On Aug. 4, 2005, Nunez relieved in the fourth inning and immediately gave up a three-run double to Edgar Renteria. Later in the inning, he was slugged for a grand slam by Jason Varitek. Oh my. That was an eight-run inning and the Red Sox won, 11-9.
Now Nunez, just up from Omaha, is being given the first start of his Major League career at Fenway. He's been impressive in his return to a starting role in the Minors this season. In his last full season as a starter, for Class A Hickory (Pirates) in 2004, Nunez had a 10-4 record and a 3.06 ERA.
Manager Buddy Bell hopes to get at least five or six innings from Nunez, who got a late start this season due to an injury.
The Royals will have to contend with Tim Wakefield, the flutterball expert who is 3-0 in his last five starts against the Royals at Fenway. In his career against KC, he's 10-5.Pitching matchup
KC: RHP Leo Nunez (2007 debut)
Nunez was summoned from Triple-A Omaha to take sore-backed John Thomson's spot in the rotation. A former reliever, Nunez appeared in 48 games for the Royals in 2005-06 with a 3-2 record and 6.99 ERA. His left wrist was broken by a line drive in Spring Training; he worked his way back this season through Wichita and Omaha as a starter. In his last start, he pitched five shutout innings against Round Rock. Nunez works his fastball in the 90-92-mph range and also throws a slider and a changeup. BOS: RHP Tim Wakefield (10-8, 4.47 ERA)
Wakefield was his usual self in his last start, winning his 10th game against the Blue Jays with a six-inning nine-hit effort. Fifteen years of knuckleball-heavy diets have done little to prepare hitters for subsequent at-bats against Boston's ageless wonder, who has a 3.66 ERA in 23 career appearances against Kansas City. "Wakey keeps guys off balance," Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew said. "He's definitely a guy that you don't want to face." Player to watch
Perhaps Reggie Sanders should get his first start since coming off the DL. Against Wakefield, he's 4-for-12 (.333) and has the only home run among the Royals who have faced the knuckleballer. On the Internet
Official game notes On television
RSTN On radio
WHB Up next
Wednesday: Royals (Odalis Perez, 4-8, 5.68) at Red Sox (Julian Tavarez, 5-7, 5.15), 6:05 p.m. CT
Friday: Royals (Gil Meche, 6-6, 3.69) at Tigers (Kenny Rogers, 3-1, 2.82), 6:05 p.m. CT
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.