On Tuesday night, the Red Sox showed the Mariners what they were made of, scoring 14 runs off of Jeff Weaver and the M’s pen and playing solid defense behind emerging star Josh Beckett.

Tim Wakefield

On Wednesday night, the M’s struck back. SP Felix Hernandez one-hit the Sox and the Mariners won 3-0.Tonight, in a much less publicized match-up, the teams will meet once more. This time, it’s Tim Wakefield (0-1) on the mound for Boston and Jared Washburn (0-0) for Seattle.

Boston fans can look at tonight’s match up in one of two ways: either they’ll be negative nellies and note that Seattle has absolutely owned Wakefield over his career, or they’ll take the glass-is-half-full approach and say, “Hey, our guy is due!”

From Yahoo.com:

Wakefield is 3-8 with a 4.37 ERA in 23 career appearances, including 13 starts, against the Mariners, but is 0-5 in his last 17 outings against them, losing in each of his last four. His last victory against Seattle came on July 29, 1997, when he tossed a five-hitter in a 4-0 win at Fenway.

That’s right Red Sox faithful. You’re starting pitcher, who has made at least 30 appearances in all but one season dating back to 1993, hasn’t beaten the Mariners in over a decade. The last time Wakefield beat the M’s, I was still in high school, Roger Maris was still the all-time home run champ, and there were still only three Star Wars movies.

So, yeah, Wakefield is totally due.

6 Responses to “The Rubber Match”

  1. Coley,

    Let up on Francouer man. What you didn’t notice when referencing your boys Morneau and Howard is that they are 25 and 27? respectively. Morneau, in his first two seasons, hit .271 and .239.

    Howard spent seasons shoring up his skills in the minors while fellow Phil Jim Thome blocked his ride to the majors.

    The Braves were in a position to bring Francoeur to the majors when he was 21, and he’s developing as a hitter in the league. To me, it’s impressive that, even after pitchers adjusted to his approach last season, Frenchy was still able to hit 29 homers and surpass the 100 rbi mark.

    The reasons why Braves fans love Francoeur are quite evident: he’s an elite athlete that has excelled at every level. He has a badass arm and hoses people all over the place. He hits homers and chicks dig the long ball…and dudes like his cute fiance.

    Don’t even get me started on Pat the Bat. He’s the least clutch baseball player I’ve EVER seen and he acts like a tremendous jackass.

  2. One thing here caught my attention – he’s 0-5 in his last 17 outings against the Mariners. He’s only had five decisions in these 17 outings? Doesn’t this seem odd?

    So I looked it up. And it’s a misleading stat.

    Since that five-hitter he threw against them in July of ’97, out of those 17 games that Yahoo is referencing, Wakefield only started seven of them. While it’s true that three of his last four starts against them have been terrible, the Yahoo article does correctly point out that his last start against them went well, throwing a complete game but being the hard-luck loser in a 3-0 loss (On a side note, guess who started for the Mariners that game – holding the Red Sox to no runs, five hits, two walks, five Ks in 6 1/3 innings? It was current Red Sox punching bag, Mr. Joel Pineiro!). on 4/15/06.

    Within his last 17 outings against Seattle, Wakefield hasn’t been that bad. He’s pretty much been regular old Tim Wakefield:

    ERA: 4.18

    K/9: 6.80

    BB/9: 4.30

    HR/9: 1.27

    WHIP: 1.58

    I also looked at all of his games since that July ’97 five-hitter (as in, not just against the Mariners). His ERA has actually been better against Seattle over that time (4.18 vs. 4.40), and he missed more bats (6.8 K/9 vs. 5.9 K/9). The big difference is that he’s been wild, walking almost two additional batters per 9 innings, which accounts for a good chunk of the high 1.58 WHIP. Also, the Red Sox defense, for whatever reason, did him no favors. While his ERA against Seattle over that span is 4.18, errors ballooned his runs allowed per game to 5.07. That’s a pretty big disparity. You can win games allowing 4.18 runs per game. But 5.07? That’s tough.

    So I wouldn’t put too much stock into the 0-5 record. Wakefield probably deserved to win a couple of those seven starts. And he’s been just as mediocre against Seattle as he’s been for pretty much everyone else.

  3. Sarah Green says:

    Wakefield hasn’t gotten good run support in a long, long time. I feel for him.

    Josh Beckett, on the other hand, got a number of wins last season that he didn’t deserve, simply because the Red Sox swung the bats well when he was pitching.

    Oh, ye fickle, fickle game.

  4. Coley Ward says:

    Paul, I think the lesson to be learned here is that Sox fans shouldn’t worry about Wakefield tonight, they should worry that their team seldom plays well behind him. I wonder why that is?

  5. On second thought, I’m wondering if a bunch of these errors that the Sox commited with Wakefield on the mound weren’t passed balls. I don’t envy anyone who has to catch knuckleballers. But kids, there’s a lesson here – if you want to be a ballplayer but can’t hit, throw, run, or do anything lefthanded, learn how to catch a knuckleball. That’s the Mirabelli way.

    By the way, I wonder who’s catching Charlie Haeger now?

  6. Danny O says:

    The thing to remember about Francouer is that he is a local boy who was a number one draft pick and hit a homer in his ML debut. In fact, I think it was a go-ahead homer. Local connections + goodlooks + much hype + great debut = hope for dad and moist panties for mom.

    BTW, he did catch a few boos April of 2006 when he couldn’t hit a watermelon with a yardsign. But he turned it around and had a decent year for a free-swinger.

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