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04/24/10 11:43 PM ET

Red Sox look to keep having O's number

The Orioles will find themselves shrugging off the numbers and focusing on playing their best baseball Sunday, when they line up against the Red Sox for the finale of a three-game series.

Boston used a six-run comeback in the seventh inning and withstood a tight situation in the ninth Saturday, giving it a 21-2 record in the past 23 games played between these two teams.

That trend dates all the way back to the 2008 season, and if you trace the results back to 2005, the Orioles have gone just 8-34 in their past 42 games at Fenway Park. This season, though, it's been more than just one team. Ten of Baltimore's first 18 games have been decided by two runs or fewer, and the Orioles have posted a 1-9 record under those circumstances.

The Orioles will hand the ball to David Hernandez on Sunday, marking the third consecutive time this series that the Baltimore starter has had a better ERA than his Boston counterpart. That's the first time that's happened since 2008, but the O's haven't been able to capitalize on quality starts by Jeremy Guthrie and Brian Matusz in the first two games of the series.

And for Boston's Tim Wakefield, it's a chance to have the last word. Wakefield lost control of the batter's box and the basepaths last week, when Texas worked him for seven hits and an eye-popping nine steals in six innings. The Red Sox reacted off that start, announcing that Wakefield will move to the bullpen when Daisuke Matsuzaka comes off the disabled list.

That makes this Wakefield's final start before switching roles, a game that could potentially mark the end of an era. Wakefield, who has shuffled between starting and relieving before, hasn't made more than two relief appearances in any season since 2002. The veteran ranks third among active pitchers in games started, and his total for Boston (391) would rank fifth all by itself.

Orioles: Trembley maintaining perspective
The Orioles aren't as concerned with their performance against the Red Sox as much as they are focused on the big picture. Baltimore had an 0-6 homestand last week and will go into Sunday's series finale with a 1-8 record on the current road trip. Manager Dave Trembley doesn't want to dwell on the negative, but he knows the way baseball fans think.

"We are not winning games, so when mistakes are made, they are now magnified," he said. "They seem to be the difference in whether we are winning or losing. They are very, very detrimental to the outcome of what's occurred with us."

Trembley's team has already endured a four-game and a nine-game losing skid this season, and the Orioles are just 3-20 in their past 23 road games. Still, Trembley wants to keep everything in perspective -- record and results notwithstanding.

"It's certainly not happening because the players aren't prepared," he said of his team's funk. "When it works out and you win, it doesn't matter. When you lose, everything is easily picked at and detected. That's the way it is."

Red Sox: V-Mart working with instructor
Wakefield may have been victimized by the steals in his last outing, but catcher Victor Martinez has been run on all season. Martinez couldn't stop any of the nine steals, and opponents are 27-for-28 against him this season. Martinez is well aware of that stat, though, and spent the hours before Saturday's game working with catching instructor Gary Tuck.

And as far as manager Terry Francona is concerned, Martinez is doing everything within his power to improve.

"He's very accepting of instruction from Gary, and it's been a rough period for all of us, but I don't think bailing is the answer," Francona said. "We need to work through this and we need to do it together. That's the way we have to do it."

Worth noting
Ty Wigginton went 4-for-5 for the Orioles on Saturday night, and he has reached base safely in 11 of his past 12 games. Wigginton has hit six of the team's past nine home runs. ... Boston acquired outfielder Jonathan Van Every from Pittsburgh before Saturday's game. ... Rhyne Hughes notched two hits for the Orioles on Saturday in his Major League debut. ... Matusz took another no-decision Saturday night -- his second this season -- but he has won six consecutive decisions. The Orioles have now scored 23 runs in his four starts. ... The opposing starter has thrown at least six innings in 14 of Baltimore's 18 games this season. ... The O's have lost 12 consecutive times when Hernandez starts. The last time the Orioles won one of his starts was in August of last season.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.