Thursday, April 27, 2006

Game 21: Code Red

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 1, Cleveland Indians 7

"You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall -- you need me on that wall."

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Tim Wakefield. Known last year on this very site as The Stopper, Mr. Wakefield is proud owner of the improbable combination of a one and four record and a 3.90 ERA in 32 innings. Indeed, a quick perusal of his Baseball Prospectus Player Card shows that he’s actually giving up the average number of runs for a major league pitcher. And yet still we see the one and four record, making him the very antithesis of a stopper this year. Why, you ask, dear reader? The reason is two-fold:
  1. Josh Bard is still learning how to catch a knuckleball. Looking at fielding stats on ESPN for catchers, we see that Josh leads all major league catchers, even the ones who play every day, with ten pass balls. The next closest guys have three. I don’t have the exact linkup in front of me, but you gotta figure that most of the five unearned runs Wake has given up so far come from those ten (10!) pass balls. Still, Bard is still learning and in a backhanded way, there’s some hope for the future: with his four pass balls last night, Bard tied Doug Mirabelli’s record from three years ago…and look how good ‘Belli ended up being as a catcher. A Code Red might not be necessary after all.

  2. There is no run support. Seriously, it’s been almost non-existent: the Red Sox offense has scored a grand total of ten runs for Wakefield this year. If your offense scores two runs a game for you and you give up something closer to four, you’re not going to win many games. There doesn’t seem to be a good answer to this problem, although Tito said, “[the lack of scoring] will change” after the game last night, which could mean anything from the lineup changing again to waiting until Coco Crisp comes back to Papa Jack delivering lectures about giving all of your starters enough run support using a baseball bat and a pumpkin as visual aids.
In any case, bad loss – not even including the Indians lighting up poor MDC for four runs on his first time back up from Pawtucket – and we’ll try to avoid mentioning it again. Beckett versus Byrd tonight for the series finale; let’s have us some more of our boy wonder, eh? GO SOX!!!