The wait continues.
Wakefield allowed four earned runs in 5 ⅓ innings pitched as he failed to get win number 200 in his fifth attempt. Elias says there have been four pitchers since 1900 who needed at least five starts to go from 199 to 200 wins, including the most recent example, Mike Mussina, in 2004. Only two pitchers in Major League history, besides Wakefield, have needed more than five starts to go from 199 to 200 wins. Lefty Steve Carlton needed seven attempts and coincidentally knuckleballer, Charlie Hough, took six starts to reach the 200-win mark in August of 2002.
Despite being winless since July 24, Wakefield has posted three quality starts (6 IP, 3 ER or fewer) in the five games since win 199. He hasn’t allowed more than four earned runs in any of the five starts and has a 4.50 ERA overall. Along the way he also earned an eight-inning complete game, his first complete game since April 22, 2009.
So what happened on Saturday?
Wakefield had trouble keeping the knuckleball out of the middle of the zone, throwing a season-high 37 at the belt line. The Royals feasted on those pitches, going 6 for 14 with three doubles. He also tied a season high by allowing four doubles, three of which happened with men on base. All three doubles led to a run coming in to score.
Wakefield’s next start will likely come against the Texas Rangers on Thursday, but if he hopes to make history then he’ll have to overcome the fact that he has not recorded a win against the Rangers since April 20, 2008.
Tidbit of the Night
Prior to Saturday the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim had never won a game when trailing by two runs or more in the 12th inning or later.
According to Elias, This is the first time in MLB history that two teams won games in the same day when trailing by two-or-more runs in the 12th inning or later.