Games 79 through 81 - Red Sox
Mariners 7, Red Sox 6 (11)
Mariners 3, Red Sox 2
Red Sox 8, Mariners 4
Two things happened on Sunday to completely change the tenor of this post. And woebetide the gentle people in MLCville if they hadn't, because losing two in a row at home to Seattle is unacceptable in normal circumstances, and downright grumpy-making with the Yankees bearing down with malice aforethought.
The first, and least important, of these two things was a scuffling, nervous, late-won triumph over the M's, with a 5-run 7th securing a game that was very much in doubt. Jon Lester pitched just okay against one of the league's worst offenses, but okay won the day as the slumping Dustin Pedroia singled, doubled, and homered and Mark Kotsay drove in a pair with a bases-loaded single the secure the victory.
Far more satisfying to this long-time fan was 42 year-old Tim Wakefield's selection to his first American League All-Star team. Let's get the argument out of the way: on merit, Wake's 10-3, 4.30 (1.35 WHIP) line isn't deserving of a spot on the 2009 team. Kevin Millwood, among others, has a pretty decent case to get the nod over the knuckleballer.
We're talking about an exhibition, though, even as the game technically 'counts'. There's a place in exhibition games for recognizing achievement over a full career, and for rewarding a baseball lifetime of humility and team-first attitude. As hard as this may be to fathom, Wake may yet end up as the winningest pitcher in Red Sox history. His 174 wins trail Roger Clemens and Cy Young, deadlocked at 192, and his arm shows no sign of tiring - he's topped 180 innings pitched in 5 of the last 6 seasons and on pace to do it again in 2009. With all that, though, his legacy in Boston will be one of selfless dedication to team and community. And if the AL All-Star team leaves a little something to be desired in recognition of that dedication, that's fine with me.