White Sox called up 23-year-old knuckleballer Charlie Haeger this summer -- Tim Wakefield, who starts on Tuesday against the Royals, remains a wonderfully stuffy New England institution.

Bostonians time their five-day increments by the ticking clock of Wakefield's starts. So it's oddly appropriate that Wakefield would earn a decision in each of his first 18 appearances this season. Red Sox fans can now track the team's pitching rotation by checking the day's box scores. Approximately every five starts since April 6, Wakefield has been Boston's pitcher of record.

Only one other pitcher in the Majors this year has won or lost all his starts, adding up to a total of 18: the Cubs' Carlos Zambrano. Only 17 pitchers since 1980 have earned decisions in their first 18 starts. Pedro Martinez, who started the 1999 season at 15-3, is the last Red Sox pitcher before Wakefield to pull off the feat.

Wakefield will look to make it 19 with a win against an improving Royals team. Kansas City has a winning record since May 10, spanning more than two months. The Royals will call on 24-year-old right-hander Leo Nunez to make his first career start. Nunez has Major League experience in two previous years as a reliever, but not this season.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Tim Wakefield (10-8, 4.47 ERA)
Only three American League teams -- the Indians, Twins and the Mariners -- have faced Wakefield as infrequently as the Royals. And yet 23 appearances later, Wakefield has still logged an impressive 130 1/3 innings against Kansas City. No AL team has had as much trouble with Wakefield's knuckler; he has a 3.66 ERA against the Royals, his best against any AL opponent.

KC: RHP Leo Nunez (2007 debut)
Nunez pitched parts of the 2005 and '06 seasons with the big club, but never made a start. He made a pair of appearances at Fenway Park on Aug. 3 and 4, 2005, but not with much success, allowing a total of five earned runs in 1 1/3 innings.

Player to watch
Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, who returned after a one-day layoff on Monday night, hit a grand slam off Nunez in that Aug. 4, 2005, appearance.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WRKO 680, WROL (Español)

Up next
• Wednesday: Red Sox (Julian Tavarez, 5-7, 5.15) vs. Royals (Odalis Perez, 4-8, 5.68), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 11-6, 3.94) vs. White Sox (Javier Vazquez, 6-5, 3.77), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Friday: Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 12-3, 3.35) vs. White Sox (Jose Contreras, 5-11, 5.32), 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.