BOSTON - Tim Wakefield tested his balky back from the Fenway Park mound yesterday to see if he will be able to start for the Boston Red Sox in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.

Curt Schilling showed everything he needed to show on Sunday.

Two days after helping the Red Sox finish off the Los Angeles Angels in the first round, Schilling was tabbed to start the second game of the best-of-seven series against Cleveland's Fausto Carmona.

Josh Beckett will start the opener at Fenway Friday night against C.C. Sabathia. Daisuke Matsuzaka, who pitched the second game in the first round, will start Game 3 against Jake Westbrook.

"We just feel like this is our best way to go forward," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.

Schilling pitched seven innings of shutout ball Sunday to lead Boston to a 9-1 victory over the Angels and complete the three-game sweep. With four days off before the start of the second round - and a couple of days off in the middle of it, too - the Red Sox have the luxury of setting up their rotation however they want.

Beckett, who pitched his second consecutive playoff shutout in Game 1 against the Angels, was an easy choice to start the opener again. He'll be going on eight days' rest and facing a well-rested Sabathia.

"C.C.'s a big kid. He throws hard," Red Sox infielder Alex Cora said. "Carmona has a Nintendo sinker. He throws hard, too."

The rotations would be shuffled if games are delayed or postponed by rain, which is forecast for both Friday and Saturday. Francona said he would consider using lefty Jon Lester after a long rain delay, if necessary; Lester threw 38 pitches yesterday to stay fresh.

Beckett is also a possibility for Game 4 on three days' rest.

"The only way that could happen, at least looking at it quickly, is if Wake isn't OK," Francona said. "We want Wake to pitch Game 4, but we don't need to go into Game 4 of a playoff experimenting. . . . We need him to be OK, and he understands that."

Wakefield was 17-12 with a 4.76 ERA this season, but he hasn't pitched since Sept. 29 because of a problem in the back of his right shoulder. He received a cortisone shot on the eve of the Angels series and was left off the first-round roster.

He threw 77 pitches in a five-inning simulated game yesterday as the Red Sox held a full-squad workout at Fenway Park. Facing mostly bottom-of-the-roster hitters - though David Ortiz did stand in for one at-bat - he worked without discomfort and left the mound smiling.