Earlier today we speculated that Tim Wakefield and his knuckleball of death may play a large role in the Red Sox quest for a second World Series title in four years. Looks like that won’t be happening.
Wakefield is off the World Series roster, and there is some speculation that his career may be over. That certainly changes things.
Let’s leave the career stuff alone for a minute. The Red Sox will almost certainly line up Curt Schilling for Game 2 (on 4 days rest) , Daisuke Matsuzaka for Game 3 and Jon Lester for Game 4. While the Sox won’t have to worry about Wake’s fluttering knuckler in the thin Denver air, it also means they won’t have to worry about subbing in Doug Mirabelli’s porous bat, either.
Lester looked great in relief in Game 4 in Cleveland, albeit in mop-up duty. The trick for Lester is to “trust his stuff” and not try to be fine. Just like Dice-K. This also means that Julian Tavarez could be resurrected for long-relief mode.
The other news is that Jacoby Ellsbury will remain the starter in place of Coco Crisp in center. Coco had decent numbers against Game 1 starter Jeff Francis, so there was a chance that they would give him one more shot to get himself right at the plate against the tough lefty.
Back to Wakefield. If his injury is career-threatening, and let’s hope that it isn’t, does that leave a hole in next year’s rotation for Schilling? That’s a question for another day.
Wakefield has long been a comforting option for almost any dire scenario that has presented itself in the playoffs. It’s a shame he won’t get that chance to do his thing again this year.