A team that has struggled to get out of the Division Series (and had a sad tendency of getting swept) crawled their way into the ALCS.
They had to win the final Division Series on the road and use their ace… but the ace finished the game and the series and it was a sweet victory.
But they now had to face the Yankees… a team that had tormented them over the years… and couldn’t use their unbeatable ace until Game 3.
So what did that team do?
They scored against the Yankees in the first inning… they took a startling 3-0 lead.
Things looked and felt different. And everyone began thinking “If they can beat the Yankees in this game and throw their ace in Game 3… the Yankees COULD BE BEATEN!”
But the Yankees settled down, tied the game in the late innings and won it.
They stole the momentum completely.
Now what playoff series am I talking about?
Am I talking about this ALCS?
Or am I talking about the 1999 ALCS?
My Red Sox had to use Pedro Martinez in the final game against Cleveland meaning he wasn’t available until Game 3 of the ALCS. But the Red Sox were up 2-0 before El Duque Hernandez had recorded an out in Game 1 and tacked on another run in the second.
But Scott Brosius homered to make it 3-2, the Yankees tied it up and won it on Bernie Williams’ walk off shot.
The Red Sox did indeed get their win from Pedro in Game 3, but that was all they got.
I have a feeling all the Rangers are going to get is Cliff Lee’s win in Game 3.
This was their chance to take control of the series… instead they are continued to be tormented by the Yankees.
Cue up Prince.
It’s 1999 all over again.
Wakes won again… making my case for him being the ace of the team this year even more intriguing.
He’s got 9 wins, second only to Roy Halladay and might finally make his first All Star team. (How was he NOT an All Star in 1995? He was third in the Cy Young vote that year!!!)
I have already written about the underrated awesomeness of Tim Wakefield’s tenure in Boston.
But there could be a real and tangible title for Tim Wakefield…
One that was unthinkable when he signed with the Red Sox in 1995…
One that was laughable when he was left off of the 1999 ALCS roster…
One that was more than unlikely when he served up Aaron Boone’s homer…
And one that just sounds strange despite 15 seasons in Boston and playing a big part in 7 Red Sox playoff teams including two World Series champions.
He could be the greatest winner in Red Sox history.
Not the greatest pitcher. That title is debatable.
But imagine asking the question “Who has won the most games in Red Sox history?” and having the answer being “Tim Wakefield!”
Now right now, I think the fact that there is a tie at the top is kind of cool.
He’s tied with Cy Young
, who didn’t need an award to tell people he was Cy Young worthy.
They each have 192 wins in a Red Sox uniform.
Wakefield has 173 wins as a Red Sox pitcher.
He’s 20 wins away from being the all time team leader in wins. He’s 27 wins from being the first 200 game winner in Red Sox history, but I digress.
I want him to get those 20 wins and pass Clemens and Young.
Wakefield already has a lot of Red Sox records… ones that I’m sure he’d like to give back.
Most homers… most losses… most walks… most hits allowed… most earned runs… most wild pitchers… most starts that made Red Sox fans say “Oh PLEASE don’t suck today!”
And yet he is a stand up guy and a champion.
He deserves a great title. The most wins in Red Sox history would be kind of cool, don’t you think?
It might earn him a retired number without a Hall of Fame entry (a la Johnny Pesky.)
So let’s start the countdown! 19 to tie… 20 to pass Clemens and Young.
(I believe Cy Young is only former Red Sox great Wakefield DIDN’T play with!)
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