Wakefield Digs Sox a Bigger Hole Against Texas
The 2nd half of the 2010 season began with hopes of a strong series against the Texas Rangers and a push towards the top of the AL East. Unfortunately, Wakefield had other ideas as he threw a stink bomb in one of his worst career performances. Wake went 2+ innings, allowed 7 runs on 8 hits and put the Sox in an early monstrous hole against an incredible pitching staff of the Texas Rangers. The Sox were forced to tax their bullpen right out of the shoot putting the Sox in another tough spot.
The bright spot of Thursday night’s game was without a doubt the Sox bullpen. Despite having to enter in the 3rd inning thanks to Wake, Robert Manuel, Dustin Richardson, Scott Atchison and Ramon Ramirez combined for 7 shutout innings, accumulating 2 strikeouts and allowing just 2 hits. If back in April you had told me Wake would go 2 innings and these 4 guys pitched the last 7, I would have said you are crazy. Although Wake tanked, the Sox have to feel good about their pieced together ‘pen starting off the 2nd half of the season on a strong foot.
The Texas Rangers are playing arguably the best in baseball right now, with an incredible young pitching staff and a powerful lineup that has blasted more home runs than anyone. To shut them down for the final 7 innings is not like stopping the Baltimore Orioles, it takes smart and careful pitching, so it certainly was impressive. These next 2 games will be critical for the Sox starting pitchers. They need to go a bit deeper into games in order to not overtax the bullpen immediately and hurt their chances as the season wears on.
This is also a danger time for the Sox because they now fall 5.5 games back of the New York Yankees and 2.5 behind the Tampa Bay Rays with many tough games ahead. As players begin to return to the Sox lineup, they will hopefully provide a boost to the system, but it will take each of them time to get back to full game speed and be comfortable on the field. Until many of these players return however, this team has to do what they did in the 1st half of the season and just hold on for dear life.