BTF is no friend of Tim Wakefield. Yeah, we concede there are solid starts in those knuckles. And we understand he comes cheap and represents a decent ROIC. But all too often he is ordinary and then there are nights like last night when he simply gets hammered and gives the Sox no chance. In other words, he is a pretty mediocre fifth starter and probably one who shouldn’t be pitching for a contending staff. That doesn’t mean he should be stoned. Or shot. But it does mean he is a target for disposal.
Last night the Red Sox were playing particularly short-handed (no Beltre) and it was hard to imagine a Sox win if it didn’t come attached to a quality start. Well, Tim Wakefield didn’t sniff “quality” as he gave up six hits and six runs before registering the second out in the first. As such, you might as well call Wakefield the “Grave Digger” because he dug the hole and buried the Sox last night.
About the only good news I can glean from last night is Wakefield’s time is just about up. He’ll get the ball again on Tuesday but with Buchholz and Beckett likely returning next week, Wakefield will probably not be out there when his turn comes up again next Sunday. And barring an injury, that means we probably won’t see Wake make another start so long as the Sox are alive and the games still mean something. Now I can’t promise Francona won’t do something asinine like giving Wake a spot start to keep him “stretched out,” but something tells me charity such as that will dry up if the Sox are grinding toward the finish line.
Following Wakefield’s pitiful first, the Sox now run the risk of having a devastating weekend as the matchups tonight and tomorrow are hardly favorable and Sunday will be no pushover. And yet, there doesn’t seem to be much urgency with the Sox right now. The mantra continues to be, “wait until we get healthy,” but this thesis ignores the very real possibility that the season will be over in two weeks.
I realize the Sox can’t rush these guys back. And bringing guys back while they are hurt doesn’t do any good. But it just seems that an aura of caution and acquiescence has settled over this club. No longer is this group defiant. And no longer does it seem like guys are fighting to play. Instead, it seems as if the front office, the manager and the players are now resigned to the fact that these injuries have crippled the season. And that is quite disappointing.
* The Sox will be playing fourteen games in fourteen days so Wake’s early departure is probably the last thing the bullpen needed right out of the gate. That being said, I thought Robert Manuel and Scott Atchison both pitched well last night, albeit in mop-up duty.
* I would think Dustin Richardson’s time in Boston is just about over for now. Eight hits and four walks in 5.2 innings is generally good for a trip down I-95 and a thirty-day stay at The Bucket. But with Richardson out of the picture, the Sox only have Oki from the left-side. That clearly is not enough to survive, let alone thrive. with Richardson failing his test, the Sox simply have to bring in a lefty from outside the organization to help out. George Sherrill or Scott Downs are logical places to start and neither should command much in the way of compensation.
* Quite frankly, I didn’t think Billy Hall would see Memorial Day in Boston. Boy did he prove me wrong. Following a nice game last night, Hall now sports an OPS of .778 which is pretty glitzy for a utility guy. And since Pedroia went down, all Hall has done is fill in with these Pedroia-like numbers: .289/.353/.556.
FARM REPORT: Ryan Kalish is on a tear right now for the PawSox. He had two more hits last night and he is now 19-40 over his last ten games. His AAA slash has risen to .337/.406/.477 and between Portland and Pawtucket, it should be noted that Kalish has nine bombs and 22 steals in just 236 at bats. Time will tell if Kalish is just riding a streak, but this guy has produced at every level and if this AAA tear is confirmed over the next six weeks, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Sox make room for this guy next season. You hear that Jacoby?