Postgame, Red Sox 4-3: To show how rare this moment is, Jacoby Ellsbury is the first Red Sox player to have a walk-off RBI in consecutive days since Butch Hobson in August of 1978.
He is the first player to do it in consecutive games for the Red Sox since David Ortiz in June 2006 (day off in between).
And he is the first Boston center fielder and leadoff hitter to do the trick since Johnny Damon on Aug. 26, 2002.
To think that Ellsbury went 455 major league games without a game-winning hit and then has two in as many nights…that’s remarkable.
It has also spared some of us some very long nights as we have avoided extra innings two games in a row. Let’s see if we can keep that streak alive Wednesday in the series finale, which will feature the Red Sox debut of Erik Bedard opposite former Boston hurler Justin Masterson.
See you then.
Final, Red Sox 4-3.: Jacoby Ellsbury entered Tuesday without a walkoff RBI in his career. He won last night’s game with a single to center, and this time goes a bit deeper.
Ellsbury just crushed a fastball from Joe Smith straight into the front row of the center-field bleachers. He has been pummelled by teammates two nights in a row, and he loves it.
Off to get some reaction. Back in a bit.
Mid 9th, 3-3: This feels a lot like last night, doesn’t it? Doubt we will see Jason Varitek pinch running for anyone, however.
Just like he did in picking up the victory Tuesday, Jonathan Papelbon throws a perfect ninth. It will be Darnell McDonald, hitting for Josh Reddick, followed by Marco Scutaro and then the top of the order in the Sox’ half of the inning.
The moment McDonald was announced, Manny Acta immediately emerged to bring in righty Joe Smith in place of Tony Sipp. Gets the Sox to burn a bench player there.
End 8th, 3-3: The Red Sox are now 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position after wasting a leadoff walk in the eighth.
Kevin Youkilis was replaced at first by Mike Aviles, who stole second before Tony Sipp got three straight outs, the last two on strikeouts of Carl Crawford and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Jonathan Papelbon enters in a tie game for the second straight night.
Those of you wondering when Tim Wakefield is going next, it all depends on tomorrow night. If Erik Bedard needs help from Andrew Miller out of the bullpen, then Wakefield goes Monday in Minnesota.
If Miller is spared, then he starts Monday and Wakefield starts Tuesday against the Twins. At least that’s the plan as of this moment. With a surplus of starters, that could change.
9:39 p.m.: Carlos Carrasco’s career-high 112th pitch is ball four to Kevin Youkilis. Here comes Tony Sipp to face David Ortiz with this place beginning to get a bit charged up.
Mid 8th, 3-3: A lot of “Why Randy Williams?” being thrown around when Terry Francona made the move.
Well, Williams has done the job just fine tonight. He just worked a perfect eighth, striking out Carlos Santana in the process.
Carlos Carrasco is still in there. His first pitch of the inning will be his 107th and establish a new season high.
End 7th, 3-3: The top of the Boston order goes 1-2-3 against Carlos Carrasco in the seventh. At 106 pitches, he is probably done.
Randy Williams is not. Williams will start the eighth, but maybe for only one batter. Travis Hafner leads things off.
Mid 7th, 3-3: Terry Francona’s decision will be discussed no matter what happens in the bottom of the seventh. But if the Red Sox score, and Randy Williams winds up the winner, it will be even more controversial.
At least Williams did his job, working around a two-out walk to strike out the dangerous Asdrubal Cabrera.
That nearly backfired in a major way for Francona. Williams was brought in to get the lefty Jason Kipnis, but lost him. Cabrera is a .311 hitter against lefties. Francona must’ve had a lump in his throat, but Williams made him feel a bit better by getting a slider by Cabrera to end it.
9:08 p.m.: I really thought Terry Francona would give Tim Wakefield one more batter.
Wakefield just lost the lead on a two-out RBI double by Ezequiel Carrera. Still, if he was given a chance to get the last out of the seventh, Wakefield would still be in line for the win if Boston scored in the bottom half of the inning.
Alas, Francona has a game to win, so he calls on Randy Williams in a 3-3 game. Wakefield, who did not seem entirely pleased with Francona’s decision, threw 99 pitches. His line won’t be complete until Williams has a say in it all.
End 6th, Red Sox 3-2: Give Carlos Carrasco a lot of credit. He has wiggled out of a lot of jams tonight and has himself a quality start. As of right now, at least.
Looks like Carrasco will come back out to begin the seventh.
Alfredo Aceves and Randy Williams are both warming for Boston. Tim Wakefield has thrown 86 pitches.
Boston has outhit Cleveland 9-3.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 3-2: That is not a caught stealing, but rather a 2-6 putout. Regardless of how it goes into the books, it’s another example of Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s budding reputation as a guy you don’t want to test.
In case you missed it, Travis Hafner led off the sixth with a walk. Two outs later, with Lonnie Chisenhall batting, a ball got away from Salty and rolled toward the backstop.
Hafner, not a man known for his wheels, attempted to take second, but Salty raced back, retrieved the ball and fired a strike to Marco Scutaro covering. Inning over.
Earlier today, when asked about the way teams used to run on the Red Sox, and how they approach it now, in large part because of Salty’s throwing, Terry Francona said this:”We had guys, everybody was running. Now, they’re not trying to do it as much and when they do we’re throwing them out. Yeah, it’s great.”
Things will begin to get very interesting now as Wakefield closes in on 200. Alfredo Aceves was warming in the bullpen in the sixth but has since sat down.
End 5th, Red Sox 3-2: The Red Sox are 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and have left five men on, but it seems even more severe than that.
Consecutive singles by Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez began the fifth. Kevin Youkilis grounded into a 6-4-3 double play and David Ortiz grounded to second to end the threat.
There is a lot of stretching and walking around going on in the Red Sox bullpen. Tim Wakefield begins the sixth at 74 pitches.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 3-2: Tim Wakefield is now eligible for a win and has a lead. Although he did provide a silly moment in the fifth.
With one out, Lou Marson struck out but reached on a passed ball. Ezequiel Carrera then bunted one that Wakefield charged for a second before he had to put on the brakes, only to slip and fall on his backside.
As Wakefield stared at the heavens, Dustin Pedroia raced in and made a great play to get the second out. Jason Kipnis walked but Asdrubal Cabrera flew to center to finish it off.
End 4th, Red Sox 3-2: After Tim Wakefield is scored upon but does a nice job of limiting the damage, Carlos Carrasco does the same.
A walk to David Ortiz and a double by Carl Crawford put two in scoring position with nobody out. One out later, Josh Reddick is walked (the last ball was intenational as he had a 3-0 count) to load the bases.
The only run comes in when Marco Scutaro hit into a fielder’s choice. Jacoby Ellsbury is a strikeout victim to end it.
If any of you are scoring at home, one of the RBIs for David Ortiz has been taken away. Left fielder Austin Kearns was given an error for booting the ball out there, which allowed Kevin Youkilis to score. One of the runs that inning is unearned.
Mid 4th, 2-2: We warned you of the escalating ERA for Tim Wakefield as the game goes on. Now, that’s rather standard for many pitchers, simply a matter of fatigue setting in.
But it’s been extreme for Wakefield this year, and the trend has continues.
After lowering his third-inning ERA to 1.13, Wakefield sees his fourth-inning mark soar to 5.06 (actually identical to his ERA entering this game) by giving up two runs in the frame.
Rookie Jason Kipnis homered for the fourth straight game to start off the inning. Asdrubal Cabrera then singled and scored when Travis Hafner doubled down the line in right.
Hafner moved to third with no outs on a passed ball, but Wakefield did a great job after that. He got a strikeout, a grounder to a drawn-in Dustin Pedroia and then a routine bouncer to Kevin Youkilis to strand the runner.
Each of Kipnis’ homers this series have occurred when I go to the bathroom. For the sake of all you die-hards, I will hold it in next time.
End 3rd, Red Sox 2-0: You just don’t see Dustin Pedroia make many outs on the bases. He’s so savvy in that role.
However, after singling to begin the third, Pedroia is picked off by Carlos Carrasco. It is just the fourth time Pedroia has been caught stealing (that’s how they score those, in case you were unaware) in 26 attempts.
Adrian Gonzalez then grounds into the shift and David Ortiz strikes out.
We mentioned Carlos Carrasco’s miserable July numbers. But he came into this one 5-2 with a 2.73 ERA on the road. In fact, his only quality start last month came away from home, the other four were in Cleveland. Maybe he settles in a bit right here.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 2-0: The Indians get their first base runner in the third, but it comes on a Marco Scutaro error.
Tim Wakefield shrugs aside the miscue by getting Ezequiel Carrera on a squibber in front of the plate upon which Jarrod Saltalamacchia pounces, much like I did with the roast beef and mashed potatoes tonight.
Not a bad offering in the “caf.”
End 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Good to see Josh Reddick with a solid single in the second. He had begun to slide a bit over the last week, reverting to many of the issues that dogged him in the past (pitch recognition, overly aggressive).
With a solid hit going the other way, Reddick is 3-for-7 in his last three games. He wouldn’t move from first as Carlos Carrasco got Marco Scutaro and Jacoby Ellsbury to fly out.
Here is a semi-interesting tidbit I just scrounged up. The last time a pitcher won his 200th game in a Red Sox uniform was in 2006, when Curt Schilling reached the milestone against Tampa Bay. In that game, David Ortiz drove in Kevin Youkilis in the first inning. In Wakefield’s bid tonight, Ortiz did the same, although Adrian Gonzalez came in ahead of Youkilis on the single to left.
OK, maybe it’s not that interesting.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Tim Wakefield has his 2,116th strikeout as part of a perfect second inning.
Not to be all negative nelly and stuff, but Wakefield’s ERA in the next five innings this season are: 1.20, 4.20, 7.36, 6.94, 8.64.
End 1st, Red Sox 2-0: The last time Carlos Carrasco took the mound, he caused some fireworks.
That purpose pitch ended a July in which he went 0-5 with a 9.13 ERA.
Carrasco is appealing a six-game suspension for the incident. Perhaps he should’ve just taken a seat, tried to put July behind him and avoid having to pitch in this place.
After getting the first two outs of the first, Adrian Gonzalez singled to extend his season-high 13-game hitting streak. Kevin Youkilis blooped a double down the line in right and David Ortiz lashed a single to left to score them both.
Tim Wakefield has his lead.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Clearly, Adrian Gonzalez is just trying to steal some of the spotlight from Tim Wakefield tonight.
Gonzalez makes the first out on an unassisted putout and then does the same for the second. Wakefield and him have some words, but it’s all good now.
Kevin Youkilis caught a weak pop off the bat of Asdrubal Cabrera for the final out.
7:09 p.m.: First pitch from Tim Wakefield is a strike to Ezequiel Carrera. We are under way.
6:48 p.m.: We love giving you the Tim Wakefield stats update each time he takes the mound.
For this one, in addition to eyeing win No. 200, Wakefield will tie Rick Wise for 78th on the all-time list in starts with his 455th.
He is two home runs allowed shy of tying Randy Johnson for 10th on the all-time list.
With just four outs, he will move into 108th all-time in innings pitched, passing Mordecai Brown.
So, you know, you can tell your kids’ kids you saw Wakefield pass Mordecai one memorable night at Fenway.
Hopefully, you can tell them you saw something a little more special.
One topic of conversation in the press box was what the Red Sox will do if Wakefield has a slim lead through five, but a low pitch count. Do you keep sending him out there and playing with fire? His knuckler has risen in the late innings this year — opponents are hitting .357 against Wakefield from his 75th pitch on.
You may see the bullpen get lined up like soldiers at the border if we get into such a situation.
6:03 p.m.: When asked about the prospect of Tim Wakefield winning his 200th tonight, Terry Francona had this to say:
“I hope he does it here. I hope he does it anywhere, to be honest with you. I think for the fans and for Wake it would be really special to do it in front of the home fans. Yeah, it would be fun.”
We have about an hour before that pursuit begins. Back in a bit with some very Wakey stats.
4:38 p.m.: As the Red Sox gake batting practice down below, a few updates for you.
Dustin Pedroia has been named the American League Player of the Month for July. He follows up Adrian Gonzalez, who took home the honor in June.
Jed Lowrie is in the (club)house. He is working out at Fenway today and will return to Pawtucket to play shortstop Thursday.
Lowrie will also DH on Friday, after which he will be re-evaluated.
Look for a few words from Lowrie on the site in a bit.
Here is the lineup that Tim Wakefield will face in his quest for 200:
Ezequiel Carrera, CF
Jason Kipnis, 2B
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Travis Hafner, DH
Carlos Santana, 1B
Kosuke Fukudome, RF
Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
Austin Kearns, LF
Lou Marson, C
Five of these Indians have faced Wakefield. They are a combined 2-for-29 (.069) with six strikeouts against Wakefield. Tonight’s the night, folks.
3:13 p.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park, where we are getting ready for a belated birthday party for Tim Wakefield, which may or may not include his 200th career win.
If and when he gets to that mark, Wakefield may one day have the lineup card from the game framed in his man cave. And when he hangs it, these are the names he will see:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Carl Crawford, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Josh Reddick, RF
Marco Scutaro, SS
The lineup has limited experience against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco, but those that have seen him are a combined 4-for-7. Mike Aviles, who begins this one on the bench, is 3-for-9 with a home run and a double off the righty.
8 a.m.: The day after he turned 45, Tim Wakefield will try again to pick up career win No. 200 when he opposes the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park.
Wakefield was the tough-luck loser in his first stab at the milestone last weekend in Chicago, falling on the wrong side of a 3-1 score. He gave up just three hits in seven innings.
The knuckleballer is 12-8 with a 4.05 ERA in his career versus Cleveland.
The Indians counter with Carlos Carrasco, who is currently appealing a six-game suspension for throwing at Kansas City designated hitter Billy Butler. Carrasco went 0-5 with a 9.13 ERA in five starts last month.
Wakefield will float in his first one at 7:10 p.m.