Tim Wakefield became just the third 10-game winner in the American League yesterday, shutting out the Braves for six innings in sweltering Atlanta. It was 95 degrees at first pitch but that didn’t stop the knuckler from knuckling. And Wake did do it old school, allowing just three hits and a walk the way…you know…those guys used to do it a long time ago. Old school. Mark Kotsay’s 6th-inning RBI single was enough to get Wake his 10th win.
Yesterday’s game was also Wake’s 382nd start in a Red Sox uniform, tying him with Roger Clemens for the honor of most career starts in Boston. And what next for the aging pitcher – will his first-half performance be enough to get him his first trip to the All Star Game? Seriously, there wouldn’t be a better story in the 2009 season than that. Wakefield is a class act in a game rife with cheaters and dirtbags.
And let’s not forget our simple math: ten wins before July gives him a good shot at a 20-win season. Wakefield’s career high is 17 wins, a feat he accomplished in 1998 and again in 2007. A lot of people (me included) scoffed at Red for voting Wakefield the face of the Boston Red Sox on ESPN, but he might not have been as drunk as we thought when he wrote that.