Well, the Red Sox did it again. Once again Terry Francona took Tim Wakefield out of a game too early, in order to save him from himself. Once again, the Red Sox bullpen managed to blow it anyway. I don’t know what to think about things at the moment.
Part of me says that this is just everyone trying too hard for Wakefield. They’re just pressing trying to get him the 200th win. Then, it occurs to me. Isn’t that what the playoffs will be like? Was Bard wild because he was pressing? Will he be pressing in the World Series? Is that going to be a problem in October? In the playoffs starters are given a quick hook. Is this showing bad judgment on Francona’s part? Is his hook too quick? Is this going to hurt them in October? It’s easy to say the team is distracted. But, it’s not a good kind of “distracted.” If the Red Sox really wanted Jacoby to reach 30 home runs, and they altered things a little bit, I could brush off any struggles. I could say that the team was just focusing on the wrong thing for a game or two. It doesn’t really mean anything. But, in this case they’re altering things in order to win a game. And it’s not working. That’s not cool.
The only thing I can hold on to is that it is just a little different. Not only are they trying to not lose, they need to hold the lead. But, perhaps if Wakefield were going for win number 201, Francona would let him face a batter representing the tying run. Not last night. Maybe Bard would be a little looser with the bases loaded and two outs knowing that even if the run scores, the game is only tied. That’s my only hope. Although, it’s not a great relief.
From here on out? Maybe the Sox need to try some different things. If a starter gets another 11-0 lead after four innings like Lester did the other night, Francona should pull him and put in Wake. That way, all Wake would need to do is not give up 11 runs over five innings, and he’d get the win. It wouldn’t be ideal, but it would get the milestone out of the way.
Then, maybe, the Sox can just play baseball.