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Home » June 2009 Game CommentsJune 2009 » Statesman


Game 74: June 27, 2009
WinRed Sox1
W: Tim Wakefield (10-3)
46-28, 2 game winning streak
L: Javier Vazquez (5-7)
34-40, 4 game losing streak
Highlights: In the aftermath of the 2004 ALCS, the Yankees sought to prune away those players who failed them so miserably. Amongst the casualties was Vazquez, who has pitched 200 or more innings in every seasons since 2004 and has accumulated over 200 strikeouts in his past two seasons.

To top it off, the Yankees traded Javier Vazquez to Arizona for Randy Johnson and then flipped Johnson back to the Diamondbacks in 2007 for Steven Jackson, Alberto Gonzalez, Ross Ohlendorf, and Luis Vizcaino. Last year Jackson and Ohlendorf were packaged for the Xavier Nady deadline deal, which was a coup for the club at the time. A few days later the Red Sox would end up with the best Pirates outfielder (apologies to the followers of Nate McLouth who worship at his shrine).

Neither Jason Bay or McLouth were in the lineup yesterday. Bay was given the day off while McLouth is day-to-day with a hamstring strain. It’s late June and Terry Francona is already planning for the postseason by resting key players here and there.

Mark Kotsay played in left in place of Bay and was the key offensive contributer for the visitors. With two out Vazquez relinquished two walks to Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz. Ortiz’s base on balls was particularly deflating as Vazquez was ahead 0-2 in the count.

Vazquez worked Kotsay with pitches away until the count was 1-2 and then tried to get the outfielder to bite on a slider a shade too far inside. With the count even Vazquez resorted to the outer edge again. Kotsay anticipated this and carved an RBI line drive single to left for the only run of the game.

How fortunate are the Red Sox to have a player of Kotsay’s caliber on the bench? His at bat was the stamp on Tim Wakefield’s invitation to this year’s All-Star Game.

Yesterday also saw Wakefield tie Roger Clemens’s franchise record of 382 starts. The knuckleballer has won 174 games for the Red Sox and is 18 games away from Clemens’s and Cy Young’s shared record of 192 wins for the Boston AL club. I’d like to think that Wakefield will have the chance to match or surpass that achievement, but with Clay Buchholz champing at the bit and Michael Bowden on the cusp of contributing at the major league level, the 2010 Red Sox rotation might not even include Wakefield.

If that ever happens, it will be a sad day, not just for the Red Sox but for baseball. The game’s addiction to bigger, faster, stronger led to the Steroid Era. Perhaps the sport has emerged from this shameful period, but perhaps too late for those of Wakefield’s ilk. His pitch seems doomed to decline to the status of quaint antiquity.

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