Levine: A win-win situation

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Levine: A win-win situation

By Rich Levine
CSNNE.com

On Sunday, Tim Wakefield threw eight strong innings in the Red Sox 12-3 win over Milwaukee.

On Monday, we peeled off a number in the slowest countdown in baseball history:

Wakefields pursuit of the Sox all-time wins mark.

I think it officially began in the summer of 2009.

At the time, Wake was 11-3 and fresh off one of the best stretches of his career. He was 42, but also a first-time All-Star and only getting better.

It was about that time he also started to leave his mark on the franchise record books. On July 3, he broke Roger Clemens' record for starts in a career and, in the process, woke everyone up to the realities of Wake's marathon tenure with the team. He suddenly sat on top, or near the top of every major statistical category. Most notably: Wins.

At the 2009 All-Star break, Wake had 175 wins 17 behind Clemens and Cy Young (who were tied at 192). And while 193 wasnt automatic, it was certainly possible. For a knuckleballer, Wake was still a kid.

It was entirely plausible that Tim Wakefield would retire as the winningest pitcher in Red Sox history.

But then he got hurt.

After the stellar first half in 2009, Wakefield missed six weeks because of a sore back and didnt win another game for the rest of the season. His resurgence was busted. In the meantime, the race to 193 moved slower than Wakefield himself. It was the equivalent of a Dice-K start. It took a lot of time to go absolutely nowhere, and everyone was ready to give up.

And now, in the midst of yet another resurgence . . .

Sundays win was Wakes 183rd with the Sox, leaving him 10 away from the record. And in most cases, that probably cause to throw some champagne on ice. In most cases, youd see a guy 10 wins away from a major achievement and feel at least slightly optimistic about his chances.

And with Wake, I guess there's a chance.

The injury to Dice-K creates more opportunities. And with Buchholz hurting and Lackey no sure thing to stay healthy, Wakefield could get more starts than we ever imagined. And what if the Sox wrap things up early entirely possible and want to give their starters some rest? Yup, more starts. And you cant disregard the fact that, with this line-up, most every one of Wakefields starts will be accompanied by ridiculous run support. That helps the cause!

You know, now that I think about it, maybe he ca

No. I cant do it. He cant do it.

He only needs 10 wins? Well, Sunday marked only Wakes 10th win since June of 2009. Thats two years. He might not have another two months. You really think hes got 10 more wins in him?

No, probably not.

But you know what? Im okay with that.

I mean, of course it would be nice to see him do it. First of all, because I know he wants to. I think that whenever Wake walks away from the game hell do so proudly, but if he can do so with his name sitting above Clemens and Young in such a prestigious category, for one of the most storied franchises in baseball? That's really special.

Not to mention, it would be great to see a real member of the Sox holding down the fort on top of the all-time wins list.

Clemens is a jerk. You dont want to celebrate him. And Cy Young isnt even real. I cant knock his skills, but that eras so far removed from todays game that its not even worth comparing. I'm sorry, but any pitcher who threw more than 40 complete games in a season should have their own record book. It's a different world.

It would be cool to have someone in there who fans don't detest, and also someone they can relate to. And Wakefield fits that bill.

But when you think of Tim Wakefield, do you really think he's the greatest winner in Red Sox history? Do you really want to? For all that he is, and as great as he's been for so long, is Tim Wakefield really that guy? Does he really deserve that distinction? Does that best fit what he's meant to this team over the last 17 years?

I don't think so. So while I won't be upset if he gets there, there will be no injustice if he comes up short.

In the meantime, I'll just enjoy any and all wins he's has left.

Regardless of the final number, a few more like Sunday will be more than enough.

Rich Levine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on CSNNE.com. Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

Pedro says David Price has shown signs of what it takes to be an ace

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Pedro says David Price has shown signs of what it takes to be an ace

Pedro Martinez knows what it takes to be an ace. He also knows what it takes to pitch successfully in Boston.

And he believes David Price is capable of being the former and has the makeup to achieve the latter -- in time.

"I would just say, as a human being, I would say (he) has to make adjustments,'' said Martinez when asked what advice he would give Price. "It's the first year on a team that holds a lot of expectations. For David, it's just a matter of probably understanding how he feels comfortable around the things that he does, what David Price needs for David Price to feel more comfortable and make the adjustment as quick as possible.

"I believe he's capable of it. He's given a lot of signs that he's the ace we all expect. And, to be honest, I think he's going to be alright. It's just a matter of making the adjustment as quickly as possible.''

Whether Price may be trying too hard to justify his landmark $217 million deal, or unsure of how to handle the disappointing results he's provided, Martinez suggested that Price has to be mentally tough.

"Sometimes, it's within you what you can do,'' he said. "I think he has to trust what he can do. I think that probably trusting what he knows and what he's capable of doing would be the biggest key.''

Whatever the reason, Martinez doesn't believe there's a physical explanation for Price's struggles.

"I don't see anything wrong,'' he said. "His velocity is there. He can last eight, nine innings, easily. He's in great shape. He looks good overall, except some games just don't go his way and sometimes it doesn't look like everything (works) for him. But I believe he just has to trust what he is, the presence he has and his knowledge.

"It's up to you sometimes to say, 'Hey I know this. I know this situation, so I'm just going to go approach it.' And that's probably what he needs to do - is just trust who he is, what he knows and the stuff he has.''

When asked if he would approach Price and deliver a message, Martinez was careful.

''I don't want to invade anybody's territory,'' he said. "I would like to be respectful to him and also the coaching staff. I'm part of the organization. I'm here to help. But like I said, the biggest adjustment is the adjustment David Price makes. It's not really what Pedro says, or what Pedro used to do. David Price is David Price; Pedro Martinez is Pedro Martinez.''

Martinez was also asked about Clay Buchholz, who is currently serving a mop-up man in the bullpen.

"Bucky lost a little bit of confidence,'' said Martinez. "That's what it looks like to me. Right now, he doesn't really have a path to follow and I think he's missing (Jon) Lester, big time. He's missing (John) Lackey. He's missing probably relating to someone just like him, who really understands him from back (in the day) -- David Ross, Jason Varitek.

"I think he's mature enough to kind of understand what to do. But some people don't actually have that ability to understand what to do when times of struggles come.''

Finally, Martinez was asked about his reaction to the Red Sox dealing away pitching phenom Anderson Espinoza in the trade for Drew Pomeranz. Martinez had been a vocal supporter of Espinoza and predicted stardom for him.

"The thing is, you have to understand, this team is trying to work for today, for this year. That's the reason you produce those kind of players, so you can have the flexibility to move to different areas,” Martinez said. “I was extremely proud that I was part of the (group) that saw Espinoza from the first time and hopefully now the trade we made is going to end up helping us win the championship.

"And Espinoza probably will feel really proud that, if we win it this year, he was probably the biggest reason.''

Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter: @Sean_McAdam

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics’ pick Demetrius Jackson gets 4-year, $5.5M deal

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Report: Celtics’ pick Demetrius Jackson gets 4-year, $5.5M deal

The Celtics and second-round pick Demetrius Jackson have finalized a four-year, $5.5 millon contract, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe reported.

Jackson, a point guard out of Notre Dame, was the 45th overall pick. He was projected by some as a first-rounder before the draft and the first year of his deal is likely to be guaranteed. Last year, Celtics’ second-round pick Jordan Mickey signed a four-year, $5 million deal as the 33rd pick overall.

Jackson will face plenty of training camp competition in a crowded group of backcourt players for the C’s. 
 

Patriots celebrate 15-year anniversary of 2001 team with videos, Hall exhibit

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Patriots celebrate 15-year anniversary of 2001 team with videos, Hall exhibit

The Patriots have announced a series of initiatives to celebrate the 2001 Super Bowl championship team on the 15th aniversary of their title-winning season.

Throughout the course of the 2016 season, the Patriots will feature special content online and on Patriots All-Access that will lead up to Dec. 4, when Gillette Stadium will host a reunion of the 2001 team during halftime of the Patriots-Rams regular-season matchup. 

The Patriots have already featured images of moments from the 2001 campaign on tickets for their eight regular-season home games. They'll also have a special exhibit dedicated to the 2001 team at The Hall at Patriot Place beginning in the fall. In addition, issues of Patriots Football Weekly this year will include posters of shots from the 2001 season. 

"The Super Bowl XXXVI win over the Rams was the first championship for our team and will always hold a very special place in our hearts," Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said in a statement. "The victory made everyone that ever wore a Patriots uniform or rooted for the Patriots on the bleachers at Foxboro Stadium feel proud to be a fan. I know I am looking forward to reliving some of those great memories throughout the 2016 season."

The Patriots said that video vignettes of the 2001 season will launch this week on Twitter and Facebook as well as on Patriots.com.