Jason Varitek, the only current Red Sox player with a homer against Wade Davis under his belt, will be on the bench when the Red Sox begin their three-game set with the Rays Monday night in Tampa Bay. The Red Sox enter the series 8.5 games behind the Rays, who lead the majors with a 32-12 record. 

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF

2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B

3. Victor Martinez, C

4. Kevin Youkilis, 1B

5. David Ortiz, DH

6. J.D. Drew, RF

7. Adrian Beltre, 3B

8. Jeremy Hermida, LF

9. Marco Scutaro, SS

It was defined as a potentially pivotal portion of the season. The Red Sox were staring down the barrel of one of their most challenging stretches of 2010, facing a run of five straight teams that had emerged as early postseason contenders.



Red Sox outfielder Mike Cameron had his most successful day yet during his minor-league rehab assignment. The 37-year-old went 3-for-5 with a double and a walkoff homer that sent Double-A Portland to victory in 10 innings.

 

Tim Wakefield delivered eight shutout innings against the team with the best record in the National League, leading the Red Sox past the Phillies, 8-3. In the process, the Sox beat former AL East nemesis Roy Halladay to take a series victory in Philadelphia. 

 

Wakefield had just one strikeout, but the Phillies consistently made weak contact against the pitcher as he earned his first victory since last year's All-Star break. The knuckleballer recorded 16 flyball outs to earn the 190th victory of his career, and the 176th of his Sox career. 

 

In their series finale against the Phillies, Sunday, the Red Sox will begin their meeting with Philadelphia starter without David Ortiz or Mike Lowell in the starting lineup, while Victor Martinez is back behind the plate, catching Sox starter Tim Wakefield. Here is the Sox' lineup: Ellsbury CF, Pedroia 2B, Martinez C, Youkilis 1B, Drew RF, Beltre 3B, Hermida LF, Scutaro SS, Wakefield P. For all the matchups visit The Full Count Blog by clicking here.

Talking to reporters after the Red Sox' 5-0 win over the Phillies, shortstop Marco Scutaro lamented about not being able to reach Juan Castro's bloop into shallow left field, which broke up Daisuke Matsuzaka's no-hitter with two outs in the eighth inning.

 

"They call me 'Hanley Scutaro' now," quipped Scutaro, whose out-stretched glove just couldn't reach the Castro blooper. "What do you want me to say? If I was six-feet, I'd probably get it. I'm [Dustin] Pedroia's size, so ..."

 

Daisuke Matsuzaka starter went 7 2/3 innings without giving up a single hit before Juan Castro blooped a single over the out-stretched glove of Marco Scutaro, into left field, to break up what would have been the first no-hitter by an American League pitcher in a National League park since the advent of interleague play.

 

Jacoby Ellsbury returns to the Red Sox lineup, Saturday against Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick, batting leadoff and playing center field. The Red Sox lineup against the Philadelphia right-hander is as follows: Ellsbury CF, Pedroia 2B, Drew RF, Ortiz 1B, Beltre 3B, Hermida LF, Varitek C, Scutaro SS, Matsuzaka P. For all the matchups see The Full Count Blog by clicking here.

Those looking for reassurance amidst John Lackey's struggles need not look far.
 
In 2009, Lackey had a 2-3 record and 5.06 ERA (nearly identical to his 2010 mark) through his first nine starts. Opponents were hitting .317/.371/.462/.832 against him.



With outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury ready to be activated by the Red Sox on Saturday, the team will designate outfielder Jonathan Van Every for assignment. Van Every appeared in 21 games, primarily as a defensive replacement, hitting .211/.286/.421/.707 with a homer. He also pitched an inning, allowing two runs in a blowout loss to the Yankees on May 8. 

 

Ellsbury has been out since April 11 due to the a hairline fracture of four ribs incurred in a collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre. He was placed on the D.L. on April 20.