Finally! By which I mean finally! I repeat: finally!
Say hello to the newest member of the two hundred club: Tim Wakefield, ladies and gentlemen! He finally did it! And it was epic!
He is now seven and six on the season. But really, that’s not even the point. Only 108 pitches have reached two hundred wins. Only eighty-nine have done so since 1900. Only sixty-nine have done it since 1920.
I can’t think of anyone who deserved such a significant milestone more than he did. He is the quintessential team player. He loves it here and has made it clear that he doesn’t want to play anywhere else and that he’ll do whatever it takes to help the team in any way he can. And if that means accepting the fact that he’s in the bullpen now, that’s what he does. If that means making a spot start for an injured pitcher, that’s what he does. If that means finally reaching two hundred wins, then that’s also finally what he does.
He finally did it. And it was epic.
He gave up five runs on six hits. All five runs were the result of two home runs, a three-runner and a two-runner. He walked two and struck out six. He threw ninety-six pitches, sixty-two of which were strikes. So his knuckleball was obviously good but not great. All in all, a pretty typical night for Wake. Nothing two out of the ordinary. Aceves pitched two scoreless innings in relief, and Junichi Tazawa pitched the ninth and gave up one run.
All of that sounds, without the rest of the story, like the game could have ended very badly indeed. How many times have we seen Wake attempt to collect his two hundredth win only to be thwarted by a lack of offense or a lack of quality relief pitching? Way too many times, that’s for sure. The difference this time was that neither of those reared their ugly heads. We scored so many runs that we probably could have spread our total from last night alone over the last five games we lost, won those, and still had some to spare. It was like we took out all of our pent-up frustration from the road trip and concentrated and unleashed it all at once. We hadn’t scored that many runs in a single game since 2009.
In the first, the bases were loaded with two out for Reddick. He reached on a throwing error, which brought in two. Wake gave up the three-run home run after that, which required review but stood.
In the second, Scutaro singled and scored by a double by Ellsbury, who moved to third on a balk and scored on a sac fly by Pedroia. The Jays scored their last two runs of the game after that. At which point we stole the show completely.
In the fourth, Ellsbury and Pedroia smacked back-to-back jacks. Both were hit into the Monster seats. Both were hit on the third pitch of the at-bat after receiving a ball followed by a strike. Ellsbury’s was on a cut fastball away; it was the second homer he’s hit into the Monster seats this year. Pedroia’s was on a hanging slider. Both of them masterful pieces of hitting.
Crawford led off the sixth with a double and scored on a single by Salty, who moved to second on a single by Ellsbury. And everyone came home when Pedroia went yard again! He didn’t waste any time with this one. It was on the first pitch of the at-bat, a fastball, to the Monster seats again.
We added on another run in the seventh with a single-double combination.
And then, the eighth. We sent eleven batters to the plate that inning. And we scored seven runs. Here we go.
Ellsbury opened the inning with a four-pitch walk, and Pedroia doubled him to third. Gonzalez singled in Ellsbury, which moved Pedroia to third. At that point, we introduced two pinch-hitters and the Jays made a pitching change. A sac fly brought in another run. Then a single, then the second out of the inning. Then Crawford worked a five-pitch walk to load the bases. Scutaro worked another five-pitch walk to bring in another run, at which point he came out in favor of a pinch-runner. Salty cleared the bases with a double, moved to third on a passed ball, and scored on a single by Ellsbury.
There were only two innings during which we did not score: the third and the fifth. The fifth was the only inning during which we went down in order. In total, we left five on base, went six for twelve with runners in scoring position, and scored a whopping eighteen runs on eighteen hits! Eighteen! Now that, my friends, is a slugfest.
The starting lineup’s weakest performer was Papi, who doesn’t even count because he left the game in the first due to back spasms. After that it was Youk, who went 0 for 3, and Reddick, who went one for five. Incidentally, Youk is planning to have his second sports hernia surgery, but during the offseason. Until then, he’ll be playing through the pain of that and some bursitis he has in his left hip. What a dirt dog. Salty went two for five with two runs, four RBIs, and a double. Crawford and Gonzalez and Crawford both went two for four; one of Crawford’s hits was a double and one seriously looked like it would have been, could have been, and should have been a home run. Scutaro went two for three and secured his thousandth hit last night. And last but most certainly not least, the top performers. Ellsbury went four for five with a walk, four runs, three RBIs, a double, and a home run; he brought his hitting streak to seventeen games and his hit total to 189, a new single-season career high. And if you thought that that was a top night, Pedroia’s numbers will blow you away. Four runs on five hits with four runs, five RBIs, two doubles, and two home runs for his first multi-homer performance since June 24, 2010. His five hits ties a career high, incidentally also achieved on June 24, 2010. The two of them together reached base nine times last night, and for the first time in club history, we’ve got two active players at twenty-twenty!
In other news, it was discovered that Jenks has a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in an artery in the lungs. He’s being treated and should recover well.
The final score was 18-6. Not bad for Wake’s two hundredth win. If I’m Wake, that’s the kind of score I’d like to win by. A literally winning combination of good relief to carry him through and out-of-this-world offense to back him up, and he was smiling all the way to the clubhouse. As it should be. He got a very well-deserved standing ovation as well as a very well-deserved postgame champagne shower, and this is what he thought about the whole thing:
I’m very grateful; one, that it’s over with; two, that it was able to happen here at Fenway Park in front of our home crowd. Going outside and seeing the signs and all the people and my teammates came out in support; that says a lot about everything that’s gone on in my career and tonight. I’m kind of speechless when it comes to that, but I’m very grateful that I’ve been able to wear this uniform as long as I have and reach the milestone I thought I’d never reach. Just very grateful.
That’s classic Wake right there. You’ve done some amazing things for this city and this team, Wake. For all of that, we salute you. Congratulations!
In other news, the Patriots started their season off right by whipping the Dolphins soundly, 38-24. In case someone somewhere thought otherwise, rest assured that Tom Brady is still the man. Let’s do this.