I'm sure there's absolutely nothing I can say about Wakey that I have not said a million times in the past except that he only needs 12 wins to become the winningest Red Sox pitcher of all time. I've said statements close to that, such as "Wakefield only needs 14 wins to become the winningest Red Sox pitcher of all time," and "Wakefield only needs 13 wins to become the winningest Red Sox pitcher of all time," but never before have I gotten to use the number twelve. Every fibrous fiber of my immediate being yearns for Tim to get those twelve wins, and every time he has a game like he did on Friday... well, my fibers are happy.
Timmy was classic, spinning 7 innings of knuckleballing madness, allowing a measly two runs. Sure, we've seen BETTER from Wakey, but this was more than enough to satiate me. Timmy kept his pitch count low, finishing the 7th with 83 pitches. We had a four-run lead and a well-rested bullpen, so there was no need to push him further than that. He's not the youngest guy on the staff, after all. Bard pitched a beautiful 8th, and Papelbon pitched a slightly scary 9th, allowing two hits (one a solo home run) but without blowing the game. Very acceptable pitching, everyone! Gold stars all around!
The offense didn't show up nearly as forcefully as they had for the two prior games, only posting six runs... heh, only six runs. I can remember times last month that six runs was all they would score for a week. I like this team better than I liked that April team. I'm sure they like themselves better, too. Down 2-1 in the third, after Timmy had allowed his only two runs on solo home runs, our bats stepped it up in the 3rd. CRW lead off the inning with a solo home run, Munchkin walked, Ernie singled, Youk doubled in Munchkin and Ernie, and then Crawford launched his own home run. Boom! Five runs. I'll take that ANY day.
Combine all that awesome with a Yankee loss, and the Red Sox found themselves in sole possession of first in the ALE. First. It's like a gawddang miracle, I'll tell you what. These are the good days, my friends. Let us feast on all the pitchers in the league and rest our heads on another pennant come the winter! Or, you know, just continue winning games. For now.