With just over a month left in the season, the Red Sox are poised to cruise into the playoffs.



In his six attempts at career victory No. 200, Tim Wakefield is now 0-3 with a 4.97 ERA. For the year, he is 6-6 with a 5.10 ERA and he has reached 130 innings, nearing his total from 2010 and surpassing his workload of 2009.

As such, and given his struggles later in games, Red Sox manager Terry Francona was asked whether the knuckleballer could benefit from extra rest before his next start. The Sox skipper declined to suggest as much.

Tim Wakefield was tagged for six runs in the fourth inning and the Red Sox offense couldn't make up the difference as the A's hammered Boston, 15-5, Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park. The Red Sox maintained their one-game lead on the Yankees in the AL East 

LOWELL -- Friday night J.D. Drew played for the Lowell Spinners, the short-season Single A affiliate of the Red Sox, in his first live action since being placed on the disabled list July 26 with left shoulder impingement. Drew went 0-for-2 with a run scored batting third as the designated hitter.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona sounded optimistic that the team could be getting Kevin Youkilis back swinging a bat in games as soon as Tuesday with Triple-A Pawtucket. Youkilis was placed on the disabled list on Aug. 18 with a strained lower back. Francona said Youkilis and J.D. Drew (shoulder) would likely join Triple-A Pawtucket when the team travels to Rochester.

"He's doing real well," Francona said before Friday's game. "He's probably going to go out and get a couple of at-bats Tuesday and Wednesday. They're in Rochester. J.D. will do the same thing."

For a brief moment in time it looked like Oakland pitcher Rich Harden was heading to Boston in a trade-deadline deal that would have sent Lars Anderson and a player to be named later to the A's. Then suddenly, he wasn't. According to numerous reports, the Sox balked after looking at Harden's medical reports and decided to pursue a deal for Erik Bedard instead.

Manager Terry Francona said he was playing it safe by sitting Carl Crawford for Friday night's series opener with the A's at Fenway Park, as Mike Aviles got the call to start in left field. 

"We're trying to give as many guys some time off as we can," Francona said. "There's only so much we can do. I thought Carl was actually cramping last night during the game. So with the late arrival and everything, I thought it would be a good day [for day off] because he's probably going to play both [Saturday]."  

The Red Sox have recalled relief pitcher Scott Atchison from Pawtucket and optioned catcher Ryan Lavarnway back to Triple-A. 

Atchison is 6-2 with a 2.64 earned run average with the PawSox this season, and has a 4.70 ERA in nine appearances with Boston. Lavarnway played in seven games since being called up from Pawtucket, going 7-for-19 with three runs batted in with the Sox. 

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Left-hander Felix Doubront tossed two scoreless innings of relief on Thursday night for Triple-A Pawtucket, and going forward this season, the Red Sox plan to use the 23-year-old in relief, said farm director Mike Hazen. With Andrew Miller having given the Sox six starters who are stretched out at the big league level, Alfredo Aceves available as an emergency starter and Kyle Weiland still in the PawSox rotation, the Sox felt they could prepare Doubront for relief without jeopardizing the depth of their big league rotation.

ARLINGTON, Texas -- There were no celebrations, and little reflection. The Red Sox were moving on.