Wakefield delivers when called upon

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Wakefield delivers when called upon

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

DETROIT -- Tim Wakefield, along with Alfredo Aceves, is giving manager Terry Francona some interesting decisions.

Making his second consecutive start while John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka are on the disabled list, Wakefield went seven strong innings against the Tigers Friday night, giving up just two runs on five hits and two walks with two strikeouts.

"He made the adjustments, Francona said. We scored the five runs in the third and he became a lot more economical. He got fly balls and pop-ups. He kind of took the sting out. Eighty-three pitches, that's pretty good. We wanted to hold him around 85 if we could.

I was fighting my mechanics in the first couple of innings, Wakefield said. But was able to make some adjustments after the second inning and was able to cruise through into the seventh.

Wakefield has cruised through his last two starts, going 2-0. In a combined 13 23 innings, giving up three runs on nine hits with two walks, five strikeouts and a home run. In the two starts he has posted a cumulative 1.98 ERA.

In their four starts since Lackey and Matsuzaka have been on the DL, Wakefield and Aceves are a combined 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA. They would have been 4-0 if not for a Matt Albers eighth-inning meltdown May 21.

We're talking about that the four starts theyve given us, Francona said. They haven't been able to go nine innings, but they've been really solid starts and gives your club a huge lift.

"I don't think its unusual, Wakefield said. I think it's a blessing for us that its happened so far and hopefully we can continue to do so.

Wakefield has also made nine relief appearances this season. But, hed rather be in the rotation.

Yeah, I'd rather be a starter, he said. I'm getting an opportunity to fill in and do the best I can.

It is the 195th win of Wakefields 19-season career, 181st with the Sox. He is the major leagues active leader in wins, and is 11 wins behind Roger Clemens and Cy Young, who both have 192, the most wins of any Sox pitcher all-time.

Those numbers are important to him, and they only way he can reach them will be to stay in the rotation.

Lackey is scheduled to make a rehab start Tuesday in Pawtucket, with an eye toward being activated June 5. At that time barring any other injuries or anything unforeseen to the pitching staff Francona will have to decide whether to send Aceves of Wakefield back to the bullpen. It would seem to make more sense to send Aceves , who can pitch multiple innings in relief, while Wakefields knuckleball would seem to play better in the rotation. It would give him a better chance to add more wins to his totals.

Wakefield turns 45 in August. With the way hes been pitching, theres no reason he cant continue for a few more seasons.

"Yeah, I'm not doubting that, he said. I feel great physically. See what happens."

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

What makes a good manager? Rangers GM Jon Daniels explains

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What makes a good manager? Rangers GM Jon Daniels explains

Across the way from John Farrell in the Rangers dugout this series is a manager who was voted the American League’s best in his first year at the helm, 2015.

Jeff Banister is one of three full-time skippers Rangers president Jon Daniels has had in his time running the Rangers.

Much has been made about how Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski views the manager’s job: that in-game management isn’t the most important, but running the clubhouse is.

How does another top baseball exec look at it? Daniels explained on the CSNNE Baseball Show podcast.

“I think manager’s an enormous role,” Daniels said. “Huge importance, I don’t buy into any of the sort of snarky commentary. … What I think sometimes gets a little blown out of proportions, at times whether it’s lineup construction, some of those — the in-game stuff, bullpen management’s very real. 

“Certainly the knowledge of the game is big. I think the ability to teach the game is big. But the No. 1 separator, in my opinion, is managing people. It’s really the word ‘manager.’ Helping to mold the culture in the clubhouse. Getting everybody on the same page. Young players, older players, everybody’s got different self-interests and to be able to get all those unique self-interests enough on the same page for a common goal while representing the club publicly, with the media, with the fans, and doing it under a pretty intense spotlight — I think that’s the biggest piece. Probably the hardest to truly evaluate unless you’re like, in the clubhouse or around the clubhouse on a daily basis and have a sense for who’s good at it, who’s not. That for me is like where guys really separate themselves.”

Asked if he’s ever surprised by player sensitivity, Daniels underscored what stage of life most ballplayers are in.

“Everybody’s different, right?” Daniels said. “So everyone has different insecurities, everyone has different level of ego, grown up in different circumstances. At the end of the day everybody wants a few basic things. You want to be like kind of communicated on a pretty forthright, direct way. You want to be treated with respect. Some guys can handle a little more criticism than others. 

“Some guys can handle a little more criticism from their peers than others can. I think that’s a manager’s job, to understand kind of the different approaches. Players, the guys are in their 20s. Think about where you were when you were first out of college … a few years off that, and your maturity level and really your lack of life experience in a lot of ways. And, kind of like evaluate under those circumstances: you’re going to be somewhat sensitive when you’re in that time period in your life.”

How well a manager handles a clubhouse isn’t something the Rangers, at least, have tried to quantify.

“More anecdotal for me. There may be ways,” Daniels said. “I haven’t really been part of that. If there is [a way] we haven’t figured it out, and we haven’t really tried to do, to be honest with you.”

For the full interview, listen to the podcast below

Farrell: Price to make first Red Sox start of year Monday in Chicago

Farrell: Price to make first Red Sox start of year Monday in Chicago

David Price may have allowed six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings Wednesday night during his second rehab start in Triple-A, but the Red Sox apparently liked what they saw.

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Manager John Farrell announced moments ago that Price will rejoin the Red Sox Monday and start that day's game in Chicago against the White Sox. Farrell said the Sox were more concerned with how Price felt physically after his rehab start, not the results, and they're satisfied he's ready to return.

More to come . . .