Tim Wakefield Throws A Game

Baseball – a game of irony. In the offseason, we bandied about whether Bronson Arroyo or Tim Wakefield should be sent to the bullpen once we were forced to make a decision with Wade Miller, and then later, Curt Schilling. I had advocated moving Wakefield for a ton of reasons, and now I look silly what with Wakefield having thrown nine innings, holding the Angels to two runs last night. On the season, he is 15-10 with a 4.29 ERA and has been our most consistent starter, and this win was possible with a walkoff bomb. While all the attention is going to be focused on Ortiz, MLB’s resident Mr. Clutch and soon to be Most Valuable Player, I set out wanting to talk about Wakefield, and that’s what I’ll do.
I have to say, Wakefield, out of all our starters, has by far been the most consistent. Perhaps not the best (Wells right now) nor the guy we’re pinning our hopes on (Clement) or our ace (Schilling) or one we think can break out (Arroyo) but give Tim his credit – he’s avoided being mentioned the entire season. That’s what happens when you have an underrated, underappreciated, undervalued, and more importantly – uncontroversial season.
Wakefield has suffered only two losing streaks – one of three and one of five. Each losing streak had some bad luck thrown in it. In the first one, he went 5.2 IP with 7 ER. The second was 9 IP, 5 ER, and then 7 IP, 4 ER. The five game skid had IP of 5.2, 5.2, 5.0, 5.0, 7.0 with (respectively) 4, 7, 4, 6, 5 earned runs. One could say that out of these eight losses, three could have easily been wins, and we’re looking at a 18-7 season and even 20 wins by the end of the season.
Wakefield is now third on the all-time wins list, ahead of Mel Parnell and Cy Young/Roger Clemens stand 67 wins away. It seems like an insurmountable goal, but never count Tim Wakefield out. If he wins 15 games per season, he’ll break the record in five years – in 2010. He is under contract for next year at $4 million, and then the Red Sox have continual $4 million options on Wakefield, so as long as he produces, he’ll be back. Wakefield is 39 years old and 44 is not out of reach for Wakefield considering that quite a few pitchers (and not all of them are studs) are pitching today at 42, and Randy Johnson’s current contract expires after he is 43.
If you notice, I have added a section near the top right where I will keep the magic number updated, and any quick Red Sox news. There have been times over the season I wanted to report something but since they were only one-liners I did not want to waste a post on it – this ought to help. I’ll be going to the Red Sox game tonight, so I’ll have that report tomorrow.
With college starting to kick in full-gear I’d like to take this time to say that if any of you want to send a guest column into me at evanATmostvaluablenetwork.com with the AT being the corresponding symbol of @, I would be more than happy to throw it up. I doubt I’ll be able to keep the daily post schedule up, although I will certainly be trying. I will also start creating more Game Threads for the game so that you have a place to put your thoughts in that are more current, and not on a sort-of dated post.
The *Magic* Number contributed by Fire Brand reader, Mike B.
With the Red Sox winning and the Yankees losing, the magic number for the Boston Red Sox to eliminate the New York Yankees is now down to 22. For anyone who does not know that means that it will take any combination of 22 Boston wins and/or Yankees losses for the Red Sox to clinch the division. So the rough example is if the Red Sox win 22 games for the rest of the season, no matter what the Yankees do, the Red Sox win the division. Well the Red Sox would have to go 22-3 or better for the rest of the season to win 22 games. This is probably not going to happen, but things are still looking pretty good. If the Red Sox perform at as close as possible to their current season winning percentage (.591) for the rest of the season, they will go 15-10 in their last 25 games. (25 x .591 = 14.775 wins) There are 15 of those magic 22 numbers. So if the Red Sox win 15, the Yankees would have to lose at least 7 games for the Red Sox to clinch. Will the Yankees lose 7 games? They would have to go 19-6 in their last 25 games to avoid losing 7. 19-6 is a .760 winning percentage