Big Papi Drive In Four Runs To Lead Sox

Boston Takes Rubber Game Of Series With Oakland

On the heels of Josh Beckett’s great performance against the A’s on Tuesday night, Boston’s other All-Star pitcher, Tim Wakefield, looked to follow suit by giving the Sox a win to preserve a three-game series at Fenway Park.

That’s exactly what Wakefield did on Wednesday night as he had his knuckleball dancin’, earning his 11th victory of the season which leads all American League pitchers.  The 42-year-old gave up three runs on ten hits while striking out eight, to win his ninth game in his last 11 starts at Fenway.

David Ortiz homered and drove in four runs for the local nine, with his three-run blast in the sixth inning proving to be a momentum changer for Boston in route to their 5-4 victory over the A’s.

Ortiz homered three batters after J.D. Drew led off the sixth with a blast of his own.  Big Papi grounded out to second in the seventh to provide what would be the game-winning run as Drew scored on the play from third. Jonathan Papelbon was shaky in the ninth as the Sox closer gave up a run but he eventually recorded his 22nd save by striking out Jack Cust.

The Red Sox host the Kansas City Royals on Thursday as Brad Penny matches up against Luke Hochevar.

(AP Photo)

It Takes More Than Just Numbers To Be An All Star

Tim Wakefield is finally an All Star. In the past few weeks a lot has been made of his 1995 season and how he should have gone that year.  Wake had a legendary season in ’95, but didn’t make his first start for the Red Sox and in the bigs until late May. He was pitching well at the break, but the late start cost him and the All Star spots went to those who had pitched well in the almost 2 months that he missed, as they should have. If the All Star game had been in August Wakefield would probably would have started it. This year he is 10-3 at the time of selection and completely deserving of an All Star spot for every reason that has nothing to do with his current ERA or win/loss record.
Until this year, and with the exception of 1995 or that one night in October 2003, Wake has largely labored away under the radar, almost taken for granted. In 15 seasons he’s had good days and bad days, but he’s always shown up and put the team before himself.  He’s never made excuses for the bad stuff and he’s never drawn any extra attention to his best performances. We could argue why his numbers are or aren’t All Star worthy this year, but that no longer matters since Joe Maddon has officially declared them up to par.  In this day and age of steroids allegations and over-priced spoiled-brat professional athletes perhaps we need to really take a look at what it should take to be an All Star. Would you rather tell your kids to look up to Tim Wakefield or Alex Rodriguez?

Tim Wakefield has been nominated by the Red Sox 7 times for the Roberto Clemente Award (given annually by the MLB to a player deemed committed to serving their community and helping others, 1 player from each team is nominated each year).  He’s done everything the club has asked for on the field and never complained.  He’s on pace to reach 200 career wins early next season.  In 2005 he signed a contract unlike any other in sports, the Red Sox have the option to renew it at the end of every season, no tense negotiations over salary or contract length, no media circus, just one more year, yes or no?  $4 million a year every year is certainly nothing to scoff at.  He could ask for more, he probably deserves more.  He doesn’t get a raise, he doesn’t care about a raise, he just wants to pitch for as long as Boston wants to have him.  When Boston says no he’ll quietly enter retirement.  Not long after signing this unique document Wakefield summed up his thoughts about playing baseball in Boston with these words:
“It meant more to me to have the stability to stay here, I’m a firm believer in loyalty, which the Red Sox have been very loyal to me over the last 12 years, and I want to stay loyal to them. The stability and security is more important to me than trying to be a free agent. I’d much rather stay with a team that I’m comfortable with in a city I love, regardless of the money. At this stage of my career, it really doesn’t matter anymore.”
So what if this All Star appointment is partially viewed as a lifetime achievement award?  Hasn’t he earned the right over 17 seasons of pitching to have his moment in the sun?  I will freely admit that if I were a fan in another city I might feel a little differently, but because I am a Boston fan, and privileged enough to have experienced 15 seasons with him, I can say without a doubt that sometimes what it takes to be an All Star goes beyond the statistics and highlight reels.  Sometimes being an All Star means showing up day after day, doing your job without complaint and giving back to those who have helped you along the way.
Statistics and performance should definitely be the biggest factor in deciding who makes the All Star team each year, but what about guys like Wake who have had season after season of consistent success, while being an exemplary teammate and actively involved in their community? Luckily for Wake, his 10-3 record and early season heroics have brought him the recognition he has earned over the years, not only through his actions on the field, but in the dugout and in his charitable contributions as well.   For all of these reasons, Tim Wakefield is an All Star Major League Baseball can be proud of.

Boston Blanked By Anderson

    Smoltz Falters In Red Sox Debut At Fenway Park

On a night where Nomar Garciaparra made his anxiously-awaited return to Fenway Park for the first time since being traded in 2004, 21-year-old Brett Anderson stole the show for the A’s, throwing a complete game two-hit shutout to lead the Oakland Athletics to a 6-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox. 

Anderson struck out nine hitters, out-dueling John Smoltz, who made his first start at Fenway Park in a Red Sox uniform.  Smoltz lasted six innings and gave up five runs on ten hits to one of the worst offense’s in all of baseball. Garciaparra didn’t disappoint in his first game back in Boston, knocking in one run on two hits.

The Sox were blanked by a rookie at Fenway Park for the first time since Jim Abbott in 1989.  Aaron Bates made his Major League debut on Monday night, getting called up from Pawtucket in place of Jeff Bailey who went on the 15-DL with a sore ankle.

Josh Beckett takes the hill on Tuesday for Boston as the Red Sox ace will look to get the team back on track against the A’s.

(AP Photo) (AP Photo)

Wakefield Selected Along With Five Others

   Red Sox Lead The MLB With Six Players Going To The All-Star Game

The Boston Red Sox will be represented by six players at the Summer Classic on July 14 as Tim Wakefield received his first All-Star selection in 17 seasons.

Wakefield joins Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon as the three Sox pitchers to be selected as Kevin Youkilis, Jason Bay, and Dustin Pedroia were the three position players selected with the latter two picked as starters.  

Boston has the most players selected for the All-Star game with six with the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Mets in second with four players selected each. Many worried that Wakefield would not get the nod due to his high ERA and knuckleball status.  Fortunately for Wakefield and the Sox, baseball fans thought otherwise and voted for the 42-year-old.

Wallace Set To Join The Celtics

        4-Time All Star Commits To Bosotn

With the window of oppurtunity closing on the Boston Celtics and championship runs, Danny Ainge and the C’s made it a priority to reel in Rasheed Wallace via free agency.

According to ESPN, Wallace’s agent has stated that the 34-year-old has agreed to sign with the Boston Celtics for two years at the mid-level exception.  The 4-time NBA All-Star has always been linked with stardom but his personality and behavior with officials has caused him to be seen more as a nusiance than a luxury.  

Boston hopes that a change of scenery and a strong locker room can keep Wallace in line and productive enough to lead the Green and White to another NBA championship.  Full story.

Bitz Signs Extension With Bruins

B’s Lock Up Young Talent For The Long-Term

The Boston Bruins signed Byron Bitz to a multi-year extension on Wednesday as the 24-year-old Bitz became a free agent on this first day of July.

Bitz played in 35 games for the Bruins this past season, scoring just four goals and three assists, but the big forward was a dynamic force in the playoffs and fans can remember him for his opening goal at the TD Banknorth Garden in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Details on the extension have yet to be released.

Mike Lowell Placed On The 15-Day DL

   Sox Third-Basemen Experiencing Tightness In His Hip

We all remember the Mike Lowell of the 2008 American League playoffs.  We cringed everytime he swung the bat and everytime he made a play at third.

And so did he.

After having hip surgery in the offseason, Mike Lowell returned to his usual self early on in the 2009 season.  But recently, the Red Sox third basemen was on a skid at the plate, dropping to a .282 batting average and hitting a meager .206 in the month of June.  Lowell recently started to feel discomfort and tightness in his surgically repaired right hip causing the Boston favorite to start only two games in the past 13 days.  

Lowell is eligibile to return from the disabled list on the last day before the All-Star break which most likely means the right-hander will return on July 17, the first Red Sox game after the Summer Classic.  Terry Francona and the Sox hope that an extended lay-off will be exactly what the doctor and Mike Lowell ordered.

Red Sox Stage Their Own Comeback

Not to be outdone the Red Sox put together a comeback of their own. Papelbon became Boston’s career leader in saves on a day when the Sox put together a 4 run ninth inning. Juliio Lugo put together a clutch single in the 11th to drive home the winning run and Papelbon shut the door earning his 133rd save with the Red Sox outshining Bob Stanley at 132.

Other game highlights- Daniel Bard struck out 4 in 2 innings.
Youkilis knocked in a 2 run HR

Box Score

Youkilis & Teixeira Battling For All Star Nod

The Boston Red Sox’s Kevin Youkilis has moved back in front of the New York Yankees’ Mark Teixeira with two days left in AL balloting for starters for the All-Star Game in St. Louis on July 14.

Youkilis had 1,915,303 votes in totals released Tuesday to Teixeira’s 1,875,256. Last week, Teixeira was ahead by 35,632 ballots.

Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler’s lead over Boston’s Dustin Pedroia was cut to 6,830, down from 58,390 in totals released last week. Kinsler has 2,170,100 votes to Pedroia’s 2,163,270.

Maintaining their leads were Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (3,046,813), Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (2,988,363), Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer (2,851,819) and outfielders Jason Bay of Boston (2,609,913), Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners (1,802,826) and Josh Hamilton of Texas (1,635,781).-Associated Press