Red Sox

Red Sox notes: Wake not frustrated


Red Sox notes: Wake not frustrated

By Joe Haggerty Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
KANSAS CITY Tim Wakefield will have to wait at least one more start for his 200th career win, and hes blocking out the frustration.

Im not frustrated no, declared Wakefield with his arms folded as he waited for the questions postgame. I felt fine and I just left a couple of balls up. It is what it is. Were trying to win a game. Were not trying to do me any favors. Were trying to win the game as a team.

The 45-year-old has come up empty in five chances at getting the milestone career victory, and has found different ways to fall just a little short each time out on the mound. This time around Wakefield had a solid first five innings and entered the sixth frame holding a 4-1 lead, but the venerable knuckler was also approaching the 90-pitch mark that seems to be his nemesis these days.

Wakefield got a strikeout to start the inning, but lost the movement and dance on his knuckleball quickly before exiting the game still clinging to a one-run lead in the sixth frame. Unfortunately Matt Albers entered the game and the roof completely fell in on Wakefields victory chances and the game for their team, and the eight-run inning keyed a 9-4 Sox loss at Kauffman Stadium.

Wakefield wasnt very talkative after the game ended, but indicated he was consciously fighting off any sense of frustration during the five outings stuck at 199 career victories with the big, round number waiting for him.

The frustration hasnt crept in during the last five starts, said Wakefield. Im just trying to take it like a normal start, and give us quality innings and quality starts. I had a bad sixth inning. I feel like Ive pitched well. Three quality starts out of the five and the other one was a complete game that wasnt a quality start. Tonight was just one bad inning.

Its through no lack of trying for the hurler as hes 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in the five outings searching for win no. 200, and has allowed four earned runs or less in all five starts over the last month.

Instead it was more about falling short at a point when the Sox need victories in their team-on-team battle with the Yankees for first place in the AL East and the hard-charging Tampa Bay Rays that have won eight of their last 10 games while the Sox and Yanks simply tread water.

The Sox are undoubtedly pulling for Wakefield to get his 200 moment, but for now the Wake Watch continues as the longest-tenured member of the Sox continues to search for a break that he can turn into a victory. It doesnt get any easier with a pair of starts likely against the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees next on tap for the knuckleballer.

It was a typical Wake outing: he gave up a couple of runs and we were looking pretty good, said Francona. His pitch count was pretty high and he got some balls up in a hurry. We just didnt stop the bleeding that inning.

The whole idea is to win games, and then things like this are in the natural progression. I think thats what makes it so special. I think wed all like to see him get win no. 200.

Ryan Lavarnway collected his first big league RBI and rapped out a pair of hits while also drawing a walk. The rookie slugger has impressed his manager with the way hes taken a mature approach to the plate in the last two games, and managed to draw walks in each of them.

Hes a good hitter. Because David and Youk arent in there, if he can go out and get us a few hits hell give us a really big lift, said Francona. I really like the way hes commanding the strike zone. If he does that then hell do some damage.

Jacoby Ellsbury will set out Sundays series finale against the Royals due to the fastball that caught him in the small of the back on Friday night. Ellsbury missed Saturdays game with a good, old-fashioned contusion in his back, and Sox manager Terry Francona saw no reason to rush him back.

Well stay away from him tomorrow. Hes pretty sore, but hes moving around okay. Hes trying to rally a little bit, said Francona. I told him he wasnt going to play Saturday or Sunday.

David Ortiz took 20 swings in the batting cage off the tee and 20 swings of soft toss in his first action since suffering bursitis in his right heel, and said after the game that he felt good.

Francona indicated that Ortiz will likely hit again on Sunday, but wont get the protective boot permanently removed until Monday.

He was really pleased, said Francona.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Red Sox can be thankful for a successful past and a bright future

Red Sox can be thankful for a successful past and a bright future

For the glass-is-half-full folks, there are those back-to-back Eastern Division titles. For the glass-is-half-empty folks, well, there are those two first-round playoff ousters (though both their conquerers made it to the World Series, and one of them won it). But, here on Thanksgiving night, there's plenty for Red Sox Nation to be thankful for, starting with . . . 


We know you don’t need the Red Sox to know you how important the most basic elements of life are. But sometimes, the typical fantasy land of baseball can grab our attention. The death of 17-year-old Sox prospect Daniel Flores (above) this month from complications because of cancer didn’t take away only a potentially great baseball career. It took away a beloved, hard-working young person from the people who loved him. He had just made millions of dollars in July for his talent on the field, but what does such a windfall matter compared to one’s health? His cancer was both rare and fast-moving, per the Boston Globe.


The kids deserve some love. They probably won’t be together on the Red Sox forever. Heck, the group could get broken up this winter. But while any of the Killer B’s (plus a D) remain on the Sox, there should be a sense of optimism. Two straight 93-win seasons may have resulted in a first-round exit, and 2017 didn’t meet expectations for some individual performances. But you know what? The youths are still damn good, and there’s time for them to show us they can be even better.


Neither hogs the spotlight once the game ends or says too much. Sale doesn’t even have Twitter. But the righty closer and lefty starter both do two things exceedingly well: make batters swing and miss, and prevent runs. When both pitch, your seat at the park may well be worth the price of admission. (But we won’t ask what you paid for those seats.) Sale didn’t take down Pedro Martinez’s Sox single-season strikeout record this year, finishing with five fewer than Martinez’s 313 in 1999. But he could have done it. And with a little more rest next year, one can envision him plowing his way through playoff opponents too.


A first-time manager’s not a sure thing, but as Sox owner John Henry noted, there was a feeling it was time for a change. It’s a little early to be thinking ahead to a New Year’s resolution, but a manager who better connects with his players and brings a different vibe to the day-to-day scene is reason to feel the Sox are following the right road map. Plus, if nothing else, Cora took that awesome picture walking toward Fenway.


We don’t want to be too materialistic. But Uncle Dave Dombrowski couldn’t let you buy everything you wanted last year. The credit card companies needed him to step back for a year. Now he’s ready to spend. He might not close down Bloomingdale’s for the day for you to do your private shopping, but if you need a couple great jackets to complete your look, it sounds like he’s ready to get you some designer threads. He probably feels there won’t be too many chances to have a moment like this with you, at this stage of your life, and he wants to make the most of it.



Why the Red Sox should sign not one but two relievers


Why the Red Sox should sign not one but two relievers

BOSTON — There is a world outside of Giancarlo Stanton. 

Stanton, at this point, simply doesn’t appear likely to end up in Boston. That should feel obvious to those following along, and so should this: it can change. 

But there are other pursuits. Besides their search for a bat or two, the Red Sox have been actively pursuing left-handed relief options. Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is a fast mover, but this year’s market has not been.


Robbie Ross Jr. and Fernando Abad are both free agents, leaving Robby Scott as the lone incumbent southpaw from last season's primary group. Brian Johnson is bound for the pen, with Roenis Elias as a depth option too.  Still, even if Johnson’s transition pans out, the Sox still have an opening for a late-inning reliever with the departure of free agent Addison Reed. 

Reed is a righty, but between Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, Heath Hembree, Carson Smith, and Craig Kimbrel, the Sox have more right-handed choices than left. Coming back from surgery, Tyler Thornburg, should be in the mix eventually too, but it's difficult to expect too much from him.

What the Red Sox should do: sign one of each for the bullpen, one righty, and one lefty. And then trade a righty or two. Turn some of that mishmash into an addition elsewhere. Be creative. 

Because inevitably, come midseason, the Sox will want to add another bullpen arm if they sign just one now. Why wait until you have to give up prospect capital when you can just add the piece you want now?

Go get a near-sure thing such as Pat Neshek, a veteran who walks no one and still strikeouts a bunch. At 37 with an outgoing personality, Neshek also brings leadership to a team that is looking for some. He walked just six guys in 62 innings last season. Entering his 12th season in the majors, he’s looking for his first ring.

All these top of the market relievers may be handsomely paid. But relievers are still something of a bargain compared to position players and starting pitchers. One of the key words for this winter should be creativity. If there’s value to be had in the reliever market, capitalize on it. 

Comeback kid Mike Minor, Jake McGee and Tony Watson headline the crop of free agent lefties available. Brad Hand of the Padres could also be had by trade but his market isn’t moving too quickly (and he won’t come cheaply).

Minor, 29, who posted a 2.55 ERA in 2017 after health issues kept him out of the majors in 2015-16, is expected to be paid handsomely. He is also open to the idea of potentially starting if a team is interested in him doing so. The Royals reportedly could give him that shot.

McGee’s American League East experience could be appealing.

He's 31 and had a 3.61 ERA with the Rockies in 2017 and has a 3.15 ERA lifetime. He’s not quite the strikeout pitcher he was earlier in his career — he had an 11.6 K/9 in 2015 — but a 9.1 K/9 is still very strong, particularly when coupled with just 0.6 homers allowed per nine.

For what it’s worth: McGee has also dominated the Red Sox, who have a .125 average, .190 on-base percentage and .192 slugging against him in 117 regular-season plate appearances. 

McGee throws a mid-90s fastball with a low-80s slider. He can operate up in the zone, and he actually has been even more effective against righties than lefties in his career, including in 2017. McGee’s been a closer, too, with 44 career saves.

The Sox had the second-best bullpen in the majors by ERA in 2017, at 3.07. Yet, come the postseason, there wasn’t a sense of great confidence or even a clear shape to the pecking order behind one of the absolute best relievers in the game, Kimbrel.