Boston Red Sox: Wakefield never knuckles under pressure

In the 17 seasons that Tim Wakefield has been a member of the Boston Red Sox, rare have been the times when he hasn’t been able to answer the bell when called upon. In Sunday night’s finale of the three-game series with the Chicago Cubs, Wakefield once again answered the bell, and once again, he delivered.

Photo credit uzi978 via Creative Commons license

Wakefield breezed through 6 2/3 innings, allowing just one run on four hits, striking out three and walking none, helping the Red Sox take the rubber match of the series, 5-1.

Wakefield only needed 76 pitches in his outing, 55 of them strikes. The signature knuckler was dancing all night long, as Cubs hitter flailed uselessly in response. It was the first victory of the season for Wakefield, who registered his 180th win with the Red Sox, moving to within 12 of the all-time leaders, Roger Clemens and Cy Young.

At 44 years old, Wakefield clearly still has the ability to befuddle opposing hitters, even on short notice. Red Sox manager Terry Francona noted that in his post-game comments.

“He’s been good for a long time and certainly don’t want to overlook that, but the roles have changed a little bit now,’’ Francona told Michael Vega of the Boston Globe. “But, boy, what a lift that gives us. Throw a guy in there when somebody gets hurt and he’s so professional. I guess it shouldn’t amaze us because he’s been doing it a long time, but I think maybe the better word is ‘appreciative.’ ’’

The Fenway faithful were certainly appreciative as well, with the capacity crowd of 37,688 showing their appreciation with a well-deserved standing ovation.

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