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

McAdam: It's make-or-break time before the break for Red Sox

McAdam: It's make-or-break time before the break for Red Sox

Not long ago, the final homestand of the first half of the 2016 season looked like an opportunity for the Red Sox.
      
Now, however, it looks more like a survival test.
      
Are they contenders or pretenders? 
     
Is this a month-long downturn or a preview of coming attractions? 

      
The Red Sox still possess a winning record and are tied for one of the wild-card spots in the American League. The season isn't shot. Yet.
      
But it could be soon if the Red Sox don't execute a turnaround and thrust themselves back into the divisional race. At the precise moment the Red Sox are in freefall, the Baltimore Orioles are streaking, and doing what the Red Sox have failed to do: take advantage of some breaks in the schedule.
      
While the Red Sox dropped two of three to a Tampa Bay team which had lost 11 in a row -- four at the hands of the Orioles themselves, it should be noted -- the Orioles have steamrolled over lowly opponents to go 7-1 against a steady diet of nothing by the Rays and Padres.
      
That delivers some additional urgency to this upcoming homestand, which features three games each against the Los Angeles Angels, the Texas Rangers and the Rays again.
      
While Dave Dombrowski continues to hunt for pitching help, how the Red Sox play over the next nine games could either intensify his search or reduce it to unnecessary.
      
Should the Red Sox lose further ground while at home, it might result in Dombrowski refusing to mortgage any of his organization's future for a team that hasn't proven worthy of an upgrade.
      
Why sacrifice prospects in exchange for a starting pitcher or bullpen piece when the playoffs drift out of reach? And, yes, the Red Sox are going to need reinforcements to the rotation and the bullpen for next year either way, but if the Sox don't show signs of life soon, that effort can be put off until after the season.
      
Due to simple laws of supply and demand, the already exorbitant cost of pitching skyrockets before the trade deadline, since there are a handful of needy teams convinced that one additional arm could spell the difference between a trip to the World Series and missing the postseason altogether.
      
If a team isn't in need of immediate help, it's best to wait for November and December, when there's less of a sense of desperation to the whole exercise.
      
Beyond the matter of determining whether the Red Sox go all-in on 2016, there's the matter of job security for manager John Farrell.
      
Should the Sox continue to stumble, the All-Star break might give Dombrowski time and cause to evaluate whether it's time to make a change in the dugout.
      
If Dombrowski determines that the season can still be salvaged with a change of voice in the dugout, Farrell would be vulnerable. And if he decides that, regardless of playoff aspirations, he's seen enough in a half-season of observation that  Farrell isn't his choice to lead the club going forward, the four-day break would be time to reflect, then act on that evaluation.
      
Farrell challenged his team in a postgame meeting Monday, exhorting them to play to their potential, to trust in their teammates and play hard.
      
If that push doesn't yield tangible results in the next 10 days, a dark uncertainty -- for himself and the team he manages -- lies ahead.
      
The All-Star break offers upper management and ownership a time to take stock in what they have. If they don't like what they see in the next week and a half, the consequences could be felt soon.
      
       

 

Carrabis: Farrell doesn't have to rip his pitchers

Carrabis: Farrell doesn't have to rip his pitchers

Jared Carrabis joins Michael Felger on Town Fair Tire Sports Tonight to provide his take on David Price's latest outing and the apparent disconnect between Red Sox players and manager John Farrell.