Catching Wakefield's slow-moving offerings against a slap-happy, fast-running outfit like the Rays can present unique challenges. But there's a reason why the Devil Rays have been virtually defenseless against Wakefield, who owns an 18-2 record and 2.83 ERA against them.
"You almost want aggressive hitters," Cash says. "Let them go ahead and swing at the knuckleball. If it's good, you get a bunch of popups and ground balls. If guys get on base? I'm going to do what I can to throw them out. But Wakefield's going to control the game. I'm not going to ask him to alter his game plan because they get a couple of fast guys on base."
Lefty Scott Kazmir, who boasts his own nifty performance record against the Red Sox (5-3, 2.37) gets the start for Tampa Bay.
BOS: RHP Tim Wakefield (14-10, 4.55 ERA)
Wakefield has dominated the Devil Rays, generally, but his record at Tropicana Field is more reminiscent of a right-handed Randy Johnson in his prime than a 41-year-old knuckleballer with a 4.31 career ERA. Wakefield is 8-0 with a 2.33 ERA there, allowing only 60 hits in 89 innings for an opponents' average of .190.
TB: LHP Scott Kazmir (9-7, 3.44 ERA)
The 23-year-old Kazmir has had little trouble against Boston in his young career. He has faced the Red Sox 14 times, three more than any other team, and posted a 5-3 record with a 2.37 ERA in 83 2/3 innings. Furthermore, he has held the Sox to a .213 batting average with 91 strikeouts. And few pitchers -- likely none -- have enjoyed as thoroughly dominant a performance record against David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. The Red Sox sluggers are a combined 10-for-70 (.143) against Kazmir.
Player to watch
It is no coincidence that new Red Sox acquisition Bobby Kielty gets to join the team in time to face Kazmir, against whom he is 7-for-13 with two homers.
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Official game notes
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Tuesday: Red Sox (Jon Lester, 1-0, 5.14) at Devil Rays (Andy Sonnanstine, 2-8, 6.17), 7:10 p.m. ET
Wednesday: Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 13-9, 3.79) at Devil Rays (Edwin Jackson, 3-12, 5.69), 7:10 p.m. ET
Thursday: Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 15-5, 3.15) at White Sox (John Danks, 6-11, 5.30), 8:11 p.m. ET