Wakefield blown away by A's, 15-5

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Wakefield blown away by A's, 15-5

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON Tim Wakefields quest for career win No. 200 will have to wait for his seventh try, at least, after his sixth attempt proved futile, as the Red Sox fell to the As, 15-5, at Fenway Park Friday night.

Wakefield went four innings, giving up eight runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks, with two strikeouts and a passed ball. His record fell to 6-6 while his ERA climbed to 5.10.

Wakefield gave up a season-high four runs in one inning with six runs in the fourth, when the As sent 10 batters to the plate. The As did all their damage with two outs, capped by two-run home runs by Scott Sizemore and Josh Willingham, and a two-run double by Hideki Matsui.

Gio Gonzalez got the win for the As, improving to 11-11.

The Sox got on the scoreboard first, when Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a double, stole third, and scored on Adrian Gonzalezs single in the first. They added two in the third on back-to-back home runs by Dustin Pedroia, his 17th of the season, tying a career high, and David Ortiz, his 26th. It was the eighth time the Sox have hit consecutive home runs this season.

The As added seven runs over the last three innings. Scott Atchison relieved Wakefield and gave up a run in the seventh, while Matt Albers allowed four in the eighth.

Darnell McDonald pitched the ninth inning, his first professional appearance on the mound. It was the first time a position player has pitched for the Red Sox since Bill Hall on May 28, 2010. McDonald allowed two runs.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Jemile Weeks
Weeks went 3-for-5, with two doubles, three runs scored, and a walk. With a strikeout-passed ball in the fourth inning and a ninth-inning walk, he reached base five times. His three hits match a career high for the ninth time. (He also had three hits against the Yankees on Thursday). His three runs scored tie a career high for the third time. This was his first career game with two doubles, although he has two other games with multiple extra-base hits, each with a double and a triple.

HONORABLE MENTION: Josh Willingham
Willingham went 2-for-5 with a double, a home run, two runs scored, and four RBI. He had one of two two-run homers against Tim Wakefield in the sixth-run fourth inning. It was Willinghams team-leading 23rd homer of the season and 10th in his last 26 games. He also had a two-run double in the ninth off Darnell McDonald for the As final two runs of the game. Willingham has 13 RBI in his last 10 games and a team-high 79 for the season. His eight home runs this month are the most in August since Eric Chavez hit nine in 2004.

THE GOAT: Tim Wakefield
In his sixth attempt for his 200th career win, Wakefield came up empty. He went four innings, his shortest start of the season and shortest outing since two innings against the Rangers on July 15, 2010, giving up eight runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks with three strikeouts and a wild pitch. His record fell to 6-6, while his ERA climbed to 5.10.

Given a 1-0 lead in the first, Wakefield gave it back in the next inning, allowing two runs. From there, the As continued to add on. Wakefield allowed a season-high four runs in an inning, giving up six (two earned) in the fourth, passing his previous high of five in the fifth inning in Baltimore on July 18. It also matches a season high for any Sox pitcher in an inning this season. Wakefield has not earned a win since July 24 against the Mariners.

THE TURNING POINT
With the Sox trailing by just a run going into the fourth, the As scored six runs in the inning, sending 10 batters to the plate. The As scored all their runs in the inning with two outs. The hole was too deep for the Sox or Wakefield to climb out of. Wakefield was done after the inning.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1
In giving up 15 runs, Red Sox pitching fell one run short of its season high, behind only the 16 runs allowed to the Rays on April 11. Wakefield gave up eight runs (four earned) in four innings. Scott Atchison gave up one run in three innings. Matt Albers allowed four runs in one inning. And Darnell McDonald, pitching for the first time since high school, was responsible for two runs in one inning.

QUOTE OF NOTE:
I think the biggest disappointment is that I didnt get deep in the game. Ive got to take my personal numbers and throw them out the window right now. Were trying to hold onto a one-game lead in the East, and the biggest thing coming off a long road trip like that, is to try to win the game, for us, for the team, not for me personally. That 200th win will eventually happen, hopefully. But I think the thing I pride myself most in, is to try to give the club quality innings and get deep in the game, and not have to use the bullpen like we did tonight. -- Tim Wakefield, on the loss

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

The pros and cons of Rafael Devers' promotion

The pros and cons of Rafael Devers' promotion

BOSTON — Rafael Devers is here and there’s a bundle of reasons to be excited. There’s reason, too, to be skeptical. 

Here is a look at the potential pros and cons, depending on Devers’ success. We’ll start with the good as the 20-year-old top prospect heads to the big leagues for the first time.

PROS

Infusion of energy

In the same way a trade can bring a boost of morale, so too can the promotion of a top prospect. It’s new blood walking through the door, either way. There’s help for a group of hitters — and by extension, pitchers lacking run support — who need to see a lift from the front office. Sox manager John Farrell previously acknowledged the sense of anticipation leading up to the trade deadline. The mood heading into Devers’ first game should be an exciting one.

Production

Virtually anything is better than what the Sox have had offensively at third base. Devers’ minor league hitting has been a spectacle. They wanted to see how he adjusted to Double-A pitching and he did so admirably. He walked into Triple-A and kept raking, with three hits in his final game. The ceiling is very high.

Trade leverage

Theoretically this applies to Devers directly. If the Sox wanted to deal him, he’d be worth more as a big leaguer with some success. But if we believe everything the Sox say, they don’t want to trade him. They’d be crazy to do so. Leverage, then, comes in another form. Those teams that the Sox have talked to about third-base help, or hitting help, in general now get a message from the Sox of “Hey, we don’t need you.” Potentially, any way.

Feet wet for the future

A taste isn’t always a good thing, but it often is. One way or another, the Red Sox have to hope that Devers’ first stint in the big leagues lays the groundwork for the future. Growing pains might be inevitable but in some way, the sooner he can go through them, the better. If he comes off the bench at times, that’ll be a new experience he can have under his belt, although you wouldn’t expect he’ll need that skill too much early in his career.

Prospects saved, or repurposed

It’d still be a stunner if the Sox don’t make a trade at the deadline. It just wouldn’t be the Dombrowski way to stay idle. But Devers’ arrival might allow for a different allocation of resources. Whatever prospects the Sox were willing to put toward a third-base upgrade could go toward another bat, or a reliever or both.

CONS

Uncertainty

This is the biggest concern. Even if Devers rakes for the first week and thereby convinces the Red Sox they don’t need to trade for a third baseman, what does one week really tell them? A month isn’t really enough, either, but it would have been a lot better. (There is always the possibility of a trade in August.) Devers is still missing what the position has been missing all along — a known quantity. Someone with a major league track record, someone who can provide as much certainty as can reasonably be found.

Public about-face

Promoting Devers to the majors for the purposes of evaluation ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline would have been wiser at the start of July. He was raking after two months at Portland. It’s clear the Sox didn’t intend to move Devers with this kind of speed. They’ve adjusted on the fly, which is necessary sometimes, but Dombrowski said on July 14 — the day Devers was moved to Triple-A — that "I don't want to put it on his back that we're counting on him in a pennant race.” Didn’t take long for that to change.

Defense

Devers made four errors in 12 games at Pawtucket and has 16 in 72 games between there and Portland. One scout who has seen Devers doesn’t think he’s ready defensively yet. From there, it’s worth noting the context at this position: how chaotic third base has been for the Sox this season. Basic plays were not made for a time, and that’s how Deven Marrero ended up with a job. A drop off in defense is fine, but repeated errors on routine plays won’t work, particularly at a position where the Sox have already lived those woes.

Development

It’s a natural worry for a 20-year-old kid: if he doesn’t do well, can he handle it mentally? He wouldn’t be in the big leagues if the Sox didn’t think so. At the same time, you run the risk of a slow-down for a player who was chugging right along. Devers is poised to share time for now, which means he may well come off the bench, something he hasn’t had to do.

Loss of leverage

If Devers looks bad for a week — as in, truly overmatched — the Sox aren’t going to have any better position for a trade for an established infielder or bat. If anything, the potential trade partner would gain ground.

Baseball Show Podcast: The right time to call up Rafael Devers?

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Baseball Show Podcast: The right time to call up Rafael Devers?

The Red Sox have called up third baseman Rafael Devers. Lou Merloni, Evan Drellich, and Jared Carrabis discuss if this is the right time to bring up their top prospect and if they should still trade for another veteran third baseman.