Wakefield tries again for 200 wins

August, 8, 2011
8/08/11
3:16
PM ET
The Red Sox and Twins begin a three-game set in Minnesota at 7 ET on Monday Night Baseball on ESPN.

The Boston Red Sox, fresh off taking two of three games from the New York Yankees this weekend, travel to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Twins. The Red Sox have already won three of four against the Twins this season.

On the Mound

Tim Wakefield makes his third attempt at winning his 200th career game. The 45-year-old is 14-7 in his career against the Twins, but only 3-5 against them since 2006. Should he earn his 200th career win tonight, his 456 games started are 11th-most all-time to reach the milestone. According to Elias, Wakefield could be the second Red Sox pitcher to earn the career milestone victory on August 8th. Lefty Grove earned his 200th win 77 years ago today -- on August 8, 1934 against the Philadelphia Athletics (the team for which Grove won his first 195 games).

Opponents are hitting an identical .261 against Wakefield in at-bats ending with his fastball (6-23) or knuckleball (99-379), but just .143 (1-7) in at-bats ending with his curveball. After throwing his 75th pitch of the game, opponents are batting .328 (22-67) against him.

After allowing nine earned runs in his first two starts of the year at home, Scott Baker is 5-0 in his last six home starts, allowing only one earned run. In addition, since 2009, Baker is a perfect 7-0 with a 3.24 ERA in the month of August.

Baker has buckled down with runners in scoring position this season, holding hitters to a .187 average, which ranks fourth in the AL among pitchers who have faced a minimum of 90 batters in that situation.

Matchups to Watch

After coming over to Boston as a free agent from Minnesota, David Ortiz hit .363 with nine doubles and nine HR while slugging .758. However, since 2008, Ortiz is hitting .233 with seven extra-base hits while slugging .383.

Jim Thome has some rough matchups against Red Sox pitchers in this series. He’s 10-for-58 (.172 BA) career against Tim Wakefield in the regular season. But he has four hits in his last nine at-bats against him, including a HR on August 31, 2008. That HR snapped a 19 at-bat hitless streak by Thome against Wakefield.

Stat of the Game

The Twins ranked tied for third in MLB with 54 Defensive Runs Saved last season. This season, they rank 21st with -14 Defensive Runs Saved (in other words, the defense has cost the Twins 14 runs). Nearly the entire gap can be found at SS and 3B.

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