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Sox shift rotation, Wakefield gets start

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  May 10, 2010 04:15 PM

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Terry Francona just dropped some news on us. Josh Beckett's next start will be on Friday in Detroit of instead of Wednesday against the Blue Jays.

Tim Wakefield will be inserted into the rotation to face the Blue Jays on Wednesday.

This serves two purposes: It gives Becket a chance to throw an extra side session and it allows Wakefield to maintain his arm strength and stamina. His last three appearances have come out of the bullpen.

Here is the primary reason, quite likely: Beckett is 3-5 with a 7.34 ERA against the Blue Jays in 13 career starts. Beckett faced the Blue Jays on April 26 and allowed eight runs on nine hits and three walks over only three innings.

He is 3-1, 2.60 in three career starts against the Tigers and dominated them for two starts last season, allowing two earned runs on only five hits over 14.2 innings and striking out 15.

Beckett is 2-0, 0.61 in two career starts at Comerica Park as well. When you consider all that, this move makes perfect sense.

"I would hope we look at everything," Francona said.

Beckett has pitched poorly in three of his last four starts. The breakdown:

Texas on April 21: 7 innings, 7 hits, 7 earned runs

at Toronto on April 26: 3 innings, 9 hits, 8 earned runs

at Baltimore on May 2: 7 innings, 6 hits, 2 earned runs

New York on May 7: 5.1 innings, 9 hits, 9 earned runs

For the season he is 1-1 with a 7.46 ERA.

The extra rest should help Beckett as well. He will be pitching on six days' rest and is 17-11, 3.09 in such situations over the course of his career.

As for Wakefield, this is the perfect way to use an extra starter. The veteran was furious when he was demoted to the bullpen and has appeared in three games since, allowing six earned runs over 6.1 innings.

Wakefiels is 17-13, 3.93 in 51 career appearances against the Blue Jays. He did not pitch well against them last season (1-2, 6.89), but starting on Wednesday will appease him at least temporarily while meeting the larger goal of giving Beckett a chance to throw an extra side session and a little more rest.

A lot success in baseball is predicated on putting the players in the best position to succeed. This is a great example of that.

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In other news, Francona said that Mike Cameron would lead off for Pawtucket tonight and probably get four at-bats. The weather and how he feels will ultimately determine that. And Ramon Ramirez has apparently made a miraculous recovery from the triceps tendinitis had the other day. He is available tonight.

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The Sox have promoted first baseman Anthony Rizzo from Single-A Salem to Double-A Portland. He was at .248/.333/.479 for Salem with five homers and 20 RBI over 29 games.

He'll take the place of Lars Anderson, who was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket.

As for big Lars, he is off to a solid .290/.450/.484 start through 10 games at Pawtucket.

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