On the one hand I think round numbers for the sake of round numbers are kind of silly. On the other hand, I like knuckleballers and I really like Tim Wakefield, so it makes me kind of sad to see him get start after start in the pursuit of 200 wins only to fall short each time. Seven straight times, in fact.
Last night’s no decision was particularly hard to take as he had the lead — a three-run lead — when he was yanked after five innings. Daniel Bard loaded the bases on a HBP, a single and a walk and then, after a couple of strikeouts, walked in two runs in a row. Then Matt Albers came in and let Edwin Encarnacion clear the bases with a double. Bam! The three-run lead is a two-run deficit and, though the game itself was not yet decided, Wakefield’s chance at a win was.
Not that Wakefield cares about that. At least publicly. First he blamed himself for not pitching more than five innings. Then he said:
“If it happens, it happens,” Wakefield said. “If it doesn’t, it doesn’t change what I’ve done. I’d like it to happen. But more importantly, I think, is for us to get into the postseason. … That’s our ultimate goal.”
Team player. But if you root for guys like Wakefield more than you root for the Red Sox — and I’m in that group — it’s cold comfort. And that’s the case even though, yeah, he would have had 200 wins a long time ago if, he you know, pitched better.
Barring a couple of perfect games in the playoffs or something, the legacy of Tim Wakefield has already been written. If he finishes his career with 199 wins instead of 200 it will make absolutely zero practical difference in terms of how he should be analyzed and considered as a major league baseball player.
But I’m human and I’m not ashamed to say, gee, it sure would be nice to see him get that nice round number.
NOTE: As is evidenced in the URL, when I first posted this the headline read “Tim Lincecum,” not “Tim Wakefield.” It’s worth noting that I took copious amounts of Ny Quill last night and may still be feeling the effects. FWIW, however, there’s no guarantee that Lincecum will win 200 either.