Well, that couldn’t have been much worse. In a throughly uninspiring performance, Daisuke Matsuzaka couldn’t get out of the fifth, again, while Jake Westbrook dominated. Matsuzaka will take the bulk of the blame after Game 3, but it was Westbrook who should get the credit. All night long he got into trouble, and all night long he got himself back out (thanks to three double plays and, it must be said, an extremely generous strike zone at inopportune times from home plate umpire Brian Gorman).
And so the Red Sox turn to Tim Wakefield to bail them out of trouble. The same Wakefield who won Game 4 in 2003 when they were down 2-1, the same Wakefield who pitched valiantly in Game 5 in 2004. And, unfortunately, the same Wakefield who hasn’t pitched in over two weeks and was scratched from the last round because of a bad back.
Anyone who thinks they know what they’re going to get out of Wakefield is lying, which is hardly inspiring. But it’s still the best move. Trust me on this.
Why not pitching Josh Beckett on three days rest is the proper call, and more, after the jump…
The 3-Days Rest Thing
It’s unfortunate that Fox announcer Joe Buck can’t find other ways to amuse himself during playoff baseball games than to constantly bring up pitching someone on three days rest. It’s not going to happen, it won’t happen, and it shouldn’t happen. It’s a sucker’s bet.
But let’s say, for the sake of argument, Beckett pitches tonight and the Sox lose. What then? Now let’s say he pitches tonight and wins. You’d be looking at C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona against Wakefield and Curt Schilling in the following two games. No, as much as it may pain some of you, Wakefield against Paul Byrd is the play. Unless it rains.
The Sox will ride with Wakefield, and frankly, he seems a better option than Matsuzaka should they force Game 7.
Which Brings Us To…
It’s hard to quantify what was most disappointing about Dice-K’s start. Was it giving up a home run to ass-hat Kenny Lofton? Or was it failing to get out of the fifth inning after looking kind of decent through the first four? Word has apparently gotten out about Matsuzaka. Stay off his breaking stuff because he can’t throw it for strikes consistently, and when he gets in trouble he will nibble, nibble, nibble, thus putting him behind in the count. Thereafter, all hitters have to do is sit on the inevitable fastball.
It’s entirely possible that Matsuzaka will be a much better pitcher next year. It’s even likely. But for the rest of 2007, the man inspires no confidence.
Would it kill you to show the game in the ninth inning instead of the yahoos in the stands, the on-deck hitter, the respective managers, pitching coaches, assistant trainers, the guy with the drum out in center field, and Mark Shapiro and his lovely family between every pitch? Also, we could do without the closeup of Kevin Youkilis’ sweat. Thanks.
It’s supposed to start raining in Cleveland this afternoon, with scattered thundershowers through the evening. The only day it’s not supposed to rain is Wednesday, which is the scheduled off-day. A rainout could drastically alter the Sox pitching plans, and that would mean Beckett in Game 4 after all, rendering the entire 3 days rest argument moot. Until Game 7. Check your dopplers early and often.
UPDATE: It appears that everyone in the free world is saying that the Red Sox need to start Beckett. Including Fox’s Ken Rosenthal who said one thing last week, and then another today. It’s the easiest second-guess in the world since Wakefield is certainly going to start and we will have no way of knowing how Beckett would have done. Well, we have an idea and it’s a little thing we like to call evidence.
Now it’s not as exciting as dreaming about what Beckett might do in this situation, but it’s pretty convincing, nonetheless. The clincher though, came when ESPN’s Steve Phillips thought it a capital idea to start Beckett. Now we know we’re right.
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