Wakefield comfortable, shining in starting role

191542.jpg

Wakefield comfortable, shining in starting role

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
BOSTON - Tim Wakefield felt right at home on Sunday afternoon, and it wasnt just because he was pitching at Fenway Park.

Wakefield made his eighth start of the season and, after alternating from the starting rotation and bullpen last year, he is finding success with consistency.

Ive got a more consistent job right now," he said following the Red Sox' 12-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. I think last year was a lot of inconsistencies on what I was doing - bullpen, start, bullpen, start, back to bullpen. Its nice to have a routine and get some repetition on working on stuff on the side versus hoping its there when the game starts out of the bullpen. Its been a pleasure so far.

Wakefield went eight innings (his longest outing since July 2, 2010) and recorded six strikeouts while giving up three hits and three earned runs (two home runs). Of his 99 pitches, 75 were strikes.

He threw a lot of strikes. I mean, a lot of strikes," said Terry Francona. He gave up one walk, he just filled up the strike zone and the ball was moving. Today was a good day to hit, if you elevate that knuckleball, any pitch its going to go. He just threw a ton of strikes with a good knuckleball.

After the game the Brewers admitted they were stifled by Wakefields delivery.

The hard part is when he throws you a good one, nobody is going to hit it," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. Thats the hard part. Theres times where weve come in where he hasnt had a good knuckleball and its completely different. But when hes like he is today, youre fortunate to get runs off him.

Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia wasnt surprised. He believes Wakefield is better suited to be a starter and had a feeling before the game he would be effective.

He was excellent, he said. That's probably the best stuff I've seen from him all year that I've caught him. Even in the bullpen I was having trouble just because the ball was moving everywhere. He was really just kind of throwing it for strikes, too, getting ahead. But obviously it's a tough pitch to hit as it is anyways.

Wakefield credited his teammates for giving him the run support to help him settle in on the mound. His manager gave him credit for giving the team a solid start when called upon.

I think his role is exactly what hes doing," said Francona. We talked about it going in that theres probably going to be starts for him. We dont know where theyre going to be. Because of his versatility, hes filled that role. Hes filled it unbelievably. Youre fortunate on a staff where you have a guy like that and going into the season he knew what is his role was and, in all honesty, you dont know when the starts are going to be. But he prepared real well and hes really helping us out.

Wakefield may not always know when his next start will come, but his teammates know they can feel confident with him on the mound.

Said David Ortiz, Hes got a gift and the longer he can make that ball move like that, hes going to be successful.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCamerato

Friday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays lineups: Porcello goes for win No. 23

ortiz-fenway-grass.jpg

Friday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays lineups: Porcello goes for win No. 23

The A.L. East-champion Red Sox, still fighting for playoff position, field their usual lineup as they open David Ortiz's final regular-season series tonight (7:10) against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox (92-67) are two games behind the Texas Rangers (94-65) in the race for the best record in the A.L., with the Cleveland Indians (91-67) a half-game behind Boston.

Rick Porcello (22-4, 3.11 ERA), the likely Game 1 starter in the ALDS, will try to add to his Cy Young Award resume tonight. He’ll be opposed by right-hander Marco Estrada (9-9, 3.53).

The Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles (both 87-72) are tied for the A.L. wild-card lead with the Detroit Tigers (85-73) 1 1/2 games back.

It’s the final regular season series for Oritz, with ceremonies planned to honor the retiring Red Sox DH prior to each of the final three game this weekend. 

The lineups:

RED SOX

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Brock Holt 3B

Mookie Betts RF

David Ortiz DH

Hanely Ramirez 1B

Xander Bogaerts SS

Jackie Bradley CF

Sandy Leon C

Andrew Benintendi LF

Rick Porcello P

 

BLUE JAYS

Eziquiel Carrera LF

Josh Donaldson 3B

Edwin Encarnacion DH

Jose Bautista RF

Russell Martin C

Troy Tulowitzki SS

Justin Smoak 1B

Kevin Pillar CF

Devon Travis 2B

Marco Estrada RHP