Tim Wakefield is never going to win his 200th game

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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.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.

David Price’s season debut could be pushed back to May

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David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.

Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.

The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.