|Frustration is not part of Tim Wakefield’s equation||08.20.11 at 11:23 pm ET|
KANSAS CITY – Tim Wakefield stood in the middle of the Red Sox’ clubhouse, arms folded, ready to answer any and all questions following his start (per usual).
First inquiry: “Are you frustrated?”
Answer: “I’m not.”
For the fifth time, Wakefield took the mound with a chance to become the 108th major league pitcher to win 200 games, and for the fifth time he fell short. This time – like many of the others – the knuckleballer pitched well enough to win, and actually appeared on target to claim the elusive victory.
He held a 4-1 lead heading into the sixth inning, having thrown 84 pitches, and certainly in position to get the Sox to the late innings in good shape. But back-to-back RBI doubles from Jeff Francoeur and Mike Moustakas had brought the Royals to within a run, and Wakefield’s pitch count to 97.
It led to the starter leaving with the potential tying run at second, giving way to reliever Matt Albers. A matter of minutes later, Kansas City had rattled off an eight-run inning and Wakefield was left waiting again.
“Got a good first out, and left a couple of balls up that they got base hits on,” said Wakefield, whose ERA over the last five starts is 4.50. “That’s part of the games sometimes.”
Again, the potential frustration …
“It hasn’t the last five starts,” said Wakefield regarding allowing the question of if he has allowed anxiety to creep in. “I’ve been trying to take it, you know, like it’s a normal start and try to go out there and try to give us quality innings and qulity starts. I had a bad sixth inning.”
Wakefield will now look toward Thursday, where he will get his next chance at claiming win 200 when going up against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas.
“It is what it is,” he said. “We’re trying to win the game, not trying to do a favor for me. We’re trying to win the game as a team.
“I feel like I’ve pitched well. Three quality starts out of five, and a complete game that wasn’t a quality start, and tonight was just one bad inning.” (Note: The fifth inning has been by far Wakefield’s worst this season, having allowed 23 runs, 12 more than any other frame.)
While Wakefield might be focusing in on how his appearances might affect the team’s fate, members of his club are fully aware how important the milestone is.
“We’re all obviously trying to get the win,” Albers said. “It’s frustrating for me, I know that.”
“The whole idea is to win games and then when things like this, like in the natural progression, that’s what makes it so special,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “I think we’d all like to see him get it.”
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