Tavarez subs in for Wakefield

Tavarez subs in for Wakefield

Instead of Tim Wakefield going for his Major League-leading 17th win of the season, the Red Sox will turn to Julian Tavarez, who was Saturday's scheduled starter, in the opener against the Rays on Friday night.

Wakefield was scratched due to a sore back. He'll undergo further examination and treatment and is expected to miss one start.

Tavarez has faced the Rays three times this season, but the righty did not pick up a decision in any of those starts. The reliable righty will be going for his eighth win of the season on the final day in August.

The Orioles aren't likely to make things easy. Rookie starter Radhames Liz has nothing to lose and everything to prove, pitching for only the second time in his big league career.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Julian Tavarez (7-9, 4.84 ERA)
It appears Tavarez, who has been terrific in his last two starts, has earned himself another turn in the rotation. Tavarez was brilliant in his last outing, holding the White Sox to two hits and a run over six innings while earning the win. Over Tavarez's last 12 innings, he's allowed four hits and three runs. Tavarez is 6-9 with a 4.96 ERA as a starter in 2007.

BAL: RHP Radhames Liz (0-1, 7.50 ERA)
Liz comes fresh off his Major League debut, in which he gave up five runs to the Twins in six innings. He was 11-4 with a 3.22 ERA for Double-A Bowie before the promotion, striking out 161 batters in 137 innings.

Player to watch
Aubrey Huff has only seven hits in 48 at-bats off Wakefield, but three of those hits were home runs. Huff has eight long balls in August, and is batting .360 for the month.

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 (TBA) vs. Orioles (Garrett Olson, 1-2, 7.33), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Red Sox (Jon Lester, 2-0, 5.67) vs. Orioles (Daniel Cabrera, 9-13, 5.08), 2:05 p.m. ET
• Monday: Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 13-11, 3.88) vs. Blue Jays (Jesse Litsch, 5-6, 3.40), 7:05 p.m. ET

Anthony DiComo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.