Tim Wakefield is a 44-year-old failed shortstop who throws slower than the average high school pitcher. All of which means nothing if you haven't seen his knuckleball before--and even that can mean little if the pitch is on.
Just ask the Cubs, who faced this 44-year-old spot starting soft tosser--many of them for the first time--and found themselves entirely incapable of hitting him for six innings Sunday night. As is often the case when Wakefield is on, they could put the bat on the ball, but could not produce any real results. Ground ball after ground ball produced out after out, with the Cubs only reaching base three times in the first two innings, and once on a wild third strike.
While Wakefield eventually did run into trouble, allowing a run to score on a pair of doubles before being pulled with two down in the sixth, the Red Sox' offense had his back. Loading the bases without recording an out in the fourth, Jed Lowrie and Mike Cameron put together some situational hitting, Producing a pair of sacrifice flies to make it a 2-0 game. They added a third when Jarrod Saltalamacchia led off the sixth with a solo homer, and then two more on Kevin Youkilis' two-out triple into the triangle in the seventh.
Meanwhile, with Daniel Bard back in the fray, the Sox received a much better performance from the bullpen than they had in Saturday's game. With Bard and Papelbon combining to produce seven outs without allowing a run, striking out four batters along the way to seal the deal.
Since I have somehow made it through this entire recap without mentioning Adrian Gonzalez, it's worth noting that he went 4-for-4 tonight, and is now hitting .342/.391/.574. Kevin Youkilis, for the record, is not that far behind.