No other pitcher in baseball has won or lost each of his 25 starts. What is all the more remarkable about Tim Wakefield, who has earned a decision in every game pitched, is that he has won so many of them.
A win against the lowly White Sox on Saturday would elevate the 41-year-old knuckleballer's won-loss record to an elite level while giving his team a boost. His 16th win would be good enough to lead the league. In 15 durable seasons, Wakefield has never ranked better than fifth in victories.
With the Red Sox battling the resurgent Yankees, now's not a bad time to chase personal records. Wakefield has padded his numbers of late, however, with three starts in four weeks against the Devil Rays, including 22 consecutive scoreless innings against the team he has tortured for nearly 10 seasons.
Historically, the White Sox have had better success than Tampa Bay against Wakefield's knuckleball (a 5.43 ERA compared to 2.73), but they fell victim in win No. 11, on July 22. On that date, Wakefield allowed four earned runs in six innings.
Left-hander Mark Buehrle gets the start for the White Sox, his first against Boston this season.
BOS: RHP Tim Wakefield (15-10, 4.35 ERA)
Despite a 5.43 ERA in 122 2/3 career innings against the White Sox, Wakefield simply has not faced Chicago enough in recent years to draw any real conclusions about his record against them. Last year, Wakefield never faced a unit that won 90 games but barely missed the playoffs. The 2005 World Series-winning White Sox, who drubbed him in the American League Division series, were a different team.
CWS: LHP Mark Buehrle (9-8, 3.42 ERA)
It wasn't so long ago that Buehrle was mentioned as a potential suitor for the Red Sox, but that was before the White Sox ace re-upped with his current team. Despite middling velocity, Buehrle has built an All-Star career on command and control, generating more ground balls than strikeouts. The 28-year-old left-hander is enjoying a bounce-back year, complete with an April no-hitter, after struggling in 2006.
Player to watch
Look for Red Sox outfielder Bobby Kielty to get the start against the lefty. Kielty owns a .442 on-base percentage in a team-high 45 career at-bats against Buehrle.
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Sunday: Red Sox (Jon Lester, 2-0, 5.67) at White Sox (Javier Vazquez, 11-6, 3.66), 2:05 p.m. ET
Tuesday: Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 13-10, 3.76) at Yankees (TBD), 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.