Caution: Tim Wakefield's Second-Half Performances Can Cause Heart Problems

Dan McConeCorrespondent IJuly 9, 2009

ATLANTA - JUNE 27:  Starting pitcher Tim Wakefield #49 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on June 27, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

I’m going to begin by prefacing:


I love Tim Wakefield. He has been a "soldier" for the Red Sox.


He’s started for them, and he has come in as a long reliever, late-inning reliever, mop-up reliever, and even as a closer.


He is the 21st century version of "Mr. Red Sox."


This season, he’s off to one of his best starts since 1995. That was his first season with the Red Sox, when he was 16-8 with a 2.95 ERA.


This year, Wakefield leads the American League with 11 wins. He is an All-Star, his first appearance in his 17-year career.


Wakefield has been the team savior during difficult times. He’s won big games, and his ability to pitched late into games has saved the bullpen. Plus, he carried the pitching staff when Beckett and Lester struggled in April.


Tim Wakefield has been a pleasant surprise this season.


And why not?


The knuckleballer has routinely been a strong first-half pitcher.


Since 2004, Wakefield is 47-37 with a 4.14 ERA. His WHIP is 1.32, and he allows a home run once every 9.18 innings he pitches.


But, Wakefield’s post-All Star break stats are "Red Flag City."


Wakefield has struggled in the past, and he has bombed in the postseason since being a Red Sox.


He is 26-21 after the All-Star break, a .530 winning percentage.


Wakefield’s ERA jumps up a full run to a 5.18 ERA after the All-Star break, and the right-hander gives up a home run once every 5.18 innings pitched.


What’s worse, these numbers are aided by his terrific second half in 2005 when he was 8-4 with a 4.28 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP.


Take out 2005, though, and his post All-Star numbers are horrendous.


He’s only 18-17, with an astronomical ERA of 5.57 and a WHIP of 1.38.


What's worse is his postseason numbers.


With the Sox, he’s 3-7 with a 8.32 ERA and a 1.68 WHIP.


You want more scary numbers?


How about his 2003 postseason, when he went 2-2 with a 2.92 ERA? Pretty good. The 2.92 ERA was his lowest by nearly four runs.


Without 2003, those numbers skyrocket, though.


He’s 1-5 in the post season with a 12.02 ERA and a WHIP over 2.00. He gives up a home run every three innings he pitches.


What is it?


Is it a temperature thing? Does the air affect his flutterball and make it more hittable during the late summers and early falls?  


Relish it now Sox fans. When Wakefield takes the bump in August, buckle up. It could be a rough ride to the playoffs.