Boston's wily veteran will test his mettle against Los Angeles' blossoming youngster when Tim Wakefield and Joe Saunders share the mound for the middle game of a three-game set Tuesday.
The 41-year-old Wakefield, holder of 150 wins as a member of the Sox -- he joins Roger Clemens and Cy Young as the only pitchers to have at least 150 wins with Beantown -- is precisely the type of pitcher the 26-year-old Saunders aspires to be, an organizational staple that personifies sustained excellence.
The southpaw has not yet tasted defeat in eight 2007 Major League appearances, bouncing between Anaheim and Triple-A Salt Lake until the July demotion of Ervin Santana afforded him a regular spot in the starting rotation.
In his eight starts, Saunders has surrendered more than three runs only once, scattering 51 hits through 49 1/3 innings. The Halos have won each game in which the No. 4 starter was the featured hurler.
As for Wakefield, the time-tested right-hander is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in his last two starts against the Angels, after going 0-3 with a 6.33 ERA in his previous four starts against the club.
LAA: LHP Joe Saunders (5-0, 3.10 ERA)
Saunders continued his high-caliber work in dispatching the A's across 6 2/3 innings, holding them to two earned runs on six hits while striking out three and walking two. A strike thrower who keeps his defense involved, Saunders also keeps his team in games. The Angels are 7-0 in his starts since he opened the season with a 4-3 loss to Oakland. He has faced Boston once for a no-decision, going 5 2/3 innings on Aug. 22, 2006, giving up two unearned runs in a game won by the Angels in Anaheim.
BOS: RHP Tim Wakefield (13-9, 4.55 ERA)
In his last start at Fenway Park, Wakefield celebrated his 41st birthday by controlling the Orioles for seven strong innings. He allowed only six hits and three fifth-inning run. What's more, he's on pace to record a career high in victories after tying for the then-league lead with 13. "I don't feel 41," he said after the game.
Player to watch
Boston left fielder Manny Ramirez is second only to the Yankees' Bobby Abreu for the Major League lead in RBIs since the All-Star break. Ramirez has knocked in 27 runs, two shy of Abreu's 29.
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Official game notes
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Wednesday: Angels (Dustin Moseley, 4-1, 4.43) vs. Red Sox (Jon Lester, 1-0, 5.09), 7:05 p.m. PT
Friday: Angels (Kelvim Escobar, 11-6, 2.79) vs. Twins (Scott Baker, 6-4, 4.43), 7:05 p.m. PT
Larry Santana is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.