They always will haunt me although we’re apart

A photo I took of The Big Unit in May 2006.

Well it was a good day for the old guys, eh? On our side, Tim Wakefield pitched 6.2 innings and after a rough 3rd inning gave up only 3 runs (on 8 hits). Teams are batting .248 against him, his WHIP is 1.40, his record is 7-3 and he has a 4.50 ERA. In the 70 innings he’s pitched this season, he’s given up 35 earned runs and only five home runs. He has his moments and he makes us nervous (like he did yesterday in the 3rd) but, really, there isn’t any starter we have right now that I have more confidence in than Wake.

So many were complaining about keeping Wake on as the season began. If not for him, the team could be in big trouble right now instead of sitting in first place tied with New York. The Sox have won 10 out of the last 16 games (including the games at Fenway against the Jays and Mets) so it’s nice that the team has calmed the freakouts for a while. A good series against the Rangers will help quell the fears of all the worrywarts.

Over in the National League, Randy Johnson won his 300th game. I try to pretend that he never played with the Yankees because I always really liked him. So I conveniently ignore those two seasons he spent in the Bronx. Sure he’s cranky but I can look past that because I absolutely love to watch him pitch. And the fact that he’s most likely the last pitcher to do this makes it that much more impressive and a tad bittersweet. For all the stories out there about what a crabapple Johnson is, I found a good one that I think is worth sharing. PawSox broadcaster Dan Hoard shared it on his blog:

Chris Carter became friendly with Johnson when they were both in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. In fact, Carter earned Johnson’s respect when he was the only left-handed batter that was willing to face him in spring training. Once after Carter hit a few line drives off of Johnson in BP, a teammate dared him to dish out a little trash talk.

Chris took the bait – he approached the “Big Unit” in the clubhouse and said, “Man, I really hit some rockets off of you today.” Johnson gave him the death stare and said, “And you had better never do it again,” before breaking into a big grin.

As it turns out, Johnson appreciated the fact that Carter wasn’t intimidated by him in the batters box or the clubhouse.

See? He’s cranky but not evil. And I’m pleased that I got to witness (well, through television anyway) many of those 30 wins.

For the uninitiated: Tim Wakefield will be 43 in August. Randy Johnson? 46 in September. The old fellas rule!

Tonight the Red Sox play the Rangers in a three-game series at Fenway. The Rangers dropped two to the Yankees before heading into Boston so I’m hopefully they’ll continue the trend in Boston. To see how one of the Rangers looks at the series, check out Rangers relief pitcher CJ Wilson’s Twitter feed. Always an entertaining read.

Brad Penny against Kevin Millwood tonight. Here is where I refrain from criticizing Penny for luck (and, if I’m being fair, there hasn’t been much to criticize of late!). Bring us a win, Brad!

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