Wakefield focused on team, not milestone


Wakefield focused on team, not milestone

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard

By Danny Picard

BOSTON --Its been over a month since Tim Wakefields last win. Andhis next one wont be just any old victory. It will be the 200th of his career.

Unfortunately for the veteran knuckleballer, hes beensearching for that personal milestone since his last win, back on July 24against the Seattle Mariners. And whether he admits it or not, that searchseems to be turning into a never-ending weight on his shoulders.

But after Friday nights 15-5 loss to the Oakland Athleticsat Fenway Park, in which he picked up his sixth loss of the season, Wakefieldinsisted that his biggest disappointment was the fact that he made Red Soxmanager Terry Francona dip into the bullpen before Saturdays double-header.

I think thats my biggest disappointment, knowing that wehave a double-header tomorrow, and I was only able to go four innings tonight,said Wakefield.

I think the biggest disappointment is that I didnt getdeep in the game. Ive got to take my personal numbers and throw them out thewindow right now. Were trying to hold onto a one-game lead in the East, andthe biggest thing coming off a long road trip like that, is to try to win thegame, for us, for the team, not for me personally.

That 200th win will eventually happen, hopefully, addedWakefield. But I think the thing I pride myself most in, is to try to give theclub quality innings and get deep in the game, and not have to use the bullpenlike we did tonight.

Wakefield lasted only four innings on Friday night, while allowingeight runs (four earned) on eight hits, two walks and two home runs.

Most of the damage was done in the top of the fourth inning,as Oakland scored six runs with two outs. Sizemore ripped a two-run home rundown the left-field line to extend the Athletics lead to 4-1.

Jemile Weeks then struck out, but a passed ball by JarrodSaltalamacchia allowed Weeks to get to and extend the inning. After Coco Crispwalked, Hideki Matsui drilled a double off the wall in center field, scoringtwo more runs and giving Oakland a 6-1 lead.

Josh Willingham added insult to injury in the next at-bat byhitting a two-run home run into the monster seats in left-center to make it8-1.

Not a real good night, said Francona. Kind of aninconsistent knuckleball tonight. Some he threw so well, and had sharp break.And then some were up that got hit.

We get the third out in the fourth inning, and the ballgets by Salty, because it is moving. Then they tack on four more. It was justkind of a rough night all the way around.

Thats just the way the fourth inning went, saidSaltalamacchia. Theres nothing really on his part. He still threw the ballthe same way. They just did a great job fighting pitches off, fouling them off,fouling them off, and not really trying to pull it too much.

So heres Wakefield. Six starts since win No. 199, and an0-3 record in those six starts. Friday night marked his shortest start of theseason, but Wakefield insists I has nothing to do with how he feels physically,or any type of pressure thats come with the search for his 200th win.

I take a lot of pride in trying to stop the bleeding theretoo, and trying to pick up my teammates, said Wakefield. I wasnt able to dothat tonight. Unfortunately I couldnt stop the bleeding there in the fourth.

I feel great, added Wakefield. I thought I had somepretty good movement on the ball, except for the end of the fourth inning, andthe ball started leaving the ballpark.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

McAdam: Prospects of a Papelbon-Red Sox reunion dimming

McAdam: Prospects of a Papelbon-Red Sox reunion dimming

BOSTON -- Until next Wednesday, major league teams can add to their rosters and have the new additions still be eligible for postseason play.

But don't expect the Red Sox to do any serious upgrading.

The bullpen could sorely use some reinforcements, but the difficulty of obtaining help at this time of year -- when players changing teams must first clear waivers -- is problematic.

Asked recently the odds of the Sox making a deal to bolster the team's relief group, an industry source reponded: "Pretty slim.''

The source went on to say that any relievers of value have been routinely "blocked'' -- i.e., claimed by a team before being pulled back by the original club.

The few relievers who have successfully cleared waivers -- including Oakland's Ryan Madson and Chicago's David Robertson -- are those with multiyear commitments that extend beyond this season.

And just because the likes of Madson and Robertson have cleared waivers doesn't guarantee they're necessarily available. At this time of the year, teams routinely send their players through waivers to provide them with flexibilty and to determine the level of interest for deals in the off-season.

In the case of Robertson, the Red Sox would be taking on $25 million in future salary for 2017 and 2018 for a pitcher who would not be serving as their closer. The Sox control Craig Kimbrel for two more seasons, with a guaranteed contract for 2017 and a team option for 2018.

One major-league executive noted that teams are often reluctant to take on a reliever with a multiyear contract, since the existence of a future commitment could restrict a team in terms of usage.

Better to have a player on an expiring deal, the executive suggested, with no worries about future obligations.

It's still possible that the Sox could acquire Jonathan Papelbon, whose case has gone cold in the past week. Only 10 days ago, reports had Papelbon ready to sign within 24 hours with one of the handful of clubs expressing an interest in him.

But since then, Papelbon hasn't been heard from. One source indicated that Papelbon's interest in signing elsewhere may be impacted by a family situation.

Whatever the reason, the longer Papelbon goes without signing somewhere, the tougher it is to imagine him having much impact. 

Papelbon last pitched for the Washington Nationals on Aug. 6, three weeks ago. He would need some time on a minor-league assignment in order to be major league-ready for the final month.

And while Papelbon would enjoy returning to the familiarity of Boston, he's not close to the same pitcher that he was when he left after 2011. Indeed, Papelbon isn't even the same pitcher he was in his final two seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Red Sox, reduced to matching up night after night in the eighth inning, would still welcome him back. But there are other options to upgrade a porous bullpen, options that would seem to make the odds of a Papebon-Red Sox reunion negligible.