Saturday, August 25, 2007

Game 130: His Name is Tim Wakefield...

Final Score: Boston Red Sox 14, Chicago White Sox 2

...And he is a bad ass mofo, just like Mr. Jackson here. After all of the excitement about Matsuzaka earlier this year, the speculation about Schilling's potential, Papelbon's role, Jon Lester the walking human interest story and all of the other pitcher-related mini dramas we've enjoyed this season, it still - and always - comes back to Wakefield. Far from being the odd man out in the rotation, or the stick in the mud oddball starter that some hacks might make him out to be, Wake has come out of nowhere - if any veteran pitcher can really come out of nowhere - to take, with Josh Beckett, the Major League lead of sixteen wins. He also lives by the sword and dies by the sword: 26 starts, 26 decisions. I feel like that means taking ownership somehow, but it could just be because he pitches an average of somewhere between six and seven innings a game.

I'm not sure why this level of success even surprises me; Wakefield is having a bit of a banner year. Assuming - and this is not an unreasonable assumption at the moment - he gets another two wins by the end of the season, it will top his current season high of 17 from 1998. He might even become a 20 game winner for the first time in his career and totally exceed all expectations for a fourth starter. How cool is that?

Of course, it doesn't hurt that he's faced two very weak teams over his past three starts and a spate of weakness - with the exception of the Angels - since his 500th career game against Chicago back on July 22. Today's victory was eerily similar to the first two games of this series: the Chicago starter does well enough at first - Buehrle made it a series-best five strong innings - before falling apart. Then the bullpen comes in and Boston blows the game wide open, never scoring less than 10 runs total. Today the Red Sox took things to the next level of slaught with an 8 run eighth inning beat down that probably made Ozzie Guillen wish he'd hadn't gotten out of bed this morning.

One more of these likely farcical encounters tomorrow; let's do it up proud!