No Wake — no Game 4 starter

Tim Wakefield has thrown his last pitch of 2007. Unfortunately, the veteran knuckleballer just can’t shake the right shoulder injury that has bothered him for the last two months. It was a tough pill for Wakefield to swallow and he was visibly shaken during his press conference.

Tito wouldn’t commit to a Game 4 starter, but it will most likely be Jon Lester. And Kyle Snyder was chosen over Tavarez as the reliever to take the roster spot.

Ellsbury will start Game 1 in center against the lefty. So will Drew.

59 Comments

I’m sure it’s tough for Wake to realize that he can’t physically help the team anymore, but his 17 wins cannot be highlighted enough.

With that being said, looks like that dispute is over and I’m excited to see what Lester can do in Game 4 on a huge stage, but even more excited at the prospect of taking the first two games of this series with strong pitching.

Also, it’s good that Dice-K is going twice as opposed to Wakefield/Lester. Maybe the high altitudes at Coors Field will make his “stuff” even tougher to figure out, especially considering that Colorado hasn’t seen him yet.

Wake is such an affable person. Unfortunately all good things must come to an end. Dice K will be happy to see his friend Tavarez back in the roster and hopefully so will be Corey. If appears that Ellsbury will be playing every game and Coco will be inserted in CF for defense in late innings. Excellent decision.

i hate it for wake but the fact is for the TEAM it’s the best thing that could have happened as far as i’m concerned. lester might get shelled but he’s still a better pticher. in a perfect world the sox win the series and wake retires IMO. i don’t think he’s suited for the bullpen for the same reasons he’s not suited for a short must win type series. of course given the economics and his relative success if healthy they may want him back next year. personally i’d take schill 8 days a week. he’s ( wake ) a class act and always has been but at some point with that type of one dimensional player you have to say enough is enough. it’s phenominal he’s lasted as long as he has and been as successful as he has. but he in effect he takes up two roster spots with mirabelli being required to catch him and i just don’t see where it’s worth it. he only won 5 games against teams that finished with winning records this year and i would guess those numbers would represent a pattern of previous and future years.

I feel bad for Wake, but he’s the definition of a team player and he knows he is better off resting and healing than hurting himself and the team by going out there to pitch.

@smckinny: I personally hope Wake isn’t done mainly because of the fact that he’s a bona-fide 5th starter. If he’s hurt and will stay hurt due to age, then yes, I’ll agree he’s better off retiring, but as a knuckleball pitcher, he can pitch until he’s 45 or even 50 as long he stays healthy and there is no drop off in performance that has red flags going up. As for Mirabelli, I honestly think the team will have to move on without him and so will Wake. He’s not hitting and there’s nothing that can be done about it. I can imagine one of our younger catchers probably doing the job. Heck, I’d gather Kevin Cash can do the job just fine and he’s young and has a far higher ceiling than Mirabelli.

Again, like you said, Wake’s record against teams with winning records has not been stellar (at least, so I assume), but you still have to win those games against teams with losing records right? Wake knows he’s not the best pitcher out there so why not use somebody like Dice-K or Beckett instead against, say the Angels? If Wake can get you guaranteed wins against losing teams and win 17 games, he’s perfect for a 5th starter, no question.

As for Lester, correct me if I’m wrong, but have the Rockies seen him? If not, then we have 2 pitchers that the Rockies have not seen and there is always a slight advantage to a pitcher in that situation.

Anyways, I lied when I said when I wouldn’t post here until Wednesday. Who am I kidding, lol.

-Raj

http://pacol250.livejournal.com

as far as ortiz goes it appears the rockies plan to start fogg and cook ( both righties ) in games 3 & 4 so i would think papi for sure will play in those 2 and likely not start a potential game 5 against francis. i would guess youk and lowell will alt starts in 3 & 4 and both start game a game 5.

@smckinny: And I’m sure Youk’s gonna get some extra work in at 3rd base simply because that’s where he’s made his only errors all season.

I’m crossing my fingers in hopes that he doesn’t but he’s a great player and I don’t expect him to mess up there.

All I have to say is that our farm system has come up with some big-time players: Pedroia, Youk, Ellsbury, Papelbon, Lester, etc.

Somewhere, Theo & Co. are smiling.

It’s time to play “Question Tito!”

So Schilling starts Game 2? Why not Lester?

Just a completely hypothetical question as I understand why Schilling goes Game 2, but my question is based upon the fact that this way, Schilling would get the extra rest and Lester would be pitching at home, making it easier on him (at least, so I’d assume).

Just a thought really.

-Raj

http://pacol250.livejournal.com

i wouldn’t worry about youk playing 3rd. that’s where he grew up. he’ll be fine for one or two games he’s there.

raj. it begs another question. actually 2. would you rather schill start game 6 on 5 days rest OR game 7 on 4 days? with lester starting 6 on 5. think i’d go with option A schill, game 6 on 5 days.

Smckinny – Wakefield wins 17 games this year and you want him gone? 17 wins is only 3 behind the league leader. In terms of wins, he beat out the likes of Haren, Sanatana, Pettitte and Bedard in the AL. I know a lot of that is to do with run support, but with his kind of record you don’t throw away what is an excellent (and cheap) number 4/5 starter. If he wins mostly against lower teams then so be it. He can get all of his 17 wins against the Devil Rays for all I care, that’s still a lot of wins for the team.

Also, I think the effect of Mirabelli in the squad is overstated. Mirabelli will generally get around 100 – 150 AB’s per year. Say he hits .200 (conservative – lifetime average of .231) against another back up catcher who hits .300 (very aggressive – doesn’t really happen). That’s a total difference of 15 hits for the entire season if you go at the higher end of the range. Hardly worth making a fuss about if you get a very solid number 5 starter.

raj. you’re right about wake. barring some type of MAJOR injury he could pitch another 5+ years. but at some point IMO when you factor in the other issues he brings you have to ask yourself is he really one of the 5 best guys we could have out there? label them 1 – 5 if you want their still all going to get 30 – 35 starts against somebody if healthy. so is he really one of that 5? for the money? it’s debateable, but IMO definitely not in terms of stuff and roster flexibility. it’ll be interesting to see what happens. if he is done i hope they keep him in the org in some capacity. if that’s what he wants anyway.

brendan. wake is reliable i’ll ack that. he’ll give you 11-12 wins and 10-11 losses on avg every year. but again in my mind the question is, is there a better 5th guy avail.? other than schill i’m not sure right now because i don’t know what potential trades or other free agents are out there. BUT my contention would be given his ERA and WHO he’s won the bulk of his games against A LOT of conventional pitchers could fill that role and be just as successful if not more. probably even clement if he’s fully recovered. as scary as that is as well. for the same amount of $$$? who knows? but think about it. what if beck, schill, or dice got hurt and he had to pitch 2X in this series and mirabelli had to bat for tek 2X. would that be a situation you’d wanna see? as long as he’s there it’s something you have to deal with.

Smckinny, do you really think they would sit Ortiz? I just can’t imagine that. I know you give up a lot on defense with yuke out, but Papi makes this thing run. Remember, yuke sees a lot of good pitches because of his eye and also because the pitcher doen’t want to deal with Papi. Same thing can be said for Papi in having manny behind him. That is why Lowell’s season was so impressive, he had JD behind him all year which wasn’t much of a threat. Pitch around Lowell and get JD to ground into a DP. I love Yuke, but Mr. Ortiz is the catalyst (sp!!) of this offense. Manny is a close second. What do u think?

smckinny: If they get rid of Mirabelli, then you have roster flexibility. IMHO, they have to get rid of Mirabelli because they can get some other catcher that can catch Wake. Speaking of which, how was Kevin Cash catching him anyway? I’m sure he could produce far better than Mirabelli if given some time in the big leagues.

connorgrace. it’s a tough call. but youk has actually been more productive THIS post season so yeah i’d be surprised if papi doesn’t sit against the lefty in game 5. assuming it gets to that. hard to believe it wouldn’t. but we can hope.

Raj, to answer your question, ” why not Lester in game 2 and Shill in game 3 ” i think that Schill HAS to start game 2, so he could start a potential game 6 on regular rest. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s still the man for that kind of challenge.

As for Lester, i’m not sure pitching at home would be easier on him. Actually, i’m guessing just the opposite. The expectations of the Fenway crowd, especially in a game 6, would be nerve racking for such a young pitcher. Starting game 4 on the road ( and game 4 only ) might be the best case scenario for him, imo.

pacol. true. but like i said IMO with a guy like wake i think at some point you just have to ask can we improve or be more consistent in that spot. i think they can. i may be wrong. but there are a lot of .500 ( which he typically is more or less MOST years ) pitchers out there on teams a lot worst than boston.

If you’re unsure on who could do a better job then chances are they won’t be better. You have a market where Jeff Weaver gets paid $8mm. Wake can perpetually be signed for I think $4m or $5m. I would take Wake’s consistency in wins any day of the week over signing a 4th or 5th starter like Weaver. My point is, I don’t care if gets the wins against weak teams. In our division, with the O’s, Devil Rays and (although they were about .500 and I think will be a lot better next year) Blue Jays, we’ll be facing a lot of weak teams anyway. We have to have someone there to beat the weak teams, a win over the Royals is just as valuable as say a win over the Angels.

As for the scenario you describe, that is a post season only scenario that no longer exists anyway.

I don’t know of many (or even any) .500 pitchers who (i) would be available at the same price and (ii) are used to facing tough American League line ups. But I could be wrong.

I am hoping that shutting down Clay Buckholtz for a month got him healthy and he can start Game 4. I think they were far too over cautious and if healthy, he would have been the Sox 2nd best starter in this series. He’d be a **** of a Game 4 pick. Highly unlikely though. Don’t be surprised to see Game 4 as Tavarez or Snyder. You can’t underestimate sinkerballers at Coors Field. I love Lester, but he’s a fly ball pitcher as well, just like Schilling and Dice-K.

brendan. like i said my first choice for that last spot would be schill. regardless of what you wanna lable him. 3,4, 5 what ever. after that if he’s he’s FULLY recovered maybe clement. although i can’t believe i’m saying that. wake may be the best option. i just highly doubt it. just my take.

My Lester/Schilling question was just hypothetical really. :-)

As for Wake, Brendan brings up another good point: he’s cheap. At that price point, you can’t get any better. Can the team improve? I’m sure they can. But name me a .500 pitcher that one, isn’t young and two, gets paid less than Wake.

Theoretically, we could bring up one of our pitching prospects in 2008 instead and see how that works out. However, considering how we’ll probably have Lester and Buchholz already, have 3 veterans in a 5-man rotation is invaluable.

However, the X-factor of Schilling’s free agency plays a pretty big role in how this works out. If say you can keep him for an extended period of time at a contract that pays slightly more than Wake’s, I’d take Schilling. He’s that good of a pitcher because in a course of a season, he has reinvented himself. Just imagine how much better he’d get over the winter and Spring Training.

Now the idea of Wake in the bullpen is intriguing; however, he has rarely done that and even if he can make the adjustment, ‘Tek needs to learn how to catch him. Perhaps you could take ‘Tek out of the game if you do that, but then you’ll need a catcher that performs behind the plate as well as ‘Tek does (offensively, I’d have little worry since ‘Tek is now a .260 hitter at best).

-Raj

http://pacol250.livejournal.com

NO WAKE = NO MIRABELLI! yesssss

the real reason they didn’t want wake to pitch in colorado — you can’t have the pitcher AND mirabelli in the same lineup! that’s automatically 2 dead outs! haha

and as for a replacement, i doubt they’ll bring buccholz back.. i suspect it’ll be tavarez

whether it’s wake at 4mm or schill ( or somebody ) at 10mm is irrelevent IMO. it’s not like they can’t afford it. with the salaries they have going away i doubt their payroll next year will even be as much as it was this year. unless of course they sign a-rod. not that even that would matter. they COULD prob spend as much as the yankees IF they wanted to. henry and warner are LOADED. plus with TV rev, merch, concessions, and fenway selling out every nite for the next 20 years money ain’t a problem! all they need to worry about is spending it wisely.

the odd thing about the bucholz sit is i read somewhere that theo actually wanted him, or was leaning that way, on the post season roster and tito talked him out of it.

smckinny: If what you say about Buchholz is true, then Tito might have seen something that Theo & Co missed.

Maybe we will see him again, who knows.

Tito is too loyal to his players, possibly to a fault. He gave Crisp one game too many in the ALCS, Wake was never healthy and should not have been on the roster. I believe in waiting it out a bit when proven guys are in a slump, but the post-season is too short and you got to go with the hot hand. Based on Sept, Ellsbury and Lester were better choices than Crisp & Wakefield. ****, Buckholtz is better right now than Dice-K as well.

According to Boston.com, Snyder is in to replace Wake. I would’ve thought Tavarez has proved himself more worthy, although going on his previous World Series form (cue Mark Bellhorn Game 1 2004) they may think Snyder a safer option. Either way, it hurts to not see Wake on the roster.

Please, could somebody tell me why would the Sox put Eric Gagne on the World Series roster. He has proven that he can’t handle the pressure cooker that is Boston sports, let alone the microscope of the World Series. I guess they think they’ll need someone to chew up innings, or is this a problem with Theo’s ego?

Tito’s loyality also paid off. Don’t forget a lot of people thought it would be better to move Pedroia way down the order (based on only a handful of AB’s). Tito left him right where he was in the lead off spot and it paid off brilliantly.

Don’t bash Wakefield. You will not find a more dedicated and loyal player. He pitches well and went I believe seventeen innings without a hit. The problem is that just because he doesn’t throw 200 mph (exaggerated of course) he’s considered junk. Wakefield is a proven performer and frankly has pitched better all year than Dice-K. I hope he comes back next year.

Oh boy oh boy….

Here come the Rockies fans.

http://www.purplerow.com/user/Rox%20Girl

They’re featuring her blog posts on Yahoo! Sports and if she’s not the definition of a “fan” then please somebody tell me otherwise.

I mean loving your team is one thing…but she borders on annoying.

Then again, so do plenty of other team fans (our fellow Red Sox fans included), so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

I just wished we were all a bit more even-keeled as fans when at least talking about baseball…

Oh well, back to sleep I go. :-)

-Raj

http://pacol250.livejournal.com

Wake’s Post-Season numbers are abysmal and having him pitch either 2 games or at Coors Field would have been a huge detriment. I would have gotten rid of Gagne and added Tavarez to go with Snyder. A pair of sinker-ballers would be handy in Colorado. I guess Buckholtz was never an option. I hope that doesn’t come back to haunt them.

Nobody here in this blog is bashing Wakefiled. We all agree that Wake is a classy guy and a fierce competitor. Reasonable minds may differ as to his ability to pitch in the postseason.
Since the Sox is determined not to extend Tavarez’s contract, it doesn’t make sense to have him replace Wake. What if Tavarez pitches a terrific game…..

We know Francona is not going to use Gagne in a close game, why waste a spot in the roster? Corey maybe? It ain’t gonna happeen.

That link to RoxGirl, wow I know I go on, but she nauseating!!! (please tell me I’m not like her!!!please!)
There should be NO Wake bashing here. He had 17 wins (and 14 losses) but still, we as fans are about loyalty, class and dedication.

ellen. i’d say you’re more like the katie couric of this thing. redicuously perky. at least as perky as one can be online. but certainly not to the point of being sickening. ha!

Thanks for that!!

Are you ready to RUMBLE? It’s finally game day and the beginning of a new season. Both teams are healthy and well rested and I think this has the potential to be a closely contested and exciting series. It’s going to be fun.

Coco’s sore knee came at a convenient time at least cosmetically making Tito’s decision to go with Ellsbury easier. Believe me, if Ellsbury wasn’t around, Coco would be in the lineup. A sore knee doesn’t keep a player out of the World Series.

I’m not sure I understand the selection of Snyder to replace Wakefield. I would have though Corey or Tavarez would have been better choices. Tavarez has at least been on the big stage before and is a good three inning pitcher should the need arise.

So far, this is like deja vu all over again from 2004. Sox swept through the ALDS, came from way behind in the ALCS, and here we are. Let’s hope for the same outcome!

Regarding Wakefield: I’m surprised nobody here has pointed out that he held the Rockies to one run in the only win the Sox had over them this year, as opposed to Beckett and Schilling getting shelled in the other two games. I’m not saying I think Wake should be on the roster, but I don’t think it’s as simple a choice as it may first appear.

Regarding fandom: My wife thinks I’m mean because I want the Red Sox to win the World Series instead of letting the Rockies be champions, since Boston won recently. I don’t think she understands the concept of being a fan of one team.

personally i think it’ll be a lot closer than most of the “experts” are saying. hope i’m wrong. i’d love to see the sox win in 4 or 5 but i got a feeling we’re looking at 6 or 7. the sox perceived big advantage is/was starting pitching and it better show up. you start to look at colo’s lineup and you can make a strong case that offensively they’re at least as good if not better everywhere except 2nd and catcher. of course they’ve had the big lay off and they are pretty new to all this. but so were the marlins in ’03. i think it’s very important that boston take these first 2 and try and make them start to press a lil or put some doubt in their minds. they ( co ) are a much better home than road team so if they get there with any mo it could be dangerous.

I was thinking the same thing as robnet — Wake the only SOX pitcher that shut Colorado down this year — I think its a definite minus, not a plus, in this case — somehow Wake may have had the Rocks number.

The batting average of the Rockies against Beckett is concerning, you can’t write it off to one game, goes back to NL days. Maybe Tek and the big game stage will be the difference.

Its not supposed to be easy, I hope Schill can somehow give us two wins, instead of one. 2+2=4, simple math is good!. But its been a very long time since he delivered 2 wins in a post season series (if ever, I don’t think even in the AZ/NY series he got two wins, but I may be wrong).

The Buckholtz decision is too conservate for me, but we don’t get to see the players up close. I think his errors and seeming nervous mistakes in his last outing contributed to the decision.

Personally, I would pair Lester/Buckholtz as one pitcher, ask them each to do 3 or four innings, and try to do the same thing with DiceK — 5 innings is the most we are likely to get out of him — he as had that tendency for way too many games now to count on more reliable innings than 4 or 5 — so we need a DiceK/Synder pairing too — although that is not very comforting.

Here we go —

Wakefield has always given the Sox good seasons. I think his being left off the roster is due to his shoulder and not being able to make 2 starts if necessary. I’m sure being the consumate professional and “team” guy that he is, that he is in full agreement.
He was willing to go to the pen in 2004 (or was it 03?).

I’m sure he wants what is best for the Sox.

Anyway, appx 7 1/2 hours til 1st pitch. I’m really, really excited. I’ve got all my ritualistic items ready.

Go Sox!!!

I don’t give the Rockies a chance due to their starting pitching. Their ace has a 4.22 ERA? What a joke. Francis will have to face Beckett twice. No chance.

They got hot and beat up on a bunch of patsies in the NL. Big deal, I think its 4 games, at most 5… especially with Wake and Crisp out. Signed, sealed, delivered.

Rayman – and should we achieve the ultimate goal, and win the World Series, do you still think they should fire the man (Tito) who took us to two World Series titles in 4 years after we had none for 86?

Rob, just tell your wife you’d be a much happier ( and so better ) husband if the Sox win.

Works every time, believe me. This is from a guy who’s girlfriend once thought that it was unfair for a particular Formula 1 driver because his car didn’t look as good as the other cars in front !

First pitch in 3 hrs, Sox fans.

I don’t necessarily think he should get fired… I just think we underachieved based on the payroll and talent we have. We won the division and beat Cleveland by the skin of our teeth… thanks to decisions like playing Coco Crisp to the point he was practically a vegetable at the plate. I don’t buy that it was all part of Tito’s master plan. How long were Lugo and Crisp at the top of the order before he made a change? How long did we have to hear that Pedroia is a frail little rookie that needs to be sheltered in the #9 hole. I was saying all along he has been a fighter all his life with gigantic balls. Crisp and Lugo have done absolutely nothing in their entire career except put up meaningless numbers for losing teams without even a sniff of the playoffs. We probably gave 3-5 games away early in the year with those deadbeats at the top of the order. Tito almost did it all over again before mustering the courage to put Ellsbury in.

rayman. i wish i could share your total and unabashed confidence. i think boston no doubt has the better overall team but that bad rockies staff did totally shut down the phillies. who other than that team from the bronx IMO may have had the best offense in baseball. certainly of the 2 or 3 best. and THIS boston offense does tend to go into unexplainable funks against “no-name” pitchers. i expect it to be pretty close and 6 or 7. the no DH thing might impact boston more than other team in recent memory this year due to papi’s bum knee.

there’s already a story out today that tito will get at least a 2 year ext after the series. good new is that takes it through 2010 and means based on the current pattern another trip to the series!

I think it will be the Sox in six. I would love to see the Sox win it at Fenway, since that has not happened in the modern era.

Jeff

http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

Rayman:Please don’t ever count any one out. You know how the ones you do always come back to bite you right in the butt!!!
Hey everyone, the POSITIVE thinking thing worked last week, can we try it again?? Hey, can’t hurt, huh??

I agree. Don’t take the Rockies too lightly. The Sox has to win the first 2 games at home. If God forbids the Sox are in 3-1 hole, don’t expect another mircale of coming back.

I think the fact that you think that we could win the World Series and still underachieve is strange but ok. For Pedroia, everyone wanted him dropped down the order for the World Series – Tito left him where he was. Lugo is someone who Tito has no control over. You play with who you’re given and Cora is not really a more viable option. Crisp I agree he took out a game too late, but that is mostly because that it was only in that final game he played in it was abundantly clear that Crisp had lost all confidence.

And you say we gave 3 – 5 games away having Lugo and Crisp at the top of the order before he put Ellsbury in – Tito never had Lugo or Crisp batting higher than 8th and 9th this playoffs from what I can remember.

Finally, Tito’s smartest move was putting Pedrioa in the 9 hole back in May. It took all the pressure off him and allowed him to find his swing. As soon as he got better, Tito pushed him back up the order.

smckinny and rayman: I don’t call what rayman wrote “confidence”. I’m not quite sure it can be called arrogance, but it is on the edge. Rayman, sorry, but that looked to me like something a bragging Yankee fan would write or say, no offense intended. Regardless of who they “beat up on”, this is the World Series, teams don’t just get to the World Series by chance.

For all of the Tito-bashers from earlier in the regular season: Just remember just like Hebrew National, he answers to a higher authority.(for those of you old enough to remember that.)

they just showed the lineups on espn. tek and drew are flip flopped. tek hitting 6th. interstsing. i suppose because of the LH but i don’t recall that happening all year. maybe because JD’s been hotter. not that that’s saying a great deal with tek! ha!

smck: As much as I have been a Drew opponent all year and I respect individuals opinions, I have never said anything negative about JD as they way you speak about Jason Varitek. I thought this was going to be about positives. Who knows maybe that’s where he’ll find his niche.
As much as you’ve written about him, only a real fan can comprehend what he means to this pitching staff, and to this TEAM. Please layoff.

I’m still not a huge Tito fan because I think he’s wimpy to the press and is more concerned about being politically correct than anything else. That being said, it’s difficult to chastise a manager when you’re getting ready to play the first game of the World Series tonight.

Stats can be skewed to say about anything. Like: Since June 1st, the Yankees were the best team in baseball. Well, that and $1.39 gets you a small coffee at Dunkin Donuts because it means nothing. Since April 2nd, or whenever opening day was, the Sox have been the best team in baseball and ultimately, that’s the stat that counts. Hey, for a while before the All Star Break, Tampa led the league in runs scored, and for a while after the break, they had the best record. We can see where they are.

I may not be a huge Tito fan, and I disagreed with a lot of his decisions and the way he did things, and he frustrated the **** out of me sometimes, but the guy has been successful and what more can anyone ask. He deserves an extension, and a significant raise.

The 4th starter is very tenuous to say the least. It would have been nice to have Bucholz on the roster for the post season. Whatever the outcome of the series, I’ll always believe that decision was a bad one. I don’t think he’s even with the club right now. I haven’t seen him in the dugout.

Smckinny, sorry, you just hit a nerve that’s prtty sore. again SORRY. Anyway, I’m gone til just before 1st pitch. LET’S GO REDSOX, LET’S GO!!!

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