Wakefield takes hill in a favorite stadium

Wakefield takes hill in a favorite stadium

If there's a venue Tim Wakefield loves pitching in as much as Fenway Park, it would have to be Tropicana Field, where the veteran knuckleballer will open a three-game series for the Red Sox on Friday night.

Wakefield, who is 7-0 with a 2.39 ERA in 17 games at the Trop, has always loved pitching indoors.

The Devil Rays are in a tailspin, having lost six in a row.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, come to town on a bit of a roll. Manager Terry Francona's crew has won six of its last seven games. The seven-game road trip started in auspicious fashion, with Boston taking three out of four from a solid Indians team.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Tim Wakefield (11-9, 4.74 ERA)
Wakefield pitched well enough against the White Sox on Sunday -- yielding four earned runs in 6 1/3 innings -- to earn his 11th win and 20th decision in 20 starts. The right-hander also faced, for 1 2/3 innings, Chicago's Charlie Haeger, the Majors' only other knuckleball pitcher. It was the first time Wakefield had taken the mound against a fellow knuckleballer since 2002, when he faced Detroit's Steve Sparks.

TB: RHP Jason Hammel (1-0, 5.82 ERA)
Hammel made a spot start on Saturday against the Yankees and pitched well, allowing two runs in four innings. He would have gone farther, but he had been pitching in relief and was not "stretched out" enough. Hammel possesses a nice variety of pitches and will be given a strong opportunity to show he belongs in the rotation. He is 0-1 with a 10.50 ERA in three appearances against the Red Sox.

Player to watch
Devil Rays outfielder Carl Crawford is a .344 hitter in 64 at-bats against Wakefield, including two homers.

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
• Saturday: Red Sox (Jon Lester, 1-0, 3.00) at Devil Rays (James Shields, 8-6, 4.44), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 12-7, 3.79) at Devil Rays (Scott Kazmir, 7-7, 4.02), 1:40 p.m. ET
• Monday: Off-day

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