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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

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   1. tfbg9 Posted: August 22, 2011 at 01:01 AM (#3905614)
Bah--I'll remember Timlin and Embree far more fondly, save for the 2004 ALCS Wake miracle relief appearance.

Wake was a mediocre pitcher, as his .488 support neutral winning percentage shows--Wake's got 18 net losses saved by the Sox offense over the years. He has an awful, awful record against teams over .500 (worse if you include his multiple postseason shellings). In 1999, IIRC, he was so bad, he lost his starters job for 2-3 years. He had some good years, and he had some real stinkers too. Last year was pretty bad. So is this year.

But, as I have said before, just about every year that Wakefield was good and managed to get himself a postseason start, he'd end up walking off the mound with his head down, having been rocked. In the 2003 ALCS he was really good, but even that one ended horrible (Grady ought to have gone with Williamson, Wake is an idiotic choice in a situation where one run kills you).

As a kid who began to follow the Sox just as the media were starting in with their "chokers" or "curse" stories, and with the double-whammy of being in the NY area; where I'd could get razzed by NYY and NYM fans, the last starter I wanted to pin my hopes to was some gimmick pitch cast-off guy who was as reliable as a rain dance. Turns out my fears were well-founded. Wake was exposed.

Wake, rubber armed, saved their bacon in May of 1995, yes, but then, typically, he came down with his classic case of the yips and got shelled in the playoffs in the CLE sweep. His horrible record in the biggest games of his life is not due to randomness IMHO. Tell you what, pull out your DVD of Game 1 of the 2004 WS. Take a look. I see a guy who could toss that flutter-ball in his sleep who all of a sudden can't find the damn plate to save his life. And then he starts rolling up some juicy meatballs. Anyway, that's how I'll remember him. Sorry, but I can't shake that picture, or those pictures, since it happened so many other times.

To me, the despair-inducing postseason shellackings overwhelm the semi-decent innings eating.

PS-I had the "Every time I get out to a ballgame its Wake on the bump" syndrome as well--and Wake always won! Call me an ingrate.
   2. PJ Martinez Posted: August 22, 2011 at 01:17 AM (#3905625)
I enjoyed this post, but was a little thrown by the past tense in the last paragraph. Did I miss some news or something?
   3. dave h Posted: August 22, 2011 at 01:26 AM (#3905628)
Wakefield is one of my favorite Sox of all time, and I don't understand how anyone can work up so much hate for him. From all accounts he's a good guy who has done everything the Sox have asked of him without complaint. Even if he has this character flaw that he chokes in the playoffs (except for the first time he was there and apparently didn't realize the gravity of the situation), so what? He has been a valuable member of the team - sometimes by pitching lights out (1995, 2002), sometimes by shifting his role (1999-2002). He sucked last year (at the age of 43), but it's not like they're keeping him in the rotation past his usefulness as some favor to him - he's still pitching because they need him at times. And through all this, he's never made as much as $5 million in a season.
   4. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 22, 2011 at 01:41 AM (#3905633)
Wake is one of my all time favorites. I think he gets a bit too much credit sometimes for being a "team guy" (he's made some comments over the years that shake that a bit) but like Varitek, I'm able to look past some of the ball washing and appreciate what he was. Game Five in 2004 will forever be one of the most intense moments of my life as a sports fan and I'll never forget the usually stoic Wake pumping his fist after the inning ending strike out in the 13th.

I think in a lot of ways Tim Wakefield is the kind of guy who is too rare in today's game. Maybe it's perception but it seems like that "mediocre player who remains with one team forever" no longer exists and Wake's association with the Sox (though not his only team of course) just seems like a rarity to me.
   5. Joel W Posted: August 22, 2011 at 05:04 AM (#3905752)
I also had the Wakefield was on the mound for every start syndrome. I went to college in Boston from 2001-2005, and then lived there for a year in 2006-2007. Perhaps I felt like I saw him all the damn time because in that span from 2002-2007 Wake started 165 games and threw 1100 innings. Perhaps the fact that we have three posters who felt that way says something about him, about the fact that he was always there, ready to give you 6 or 7.

I don't really know what kind of a guy Wake is, but I can't really imagine the Red Sox without him at this point. He's almost always been average, almost always shown up and done a decent job, and jesus he was my age now when he started in Boston 16 years ago. He gave the Red Sox 30 career WAR for $50 million dollars. Whatever your inflation adjustment, it's a damn good amount of value.
   6. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: August 22, 2011 at 02:40 PM (#3905902)
As a kid who began to follow the Sox just as the media were starting in with their "chokers" or "curse" stories,
Wait a minute, so you *aren't* like 60 years old? For whatever reason I thought you were a much older guy.
   7. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 22, 2011 at 02:45 PM (#3905903)
Wait a minute, so you *aren't* like 60 years old? For whatever reason I thought you were a much older guy.


Yeah, I had the same reaction.
   8. SoSH U at work Posted: August 22, 2011 at 02:56 PM (#3905911)
I believe he said he was 49 the last time he was ######## about Wake.

Wake is probably my favorite Sox player of all time. I love the knuckleball, always liked his attitude, and there's probably no Red Sox player this side of Johnny Pesky to whom being a member of the Red Sox seemed to hold more meaning. And I'll always treasure his work in 1995, as one of the catalysts to the Sox emerging from the Hobson-inspired doldrums of the early 90s -- the only time in my lifetime the Sox were truly uncompetitive -- into the annual contender they've been just about every year he's been with the club.

And when he won his first two starts for the club on two days rest, well, he had a fan for life.
   9. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: August 22, 2011 at 03:17 PM (#3905931)
I believe he said he was 49 the last time he was ######## about Wake.
So, yesterday?

I don't know that Wake has ever been my favorite, but he's unique, seems like a good guy, had some good years and was almost always at least decent, and clearly loves pitching for Boston. Not entirely unlike Varitek actually.
   10. smileyy Posted: August 22, 2011 at 03:23 PM (#3905939)
What an odd career. He's definitely in my personal Hall of Interesting. Here's a guy who put up 4.3, 3.7 and 3.3 WAR seasons during the middle of his career, and yet, has never made more than 4.6M in a season. I guess its odd to see a guy paid so...accurately.
   11. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 22, 2011 at 03:48 PM (#3905958)
Edit: whoops, thought we were referring to MCoA!

shows me not to RTFP.
   12. Chris Fluit Posted: August 22, 2011 at 06:14 PM (#3906100)
(I also found on the list two of the Hall of Fame’s worst selections – Jesse Haines and Catfish Hunter – so perhaps karlmagnus’ great dream and tfbg’s great nightmare of Hall of Famer Tim Wakefield could come to pass, given the right arrangement of voters.)


There was a third Hall of Famer on that list- Rube Marquard. That's both the list of Tim Wakefield comps and the list of HoF's worst selections.
   13. The Marksist Posted: August 22, 2011 at 06:30 PM (#3906111)
I'm also in the Wakefield Fan Club, and I think there's on simple reason: he's easier to relate to than pretty much every other major league ball player. I'm not big enough, strong enough, or fast enough to play high-level baseball. I can't throw hard enough to pitch beer league ball, let alone Major League ball. But I can imagine randomly discovering that I have a talent for the knuckler and somehow , improbably, forging a career out of it. So yeah. I like Wake.
   14. tfbg9 Posted: August 22, 2011 at 11:24 PM (#3906317)
I'm 50.
When I was 11, the Sox with Tiant pitching, lost the last game of the year to fall short of the playoffs by one half game.

When I was 13, they blew about a 5 game September lead.

When I was 14, they had a 3-0 lead in Game 7 of the WS, only to blow it thanks to one too many eefus balls and a bloop 2 out single in the 9th. They lost by one run.

I really didn't think they'd ever win.
   15. tfbg9 Posted: August 22, 2011 at 11:32 PM (#3906321)
BTW, the Subject of the Thread has been, wisely IMO, bumped back to the OAK series, which also keeps him out of the NYY set.

Smart decision, his fragile psyche is frazzled enough already. And he might have a slim shot at a cheap W against the A's.
   16. ptodd Posted: August 23, 2011 at 05:11 AM (#3906583)
As a FB pitcher, Wake was rather unfortunate in playing in the juiced era in the AL East during the Evil Empire Dynasty (1996-2009) and pitching 1/2 of his games at Fenway.

His 1.8 million per WAR gave the Red Sox all sorts of payroll flexibility to boot.

Be a hard sell for the HOF, but he should be considered if Andy Pettitte is (Pettitte unlike Wakefield pitched in a perfect park for a LHP'er, so the park adjustments for ERA+ are not a good indicator of this)
   17. karlmagnus Posted: August 23, 2011 at 02:26 PM (#3906717)
I'd been out of the US for more than a decade, and came back, unemployed, to job-hunt in April 1995. I caught Wake's first start for the Sox on the TV and followed him over a job-hunting summer and needless to say he has been my favorite Sox ever since. I think if he'd got the extra 20-30 wins of which he was robbed by inept management in 1999-2002 he'd have a shot at the HOF because the voters like him. As it is, I'm rooting for the Clemens/Young record, to get which will now require them to bring him back in 2012 -- if he hadn't been robbed twice by the bullpen in the last 4 games he'd be closing in on it. Being a fan of Wake, I developed an irrational dislike of the pitchers they brought in ahead of him in 1999-2002, none of whom were any good.

I don't see any evidence for Tfbg9's accusations of playoff ineptitude. He pitches less well against patient clubs like the Yankees, because the knuckler is unreliable and his pitch count mounts too far. His strength is the 7-8 inning game against free swingers.

Quite apart from Wake, the majors need more knucklers -- the triumph of low cunning and deep physics over brawn is intrinsically satisfying.
   18. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 23, 2011 at 03:07 PM (#3906765)
I've always loved Wakefield, and although it may be ironic for a Yankee fan, the only time I ever saw him pitch in person was the game that might have marked the high point of his career, an 8.1 inning, 2 run / 2 hit win over the Orioles that brought his 1995 W-L record to 14-1 and his ERA to 1.65. The thing I remember most about that day was seeing his W-L and ERA on the scorecard insert and wondering where in the hell did THAT come from. After that one great year, he's never been much more than a fifth starter or a plug-in, but if you accept him for what he is, it's hard to imagine a much better career.

EDIT: One thing I sure as hell didn't remember about that 1995 game: Willie F. McGee as the starting Red Sox rightfielder! How in the hell did THAT happen? He was hitting .341 after that August game, and wound up with a season OPS+ of 82.
   19. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 23, 2011 at 03:19 PM (#3906780)
an 8.1 inning, 2 run / 2 hit win over the Orioles that brought his 1995 W-L record to 14-1 and his ERA to 1.65. The thing I remember most about that day was seeing his W-L and ERA on the scorecard insert and wondering where in the hell did THAT come from.


I'll never forget that around that time Bob Ryan interviewed some of the Vegas bookmakers. Basically they were saying that the odds of any game he pitched were tilting more than any pitcher except Randy Johnson. Other than the 2004 ALCS watching Wake dominate like that for four months is the most incredible thing I've ever seen as a Sox fan.
   20. tfbg9 Posted: August 24, 2011 at 01:11 PM (#3907685)
And then...he got shelled in the playoffs.
   21. Dale Sams Posted: August 24, 2011 at 02:03 PM (#3907719)
When I was 11, the Sox with Tiant pitching, lost the last game of the year to fall short of the playoffs by one half game.


Actually, they won the last game of that year.
   22. Darren Posted: August 24, 2011 at 02:27 PM (#3907741)
Wake was toast before the playoffs ever arrived in 95. He had a 5.60 ERA for the last 1.5 months of the season. It may have had something to do with the 130+ innings he threw in the previous 2.5 months.
   23. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 24, 2011 at 02:29 PM (#3907743)
I'm going to hijack this thread to ask a rude unrelated question:


Tm F W L GB SRS
BOS F 78 50 -- 1.2
NYY F 77 49 -- 1.6
TBR F 69 58 8.5 0.5
TOR F 65 63 13.0 0.4
BAL F 49 77 28.0 -0.8


Why does BB-Ref's standings show the Red Sox in first place, when in fact they're in second? IMO this throws all their other statistics into grave question and severely damages their credibility.
   24. Dale Sams Posted: August 24, 2011 at 02:34 PM (#3907748)
If the season ended right now,wouldn't the Sox win because...they have more wins? Screw pct. points.
   25. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: August 24, 2011 at 02:35 PM (#3907752)
I guess I don't understand the sheer bitterness in the first post, particularly given that Wakefield pitched extremely well in the 2003 ALCS and in Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS. And I particularly don't get assigning his postseason results to being mentally soft.
   26. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 24, 2011 at 02:37 PM (#3907755)
I'm going to hijack this thread to ask a rude unrelated question:

Because #### the Yankees, that's why.
   27. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 24, 2011 at 02:38 PM (#3907757)
He's just a bitter dude, Joe. Or so it seems.
   28. SoSH U at work Posted: August 24, 2011 at 02:42 PM (#3907759)
Wake was toast before the playoffs ever arrived in 95. He had a 5.60 ERA for the last 1.5 months of the season. It may have had something to do with the 130+ innings he threw in the previous 2.5 months.


Yeah, he clearly had lost it by September. Not that it mattered much. It might have needed to be a best-of-37* before we won one from that Cleveland team.

(Of course, a best-of-37 first-round would have made more sense than the actual set-up for the 1995 AL playoffs, where the 86-win Red Sox got HFA against the 100-win Indians in the first round, while the 79-win Mariners and Yankees squared off in the other series. And, for the ALCS, the M's got HFA against the Tribe).
   29. SoSH U at work Posted: August 24, 2011 at 02:46 PM (#3907762)
Why does BB-Ref's standings show the Red Sox in first place, when in fact they're in second? IMO this throws all their other statistics into grave question and severely damages their credibility.


Only on the front page. Inside, the standings are reversed. The conspiracy widens...

Actually, the same thing happens with the Dodgers and Padres, even though the Pads are percentage points ahead of LA (not that you'd ever think to look beyond the top two spots in the AL East).

I'm guessing the front page standings are set to default to an alphabetical listing when the teams are tied in the GB column. Nah, it's probably Sean subtley trying to effect everyone's perceptions of the AL East race.

Good grief.
   30. Darren Posted: August 24, 2011 at 02:50 PM (#3907769)
I like the combination of #26 and #27.
   31. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 24, 2011 at 02:55 PM (#3907775)
Why does BB-Ref's standings show the Red Sox in first place, when in fact they're in second? IMO this throws all their other statistics into grave question and severely damages their credibility.

Only on the front page. Inside, the standings are reversed. The conspiracy widens...


They obviously only reversed them inside because they were afraid of a lawsuit. Same reason Manny used to duck into the Monster.
   32. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 24, 2011 at 03:08 PM (#3907785)
I like the combination of #26 and #27.

Yeah, I noticed that myself. Works on a few levels.
   33. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 24, 2011 at 03:21 PM (#3907805)
Why does BB-Ref's standings show the Red Sox in first place, when in fact they're in second?


My guess is the program looks at GB to determine the standings then goes to the "official" tie breaker of head to head records which would put the Sox in first. For a fully completed season this makes sense but in season it doesn't work.
   34. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 24, 2011 at 03:28 PM (#3907814)
My guess is the program looks at GB to determine the standings then goes to the "official" tie breaker of head to head records which would put the Sox in first. For a fully completed season this makes sense but in season it doesn't work.

Yeah, and of course I know that. I was just trying to play with a few heads, which I'm sure most people realize and ignore.
   35. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 24, 2011 at 03:31 PM (#3907819)
Oh, just assumed you were curious. I didn't think you were actually as annoyed as the second part of your question.
   36. tfbg9 Posted: August 24, 2011 at 05:11 PM (#3907886)
He's just a bitter dude, Joe. Or so it seems.


Yeah that must be it. I mean, it couldn't be that everybody gives Wake a pass for some unfathomable reason, while the f*cking Sad Sack has given up 50 runs in 54 Red Sox postseason innings, Walking about 5-6 per start in those 7 starts worth of "work". Nothing to do with fighting himself, or maybe pressing a bit, because we all know that ballplayers are wind-up random stat generators. Its an accident that his RA is 8.33 for the Sox in the Playoffs/WS, in 16 appearances. Nope, not a reaction to pressure...cause Wake's AWESOME!

And he lost his rotation spot under Jimy in 99 'cause he sucked so badly. Look at the game logs, km.
   37. dave h Posted: August 24, 2011 at 05:13 PM (#3907887)
So where was the pressure in his first postseason appearances? Did his fragile mental state only kick in when he got older, or do the playoffs not count in the NL, or can he just not handle the pressure of the RED SOX?
   38. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 24, 2011 at 05:29 PM (#3907904)
   39. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 24, 2011 at 05:37 PM (#3907913)
Yeah, I should only like players who are above average in the regular season and perform well in the postseason. Otherwise, I should make a point of disparaging them at every turn.
   40. SoSH U at work Posted: August 24, 2011 at 05:44 PM (#3907918)
Yeah, I should only like players who are above average in the regular season and perform well in the postseason. Otherwise, I should make a point of disparaging them at every turn.


Now was that so hard to admit?
   41. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 24, 2011 at 05:52 PM (#3907923)
Also, poor performance in the postseason is definitive evidence of lack of courage and moral quality, even if regular season stats, in a sample orders of magnitude larger, show absolutely no tendency to failure in the clutch.
   42. dave h Posted: August 24, 2011 at 05:54 PM (#3907926)
Don't forget that he bilked the poor Sox owners of more than 50 million dollars over the course of his career.
   43. villageidiom Posted: August 24, 2011 at 06:25 PM (#3907949)
So where was the pressure in his first postseason appearances? Did his fragile mental state only kick in when he got older, or do the playoffs not count in the NL, or can he just not handle the pressure of the RED SOX?
He couldn't handle the pressure of tfbg9 watching him. The obvious solution, then, is for tfbg9 to stop watching him. It's a win-win!
   44. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: August 24, 2011 at 06:27 PM (#3907951)
Again, could there have been any higher pressure on him when he was out there in extras in Game 5 against the Yankees in an elimination game? Or does that not count because it goes against the batsh*t insane narrative being thrown about here?
   45. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: August 24, 2011 at 06:46 PM (#3907965)
Williams' career, in contrast [to Babe Ruth's], has been a series of failures except for his averages. He flopped in the only World Series he ever played in (1946) when he batted only .200. He flopped in the playoff game with Cleveland in 1948. He flopped in the final game of the 1949 season with the pennant hinging on the outcome (Yanks 5, Sox 3). He flopped in 1950 when he returned to the lineup after a two-month absence and ruined the morale of a club that seemed pennant-bound under Steve O'Neill.
   46. Joel W Posted: August 24, 2011 at 07:20 PM (#3907996)
In 18 career playoff appearances Tim Wakefield put up a WPA of -.3. He had two monstrous starting pitching performances in the 2003 ALCS, the 3 IP in game 5 in 2004, some great work for Pittsburgh. He also had some stinkers: game 2 in 1998, game 3 in 1995, game 4 in 1998 against Tampa. It's hardly the work of a choker. To me it looks like an average, volatile, pitcher being basically average and volatile. Frankly his WPA way exceeds his performance in the playoffs.

He also had that mop up innings soaking performance in game 3 in 2004, which was incredibly useful for series probability added even if it doesn't show up in the wpa.

One more thing about that 1995 game he started, that was the 1995 Cleveland Indians who did that to him. They scored 5.8 runs a game and had Belle, Manny, Lofton, Thome, Baerga, Sorrento, Vizquel, Murray, and Alomar in the lineup against him that day. The OPS+ of those players respectively: 177, 147, 110, 157, 108, 116, 78, 129, 108. It was just a monstrous line up.
   47. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 24, 2011 at 07:51 PM (#3908029)
In 18 career playoff appearances Tim Wakefield put up a WPA of -.3.
Fascinating. I would have expected it to be a lot lower. Going through his playoff career appearance by appearance:

92 NLCS Game 3: 9 IP, 2 R - +.29 WPA, W 3-2
92 NLCS Game 6: 9 IP, 4 R - +.06 WPA, W 13-4
----------
95 ALDS Game 3: 5 IP, 7 R - -.23 WPA, L 2-8
----------
98 ALDS Game 2: 1 IP, 5 R - -.31 WPA, L 5-9
----------
99 ALDS Game 2: 2 IP, 0 R - +.00 WPA, L 1-11
99 ALDS Game 4: 0 IP, 3 R - -.01 WPA, W 23-7
----------
03 ALDS Game 2: 6 IP, 5 R - -.24 WPA, L 1-5
03 ALDS Game 4: 2 IP, 0 R - +.09 WPA, W 5-4
----------
03 ALCS Game 1: 6 IP, 2 R - +.25 WPA, W 5-2
03 ALCS Game 4: 7 IP, 1 R - +.29 WPA, W 3-2
03 ALCS Game 7: 1 IP, 1 R - -.21 WPA, L 5-6
----------
04 ALCS Game 1: 1 IP, 2 R - -.01 WPA, L 7-10
04 ALCS Game 3: 3 IP, 5 R - -.12 WPA, L 8-19
04 ALCS Game 5: 3 IP, 0 R - +.47 WPA, W 5-4
----------
04 WS Game 1: 4 IP, 5 R - -.15 WPA, W 11-9
----------
05 ALDS Game 3: 5 IP, 4 R - -.20 WPA, L 3-5
----------
07 ALCS Game 4: 5 IP, 5 R - -.08 WPA, L 3-7
----------
08 ALCS Game 4: 3 IP, 5 R - -.28 WPA, L 4-13

The story appears to be that a lot his Wake's bad outings were low-leverage, and his 3 IP in Game 5 were so incredibly high-leverage that it was worth as much, in the moment, as two starting losses.

Now, the problem with WPA as a value stat is that it measures the value of game events based on how important they seemed to be in the moment. This creates problems like a walk-off sac fly being worth more WPA than a second-inning homer. Note the reason here, though - it's about how important the event appeared to be as it was happening. If you're going to argue that a player folds under pressure, then you really need WPA to agree with you, because it measures performance directly in relation to pressure. And over his playoff career, despite aggregate poor runs allowed numbers, Wake has been close to dead average when you weight the performance based on the pressure he was under in the games he pitched.
   48. tfbg9 Posted: August 24, 2011 at 11:46 PM (#3908191)
The problem with WPA is that its a near useless stat.
The guy gave up almost a run per inning as a Red Sox playoff performer-that sucks. Any "data" that suggests otherwise is pure crap.

Asserting that he pitched OK is insane. He had like 3 good games and 12 shitty ones. Your post is pure sophism.

Give up 5 runs in 4 innings of game 1 of the WS?
-.15??? That has zero correlation with common sense.

"Let's find a stat that makes Wakefield's 8.33 RA look not so bad." Because he's awesome? karlmagnus would be hard pressed to top that bullsh1t.
   49.     Hey Gurl Posted: August 24, 2011 at 11:57 PM (#3908199)
Another observation is that the more you suck, the less it will hurt your WPA when you continue to suck. If you come in to a 3-1 game and give up a run, that will ding your WPA a bit, but when you give up a second run to make it 5-1 it won't hurt as much because the change from 4-1 to 5-1 isn't as "important" as the change from 3-1 to 4-1. By the time you've given up your 8th run it's hardly going to touch your WPA because going from 10-1 to 11-1 is meaningless. It's like the law of diminishing returns, but inverted.
   50. tfbg9 Posted: August 25, 2011 at 12:06 AM (#3908204)
Three things:

1) I'm not claiming Wakefield pitched poorly for the Pirates in the playoffs. I'm pointing-out that he did for the Red Sox.

2) What would Wake's WPA from, say, Game 2004 WS be if Woody Williams had tossed a shutout?(real, truth-seeking question)

3)
07 ALCS Game 4: 5 IP, 5 R - -.08 WPA, L 3-7
OK. What the f*ck? -.08? This is what you're tossing out there?
   51. tfbg9 Posted: August 25, 2011 at 12:15 AM (#3908205)
I see. Now I know, thanks to this wonder-stat, that Wakefield was under virtually no pressure at all, according to WPA, as he pissed away game 4 of the 07 ALCS. Good to know.

WPA is a nearly useless gimmick stat. Used here quite disingenuously. The guy's PSRA is 8.33 as a Sock. Deal with it. When the team needed him most, he typically was at his worst.
   52. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: August 25, 2011 at 01:00 AM (#3908243)
If we just accept that you despise him because you think he's an awful pitcher and accept that we aren't going to change your mind, will you accept that most of us think fondly of Wake, think he was a pretty decent pitcher (and AWESOME either in the sense that we like the guy and he's unique, or in performance only for limited stretches or specific outings)...and then just LET IT GO?

Christ.
   53. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 25, 2011 at 02:23 AM (#3908378)
1) I'm not claiming Wakefield pitched poorly for the Pirates in the playoffs. I'm pointing-out that he did for the Red Sox.
If your argument is only that Wakefield pitched poorly in the playoffs, I agree.

If your argument instead, is:
His horrible record in the biggest games of his life is not due to randomness
...
Smart decision, his fragile psyche is frazzled enough already
...
the f*cking Sad Sack
...
Nothing to do with fighting himself, or maybe pressing a bit
Then it's precisely on point. If you'd just stop saying that Wakefield lacks moral quality, almost all of this dispute would go away.

What WPA shows is that, in the moments where the pressure was highest, Wakefield was not at his worst. He was ineffective overall, but not in a way that reflects a peculiar lack of courage or whatever.

And, as I've showed several times, and as you've never once disputed, Wakefield's career regular season numbers reflect absolutely no lack of clutch quality. Your argument that he's not tough, that he's a sad sack, etc, rests on a tiny subset of his numbers, which certainly can't sustain that weight.
   54. Baldrick Posted: August 25, 2011 at 02:24 AM (#3908379)
Are you aware of how crazy you sound?

I'm genuinely curious whether you think the entire rest of the world is insane, or whether you grasp how silly you sound and are simply embracing the craziness.
   55. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 25, 2011 at 02:28 AM (#3908385)
Look, we get it, you hate him. You know what, being a baseball fan is fun sometimes. I really don't understand why you feel the need to post "loss" every time Wake is pitching. You don't like him, we get it.
   56. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: August 25, 2011 at 03:06 AM (#3908418)
I can't throw hard enough to pitch beer league ball, let alone Major League ball. But I can imagine randomly discovering that I have a talent for the knuckler and somehow , improbably, forging a career out of it.


What about the acid test -- would you take a fastball in the junk to have Wakefield's career?
   57. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: August 25, 2011 at 02:24 PM (#3908624)
What about the acid test -- would you take a fastball in the junk to have Wakefield's career?


$50 million and two World Series Championships, while being able to 'work' in MLB? Hell yes.
   58. dave h Posted: August 25, 2011 at 02:26 PM (#3908629)
I assume that tfbg9's hatred for Wake is personal - he must have run over his dog or slept with his ex-girlfriend or something. It certainly can't be justified based on his performance, at least not unless he hates a ton of Sox, Ted Williams included (as pointed out above).
   59. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 25, 2011 at 02:50 PM (#3908654)
$50 million and two World Series Championships, while being able to 'work' in MLB? Hell yes.

Yep, I'd do that.
   60. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 25, 2011 at 02:51 PM (#3908655)
Williams' career, in contrast [to Babe Ruth's], has been a series of failures except for his averages. He flopped in the only World Series he ever played in (1946) when he batted only .200. He flopped in the playoff game with Cleveland in 1948. He flopped in the final game of the 1949 season with the pennant hinging on the outcome (Yanks 5, Sox 3). He flopped in 1950 when he returned to the lineup after a two-month absence and ruined the morale of a club that seemed pennant-bound under Steve O'Neill. It has always been Williams' records first, the team second, and the Sox non-winning record is proof enough of that.


I googled that quote and discovered that it was from a Huck Finnegan column in the Boston American that was published on September 28, 1960----the day of Williams' last game!** Maybe tfbg9 should remember that beautiful bit of timing on the day that Wakefield finally hangs it up.

**John Updike quoted this passage in Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu and added "(no sentimentalist, Huck)"
   61. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: August 25, 2011 at 06:03 PM (#3908842)
I googled that quote and discovered that it was from a Huck Finnegan column in the Boston American that was published on September 28, 1960----the day of Williams' last game!** Maybe tfbg9 should remember that beautiful bit of timing on the day that Wakefield finally hangs it up.

**John Updike quoted this passage in Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu and added "(no sentimentalist, Huck)"
Yeah, I knew it from the Updike essay. Updike demolishes that kind of thinking in his own particular way:

For me, Williams is the classic ballplayer of the game on a hot August weekday, before a small crowd, when the only thing at stake is the tissue-thin difference between a thing done well and a thing done ill. Baseball is a game of the long season, of relentless and gradual averaging-out. Irrelevance—since the reference point of most individual games is remote and statistical—always threatens its interest, which can be maintained not by the occasional heroics that sportswriters feed upon but by players who always care; who care, that is to say, about themselves and their art. Insofar as the clutch hitter is not a sportswriter's myth, he is a vulgarity, like a writer who writes only for money.
   62. Dan Posted: August 27, 2011 at 12:56 AM (#3909988)
It's cool that Tim Wakefield was once a pretty good pitcher, but right now he is ####### dog ####. He is sometimes decent for 70 pitches, and always gets rocked at 70-85 pitches. A guy who can sometimes throw 70 effective pitches does not belong in a starting rotation, he belongs in long relief or in a coaching role.

Running him out there for tries at win #200 is an embarrassment to the Red Sox organization, Tim Wakefield himself, and the sport of baseball. If he has any pride or self respect left, he should retire before the only memories anyone has of him are as this pathetic sideshow.
   63. Baldrick Posted: August 27, 2011 at 01:56 AM (#3910039)
Or, alternatively, he's a mediocre pitcher, which is a perfectly reasonable guy to run out there every fifth day for a team who is basically guaranteed a playoff spot.
   64. tfbg9 Posted: August 27, 2011 at 02:28 AM (#3910060)
It'd be just like Ol' Tough as Nails Timmy to never quite make it to 200. There's a certain poetry to it.
   65. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 27, 2011 at 02:28 AM (#3910062)
Tim Wakefield has not been mediocre. He's looking pretty sub-replacement level at this point. This is not acceptable performance.
   66. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 27, 2011 at 02:30 AM (#3910063)
It'd be just like Ol' Tough as Nails Timmy to never quite make it to 200.
Please. Stop it. You're unwilling to argue for this position other than to cite postseason stats. You've already accepted that Wakefield's regular season numbers bear no marks of lack of clutch. You're insulting him, which is obnoxious enough, but you're insulting him based on a premise that you haven't backed up with more than superficial evidence and rebuttals to which you've not addressed.
   67. chris p Posted: August 27, 2011 at 03:16 AM (#3910091)
Please. Stop it.

mca, some of us have the good sense to put him on ignore ...
   68. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 27, 2011 at 03:44 AM (#3910098)
It'd be just like Ol' Tough as Nails Timmy to never quite make it to 200. There's a certain poetry to it.

It took Early Wynn 8 tries and more than 10 months to get that elusive #300. Wake's got a ways to go to match that level of frustration.
   69. J. Sosa Posted: August 27, 2011 at 04:04 AM (#3910106)
Looks like its time to take Old Yeller to the shed...

As for Timmy's post season struggles, I've always chalked that up to weather conditions being unfavorable. If he'd pitched in the Trop or something he likely would have done better.

It is painful watching him now.
   70. Dale Sams Posted: August 27, 2011 at 04:09 AM (#3910107)
Running him out there for tries at win #200 is an embarrassment to the Red Sox organization


As I've said elsewhere, except for tonight, he's been about as effective as Lackey lately, (albiet not able to go as long without losing it). And even if running him out there was an embarrasment. Running him out there as part of a six man rotation keeps pitchers fresh, and enables Tito to finagle with the rotation. Now if you want to argue that Weiland or Doubront (if the arn't hurt) should have his spot...ok.
   71. tfbg9 Posted: August 27, 2011 at 04:16 AM (#3910112)
What WPA shows is that, in the moments where the pressure was highest, Wakefield was not at his worst.


Oh...bullsh1t, but I suspect you know this, and you're being more than a bit of a sophist here. You are not seeking any truth, you just are latching onto a hugely flawed stat that you hope helps your laughable "argument": Wake actually pitched OK in the playoffs, if you "look further inside the numbers", using WPA.

Game 1 of the 2004 WS was a huge game, it was giant pressure. Remember? That's common sense, a WS game is a big pressure game, especially in 2004. Naturally, Wakefield was fairly horrible, giving up 5 runs in 5 frames, coughing-up a big lead, yet WPS only penalizes the guy -.10? This is the kind of crap you're hanging your argument on?

My point is that being the starting pitcher in a playoff or WS game is already high pressure situation, a moment "where the pressure was highest" --all by itself-- and that's simply a common sense assertion, IMO. And in those games, those 11 games that Wakefield started in the postseason, his RA is, by my calculations, 7.5. When Tim started a postseason game, his RA was 7.5, over the course of many years. (and its worse if you only count the games started for the Red Sox). There's absolutely no need to further parse the numbers using WPA, unless of course you are desperate for something, anything, that will make your boy Timmy appear not so bad after all.

And to answer/respond to your strawman, choking is not a moral failure, and I never said it was. I mean, maybe you think it is, but I don't. Its a highly annoying type of athletic failure, one that invites ridicule. Its nearly impossible to prove, yes. But we all know people don't react uniformly to increasing levels of stress and pressure, and IMO again, you are explaining away of lot of crappy pitching, a lot of BB's and HR's, by randomness. And Wakefield has failed badly, disproportionately, over a span of many years in certain types of situations--postseason games, games vs the NYY's, and games against good (+.500)teams.

You've already accepted that Wakefield's regular season numbers bear no marks of lack of clutch.


No I haven't. My, are you on a sophist roll here. More often than not, one'd have to guess, a clutch regular season game for the Sox would be one against a good team (a potential Wild Card rival), and/or in particular the NYY's. Wake has quite the disproportionately bad record in these varieties of games. I guess he's done OK in those other types of clutch games like, say, September in 2003 vs the putrid Devil Rays, or maybe September 2005 against the patsy Orioles, something like that, but I'm not really inclined to check. I'd guess he has done well in games late in the year against bad teams, and I'd suppose he gets credit for those. Be my guest and check if you want to. I mean, I honesty don't see how all 3 "things" can be true and a guy would have a good "clutch" record in "big games", but if you wanna do a study of it, look at all games Wake has pitched late in the year, weighted for strength of opponent or something, and see how he comes out, go ahead. Maybe he has an .850 winning percentage in all September games against bad teams, something like that. I feel being disproportionately bad against good teams, and in particular the NYY's, might suggest a lack of "clutchness". It certainly cant help, I'd have to figure. I'd have to guess the Wake pattern is the same late in the year as the rest of the year--he beats up on patsies, and good teams find a way to let him lose it. I'd also guess some of the pattern might just be the nature of the knuckleball-which I admit I hate. A lot.

Things I've learned from MCOA:

1) Jimmy Carter, he of the humiliation-level landslide electoral refutation, was actually an excellent President. Who knew?
2) Tim Wakefield, he of the 8.33 average runs against per 9, was actually a "close to dead average postseason pitcher". Who knew?


And Teddy was hurt in the '46 WS.
   72. tfbg9 Posted: August 27, 2011 at 04:20 AM (#3910116)
he's been about as effective as Lackey lately,


??? Lackey's got a 3.91 over the last 7 starts, right? Something like that.
   73. tfbg9 Posted: August 27, 2011 at 04:26 AM (#3910122)
right now he is ####### dog ####.

Looks like its time to take Old Yeller to the shed...

Running him out there for tries at win #200 is an embarrassment to the Red Sox organization


Hey! You guys are not being nice.

This is not acceptable performance.


Its...its...its... NOT OK!
   74. J. Sosa Posted: August 27, 2011 at 04:40 AM (#3910127)
re: 71

I'll stay clear of the political stuff, but I do not agree with you at all about Wakefield. Much of your ire at Wakefield seems predicated on Game 1 of the 2004 World Series (a game the team won). Did you watch that series? Clutch or not clutch had nothing to do with it. If you have not watched that game in awhile you should take a look at it. I can not imagine a worse environment to try and get Hall of Fame level hitters out with a knuckle ball. Buck and McCarver even mentioned it during the broadcast. To me, it took real courage for Wakefield to pitch that game. He knew going in he stood little chance. He took the ball anyway. To attribute cowardice or some other type of moral failure to Wakefield for that game is (to be polite) absurd.

I do not understand the animus. He carried the team in the 2003 ALCS and has made contributions to the team on the field for many years.
   75. Dale Sams Posted: August 27, 2011 at 04:46 AM (#3910134)
Lackey's got a 3.91 over the last 7 starts, right? Something like that.


I got a little over 4.60. I might be off.
   76. tfbg9 Posted: August 27, 2011 at 04:52 AM (#3910135)
Much of your ire at Wakefield seems predicated on Game 1 of the 2004 World Series


Ugh.

I was using it as an example of why WPA is a bogus stat (correction btw, its -.15)...and what about all the other times he stunk up the joint? Bad weather I suppose.

Buck and McCarver even mentioned it during the broadcast.


Well, that seals it.

He carried the team in the 2003 ALCS


Did you watch, you know, ALL the games?
   77. tfbg9 Posted: August 27, 2011 at 04:54 AM (#3910136)
75-compare their RA's?
   78. J. Sosa Posted: August 27, 2011 at 05:10 AM (#3910143)
tfb9, that 2003 team was my favorite Sox team ever. It was a flawed team with heart. Wakefield was a big part of that. If all Wakefield did in that series for you was one pitch in extra innings in relief, I don't know what to say. As someone mentioned upthread, it appears to be personal, for whatever reason. Wakefield arrived at his performance in an unusual fashion, but I'm not quite sure what you wanted out of the man. He gave everything he had, and most of the time it was an asset to the team. I don't think I'm a rube for being grateful. That Wakefield seems to be one of the more sterling people in baseball only adds to it. The things you have written about Wakefield the last few years have been in Chass/Musial territory. There is little point in further interaction with you regarding Wakefield.
   79. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 27, 2011 at 10:42 AM (#3910169)
Game 1 of the 2004 WS was a huge game, it was giant pressure. Remember? That's common sense, a WS game is a big pressure game, especially in 2004. Naturally, Wakefield was fairly horrible, giving up 5 runs in 5 frames, coughing-up a big lead, yet WPS only penalizes the guy -.10? This is the kind of crap you're hanging your argument on?
It's not very complicated. He was spotted leads of 4-0 and 7-2. Pitching with a lead that large is not a particularly high-leverage outing. He left with the Red Sox still in the lead by a couple runs. Wakefield didn't pitch well, but if you're looking for a game full of highly-leverage, clutch moments, that wasn't it.

If you're looking for a game that was truly full of high-leverage moments, it's Game 4. Wake's WPA for just those three innings is almost twice as great as the WPA he lost in some of his poor starts. That's the main way that Wake manages to have a better WPA than he should based on his RA - he was better in the highest leverage innings than he was in the lowest leverage innings in the playoffs.

What WPA does is precisely on point - it measures game pressure by leverage at the time. This makes it a bad value stat, because "leverage at the time" is not the same as real leverage, but it makes it a good stat to check if a player has underperformed in the clutch. Do you understand how WPA works? All you've done here is say "sophist" and "bogus stat" and looked up a single counter-example. That's not really engaging with the argument.

As I showed in the thread last year, the Red Sox have won slightly more Tim Wakefield starts than you'd expect given his RA and run support. He has been slightly "clutch" at turning runs into wins. You have never disputed the finding, so I figure you agree that Tim Wakefield has shown no tendency to cough up leads or be unclutch in winning games, compared to his overall quality as a pitcher. That's the main way in which pitchers can be clutch or unclutch, and your implicit agreement on that point is what I was talking about.

It seems like you are arguing, now, that some of those games were more highly leveraged than others, in terms of playoff significance. That's fair, they were. You have not shown, however, that Wakefield pitched better or worse in more highly leveraged games. You have an inference that he did, based on his numbers against +.500 teams, but that is not the same as actually showing that it happened. I find that argument weak - if you can show, systematically, that Wake has pitched worse in games that mattered more for the playoffs, I'm open to the argument, but you have not made said argument in a convincing way.
   80. tfbg9 Posted: August 27, 2011 at 04:05 PM (#3910262)
Ugh. No.
I'm saying that a postseason start is a pressure game. And he has more or less been shelled in postseason starts.

I would guess his RA in the relief appearances is bad as well, Game 4 2004 ALCS nonwithstanding.

I suppose when you get right down to it, you might say if you were looking for a pattern in a pitcher that fit the mold of "guy you start to suspect can be a bit of a choker", Tim Wakefield seems to have that sort of pattern to me.
   81. tfbg9 Posted: August 27, 2011 at 04:11 PM (#3910266)
Like I said, you wanna look at the game logs go, ahead.
People like us, we gotta work.
   82. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 27, 2011 at 04:22 PM (#3910273)
Tim Wakefield's career, on superficial analysis, sort of looks like the career of a guy who may be a choker. Possibly it does, depending what you think a choker looks like.

This is not a usable standard of evidence. If we believe in everything that sort of looks like it may be right, we'll believe innumerable false and contradictory things. You need to present evidence that goes far beyond that weak level to back up your claims.

Or, you could stop insulting Tim Wakefield. Either make the argument with evidence, or stop doing this.
   83. tfbg9 Posted: August 27, 2011 at 05:24 PM (#3910315)
Pitching with a lead that large is not a particularly high-leverage outing.


It may not pressure-packed as late in a close WS game, but all innings as a WS starter when the game is still in doubt are high pressure, and extremely important to the team.

Tim Wakefield's ERA's (remember, his RA's are disproportionately worse) in the 10 postseason series he has been allowed to pitch in, as a Red Sock: 11.81, 33.75, 13.50, 3.52, 2.57(not a series our friend remembers fondly, I'd guess), 8.58, 12.27, 6.75, 9.64, 16.88.

He's been given 10 shots. He sucked horribly in 8 of them, and in one of the other two he rolled-up the Aaron Boone meatball. I'll always be grateful for the 2004 ALCS miracle.

Like I said a year or two ago...I had noticed a pattern, I thought. It seemed to me that Wakefield was under-performing in games that were important to me, as I sat down in front of the big Sony. I tried to figure out a way to check that out--and came up with 4 areas: September/October regular season games when the Sox were in the hunt for a playoff spot, games vs the NYY's, vs other good teams, and the postseason. And guess what? He's sucked in all of them.

IMO, the Sox were still in a "race" come September during the 96, 98, 99, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 07, 08, and 09 seasons.
Here's Timmy's ERA's: 3.55, 5.53, 4.40, 5.23, 1.84 (atta boy!), 2.01 (hurrah!), 7.24, 3.15, 8.76, 6.65, and 8.36...not too good, eh? (Also, the Sox were still in the fight in August of 2000, where we see Wake tossed-up an 0-4 record and 7.57 ERA. I did not count these games) So anyway, I got 11 "instances"--11 Septembers where the team was counting on Wake to help 'em seal-up a postseason spot. His ERA's, quick and dirty; simply adding up the ERA's and dividing by 11...5.15. And we all know Timmy's never been as good as his ERA. 11 chances, 4 good, one meh, 6 bad. Doesn't strangle ya', but it does fit my general, perceived pattern of a guy who seems at his worse, by and large, when the games are more important.

See, I knew my impression of Wakefield as a bit of a choker was not coming out of thin air.
   84. tfbg9 Posted: August 27, 2011 at 06:22 PM (#3910355)
I have Wake's lifetime regular season RA as 4.97. His RA in the above important Sep./Oct. games is 5.29...when you remove the Sep./Oct. games above you get 4.60...so in all games that are not September/October playoff hunt games, Wake's RA is 4.60, and when the team is fighting for a spot late in the year, I get 5.29--in 332 innings of work in Sep./Oct. he gave up 195 runs.

So, Wake is horrible in the postseason, has a .429 WP vs. good teams, sucks vs the NYY's to a tune of .414 WP and a 5.44 RA, and, best I can tell, gets considerably worse when the playoffs are on the line late in the year.

Bit of a choker, no? But what's his WPA? That's what we really need, right?
   85. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 27, 2011 at 06:25 PM (#3910361)
As I showed in the thread last year, the Red Sox have won slightly more Tim Wakefield starts than you'd expect given his RA and run support.


That's primarily due to four seasons: 1995, 1996, 1998, and 2007. In most of the rest of his career, Boston has won Wakefield starts at about the rate that you would expect (barely over .500) given the distribution of runs scored and allowed while Wakefield was pitching - and much of that was a result of things that happened after Wakefield left the game, as Wakefield himself has fewer decisions than a typical starting pitcher would in the same circumstances.

-- MWE
   86. tfbg9 Posted: August 27, 2011 at 06:51 PM (#3910383)
OK, here's 6 things I admire in Tim Wakefield:

1-He genuinely seems to have a real sense of gratitude about his good fortune as a man.

2-When he was on the mound when I was at the ballpark, he always won.

3-He loves the Red Sox.

4-He is far less concerned with piling-up multiple millions of $'s than other pitchers.

5-He clearly is not one of those people who pretend they believe the universe happened by pure accident.

6-Game 4 2004 ALCS. He somehow sucked-it up. It makes-up for everything else. It really does.
   87. Darren Posted: August 27, 2011 at 07:11 PM (#3910390)


5-He clearly is not one of those people who pretend they believe the universe happened by pure accident.


Plus he kills animals for fun!
   88. dave h Posted: August 27, 2011 at 07:50 PM (#3910408)
6-Game 4 2004 ALCS. He somehow sucked-it up. It makes-up for everything else. It really does.


Except that it obviously doesn't for you. Instead of taking those things you listed (even 5, which is really an a**hole-ish thing to say in this thread) and having reason to admire and like the guy, you make your best effort to find a reason to hate him. He doesn't pitch as well in the playoffs, against above .500 teams, or the Yankees. First of all, that's really triple-counting one thing. Second, isn't that true for everyone? It's quite possible that in his case he takes a bigger hit than usual - he is a rare type of pitcher and may suffer more against good lineups. He may also suffer in cold weather. Regardless, even if you take that into account in some way and ding his career for it, he's still been a steal for the Sox over his career.
   89. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: August 27, 2011 at 08:04 PM (#3910421)
tfbg9 is needed to offset karlmagnus.
   90. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: August 28, 2011 at 08:20 PM (#3910988)
tfbg9 is needed to offset karlmagnus.
That's like saying diarrhea is needed to offset constipation. I'd rather do without either.

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