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When is Tim Wakefield Unbeatable?


Did you have any doubt that Tim Wakefield wouldn’t come away with the win before the game even started against the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday?  I can honestly say, I would have been shocked if he didn’t.  A team like the Brewers that don’t get the opportunity to face knuckleballers on a regular basis definitely have their hands full, or should I say hands tied, when facing a Wakefield.  Wakefied pitched eight solid innings allowing four hits, three earned runs and a recorded a season high six strikeouts.  He struck out the Brewers top four batters five times, with Corey Hart striking out twice. 

The San Diego Padres and Houston Astros are next in line to face Wakefields knuckler.  The schedule is in Wakefields favor to rack up a couple more wins.  Teams need to see the knuckle ball a couple of times before they can start to figure out how to hit it.  That’s why these past few years Wakefield has struggled against the other American League East teams.  Right now he has an aura and a mystique over the National league teams.  They don’t know how to be patient and stay back on the ball.  The most pitches Wakefield threw against any one Brewer hitter yesterday was seven and on both occasions the hitter struck out.  Most times the Brewers batters were caught off balanced and made an out on the first or second pitch.  Of course it didn’t hurt to get staked a six run lead after one inning, but the Brewers made is relatively easy for Wakefield all afternoon.

Wakefield credits his success as of late due to consitiency.  He knows he is going to be on the mound every fifth day and that helps him prepare.  I will stick by the theory that his success is due more to the opponents he has gone up against.  His last four wins have come against the Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees and the Brewers.  With the exception of the Yankees, the other teams never see a knuckler the other 161 games they play.  Wakefield wasn’t exaclty dominate in the game against the Yankees, allowing 5 earned runs in 5.1 inning.  He won because the Sox scored 11 runs that day.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a knock on Wakefield.  I will, take him any day over Daisuke Matsuzaka.   My point is this , if Terry Francona can manage the schedule and his rotation to align Wakefield up against the teams that don’t dont have a long history facing him, then Wakefield is going to have a very winning and successful season.

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