Racking Up Wins, But Still Disappointed…

 

First let me get the game out of the way, yeah, we
won 3-1 behind Alex Rodriguez’s two-run single in the top of the 9th
and excellent pitching by Andy Pettitte, blah, blah, blah…

 


Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte surrenders only five hits, including two by Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki (b.), and strikes out nine batters in eight innings for his 11th win of the season.

Greule/Getty Images



Today had to be one of the most difficult days I’ve
experienced in recent memory.  I woke up
this morning to find the New York Post report that the Yankees were on the
verge of acquiring pitcher Cliff Lee from the Seattle Mariners. 

 


Cliff Lee is 8-3 with a 2.34 ERA in his first season with the Seattle Mariners.

Wenig/AP



All morning, I checked news reports and blogs to
see the progress of the trade. It sounded closer and closer.  First, it was mentioned that the Yankees
would send highly touted catcher (future first baseman?) Jesus Montero and
minor league second baseman David Adams to the Mariners.  Later, it was increased to include minor
league pitcher Zach McAllister.  As a
proponent of a Lee trade, I was in favor of the move despite the loss of top
young talent.  Montero will be a huge bat
in a future lineup regardless of where he plays.  I’ve envisioned him as Jorge Posada’s
replacement, but there are other candidates (Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez to
name a few). 

 

The Mariners really liked Adams, but he currently
has an ankle injury and this was the point of their concern.  As soon as they found out that Justin Smoak
was available, they quickly shifted direction and closed a deal with the Texas
Rangers. 

 

I was very disappointed with the final
outcome.  I really think the Yankees
should have done what it takes to close the deal.  There are no sure things in the Yankees
pitching rotation outside of CC Sabathia, so the chance to acquire a dominant
pitcher like Lee doesn’t happen very often. 
Sure, the team will be able to pursue Lee in the off-season if he doesn’t
sign a contract with the bankrupt Rangers, but they’ll pay a high price given
that Lee is a Type A free agent and he isn’t able to help them now.  With Lee, the team could have shifted Phil
Hughes to the bullpen or traded Javier Vazquez, a free agent at year end, for a
quality return.

 

Perhaps one day, Montero, Adams and/or McAllister
will make me glad this day happened the way it did, but today, I am
disappointed.  Then, of course, the
Boston Red Sox go out and blast the Toronto Blue Jays 14-3.  Not a good day…



 


Well, back to the “forced” spotlight on a Boston
Red Sox player.  Thanks to a wager loss
to Julia of Julia’s Rants, I am obligated to write about a member of the
6/26/10 Boston Red Sox roster.  The
original bet was for all 25 players, but Julia shortened my sentence to 10
players for good behavior.  So far, I’ve
written about 8 Red Sox players so just two more.  For #9, I will go with the knuckleballer…


 

#49       
Tim Wakefield

 


His vaunted knuckleball was only one weapon Tim Wakefield employed in his eight shutout innings (two hits, six strikeouts).

Duane Burleson/AP



Tim Wakefield is the senior ranking member of the
Boston Red Sox, having joined the organization in 1995.  He was one of those cuts that Boston pounced
upon to seize a quality player (ala David Ortiz).  In a Red Sox uniform, he trails only Cy Young
and Roger Clemens in wins. 

 

Wake was born 14 years to the day before Thurman
Munson was killed in a plane crash in Canton, Ohio (August 2, 1966).  Sorry, I can’t pass August 2nd
without thinking about Thurman.  It’s the
curse of a Yankees fan.  Wakefield was
drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1988. 
He started out as an infielder, but realized that his best path to the
majors was developing a pitching talent so he learned how to throw a
knuckleball.


In 1992, when Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla were
leading the Pirates to the play-off appearances, he went 8-1 down the stretch,
earning NL Rookie Pitcher of the Year from The Sporting News.  The Pirates would lose the NLCS to the
Atlanta Braves, but it was through no fault of Wake who went 2-0 (both were
complete games). 



scan0409.jpg image by subjectochange13

 


Thanks to control problems, Wakefield spent the
next couple of years in the minors.  On
April 20, 1995, the Pirates gave up on Wakefield and released him.  He was signed by the Red Sox six days later,
and would prove his worth immediately as he went 16-8 in helping the Red Sox
win the AL East.  He finished third in
the Cy Young voting that year, and was also named the AL Comeback Player of the
Year.

 

Over the next few years, Wake would prove to be a
valuable part of the rotation even if he did struggle at times with control.  He even found himself as the team’s closer in
1999.  He is one of the few pitchers to
record four strikeouts in one inning.  He
earned 15 saves before he was replaced by Derek Lowe as the team’s closer. 

 

Because of his versatility, he would toggle back
and forth between starting and relieving for the next few years.  He enjoyed good success against the Yankees,
but was the pitcher on the mound when Aaron Boone hit his home run to win the
2003 ALCS.  He rebounded to play a
critical part in the team’s wins against the Yankees and the St. Louis
Cardinals the next year to claim the World Championship. 

 

With his unique fast and ultra-slow fastball,
Wakefield has been a consistent part of the Red Sox rotation for 15 years.  He won 17 games in their 2007 championship
season but he didn’t get to play in the World Series due to a shoulder
injury. 

 

Even today, when he is not counted on to be a major
part of the rotation, he simply steps in and does his job in a quiet, effective
manner.  He was a terrific signing for
the Red Sox, and he’ll go down in Red Sox history as one of their all-time
greats.  Wakefield is perhaps one of the
most giving players in the game today, and the Red Sox will never be the same
when he decides to call it a career…

 

 

 Just one more to go!  Whew!  J



 

 

2 Comments

I share your disappointment. I woke up here on the west coast reading about Lee. I went about my day so excited at the prospect of the deal being done…only to find out it wasn’t. Which goes to prove that a deal isn’t a deal until it’s a deal! The Rangers are going to be very tough to beat now.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

GREAT write up about Wake!!! You know how I feel about him!! Excellent choice my friend!!!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com

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