Tim Wakefield has been accused of hurting the Boston Red Sox in their pursuit of the AL East division title with his pursuit of his 200th career win, but looking at the numbers, that just isn't the case.
While Wakefield definitely isn't helping the Red Sox in a critical time of the season, he is doing enough to allow the team - one that has put up 10 or more runs in a game on several occasions this season, seemingly at will - to win.
Wakefield fell short of win No. 200 for the fifth straight try on Saturday night, receiving a no-decision in the Red Sox' 9-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals. Wake allowed nine hits and four earned runs while striking out three in 5.1 innings.
Ever since Wakefield captured career win No. 199 in a 12-8 win over the Seattle Mariners back on July 24 - he allowed three earned runs and struck out five in 6.1 innings - he hasn't allowed more than four earned runs in any game.
In the start immediately after win No. 199, Wakefield suffered a loss at the hands of the Chicago White Sox, who beat the Red Sox, 3-1, on July 29. In that game, Wake gave up only three earned runs and fanned five in seven innings.
On August 3 in Cleveland, Wakefield again gave up only three earned runs and struck out six in 6.2 innings, but received a no-decision in a 4-3 Red Sox win.
Then, on August 8 in Minnesota, Wakefield was tagged with five runs (three earned) on eight hits while tallying four strikeouts in yet another no-decision. Regardless, the Red Sox found a way to win again, topping the Twins, 8-6.
Against Seattle on August 14, Wakefield was again tagged for five runs (four earned) on nine hits while striking out two in eight innings. Alas, Wakefield was handed a loss as the Red Sox fell to the M's, 5-3.
Everything considered, those aren't bad performances. In fact, for a pitcher in Wakefield's position in the rotation, those are very acceptable numbers, especially on a high-octane offensive team like the Red Sox.
What is concerning is the fact that Wakefield is giving up tons of hits in pursuit of his 200th win. In his last five starts, Wakefield has surrendered 34 hits, and in his last three starts, he's allowed 26 of them. But somehow, those hits haven't translated into runs.
Wakefield certainly could do more to help himself get that 200th win (like not giving up a thousand hits per start), but a lot of the blame lies on the offense. When players like Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz are in the same lineup day in and day out, there's not excuse for not scoring at least four runs per game.
At this point, Wakefield will keep working towards that milestone win, and if he is able to get it soon, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him go on a mysterious DL trip to get him out of the rotation for a while. As for the postseason goes, Wakefield probably won't be on the active roster unless there are injuries. That's the way it's always been.
We all want to see Wakefield notch that historic win after everything he's done for the Red Sox, but not at the expense of the team. Still ,just remember this: it's not entirely his fault, blame the offense, too.