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The Unlikeliest of Stoppers: "Wake-Ing" Up the Boston Red Sox

E ASenior Analyst IApril 22, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 15:  Tim Wakefield #49 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Oakland Athletics during a Major League Baseball game on April 15, 2009 at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield, Brad Penny. Hard to believe a team trotting these guys out on the hill every fifth night would start the year with a 2-6 record.

Especially with the offense anchored by Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, and reigning MVP Dustin Pedroia.

But hey, you can't win them all, right? After losing six out of their first eight games, that was one of the most asked questions among Red Sox Nation.

Now, since last Thursday, the devout group of Red Sox followers have all but forgotten what it's like to lose. At least for awhile.

It all started last Thursday, April 15. After losing the first two games of a three-game set at Oakland, hopes were less than high with Tim Wakefield going out to the mound trying to keep the Red Sox from losing a seventh game.

The knuckler went very far beyond expectations. He held the A's hitless through seven innings, with Kurt Suzuki breaking up the no-hit bid in the bottom of the eighth. Wakefield tossed a complete game, which the Sox won 8-2.

That game sparked a turnaround nothing short of remarkable for the Red Sox. The offense, which was a one-man show led by Kevin Youkilis in the first two weeks, is now seemingly unstoppable.

While many attributed this to a four-game series against Baltimore, the Red Sox silenced their critics today with a 10-1 rout of the Minnesota Twins.

Scott Baker, who won 11 games with a 3.45 ERA last year, served up 10 hits, three home runs, and six earned runs over 4.2 innings, earning his second loss of the season.

Wakefield turned in his third quality start in as many starts today, going seven innings. In those seven, Wakefield struck out four, gave up only five hits, and allowed just one run. His season ERA now sits at 2.45.

The Red Sox, who started in last place, are now only 1.5 games behind in the American League East. After a 2-6 start, the Red Sox now find themselves 8-6, and riding a six-game winning streak.

How about that Boston weather? The Sox are looking to take the field against the Twins for their seventh straight victory as I write this, but the game is in rain delay.

But as they say, April showers bring May flowers.

With unexpected help from veterans like Wakefield, this season for the Red Sox will grow from little seedlings to a magnificent flower, the result of all their hard work.

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