[Insert Witty Wakefield Pun Here]

Tim Wakefield will not let you write him off.

With his mastery of the Devil Rays (against whom he is now 312-1) Monday, the Crafty Kunckleballer has thrown 15 consecutive scoreless innings — his best back-to–back starts by Game Score since he took the baseball world by storm in May and June 1995. It’s the second time this season he’s thrown at least 15 straight scoreless frames, the only time in his career he’s done that twice in one season.

Meanwhile, he marches on. Twenty-five starts, 25 decisions, just the ninth starter in the last 50 years to do that. Only Wakefield and Jack McDowell (20-7 through 27 starts in 1993) have gone so many starts without a no-decision since 1974.

At any rate, the Sox are in the midst of replicating the frustrating up-and-down pattern they’ve been wont to do. They are 4-3 in their last seven games, with no two-game streaks of any kind in there. If not for Theo’s brilliant deadline deal, the Sox would be 5-2 in that span and 14-5 in August. Alas, every day is not Christmas, and instead the Sox are a mere 11-8.

Nevertheless, for those seeking a little reassurance, consider this: With their win and the Yanks’ loss Monday, the Sox are 19-11 in their last 30 games. The Yankees are 21-9. In all of baseball, only the Yankees and Diamondbacks have a better record than the Red Sox in that span. In 30 days, New York has gone from seven back to five back in the AL East — a game-per-two-week pace that would leave them about two games short of the division title come Oct. 1. So perhaps it is indeed time to lay aside the panic in Red Sox Nation, at least for now.

14 comments… add one
  • In other news, the Globe reports that some guy named Matt Clement is ready to throw in some “instructional games.” Huh.

    Hudson August 21, 2007, 2:47 am
  • Sox magic number = 33 with 37 games left to play.
    (New York’s is 44.)

    Hudson August 21, 2007, 2:49 am
  • Anyone have any idea about why Wake was pulled after 77 pitches? I assumed MDC needed some work and would pitch the eighth and ninth…instead, Timlin came in for no apparent reason. That he needed only six pitches to finish the game means he’ll probably be available tomorrow, but still…hard to see the logic here.
    Incidentally, Red Sox pitching finished the shutout with only 96 pitches. 10.67 pitches per inning…just ridiculous.
    Also given that Wakefield @ the Trop is about as close to a sure-win as there is in baseball…wouldn’t it sort of make sense to throw him again in the third game of the series? He’s a knuckler, it’s not like his arm is tired after 77 pitches. Sure, it’d kind of screw up the rotation…but c’mon, they should get him as many dome starts as humanly possible.

    Josh SF (D1) August 21, 2007, 2:51 am
  • The Herald says it was back stiffness. IIRC, this is the second or third time Wakefield has either left a game “early” or battled through stiffness during a game. Better safe than sorry…

    Paul SF August 21, 2007, 3:17 am
  • Have to love that about Timlin lately, btw. He’s not nibbling.

    QuoSF August 21, 2007, 3:39 am
  • Cash did a great job behind the plate–he had a shaky first inning, but settled down after that. I think the fact that Tampa did not score on passed balls alone (I assumed at least 2 runs would be due to this) is a miracle.

    Atheose August 21, 2007, 7:18 am
  • “If not for Theo’s brilliant deadline deal, the Sox would be 5-2 in that span and 14-5 in August.”
    I guess I was as pissed off as anybody when Gagne let those games get away, but it should be pointed out that there is no guarantee we would have won all three of them had it not been for Gagne. Yes, probably only he had it in him to blow a 5-1 lead, but in the other games he lost a one-run and a two-run lead. This actually has happened to other guys in our pen before. The amazing thing is that Gagne had three meltdowns in such a short time. I can’t imagine he will be that bad for the rest of the season, but I wonder at what price we’ll be able to find out. So it’s good the lead is back to five games and hopefully at least not less after the current series.
    Whatever, compared to last year we’re having a splendid August so far …

    pale blue eyes August 21, 2007, 9:05 am
  • So true, pale blue eyes (this August compared to last).

    Devine August 21, 2007, 9:23 am
  • We’ve been through this before: it’s extremely rare for bullpens to blow eighth and ninth inning leads, of almost any size. Gagne (whose acquisition I wholeheartedly endorse and still do, I personally believe he will prove his positive value to the Sox in the coming weeks) didn’t do something that we can write off as expected. If the Sox go on to lose the division or even worse, fail to make the playoffs, by a game or two, these will be the ones that cost them that spot; the Sox’ win probability in all three games was extremely high, and coughing up the lead in those types of situations is hardly commonplace. Three (or four, or five, or whatever it might be) times in 120 games isn’t so bad, but three in a week hardly ever happens, particularly to good teams. Hopefully the Sox are done with the anomaly.

    SF August 21, 2007, 9:29 am
  • Mariano blew a save, coughed up the lead (and a homer) in extras, and nearly let the Indians back in a game (tying runs on, none out) in a recent stretch (maybe over a week and a half, all these happened). I’ll bet Yanks fans hope that anomaly is over (yesterday was close, too, in the 9th).

    Devine August 21, 2007, 9:48 am
  • I saw that Joy of Sox post, too, Devine, but Mariano wasn’t acquired at the deadline to bolster the Yankees’ pen.
    Not that I’m dissing Gagne or the deal. I like him as a person, as a player and as an acquisition. I think he’ll help us before it’s all over, but the irony just kills me, and not in a good way.

    Paul SF August 21, 2007, 10:31 am
  • Oh, it kills me too (that game on Friday night sent me into a really bad place). But it was a good post at JoS. Also been reading about how he’s not using his changeup as much, his curveball and slider aren’t around at all, and he’s throwing more fastballs. Pitch selection or injury or what?

    Devine August 21, 2007, 10:45 am
  • Also, Paul, yeah, the Yankees didn’t pick Rivera up at the trade deadline, but the truth is there no matter the manner in which the bullpen piece arrived. The best in the business fail, sometimes several times in a short period.
    Mind you, I’m not saying you throw Gagne into the next 9th inning with a 1-run lead (I wasn’t even advocating that before Friday’s game), but I still think he can be a very valuable addition.

    Devine August 21, 2007, 10:55 am
  • ‘Matt Clement is ready to throw in some “instructional games.”‘ —
    MC: And for my first trick, I will demonstrate my very existence by knocking over that milk jug with a fastball.
    **fastball sails four feet wide of milk jug**
    MC: How about if I just pinch you?

    FenSheaParkway August 21, 2007, 11:06 am

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