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Wakefield still stuck at 199 wins

The Sports Xchange
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"Wake Watch" will continue into next week.

Making his sixth bid for his 200th career victory, Tim Wakefield allowed eight runs (four earned) in four innings Friday night and was credited with the loss in the Red Sox' 15-5 throttling by the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park. This time, Wakefield was victimized both by bad luck and home runs.

Oakland's six-run fourth inning was punctuated by two-out, two-run home runs by Scott Sizemore and Josh Willingham. But the rally began after home plate umpire Brian Runge called a close full-count pitch for a ball, allowing Kurt Suzuki to draw a walk. Wakefield has allowed 10 homers in his last eight starts.

"Not a real good night (for Wakefield)," manager Terry Francona said. "Kind of an inconsistent knuckleball (Friday) -- some he threw so well and had sharp break and then some were up. Just kind of a rough night all the way around."

Wakefield remains stuck on 199 wins, having failed to record a victory since July 24. He has been trying to become only the 108th pitcher to win 200 games in his career. With lefty Andrew Miller posting back-to-back impressive starts, it may be worth wondering if Wakefield's place in the rotation is safe. But the Red Sox also have 23 games in 23 days beginning Tuesday night, so they likely will continue to rotate six starters.

In his last six starts, Wakefield is 0-3 with a 4.97 ERA. And while Wakefield has talked about the significance of No. 200, he also continues to insist he isn't pressing in an attempt to reach the milestone.

On Friday night, in fact, he expressed regret only that he wasn't able to pitch deeper into the game.

"I think that's my biggest disappointment," Wakefield said, "knowing we had a doubleheader (Saturday) and I was only able to go four innings."

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