Red Sox

Nation STATion: The Wakefield 44

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Nation STATion: The Wakefield 44

By Bill Chuck
Special to CSNNE.com

I could have written about John Lackey this morning but I figured the Nation was in enough distress because of the Celtics, so I decided that would create a really bad funk. So today, instead of looking at the glass below .500, I decided to celebrate Tim Wakefield.

Last night, Tim became the oldest person ever to play for the Red Sox. Wakefield is now 44 years and 282 days old, two days older than Deacon McGuire, when he last played on Aug. 24, 1908.

McGuire was a catcher and a first baseman who went 3-for-4 for Boston in 1907 and then 0-for-1 in his last appearance for Boston in 1908. McGuire subsequently played one game for Cleveland in 1980 and 19190 and made his final appearance with Detroit in 1912 on May 18, 1912, going 1-for-2.

Here are some Old Sox:

Here are the "senior" pitchers:

As I hope you know, Wake is more than a knuckleball pitcher who has lasted a long time, he is truly one of the class acts in the game. Last year, Tim became the first Red Sox winner of the Roberto Clemente Award which is given annually to the player who "combines a dedication to giving back to the community with outstanding skills on the baseball field."

Wakefield recently said he said no plans to retire, and will play until they tell me I stink or they dont want me anymore. But I havent given it any thought." Thats good news because as long as the Sox have Lackey and Dice-K in the rotation, the versatility of Tim Wakefield will always be appreciated.

Heres the Wakefield 44:

1. Wake is number one No active pitcher has as many wins as Tim does. He has 193 in his career, 179 with the Sox. He has won 19 more games than Roy Halladay whos number two.

2. Wake is number one No active pitcher has as many losses as Tim does. He has 173 in his career, 161 with the Sox. He has lost 6 more games than Livan Hernandez whos number two.

3. Wake is number three Only Roger Clemens and Cy Young have more Red Sox wins. They each have 192.

4. Wake has 22 career saves to go with his 193 wins. Curt Schilling also had 22 saves (216 wins) and Bob Lemon had 22 saves (207 wins).

5. Wake is currently tied with Wes Ferrell, Curt Simmons and Hall of Famer Rube Waddell for 131st on the all-time wins list. Wakes next win ties him all-time with Doyle Alexander, David Cone, and Dwight Gooden amongst others.

6. Wake is number one No Red Sox pitcher has started as many games as Tim Wakefield. With 409 starts, he leads Roger Clemens by 27. Josh Beckett is 26th on the all-time list with 150 starts.

7. Wake is number one - Bob Uecker is famous for having said, "The way to catch a knuckleball is to wait until it stops rolling and then pick it up." No active pitcher has more than Wakes 119 wild pitches. Some of the other pitchers who have tossed 119 wild ones are Tony Cloninger, Dave Stewart, Frank Tanana, and Fernando Valenzuela and none them had a knuckler for an excuse.

8. Wake is number two - Only the Steamer, Bob Stanley, has pitched in more Sox games than Tim Wakefield. Jonathan Papelbon is the only other active member of the Sox on this list and he is moving up quickly.

9. All told, Wake has appeared in 604 games placing him 181st all-time and 14th among active pitchers.

10. The beginning - Tim made his major league debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 31, 1992. He was the starting pitcher and pitched a complete game allowing six hits, walked five, struck out 10 and gave up two unearned runs as he and the Bucs picked up a 3-2 victory.

11. He struck out Luis Alicea three times in that game. Alicea was the Sox second baseman in 1995, Tims first year with Boston.

12. That was the first of five games that Wake has struck out 10 or more batters in his career. His high has been 12 Ks in a 1-0 complete game loss to the Yankees.

13. Tim is 183-159 as a starter in his career with a 4.45 ERA. As a reliever hes 10-14 with a 3.79 ERA.

14. All-time, Wakefield is 11-17 against the Yankees with a 4.90 ERA. He has appeared in 56 regular season games against them, more than any other team. He has appeared against the Jays in 55 games.

15. Wake also has beaten the Royals and Athletics 11 times.

16. His most wins are against the Tampa Bay Rays. He holds a 21-6 record against them with a 3.78 ERA; his best ERA against any AL team.

17. His most losses are against the Yankees and the Texas Rangers against whom he 10-17 with a 6.36 ERA. Thats his worse ERA against any team.

18. Hes only faced the Pirates and Astros once each in his career.

19. Wake has faced Derek Jeter 127 times, more than any other batter. The Yankee captain is 33-for-119, a .277 batting average with three homers and 11 RBI.

20. A-Rod and Frank Thomas have each taken him deep seven times.

21. Wakefield has allowed 397 homers, the most among active pitchers.

22. In 2005, he surrendered 35 gophers to lead the league.

23. But Rodriguez and Jason Giambi have struck out against him 21 times.

24. Nelson Cruz, of the Rangers, is 6-for-6 against Tim.

25. Cruz has also hit the only regular season walkoff homer against Tim.

26. Adrian Beltre, of the Rangers, is 0-for 17 against him.

27. The great DH Edgar Martinez was 1-for-19 with 12 walks against Tim.

28. Yankee manager Joe Girardi was 0-for-10 against the knuckleballer.

29. Wake has hit 178 batters, lightly plunking Shannon Stewart six times.

30. In 1997, he led the AL with 16 HBPs.

31. 1997 was also the year he led the league with 15 losses (his high).

32. In 1998 and 2007, he had 17 wins each year, his season high.

33. No active pitcher has issued more than the 1166 walks that Tim has handed out. He ranks 59th all-time.

34. Jason Giambi has walked 19 times against Wake, the most for each of them.

35. Wake has struck out Giambi 21 times more than any other batter (thats the most for him against a pitcher as well).

36. Vladimir Guerrero is not an easy man to walk, which is why Tim has issued him five intentionals.

37. Batters have hit .254 off Tim in his career; .253 this season.

38. Batters have hit .252 off Tim in his career with runners in scoring position; .233 RISP w2 outs.

39. Nobody has tripled off of Wake more than Carl Crawford whos done it thrice.

40. Wake has been named to one All-Star team; that was in 2009. He didnt appear in the game won by the AL with Jonathan Papelbon and saved by Mariano Rivera.

41. Tim has appeared in 11 postseason series over the course of nine years.

42. Wake is 0-4 in the ALDS, 3-3 in the ALCS, 2-0 in the NLCS, 0-0 in the World Series and overall in the postseason is 5-7 with a 6.75 ERA.

43. Tim has faced a dozen Hall of Famers in his career:

44. Delicious factoid (so yummy I gain weight thinking about it): Tim is the last active player to have appeared in a postseason game for the Pirates.

Congratulations Tim on your endurance, and thank you for all the great dedication to the game.

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

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Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per baseball-reference.com.

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.

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