Giacomo Casanova once said, "By recollecting the pleasures I have had formerly, I renew them, I enjoy them a second time, while I laugh at the remembrance of troubles now past, and which I no longer feel." We could say that about quite a few players on the Red Sox roster, and the Red Sox franchise itself. It's funny how you can use a quote by a ladies man and use it for baseball, isn't it?
The Boston Red Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 3-2, on Friday, thanks to a few guys. Two of these players include Kevin Cash, who was acquired by the BoSox this past Thursday from the Houston Astros in a swap for Angel Sanchez, and the guy who hit a grand slam in his first at-bat not three weeks ago in Daniel Nava.
With both Jason Varitek and Victor Martinez on the DL, the Red Sox were in need of a catcher. With no one else worthy of catching, Theo Epstein decided to take some action and acquire someone who has caught with the Red Sox (and Wakefield) before.
Wakefield took the mound in Fenway Park for the 201st time, passing Roger Clemens for the most lifetime starts in the chapel. Looking at Tim Wakefield's stats before the game, one would tell you that he isn't doing as well as Boston fans would like him to be pitching. A 2-6 record with a 5.21 ERA isn't exactly something to brag about.
Facing him off would be a young maligned pitcher in Brad Bergesen, who needed to prove that he was actually Major League material for Baltimore. Before the game, he was 3-4 with a 6.83 ERA.
It was very evenly matched until the eighth inning which was when endurance was the vital factor to winning the game for both starters. In the end, Wakefield was the better pitcher, as he threw a total of 96 pitches (66 of them being strikes) and surrendering only two runs in eight innings of work.
"I felt fresh even after eight innings," Wakefield said. "I was ready to go the ninth, and maybe even the 10th if necessary."
Although Bergesen surrendered one more run than the knuckleballer, he did silence his critics that day, striking out a career-high seven batters in 7 2/3 innings, and allowing just five hits with no walks.
It's been about two years since Cash was behind the plate catching for Wakefield on the mound. He told the press that he barely called for anything else besides the knuckleball.
"I think he threw two breaking balls and fastballs, everything else was a knuckleball," Cash said. "Every time I have caught him, Wake gets ahead of the hitter."
Cash made quite an impact of his own, gunning Adam Jones at second base in the second inning. Offensively, he batted ninth in the lineup and went 0-for-3 with two ground outs and a fly out.
Later on in the game, J.D. Drew showed off his power, hitting two solo jacks in his first two at-bats. It was the 17th multi-homer game of his career, and were the only runs scored until the bottom of the eighth inning.
With the game tied at 2, Boston needed to find out how to get on base against Bergesen before heading to the ninth. That's exactly what Marco Scutaro did. With two outs, he kept the inning alive by hitting a double to left field. After that one hit, Juan Samuel decided to pull Bergesen out and give the ball to Will Ohman.
Due up to bat against him was Eric Patterson. However, manager Terry Francona decided to make his own move and substitute him with rookie Daniel Nava. Ahead in the count, 2-1, Nava took an inside pitch to the opposite field. The ball dropped just beyond the reach of Nick Markakis, Julio Lugo, and Ty Wigginton, and Marco Scutaro scored from second to give the Red Sox a 3-2 lead, and eventually the game.
"I was just looking for anything to drive and put the ball in play hard, which is funny because that isn't what I did," Nava said. "But it worked and I am sure we will take it."
Wakefield’s first victory at Fenway this season was also his first home win in nearly a year; his last home win was on July 8 against the Oakland Athletics. After 200 starts at the chapel and having sole possession of the record he once shared with Clemens, the victory couldn't have been more special… not to mention that the park is closing in on its 100th anniversary.
Somehow… some way… the Red Sox still find ways to win. With the latest two victims of injuries in Jason Varitek and Manny Delcarmen now on the disabled list, the total number of players on Boston's DL has been increased to nine. The list includes Dustin Pedroia, Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Jeremy Hermida.
"You look at our lineup and you know with the injuries, it isn't how we thought it would be, but as you can see, others guys like J.D. Drew had two huge knocks," Nava said. "I don't think anyone is going up there think they have to carry the team."
With their latest victory, they are now only 1/2 a game behind the New York Yankees for first place in the AL East, and the best record in baseball. How long can the Red Sox keep this streak going? We'll find out…