Terry Francona announced yesterday that Tim Wakefield will not be on the Red Sox’s roster for the ALDS, but added that the team may decide to use him in the ALCS or World Series if they get past the Angels:
And he’s on board with that, which we appreciate a lot. He’s not going to be in the first round, but that doesn’t mean that something couldn’t happen. We all understand where he’s at. It’s been very difficult for him physically. But we didn’t want to just shut him down either, because he could still play a role. As crazy as this game is, we just want to keep our options open.
Wakefield has been left off the roster for playoff series before, but pitched in each of the Red Sox’s last eight trips to the postseason dating all the way back to 1995. He was also an All-Star this season after going 11-3 with a 4.31 ERA in the first half. However, the 43-year-old knuckleballer spent much of the second half on the disabled list with nerve problems in his back and went just 1-3 with a 6.00 ERA down the stretch after rejoining the rotation.
Incidentally, while Wakefield has been a playoff fixture for the Red Sox over the past 15 years he hasn’t actually performed very well in the postseason. He’s just 3-7 with an 8.00 ERA in 54 playoff innings spread over nine starts and seven relief appearances for Boston.
Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.
Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.
The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.
James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.
And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:
“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”
“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.
“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.