As my first post here on Bleacher Report, I decided to write about a conversation I recently had with my father.
We were talking about how in the postseason, the rosters get cut back down to 25 players, and who among the members of the Red Sox team now, won't make the postseason roster. It may seem very simple to a typical Sox fan to get the roster ready for the playoffs, and in truth, I found it very easy to get the list to 25.
However, there was one tough spot I had to work through and it's the reason I wrote the article. To start I'm going to name the 24 guys on the Sox that will most definitely be there, in my humble opinion of course.
Starting with position players we'll carry Kevin Youkilis, Sean Casey, Dustin Pedroia, Alex Cora, Jed Lowrie, Mike Lowell, Jason Varitek and Kevin Cash in the infield.
Outfield we'll carry Jacoby Ellsbury, Coco Crisp, Jason Bay, JD Drew, and recently acquired Mark Kotsay. Of course you can not leave out "Big Papi" David Ortiz, so that takes up 14 spots.
Essentially, you're letting go of the Sept. 1st Pawsox call-ups. The major question comes with the pitching. You know that Beckett, Lester, and Dice-K will be there.
We all know that the bullpen is pivotal in postseason play, so one would assume that we'll carry the full load, with Papelbon, Okajima, Manny Delcarmen, Javier Lopez the lefty specialist, Mike Timlin, Justin Masterson and David Aardsma.
That leaves you with 10 out of the 11 spots filled. The argument my father and I had was, who do you take with that 11th spot? We both agreed it had to be Byrd or Wakefield, simply because in a 7 game set, you need a fourth starter. However, we couldnt agree on who to take, Wake or Byrd.
All 22 years of my life, I've lived in the Greater Boston area. I was raised by my parents as a Sox fan, and like many Sox fans can attest to, over the years you find a few players who you will root for on your team no matter what happens. For me I always liked Wade Boggs, Bill Mueller, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez.
However, Tim Wakefield was always my favorite player, and with that pick as my favorite, I also loved Dougie Mirabelli.
Wake is most definitely not the best pitcher on the staff, and I think that's something we can all agree on. He wouldn't be the best pitcher on the Washington Nationals, but through it all, he's been reliable and there when we needed him.
I'm not going to prove my point with numbers and stats, because quite honestly, I don't want to take the time to look them up. In the argument with my dad I took Wakefield, and he took Byrd. (Note: I think he did it only to rile me up, because he does that crap).
My argument was simply that over the years and even this year, he's accepted his role as a member of the team, not just the starting rotation. In 2003, he went to the bullpen for the playoffs, and pitched absolutely lights out in the postseason until that one fateful night when Aaron ##@$%# Boone got lucky as all hell.
Every Sox fan remembers where they were that night. That's what made 2004 so special, all the hardships. Honestly though, how do you think Wake felt that night? He probably felt worse than anyone on the planet. To me he's the Troy Brown of the Sox.
I think that Wake will not only be more than a sufficient starter in the postseason, but say Dice-K gets in a little pitch count trouble early in a ballgame this postseason. I said wouldnt it be nice to have Wake come out of the pen, and eat up some innings so we don't cripple our bullpen.
My dad combatted that idea by saying that Wake wouldnt come in in a jam because his style of pitching doesnt really work that way. I kind of agreed, because you dont want Wake coming out of the pen with a 1st and 3rd jam with one out. Most likely the knuckleball will get popped up to the outfield and that runner will score. So i gave my dad that point.
However, in the end, Wakefield has been a member of this team longer than anyone, and I think the thought of bring Byrd over him at this point is just outrageous. I've been told by buddies of mine that watching Wake pitch is so brutal on television, because either he's pitching really well and it's boring, or he wasn't pitching well and we are losing.
To me, I agree that he doesnt have stuff that would wow anyone, but he has the stuff to get it done, and he's proved that year after year for us. I think the addition of Paul Byrd this year was one of the biggest signings, because he filled in wonderfully in that rotation, keeping us in every game he pitched.
I just dont think he's better for this team than Wakefield, and who's to say he would even accept a role in the bullpen. (Note: Colon didn't?)
I'll leave you with this: If it were up to me, Wakefield is in, no questions asked, and I bet if you put my dad under oath and asked him who he thought should be there, he'd say Wake too. Let's just hope Tito agrees.