ARLINGTON -- Red Sox manager Terry Francona has made a slight adjustment to his pitching rotation, one that will allow veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield to make his sixth attempt at career win No. 200 at Fenway Park on Friday night against the Oakland Athletics.
Originally, Wakefield was scheduled to pitch Thursday in Texas against the Rangers. But Francona decided to give Andrew Miller, Boston's sixth man, a spot start on Thursday, allowing the rest of the pitchers in the rotation to get an extra day of rest.
The idea of Wakefield having a chance to get his milestone at home is something Francona likes, but it was not the main reason he made the switch.
"There's a lot of reasons [for the switch], and you can't do it for sentimental reasons, but I'm glad," said Francona.
Wakefield has pitched fairly well in all five of his first attempts at No. 200, four of which have come on the road. But for a variety of reasons, he's been unable to get the win.
"Me and [pitching coach] Curt [Young] sat on the plane and we kind of said in Kansas City we kind of wanted to stick Andrew in somewhere -- we weren't really sure where," Francona said. "Kind of looking at it, we really leaned on [Jon] Lester pretty good the last three starts. This way we'll back Wake up and let him pitch Friday in Boston, send him home a little early, back up Lester, and going forward that gives everybody a little bit of rest."
Having a pitcher like Miller to slot into the rotation when other pitchers need a break is a nice luxury for Francona to have at this point in the season. Miller won his last start on Friday night in Kansas City, giving up three hits and a run over 5 1/3 innings.
"Sometimes you have to maybe catch a break with the schedule," Francona said. "I think it's good. We've been both places. We were in '04 where we ran everybody out there, never said a word and let them pitch. Sometimes you have to be a little creative. He's such an interesting guy and when he goes out and wins it makes it a lot better."