Wakefield grateful to win 200th at Fenway Park

191542.jpg

Wakefield grateful to win 200th at Fenway Park

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen

BOSTON After the game, his 200th career win safely in the record books, Tim Wakefield acknowledged there were times when he thought this one might not actually happen.

It did cross my mind after six or seven starts, said Wakefield, who made seven unsuccessful attempts at No. 200 since his last win on July 24. But I kept telling myself the milestone doesnt determine me as a person. Ive always said Ive been grateful to wear this uniform as long as I have, and been very fortunate to live out a dream I had as a kid. Im just grateful it happened tonight and very grateful it happened in front of our home crowd. The standing ovation I got when I walked off the mound in the fifth and sixth, and to be able to go back out after the game was over and share it with the people that were here, was very special.

Wakefields first win came July 31, 1992, against the Cardinals, while with the Pirates. Just 14 of his wins were with Pittsburgh, his home for the first two seasons of his 19-year career. He joined the Sox in 1995 after going 5-15 for Buffalo, the Pirates Triple-A squad, in 1994.

I was just happy to have a job after that year in 94, he said. I went to spring training and I was 5-15 in Triple A. I went into spring training with the Pirates that year and getting released after one start. I was very grateful that former Sox general manager Dan Duquette called me and wanted to sign me.

It was difficult for him to describe his emotions after the win, an 18-6 shellacking of the Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

Theyre just setting in right now, he said. Im grateful that, one, its over with; two, that it was able to happen here in Fenway Park in front if our home crowd and going outside and seeing the signs and all the people and my teammates came out in support. It says a lot about everything thats gone on in my career and tonight. Im kind of speechless when it comes to that.

Im very grateful that I was able to wear this uniform as long as I have and reach the milestone that I thought Id never reach. Just very grateful.

His team was grateful, too. The win came at a desperately needed time for the Sox, who had lost five in a row, six of seven on the recent road trip, and seven of eight.

It was great, said Dustin Pedroia, who went 4-for-5 with two home runs. Weve been trying to help Wakefield win his 200th for a while, but we gave him run support and he went out there, last few innings he settled in and did a great job. Were all so proud of him. Its pretty unbelievable what hes been able to accomplish.

Wakefield gave up five runs on two home runs over the first three innings before settling down to retire 11 of the final 13 batters he faced. He went six innings, giving up five runs on six hits and two walks with six strikeouts, two home runs and a hit batter.

The significance of the night was obviously very special, said manager Terry Francona. He gave up some runs early, our bats came alive. I thought going out for the sixth inning at the time was important. He had a nice quick sixth.

Its kind of neat to see the way the guys responded to Wake in the clubhouse and the way the fans responded to Wake on the field. I thought that was pretty appropriate and probably only in a place like Boston would you see something like that happen.

Im just so happy for him, said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Its an honor for me to be able to be back there and catch him, get that 200th win, and be a part of history. But also to see what hes done in his career, pitch as long as hes pitched, and be able to finally get this. it makes you feel good. It gives you goosebumps. After we scored a few runs I had goosebumps the rest of the game.

Wakefield now has other milestones on his radar, including 192 wins with the Red Sox, which would tie him for the franchise record with Cy Young and Roger Clemens. He now has 186 wins with the Sox.

Thats the next goal, Wakefield said. The most important thing right now is doing my work and getting ready for my next start and try to push us into the postseason. That was everybodys goal in the spring to make it to the postseason and win another World Series. Im grateful to take a lot of pressure off my teammates and I know theyve been feeling it. But nows the time to concentrate on winning as many games as we can and getting to October.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.

Quotes, notes and stars: Swihart flashes power and speed

red_sox_blake_swihart_052616.jpg

Quotes, notes and stars: Swihart flashes power and speed

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 10-3 win over the Colorado Rockies:

 

QUOTES

"I felt a little cramp. I'm fine. I appreciate John and everybody looking out (for me). We obviously don't want anything to happen like last year, but I'm good.'' - Dustin Pedroia, who left the game in the fifth after experiencing some tightness in his right hamstring.

"It's nice to be able to get deep into the game. That's my goal every time. My goal is nine innings, so if I don't get nine innings, I'm a little disappointed because I want to be able to go out there and pitch as many innings as I can.'' - Steven Wright.

"I think my release point was just a little off. That definitely makes it hard, especially when it's moving, because it's not a consistent release point.'' - Wright on the early-inning unpredictability of his signature pitch.

"Even when I was catching, I pride myself on running. I want to be an athlete back there. I want to run the bases, steal bases, things most catchers aren't known to do.'' - Blake Swihart, who hit two triples.

 

NOTES

* Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to 29 games.

* Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to 18 games.

* David Ortiz tied Paul Molitor for 12th on the all-time doubles list with 605.

* Ortiz has driven in multiple runs in three straight games

* Dustin Pedroia has a career batting average of .340 in interleague play, the highest ever for someone with 500 or more at-bats.

* Travis Shaw drove in three runs and now has 68 RBI in his first 111 games since Fred Lynn and Jim Rice in 1974-75.

* Blake Swihart became the third Red Sox hitter this season to post two triples in the same game.

* The Red Sox clinched their fifth straight home series win.

* The Sox are 21-8 since April 24 and are 13-2 in their last 15 home games.

 

STARS

1) Steven Wright

Backed by some rare run support, Wright evened his record at 4-4 with seven-plus innings and his eighth quality start this season.

2) Travis Shaw

Shaw produced two hits and knocked in three runs, making him the fourth Red Sox player this season to reach 30 RBI.

3) Blake Swihart

Swihart got to flash both his power and his speed by hitting two triples to the triangle, motoring around the bases.

 

First impressions from Red Sox' 10-3 win over Rockies

red_sox_steven_wright_052516.jpg

First impressions from Red Sox' 10-3 win over Rockies

BOSTON- First impressions from the Red Sox' 10-3 win over Colorado:

 

Steven Wright is the very picture of consistency.

In nine starts this season, Wright has pitched at least six innings and allowed two earned runs or fewer eight times. In the one start in which he failed to do so, he was pitching in a mini-monsoon and unable to properly grip his signature pitch.

On Wednesday, he battled some early-inning wildness with the knuckler, resulting in two wild pitches and four passed balls, but eventually settled down.

His 4-4 mark hardly represents how well he's pitched. A more telling stat is the 60 2/3 innings he's pitched in nine outings, just shy of seven per game.

 

It could be a costly night for injuries.

Ryan Hanigan left the game after 2 1/2 innings because of illness. Dustin Pedroia came out in the fifth as a precaution after experiencing some tightness in his right hamstring. And Xander Bogaerts jammed his thumb in the eighth.

Let's assume that Hanigan's illness is a temporary thing, and since Bogaerts remained in the game, that, too, seemed minor.

But the Pedroia hamstring is potentially a red flag, since it was that same hamstring that sidelined him for almost half of last season.

 

For the past 19 home games, the Red Sox have averaged more than eight runs per game.

Nineteen games isn't exactly a small sample size. In fact, it's almost exactly one-quarter of the home schedule. To average more than eight runs per game over that long a stretch, covering parts of three different homestands, is pretty remarkable.

 

Blake Swihart's speed is something else.

Swihart hit two triples to the triangle Wednesday night, and on the second, to see him shift into higher gear as he approached second base was really something to see.

It's difficult to think of another catcher -- and yes, I understand that Swihart has been playing left field exclusively of late; but he remains primarily a catcher -- who ran as well as Swihart does.

When the Sox and other independent evaluators remark about Swihart's athleticism, that's one of the things to which they're referring.