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.

Aledmys Diaz is trying to improve his defense with strobe glasses

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.

Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.

The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.

Eduardo Rodriguez could rejoin the Red Sox rotation in July

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Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.

The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.

He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.