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Why Wakefield?


GarySJ
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All the pundits are asking "why didn't the Bosox bring in Embree to face Giambi in the 8th?" But I think the real question is, why did they go to Wakefield in the 11th? They had a couple proper relievers left, like Scott Williamson.

Why not see if you can get an inning or two out of the guys best suited for the job? Especially with the Yankees bullpen depleted as it was? They were going to have to put in Contreras, White, or Weaver to pitch the 12th.

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I see why wakefield...

1 he was their most effective pitcher all series

2, there is no telling how long the game goes, 1 more inning, 7 more??

and if you get the lead in the top of an inning, then toss williamson in, but if you are still tied, put in your pitcher who got you to where you are, who can pitch long distance.

It was a good decision, but Wakefields Knuckler was rolling with a slight amount of topspin, making it move less, and in effect was a BP fast ball.

Even the pedro decision, at the time was not bad, but it didn't work out, now everyone will blame Grady Little for losing the series.  The Red Sox did not lose the series, the Yankees Won it with great hitting when it counted most.

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The problem with knuckleball pitchers in relief is that it's tough to hold runners. It is easy to steal bases against such a slow pitching motion. Obviously a problem when it's the bottom of the 11th in Game 7.

Wakefield was effective, throughout the series, but in the 11th inning of a tied Game 7 I'm giving the ball to my closer.

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The strategy usually is to give the ball to the closer when you have the lead because they aren't good for very long.  I understand the stealing part, but that is true anytime, and Wakefield had been almost unhitable.  

Its something that, had it worked out, Grady would have been the hero of the day.  Gutsy move,

right move?  no it didn't work... but right in theory.

The sox need to go out and make some pitching changes and do whatever they can to not touch their batting squadron.  Keep it intact and it will be sox/yanks next year in the ALCS.

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Speaking as an ex baseball player Knuckleballers are tough to hit, period.  But it makes it even tougher to hit when for 9 innings you were looking at 94 mph fastballs with tons of rotation on the ball and you go to 80 mph knuckleballs with zero rotation on the ball.  I think it was a lot of luck that Boone nailed that ball, because in reality Wakefield should have been able to come in and be unhittlable under the circumstances, and he could have gone 5 or 6 innings if needed as velcrogrip said.  

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I've played alot of ball, but never faced a knuckleballer.  I wish I had, so i'd have more to base things on.

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65 mph knucklers following pedro. I liked it but it is still to difficult to talk about. I hate the Yankees.

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OK I know I'm responding kinda late, but I want to get in my two cents on this. Apologies to KnightsRule.

The strategy usually is to give the ball to the closer when you have the lead because they aren't good for very long.

Yeah, but this is Game 7. The strategy usually isn't to bring Mike Mussina in to pitch long relief either.

You go with your closer in a tie game because he's a specialist for this situation. He knows how to pitch a close game, hold runners, pitch from the stretch, etc. You bring in the best man for the job. If Williamson goes 1-2 innings and it's still tied, okay, then you bring in Wakefield. But by then the Yankees would have long run out of bullpen arms, and you've got a guy in there who can go to the 20th inning. If it becomes a war of attrition, and you've got the upper hand.

Another problem with bringing Wakefield in early is, what happens if you bring in Wakefield, you get a run, bring in your closer, and the Yanks tie it up? You've just thrown away your competitive advantage, by wasting a guy who could go 5+ innings on a short stint. Who do you bring in then?

Bottom line: Grady Little had one more round to fire, and he didn't fire it. He went to Wakefield too early when he could have gotten an inning or two out of Williamson, the man whose job it is to pitch in crucial situations. He let his best pitcher for the job go unused. That was his fatal mistake, not the Pedro Martinez decision.

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Williamson did not have a save for the sox in regular season. He was not a proven closer for the sox though he was awesome out of the pen for the playoffs. The Sox closer pitched game 1 vs Oakland and choked and then somehow got a phantom injury and never played again in the playoffs. Also, Wakefield was dominant against yanks in TWO postseason starts. I have no problem with them bringing in Wakefield. I think Grady was a terrible field manager all season but a terriffic clubhouse guy as he somehow kept that group of personalities together. he should have taken pedro out of game 7 but chose not too and it cost him.  If you look at Williamson's numbers from the time he signed with the Sox until regular season ended you would vomit. Wakefield had proven he can beat the Yanks twice that week but the writing was already on the wall, we could have had Gagne and Smoltz come out of the pen and pitched at the same time and we would have lost that game after the meltdown that occurred in the 8th.

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I could care less what is his regular season numbers were. He was the best option available and had pitched very well in the playoffs. Even one inning would have given the top of the Sox order some at-bats against the lesser lights of the Yankee bullpen.

If you can't trust your appointed closer in the extra innings of the 7th game, who the hell can you trust?

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