Series Preview: Rangers/Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are set to play hosts for this month of June ending series against the Texas Rangers. Lone Star Dugout's John Vittas has a look at the four-game set, which begins Friday evening at historic Fenway Park.

Rangers (32-46) at Red Sox (48-29)

Statistically speaking:
The Rangers are just 7-22 (.241) in Boston since 2000, good for their worst winning percentage at any AL park in that time frame.

Friday, 6:05 PM: Jamey Wright (1-1, 7.43) vs. Tim Wakefield (7-8, 4.52)
Following a rainout in Detroit on Wednesday that pushed his scheduled start back a day, Wright is set to make his first ever appearance in Fenway Park on Friday evening.. He was wild last week against the Astros and issued six free passes over five innings, but came out of the game relatively unscathed thanks to a somewhat anemic Houston offense. But against the lethal bats in the Red Sox lineup, another performance like that one and he may be seeing stars. He also hasn't won two straight games since a minor three game winning streak last May as a member of the San Francisco Giants.

For the Red Sox, Tim Wakefield has a chance to break even on his 2-3 record for the month of June and improve on his horrendous ERA of 7.06 for the month. In five of his last eight starts, the knuckleball specialist has allowed at least five runs. After a loss on opening day followed by a win on May 26th, Wakefield's numbers against the Rangers stand at a record of 8-14 with an less than respectable ERA of 5.85.

Saturday, 6:05 PM: Robinson Tejeda (5-7, 6.57) vs. Josh Beckett (11-1, 3.07)
Easily the toughest matchup of this four-game series, and if Robinson Tejeda cannot find his command then things could get out of hand for the Rangers in a hurry. In his last start against the Astros, it was a new team/same tired old outcome for the young righty who the Rangers had so many hopes for in the beginning of the year. With four walks and four strikeouts littered amongst five hits on seven runs, finding any sort of consistency on the hill these days is just turning into one giant, uphill battle for Tejeda.

Josh Beckett of the Red Sox out dueled San Diego's Jake Peavy last week to become the first 11-game winner in the major leagues and is on a fast track to start for the American League in next months All-Star Game. Since taking a loss in a game back on June 14th, the native of Spring, TX has given up just one run in the last 14 innings. In two career starts against the Texas Rangers, Beckett is 1-0 with a 2.92 ERA.

Sunday, 1:05 PM: Kameron Loe (4-6, 6.02) vs. Julian Tavarez (5-5, 4.60)
On Monday, Loe became the first Rangers pitcher to win three consecutive games this season after he held the Detroit Tigers to two runs over seven innings. With fifteen outs being recorded via the groundball, Loe once again demonstrated an uncanny ability to keep the ball on the turf - shades of the Kameron Loe the Rangers saw glimpses of back in 2005. During the aforementioned three game winning streak, opponents have been held to a cool .234 batting average.

Fresh of the heels of a dominating 11-0 interleague victory over the Braves, Julian Tavarez stumbled last Monday when Seattle walloped the right-hander for six runs on six hits and chased him from the game in fifth inning. The loss dropped him to .500 on the year, however it was only his first since May 11th. Thanks to some kinks in the Red Sox schedule, Sunday will mark only the fourth start out of 14 for Tavarez to come at Fenway. He's 2-2 with a 4.94 ERA there.

Monday, 6:05 PM: Brandon McCarthy (4-4, 5.90) vs. Kason Gabbard (1-0, 6.48)
McCarthy, who was originally expected to make a second rehab start, is now set to rejoin the rotation after spending time on the disabled list with blister issues on his right middle finger. Since the beginning of May, he's 3-0 with a 3.26 ERA but has been on the sidelines for awhile and has just one start under his belt in the past month.

He'll be opposed by twenty-five year old Kason Gabbard, making his second start since replacing the injured Curt Schilling in the Red Sox rotation. The southpaw was plagued by control issues galore in his last start against Seattle, which included two walks and one hit batter with the bases loaded - all in the bottom of the first. In all, was burned for six hits and four runs and was yanked after 3 1/3 innings of work. It was a completely different story in Gabbard's first start back on May 20th when he picked up the win by holding the Atlanta Braves to just two hits over five innings

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