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Red Sox Vs. Rays: Sox Need Miracle Start From Tim Wakefield

With seven games in their last two series against the Rays, the Red Sox essentially needed to win only two to secure their wild card lead. With Josh Beckett and Jon Lester going for three of those games, it seemed all-but-impossible for the Red Sox to screw things up.

Now they face the seventh and final game with just one win to their name, and with both of Lester's starts having proved fruitless, the Sox find themselves in desperate need of some help from Tim Wakefield.

While the knuckleballer's last outing finally resulted in his 200th win, it came only with Brandon Morrow and the Jays' pen allowing 18 runs in the process. In case these last six games haven't been indication enough, the Rays aren't the sort to give up 18, much less to an offense full of replacements.

Boston Red Sox (87-64)

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Mike Aviles, 3B
  3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
  4. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  5. David Ortiz, DH
  6. Conor Jackson, LF
  7. Darnell McDonald, RF
  8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  9. Marco Scutaro, SS

Tampa Bay Rays (84-67)

  1. Desmond Jennings, LF
  2. B.J. Upton, CF
  3. Evan Longoria, 3B
  4. Casey Kotchman, 1B
  5. Johnny Damon, DH
  6. Ben Zobrist, 2B
  7. Matt Joyce, RF
  8. Sean Rodriguez, SS
  9. Kelly Shoppach, C

Pitching Matchup: Tim Wakefield (7-6, 5.13 ERA) vs. David Price (12-12, 3.34 ERA)

While Wakefield did win the last game, his performances are just getting worse. Three straight starts with three earned runs, four with four, and now--were there enough time left--five with five? It's been more than one month since the Sox had a quality start from Wakefield, and even in that outing he had a couple of unearned runs to leave the Sox stuck with five runs on the board.

Unfortunately, David Price is not Tim Wakefield. Or Brandon Morrow for that matter. Having allowed three earned runs just once in his last seven starts, Price doesn't seem terribly likely to let the Red Sox win an average Tim Wakefield start. He has given up a few runs each time against the Red Sox except the last, but that's also a different offense than is currently set to take the field.

Long story short, it's a miracle or bust for Boston.