Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tim Wakefield Day at Fenway

Things are feeling a lot better around Boston today after 4 wins in a row.  That's fitting because Red Sox fans should be in a good mood to honor one of their all time greats.  His Red Sox career really was amazing, his stats were not, but his story is.  As fans we had a chance to root for a unique player.  During his career there were 2-3 other knuckleballers who came and went, but for anyone born after 1984 he was the person that you thought of when you thought of knuckleball pitchers.  He was ours, we owned that unique entity for roughly a decade and a half and it was a lot of fun. He handled himself with class and humility.  He gave every average Joe Sox fan the feeling that they could play for the Red Sox if they could just master this elusive pitch.  Thank you Tim Wakefield for the amazing memories.  Coverage starts at 3pm today on NESN so be sure to check out the ceremony.

As far as the game goes there is only one story line: Josh Beckett (2-4, 5.97).  All eyes will be on him since his last start was so poor and the off field issues like the golfgate fiasco.  Ultimately it all comes down to performance, if he pitches well all will be forgotten (somewhat ;)   RHP Blake Beavan (1-3, 4.32) pitches for the Mariners.  The lineup has a couple of more interesting decisions to be made today.  Specifically at Catcher.  With a day game after a night game and a RHP on the mound there is no reason to start Shoppach today unless someone is willing to admit that he is Beckett's personal catcher.  Here is a look at a projected lineup:

Sweeney CF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Gonzalez 1B
Middlebrooks 3B
Nava LF
Ross RF
Salty C
Aviles SS

Beckett SP

For those of you thinking that the Red Sox' sellout streak may come to an end today with a 4 o'clock start on a weekday, lucky for you the Red Sox brass thought ahead and scheduled Tim Wakefield Day.  I wonder how the knuckleballer feels about being used to extend a phony sellout streak?? Sorry I couldn't resist...things are just a little too positive around here.  As always leave your comments below.


  1. Today is Josh Beckett's birthday so maybe that is the excuse to start Kelly Shoppach this time (eye roll).

    1. I guess this excuse didn't fly. Salty is in the lineup.

  2. Dave O'Brien, in his buttermilk-smooth tone, described the festivities wonderfully. Sounds like a fitting tribute was made to Timmy Wakes, a Red Sox stalwart for most of my entire Sox fanhood. I hope he felt appreciated. He deserves it. If nothing else, we can all be assured that nobody throws a celebration or a ceremony like this Red Sox PR machine. Mirabelli entering behind a squad car from CF? Classic.

  3. Five strong starts this time through the rotation translates to five consecutive wins. Now it is elementary baseball to say if your pitchers, especially starting pitchers, throw well you will win a lot of games. The reason it is so important on this team is that all five of these starters are perfectly capable to hurl a gem any time out. As a matter of fact any of the five can reel off s string of strong starts. And that is why, the slow start is almost entirely on their shoulders. This is not a rotation put together with Wade Millers, Paul Byrds, and AA kids being pushed into the bigs. This has a chance to be the best rotation in the AL if they can just get it together, like they have done in this 5 game streak.

  4. Hopefully Felix Doubront is OK after getting hit behind the hear with a batted ball during BP today. Right now he is scheduled to make his start on Thursday.

    Also Youk is playing a rehab game with Pawtucket on Wednesday. I like this decision. With Middlebrooks rolling you've got to try and stretch this things out as long as possible. I think Youk has to prove that he is healthy and can be productive before you remove Middlebrooks from the lineup or to make himself more tradeable. But, let's face it Youk is probably not going to be traded now and Middlebrooks is probably going to go back to Pawtucket at some point whether we like it or not. If Youk comes back and is productive then we have the benefit of having two good 3rd basemen which is a good problem to have at a time when the position seems to be a little weak around the league.

    1. I read that the ball that hit Doubront was hit off of a fungo, not a live batted ball, which would obviously hurt a hell of a lot less. Hopefully he's okay. It's going to be very hard to see Willie Middle leave this lineup with the way he has been swinging the bat. The ball rockets off his barrel. It will be tough to watch old Youk try to work back into a groove. He better hope he produces right away for the Nation will be all over him in a hurry. Maybe we'll get lucky and he'll tear the cover off the ball in AAA while scouts are watching and some team (Reds? Dodgers? White Sox?) will make a good offer for him without ever having to come back to the majors. Cue the Aerosmith..."dream on till your dreams come truuuuuuuue!"

    2. Brandon, I don't blame you for feeling this way and I'm sure most of the Nation would agree with you and most of the time I do too, but what if you trade Youk now only to have Middlebrooks hit the rookie wall in August? I would hate to see them get rid of Youk and then late in the year having him producing for a contending team while Middlebrooks struggles for us. I think the bigger picture would have us keep both of them. Certainly there will be great pressure on Youk once he returns that's why it was a good idea to send him on a rehab assignment so hopefully he can step right in and produce. It will certainly see how this plays out. Stay tuned!!