41-22: Wakefield cruises, Colorado loses

It was the first time for any of the Rockies, save Todd Helton, to ever face Tim Wakefield (6-7) and his tricky pitch, the knuckleball. And it showed. Big time. Colorado hitters were frustrated and flabbergasted all night, only able to touch Wakefield for four hits over eight innings of work. Wake really cruised in this one, only needing 102 pitches and walking only one hitter.

The Rockies’ Aaron Cook did a great job yesterday with his heavy sinker, holding the Sox to two runs in 7 1/3 innings. He got 14 ground outs and pitched a heck of a game. But nobody was coming close to touching Wake’s flutterball last night.

The key moment in the game came in the bottom of the eighth with the game tied at 1-1, when the Rockies intentionally walked Manny Ramirez to load the bases with one out. They wanted their lefty, Jeremy Affeldt, to face J.D. Drew. The primary numbers might favor that matchup, but I knew Drew was not going to swing in that situation, against a lefty with iffy control. I expected him to draw a walk, but Affeldt chose to give him a fat 3-1 fastball, which Drew drove to deep center to bring home the winning run. A sac fly, but hey, we are playing the National League.

Dustin Pedroia held his own in the leadoff role, going 1-4 with some pretty good at-bats, though Francona did pinch-run for him in the game with Alex Cora later on. Big Papi had three hits, including another near-home run double off Affeldt in the eighth. Papi should have at least two more HR than he does right now (11), keep that in mind as you vote for your All-Stars, guys. And for him to be hitting .340 against the shift they always put on him, it’s ridiculous! Papi is developing into a better hitter every year, and he deserves to start.

One last note: To those who were drooling over the possible acquisition of Helton this winter, check this out.

Todd Helton: .326/.440/.493 with 6 HR, 15 2B, 28 R and 29 RBI (21.9 VORP)
Kevin Youkilis: .335/.421/.524 with 8 HR, 18 2B, 43 R and 33 RBI (26.8 VORP)

Pretty similar numbers, with some better production from Youkilis, even in the AL East. It seems like we got a pretty good deal by hanging onto Youk. Not to mention that Helton’s IsoP of .167 is the lowest of his career, ever. I think Helton’s still an excellent hitter, but his days of MVP numbers are long gone.


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