It all began so innocently, with Wakefield joining Boston just six days after being released by Pittsburgh, the team that drafted and developed him. The right-hander walked right into the rotation and has rarely left, making at least 15 starts for the Red Sox in every season since 1995. Wakefield has logged a winning record in six of the past eight seasons.
At 43 years old, Wakefield is still rolling. An eighth-round Draft pick, he began his professional career as a position player, but now he ranks third among all active pitchers in victories (190) and second in losses (164). Wakefield has spent time as both a starter and a reliever this season, but he threw eight scoreless innings against Philadelphia in his most recent outing Sunday.
That gem gave Wakefield his first victory of the season, and he'll be looking to extend a few trends for the Red Sox. Boston lost Thursday night's series opener, but has won or split the season series against Kansas City in eight of the past nine years. The Red Sox are 20-7 at home against the Royals since 2003, and they've won nine of their past 13 games at home overall.
The Royals will counter with Kyle Davies, and he'll be looking to rebound from a strong performance in a loss. Davies has allowed two earned runs or fewer in three straight and in five of his past six outings. In fact, if you take one disastrous performance -- nine earned runs in a loss to the Rangers -- out of his record, his ERA drops by more than a run (from 4.53 to 3.21).
Kansas City won the series opener despite having just four hits, its lowest total in a victory since 2008. The Royals have now won back-to-back games and five of their past eight, closing to eight games under the break-even mark.
Royals: Betancourt may return Friday
Kansas City hopes to get shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt back from the effects of a mild concussion for Friday's game. Betancourt has sat out two games since getting involved in a home-plate collision with the Rangers' Matt Treanor earlier in the week. Manager Ned Yost said Betancourt is ready to return and that the Royals are being as careful as possible.
"He's feeling fine," Yost said before Thursday's game. "He thinks he's ready to play today, and he probably is, but when you go through something like that, it's better to give him one more day. We'll re-evaluate him [Friday], and if he feels as good as he does today, we'll probably play him."
Red Sox: Youkilis a fixture on basepaths
First baseman Kevin Youkilis is putting together a torrid month even by his own lofty standards. The veteran has reached base safely in each of his past 26 games with a plate appearance, a stretch that brings him back to April 28. Youkilis has helped stabilize the Red Sox during that span, batting .333 (28-for-84) with seven home runs and 17 RBIs in that span.
And if Youkilis can keep it going for a few more days, he has a chance to best a standard set by a beloved Boston icon. Youkilis has drawn 29 walks in May, the second most for the Red Sox since 1952. Carl Yastrzemski is the only Boston regular to draw more walks (30) in May since '52, and Hall of Famer Ted Williams has the all-time club record with 34 in '46.
The Red Sox have won five of their past six games and have won or split nine of their past 12 series. ... Boston recently went 12-7 in a 19-game stretch against teams with winning records and is 19-16 in those circumstances for the season. Including Kansas City, three of Boston's next four opponents have losing records. ... Boston's hurlers have delivered quality starts in five of the past six games. ... Royals closer Joakim Soria has converted five consecutive save opportunities and is 6-for-6 for his career against the Red Sox. ... Kansas City outfielder David DeJesus has hit safely in each of his past nine games, batting .351 (13-for-37) over that span.
Fri, 5/28 7:10 PM ET
Royals leave Red Sox hurlers in their Wake
Falling behind early, Kansas City stormed back and chased Boston's Tim Wakefield with a seven-run fourth -- capped by Yuniesky Betancourt's grand slam -- and collected 20 hits for the first time at Fenway Park.
Red Sox Beat
|Guillen, J, DH||5||1||1||0||1||1||6||.261|
|Betancourt, Y, SS||5||1||3||4||0||0||4||.289|
|Martinez, V, C||4||1||2||4||0||0||0||.262|
|Drew, J, RF||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.276|
|Beltre, A, 3B||4||0||2||0||0||0||0||.342|
|McDonald, D, CF||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.267|
2B: DeJesus (13, Wakefield), Podsednik (4, Ramirez, R), Callaspo (13, Okajima).
HR: Betancourt, Y (4, 4th inning off Wakefield, 3 on, 2 out), Maier (1, 8th inning off Okajima, 1 on, 0 out).
TB: Podsednik 3; Aviles 2; DeJesus 5; Butler 2; Guillen, J; Callaspo 2; Maier 6; Betancourt, Y 6; Kendall 2.
RBI: DeJesus 2 (19), Maier 3 (21), Aviles (5), Betancourt, Y 4 (20).
2-out RBI: Maier; Betancourt, Y 4.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Podsednik 3; Betancourt, Y; DeJesus; Butler 2.
GIDP: Guillen, J.
Team RISP: 6-for-20.
Team LOB: 13.
SB: Podsednik (16, 2nd base off Wakefield/Martinez, V), Kendall (4, 2nd base off Atchison/Martinez, V).
PB: Kendall (2).
DP: (Hughes, D-Aviles-Butler).
2B: Scutaro (8, Davies), Martinez, V (11, Davies).
HR: Martinez, V (7, 3rd inning off Davies, 1 on, 1 out).
TB: Scutaro 4; Ortiz; Martinez, V 6; Beltre, A 2; Cameron 2.
RBI: Ortiz (28), Martinez, V 4 (24).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Hermida; Ortiz; Scutaro.
Team RISP: 3-for-9.
Team LOB: 6.
E: Scutaro (7, fielding).
DP: (Beltre, A-Pedroia-Youkilis).
Pitches-strikes: Davies 102-60, Farnsworth 28-19, Hughes, D 28-16, Wakefield 88-56, Atchison 38-23, Ramirez, R 26-17, Okajima 23-12, Nelson, J 9-6, Hall 11-7.
Groundouts-flyouts: Davies 2-4, Farnsworth 3-0, Hughes, D 2-2, Wakefield 3-3, Atchison 4-1, Ramirez, R 1-0, Okajima 0-1, Nelson, J 1-1, Hall 3-0.
Batters faced: Davies 24, Farnsworth 7, Hughes, D 7, Wakefield 26, Atchison 10, Ramirez, R 5, Okajima 5, Nelson, J 3, Hall 3.
Inherited runners-scored: Nelson, J 2-0.
Umpires: HP: Angel Hernandez. 1B: Paul Schrieber. 2B: Rob Drake. 3B: Joe West.
Weather: 65 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 12 mph, R to L.
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media