Tag:Tim Wakefield
Posted on: August 8, 2011 5:29 pm

On Deck: Wakefield aiming for 200


By C. Trent Rosecrans

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Tim WakefieldGoing for 200:
Boston's Tim Wakefield will take his third chance at winning his 200th game of his career. The 45-year-old knuckleballer has pitched well in his last two starts, but wasn't able to pick up the win. He gave up three runs to both the White Sox on July 29 and to the Indians on Aug. 3, going a combined 13 2/3 innings and 11 strikeouts with just four walks. Baker's looking to bounce back from a three-inning outing against the Angels on Aug. 3. He gave up five hits and four runs (three earned), throwing 77 pitches in the outing. Red Sox at Twins, 7:10 p.m. ET

Perfect timing:
If you're a team just a half-game out of first place, there are few things that can make you happier than seeing a four-game series against the Astros coming up on the schedule. Arizona is 5-5 over its last 10 games but is still just a half-game out in the National League West thanks to San Francisco's recent struggles. The Astros are 40 games under .500. Daniel Hudson starts for the Diamondbacks opposite Houston's best pitcher, Wandy Rodriguez, in the series opener tonight. Watch for Arizona's Justin Upton who is putting up MVP numbers. Upton is hitting .366/.418/..831 with seven homers and 22 RBI over his last 18 games and has a homer in his five plate appearances against Rodriguez. Astros at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m. ET

Ryan VogelsongThis one goes to 11?: Pittsburgh has an uphill climb in San Francisco if it wants to stop its 10-game losing streak. While the Pirates will miss Tim Lincecum in the three-game series, they have to face former Pirate Ryan Vogelsong, who is 9-1 with a 2.19 ERA. While Vogelsong's ERA is slightly higher at AT&T Park, batters aren't hitting him as well at home, putting up a .228/.290/.312 line. He's allowed just three homers in his 11 home starts. Pittsburgh's Charlie Morton got the Pirates' losing streak started in Philadelphia by allowing eight runs in four innings. He threw seven shutout innings in his last start, but the Pirates lost a 1-0 game to the Cubs. Pirates at Giants, 10:15 p.m. ET

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Posted on: August 4, 2011 12:05 am
Edited on: August 4, 2011 9:59 am

Marlins' Vazquez talking retirement

Javier VazquezBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Quick trivia question -- who is the big leagues' active leader in strikeouts?

It may take you a while to come up with Marlins right-hander Javier Vazquez (well, unless you saw the headline and the picture), whose 2,462 are more than Tim Wakefield (2,121), CC Sabathia (1,949), Kevin Millwood (1,940) and Livan Hernandez (1,918). 

That may not be the answer next season, though.

Vazquez tells Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald that this may be his last season in the big leagues.

"I know what I want to do already. I've talked to my family about that and basically this could be my last year," Vazquez said. "This could be it for me. The hunger is still there. But I think God puts my priorities in order. Baseball is probably third right now."

Vazquez signed a one-year deal worth $7 million before the season, his 14th in the big leagues. This season stared out terribly for Vazquez, who gave up seven runs in 2 1/3 innings in his first outing of the season and had a 7.55 ERA through his first eight starts of the season. However, in his last eight starts, he's 4-2 with a 2.13 ERA and the Marlins are 6-2 in those starts.

While Vazquez could certainly help a team next year, he said he's more interested in his three children, ages 8, 6 and 3.

"He's still got good stuff in the tank," catcher John Buck told Navarro. "But unless his son asks him to play another year, he probably will just go home to be with his family."

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Posted on: July 29, 2011 4:34 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 4:35 pm

On Deck: 2 hitting streaks on the line


By C. Trent Rosecrans

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Emilio BonifacioHitting streak, Part 1:
Emilio Bonifacio heads into tonight's game in Atlanta with a  26-game hitting streak, four games shy of the longest of the season, set by Andre Ethier. Bonifacio is hitting .390/.479/.430 during the streak and not only has 39 hits, but also 17 walks. He was hitting .259 when the streak started and is now hitting .299. Bonifacio has never faced Braves right-hander Brandon Beachy (3-2, 3.58 ERA). Right-hander Clay Hensley (1-2, 2.88) starts for the Marlins. Marlins at Braves, 7:35 p.m. ET

Dustin PedroiaHitting streak, Part 2: Dustin Pedroia an eighth-inning homer to extended his streak in a loss to the Royals on Thursday and has nine homers during his 25-game hitting streak. He's hitting .404/.459//752 during the streak with 19 of his 44 hits going for extra bases. He's walked 12 times and struck out just seven times. Pedroia is 5 for 18 (.278) in his career against White Sox starter Gavin Floyd (8-9, 4.11). Boston starter Tim Wakefield is going for his 200th career victory on Friday. He's 2-1 over his last five starts despite a 7.06 ERA. Red Sox at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. ET

Erik BedardLast start in Seattle?: It won't just be Rays fans and Mariners fans watching Friday's game at Safeco Field closely, scouts and front-office folks will certainly be tuning in or showing up to see how Seattle left-hander Erik Bedard pitches. The 32-year-old left-hander is making what is probably his last start as a Mariner, but tonight's start could determine how much Jack Zduriencik gets in return for Bedard. He missed his last four starts with a sprained left knee. Bedard is 4-6 with a 3.00 ERA in 15 starts this season, including 4-2 with a 1.77 ERA in his last 11 starts. Boston is said to be the most interested in Bedard, along with the Yankees and Tigers. Rays at Mariners, 10:10 p.m. ET

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Posted on: July 25, 2011 9:01 am
Edited on: July 25, 2011 10:53 am

Pepper: The odd story of Kei Igawa

By Matt Snyder

The New York Yankees paid $46 million to bring Kei Igawa to America in 2007. He's been nothing short of a colossal bust since, as he compiled a 6.66 ERA and 1.76 WHIP in 16 major-league appearances. He has been in the minors since July 2008 and is not coming back. In fact, the Yankees tried to send Igawa back to Japan, but he refused. No other teams have interest in Igawa, and the Yankees have declined to release him.

Instead, Igawa and the Yankees seem to be simply riding out the contract, which does expire at the end of this season. He lives in Manhattan, yet doesn't go to Yankees games or even watch them on TV.

“I don’t watch their games anymore,” Igawa said (New York Times). “I never follow them.”

He commutes from Manhattan to Scranton for his Triple-A games every single day. He's reportedly quiet and a bit of a recluse. His minor-league numbers aren't bad, but they aren't really good either. He's married with at least one child, but won't reveal how many kids he has or his wife's name. They don't come with him to America, so he spends baseball seasons alone.

The story of Igawa is interesting and a bit odd, too. It's pretty long, but a highly recommended feature in the Sunday edition of the New York Times.

Hat-tip: Big League Stew

TRIVIA QUESTION: For a guy who has struck out just six batters per nine innings throughout his career, getting to 2,000 total would take quite a while. And it did. After 17 years and almost 3,000 innings, Tim Wakefield recorded his 2,000th strikeout Sunday in a Red Sox uniform (BostonHerald.com). He had 110 strikeouts for the Pirates way back in the early 1990s, so he was already over 2,000 for his career. Here's the trivia question: Only one active pitcher has more career strikeouts. Who is he? See the very last entry in this post for the answer.

JOHAN GETTING CLOSER: Mets ace Johan Santana might be ready to make a minor-league rehab start Wednesday. It would be significant because rehab stints are limited to 30 days, so Santana wouldn't be pushed into the outing unless he was less than a month away from returning to the majors. He still needs to make sure his surgically repaired left shoulder feels good when he wakes up Monday. “As of right now, it’s a wait-and-see mode. We’ll see how it is [Monday] and go from there," Santana said (New York Times). Then again, general manager Sandy Alderson reportedly believes another simulated game is the next step (ESPN New York).

NO MO' WILY MO: The Diamondbacks released Wily Mo Pena on Sunday. The 29-year-old outfielder -- if we can call him that -- embodies the term "two true outcomes," as he hit five home runs and struck out 19 times in his 46 at-bats. He only had nine hits total and didn't take a walk. He certainly doesn't deserve a spot on the major-league roster with that kind of production, but when he gets into a pitch, it goes a long way. I think someone should pick him up just to put on a show in batting practice. Can't go wrong there. (Diamondbacks official Twitter)

QUALITY CONTROL: As Yankees relief pitcher Rafael Soriano works his way back from injury on a rehab assignment, the Yankees are going to base their decision on performance, not health. "We want to see him throwing the ball well and that his stuff is back," manager Joe Girardi said. "I think that's important. So to say that if he goes back-to-back, is that all you have to see? No. We have to see the quality of the stuff more important than the back-to-back." (MLB.com) It might sound obvious to judge on performance, but teams don't always do that. Once a guy is healthy, he's generally returned to the majors. For example ...

WANG TO START FRIDAY: Chien-Ming Wang will start Friday for the Nationals, despite being roughed up in his last Triple-A rehab start. He allowed five runs in five innings (Washington Post). It will be Wang's first major-league start since July 4, 2009.

SIGNATURE SANDWICHES: Concession company Aramark held social media voting on the best signature sandwiches at 11 MLB ballparks. Sports and Food has the list of winners, and it includes some pretty mouth-watering selections, which includes yet another reason to visit PNC Park.

RETREAD CITY: Remember Angel Berroa? He was the 2003 AL Rookie of the Year as a member of the Royals. He fizzled a few years later and hasn't played in the majors since 2009. He actually wasn't even playing in the minors this season, instead playing with the independent Bridgeport Bluefish. That didn't prevent the Diamondbacks from noticing him, as they've now signed him. He will report to Triple-A Reno (Bridgeport Bluefish official site). This is the same ballclub that went with Wily Mo Pena, Russell Branyan, Xavier Nady, Melvin Mora, Geoff Blum and Sean Burroughs this season.

TEMPORARY RETURN: Philip Humber of the White Sox has performed so well as a starting pitcher that the White Sox felt compelled to go with a six-man rotation. Because of a rainout, however, Humber will be shifted back to the bullpen for a few games this coming week. "I'm good with it," he said (Chicago Tribune). "Whatever they want me to do. I've said all along, when they give me the ball, I'll do the best I can with it."

CHEESY CELEBRATION: Terry Francona won his 1,000th game as a manager Saturday night when his Red Sox took down the Mariners. He celebrated by having a grilled cheese sandwich. (Full Count)

ON THIS DAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY: Roger Maris homered four times in a double-header in 1961, en route to hitting a then-record 61 home runs.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Javier Vazquez with 2,456. (Baseball-Reference)

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Posted on: June 25, 2011 11:43 am
Edited on: June 25, 2011 5:36 pm

On Deck: Unlikely excitement


By Matt Snyder

It's the middle of June and we have a full Saturday slate. Think back to March. What if we said the Pirates, Nationals and Diamondbacks would be involved in significant games at this point in the season?

BoSox Losing Streak, Wake's Old Home: The Red Sox just finished a stretch where they went 14-2, one that included a nine-game winning streak. Seeing the Padres and Pirates on the schedule next for a team riding so high looked quite enticing -- on paper anyway. Instead, the Red Sox have lost three straight and face a Pirates team Saturday that is not only above .500, but is also only three games out in the NL Central. We're just about a week away from the season's halfway point, too, so it's high time the Pirates be taken seriously. Tim Wakefield (4-2, 4.26), who was a member of the last Pirates' team to break .500 as a rookie -- and he's 44 now, by the way -- takes the hill for the Red Sox. Jeff Karstens (4-4, 2.54) is the starter for Pittsburgh, and he's been dealing of late -- sporting a 0.65 ERA in 27 2/3 innings in June. Any way you slice it, this game is a must-watch. Boston at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m. ET.

Something's Gotta Give: It doesn't seem to matter who is managing, as the Nationals got the job done Friday night with an interim manager for their interim manager. They've now won 12 of 13 and are only 3 1/2 games behind the Braves for second place in the NL East -- which is more significant because the Braves are the wild card leader. They have a tough task Saturday against John Danks (3-8, 4.29), so long as you look deeper than the season-long numbers. Danks started the season 0-8, a stretch that included several really good starts with really bad support from his teammates -- be it the offense, the defense or the bullpen. Since then, he's 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 17 strikeouts in 22 innings. The White Sox still haven't been able to sustain a good stretch for an extended period of time, but they're only 4 1/2 games out in the wild AL Central. Tom Gorzelanny (2-5, 4.53) takes the hill for the surging Nats. Washington at Chicago (AL), 4:10 p.m. ET.

D-Backs Tested: Unlike the Pirates and Nationals, the Diamondbacks aren't simply threatening. They are in first place in the NL West, holding a half-game lead in the NL West over the defending champion Giants. The Snakes have won four straight after a 6-8 stretch, bringing them to nine games above .500, their high water mark for the season. Rookie sensation Josh Collmenter (4-3, 2.09) takes the ball for Arizona, though he's far from the draw in this one. Justin Verlander (9-3, 2.54) gets the nod for the Tigers. The ace right-hander is arguably the most dominant pitcher in baseball at this point. The Tigers haven't lost a game he's pitched since May 19 and he hasn't taken a loss since April 27. In his last five starts, Verlander is 5-0 with a 0.86 ERA, 0.65 WHIP and 37 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings. In that span, he has two complete games and his shortest outing was 7 2/3 innings. The Tigers trail the Indians by one game in the AL Central. The test here is definitely the D-Backs' offense against Verlander. Arizona at Detroit, 7:05 p.m. ET.

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Posted on: June 8, 2011 10:46 pm

Jeter Watch: 2,989 down, 11 to go

Derek Jeter

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Derek Jeter is now a member of a second-place team, as the Red Sox moved ahead of the Yankees in the American League East by a game with an 11-6 victory at Yankee Stadium. Jeter added to his hit parade, doubling in the fifth inning, but grounding into an inning-ending double play in the sixth with bases loaded and the Yankees trailing by three runs. New York will wrap up its series with Boston tomorrow night at Yankee Stadium.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: 1 for 5 with a double


ALL-TIME LIST: Jeter will stand at No. 28 on the all-time hit list until he gets to 3,000, when he'll tie Roberto Clemente for 27th.

NEXT UP: As you'd expect, Jeter's plenty familiar with Red Sox starter Josh Beckett. Although he's faced Wednesday's starter Tim Wakefield the most of any pitcher, Beckett isn't too far behind on the list, coming in fifth. The only pitchers who have faced Jeter more than Beckett are Wakefield, Pedro Martinez, Roy Halladay and Sidney Ponson. Against Beckett, Jeter is hitting .300/.341/.425 with four doubles and two home runs. He's 24 for 80 with 12 strikeouts.

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Posted on: June 8, 2011 7:45 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2011 11:39 pm

Boston catcher doesn't have appendicitis

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jarron SaltalamacchiaRed Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia hads tests at a New York hospital to determine whether he has appendicitis, but it was determined he did not, the Boston Globe reports. Instead, the Red Sox are calling his ailment a "stomach illness."

Saltalamacchia was scheduled to catch Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield, but was scratched, forcing Jason Varitek to catch Wakefield for the first time in several years. Varitek is actually wearing a first baseman's mitt to catch the knuckleballer. In the past, Varitek has struggled catching Wakefield's knuckleball.

During the first weeks of the season, both St. Louis' Matt Holliday and the White Sox's Adam Dunn missed time after undergoing appendectomies.

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Posted on: May 22, 2011 11:06 pm

3 Up, 3 Down: Wakefield gets it done

Tim Wakefield

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Tim Wakefield, Red Sox -- Not much seems to be expected out of the old knuckleballer anymore, but he certainly delivered on Sunday night, allowing just one run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings against the Cubs, picking up his 194th career victory and first of the season. The only run the Cubs scored in the 5-1 Boston victory was by Starlin Castro, who led off the seventh with a double. Wakefield was already pitching professionally in the Pirates' system in 1990 when Castro was born.

James Shields, Rays -- Shields notched his second shutout and third complete game of the season, leading Tampa to a 4-0 victory over the Marlins. Shields' three-hitter included a career-high 13 strikeouts and stopped the Rays' three-game losing streak. Shields has been a boon to the Rays' bullpen, going past the seventh inning for the ninth time in his 10 starts this season -- and it was the eighth time he's gone at least seven innings while allowing two runs or less. Shields is now 5-2 with a 2.00 ERA. He has 73 strikeouts in 76 2/3 innings pitch, while walking just 15. His WHIP stands at 0.93 and batters are hitting just .205 against him.

Torii Hunter, Angels -- Angels hit his first home run since April 21 -- a two-run shot in the fourth -- and followed it up with the quote of the night when asked if he remembered that one. "I can't remember that far back," Hunter said. "I haven't seen one in a while. I've seen them on TV, I've seen them in the movies, but it's a lot of fun to get one out of the way this month." His last home run was 99 at-bats ago. He has five this season.

Tim Collins, Royals -- Collins had a difficult task -- coming into the game in the 10th inning with bases loaded and no outs with Lance Berkman at the plate -- but the way he gave up the lead was disappointing. Collins got Berkman to pop up, but then walked the next two batters -- Colby Rasmus and Yadier Molina  -- giving the Cardinals a two-run lead. Blake Wood came in to get the next two batters and Kansas City managed a run in the bottom of the 10th, but it wasn't enough to overcome the two free passes. It was a fitting way to decide the game, as Royals pitchers walked 13 Cardinals.

Brian Fuentes, Athletics -- The A's fill-in closer leads the majors in losses by a reliever (6) and has three losses in the last five days, including two against the Giants. On Sunday, Fuentes gave up two hits and walked a batter, as Darren Ford scored from second on Emmanuel Burriss' single. Said Fuentes: "I'm just not making pitches. There wasn't really anything that happened that wasn't my fault." Give him credit for taking credit for his struggles at least.

National League East -- All five NL East teams lost on Sunday -- the Phillies lost to the Rangers, the Marlins lost to the Rays, the Mets to the Yankees, the Nationals lost to the Orioles and the Angels beat the Braves. The five teams combined for just five runs -- three of those accounted for by the Mets in a 9-3 loss in the Subway Series. The division went 7-8 in their interleague matchups this weekend, with the Phillies and Marlins winning their series and the other three teams losing their series.

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