Thursday July 07, 2011 | 06:55 AM

Tim Wakefield is two wins away from 200 in his career. He is helping prop up the injured/sickened rotation that has three pitchers on the DL - Matsuzaka (for the year), Lester and Buchholz (the latter two expected back "sometime" after the All-Star break).

Another (Lackey) has been on the DL, and another (Beckett) has missed starts because of sickness.

Wakefield is 5-3, although the ERA remains high (4.74). Wakefield, who has battled injuries the past few years, turns 45 in August, and it is a month where his ERA historically has risen.

But Wakefield is pitching good enough for now, which is all Boston can ask for. He is one of the dependable pitchers, along with Beckett (7-3, 2.12). Lackey, obviously, has been a problem (5-8, 7.47).

The hope is that Lester and Buchholz will be fine. Along with Beckett, they are a formidable trio. Maybe Lackey turns it around. And Andrew Miller has looked good in his brief sample (although the 1.47 WHIP means he has been escaping trouble).

And there is another option. Felix Doubront made a statement with Wednesday's start in Pawtucket: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K).

While the Red Sox deal with their rotation, the bullpen is not exactly cruising along. Bobby Jenks (2.32 WHIP) is not dependable and while Jonathan Papelbon is piling on saves (19), his ERA is 4.15.

Back to that Pawtucket game, Lars Anderson (.255) hit his 7th home run, and third in four days ... Luis Exposito hit his fifth homer.

Reynaldo Rodriguez's last at-bat Tuesday with Portland was a home run. His first two at-bats Wednesday were home runs. He now has five with the Sea Dogs, and a .295 average ... Chih-Hsien Chiang (.313) was 2-for-3 ... Will Middlebrooks (.320) was 1-for-3.

Brock Huntzinger (5-7, 6.49) pitched a superb 5 innings: 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K).




About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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