What's it going to take for Tim Wakefield to get 200 career wins?
Is it ever going to happen?
I'm starting to think not.
The Red Sox once again could provide Tim Wakefield with a win Saturday night, making him 0-for-5 since winning number 199. This time, though, Wakefield at least has to shoulder some of the blame.
Entering the bottom of the sixth inning, the Sox had staked Tim Wakefield to a 4-1 lead thanks in part to Ryan Lavarnway's three trips to the basepaths. But Wakefield did what Wakefield often does, and in the blink of an eye--with some help from Matt Albers and Franklin Morales--not only was the lead gone, but the game with it.
The entire flow of the game changed in three short pitches. After striking out Billy Butler to start the inning, Wakefield battled with Eric Hosmer, and then on the sixth pitch of the at bat gave up a ground ball single.
The next pitch Jeff Francoeur hit hard for a double.
And the one after that provided similar results off the bat of Mike Moustakas. Just like that, and it was 4-3 with the tying run in scoring positon.
Terry Francona, to his credit, was not guilty of the slow hook that has cost him numerous games in the past. But with the eighth and ninth innings so far away, he brought in Matt Albers to put out the fire, and instead--as he's been doing in August--the former Oriole added gas. He walked the first batter he faced, gave up a game tying single, and after getting a line drive out from Alcides Escobar, allowed the next three batters to reach. Franklin Morales came in, and quickly gave up a triple to the lefty he was specifically brought in to get out before finally, mercifully ending the inning. The score was 9-4.
The offense was OK, the defense didn't cost him much if anything, and while the bullpen made it a guaranteed loss for the team, Wakefield can be sure that unlike in games past, it was his performance that cost him the win tonight. It just reinforces the belief that there's some bizarre law of the universe that, on a night that Tim Wakefield is after number 200, something will inevitably go wrong.
Better luck in Texas?