Timmy! Wakefield was set to throw his first complete game since August 19, 1998. He began the 9th inning having retired the last 10 Devil Rays, but Walker dropped a popup for an error and after a fielder's choice and a single, Wakefield was pulled (and received a huge standing ovation). I got nervous as Kim walked his first batter to load the bases. But after an RBI-grounder, Baldelli lined to center and Boston had a 4-3 victory. And at this point, a win is a win, especially if it comes after a Seattle loss. The wild card lead is back to a handsome 2½ games because the Mariners lost 2-1 to the Rangers in 10 innings.
Mueller left last night's game with back spasms, but the Professional isn't worried. Damon thinks he'll be able to play tonight also, but with rain today in Cleveland, waiting until Saturday would be wise. ... Guregian on Pedro and John Henry. ... Re the fuss with the bullpen TV, one AL scout says of the Red Sox: "They've been cheating all year. We've been trying to find out how, but we knew there was something."
Manny Ramirez's 35th home run of the season came in the 6th inning and it gave Boston a 4-2 lead. It was an obsence blast, crushed over everything in left, into what was measured as an 18 mph wind. "When he got back to the dugout, his teammates were all shaking their heads in disgust because having that kind of power should be illegal."
Sean McAdam notes Grady's new strategy of letting the starters pitch longer: "Expect more of the same in the postseason. The inference, by now, is clear: the less you see of the beleaguered bullpen, the better off the Red Sox are." This is not good. The chances of getting complete games in the playoffs are slim (and why would you want to tire out Pedro?) and if the bullpen is rusty or if Grady doesn't know who he can count on, it'll be a disaster. One side benefit, though, is that the Sox may carry only 10 pitchers, which would help their bench.
Angelos on Steinbrenner: "There goes George again. He didn't get his way. Like a spoiled child, he berates and insults others, never realizing that his tirades strongly suggest that he may very well be the one who's suffering from the condition he attributes to others." ... More humor. ... Art Martone wrote to correct me that Bob Ryan, in the quote I snipped yesterday, was talking about Joe Kerrigan, not Jimy Williams. That make more sense; Kerrigan was criticized quite a bit during his brief stint as manager (unfairly in my opinion). ... Tonight: Seattle at Oakland (Franklin/Hudson); Burkett/Stanford in Cleveland at 7:05 pm.