Understand: I like Tim Wakefield. Like him a lot. In in era in which team loyalty has been all but flushed away, he’s been with us through the Stan Belinda, Heathcliff Slocumb, Mark Portugal and Hideo Nomo eras — good times all, for sure — and long been one of the most beloved players on the team. Soft spoken, good natured, and, at various times throughout his nine-year tenure in Boston, a savior, he’s got the personality you want to capture in liquid form and sneak into the clubhouse cooler. If anyone else had given up that Boone home-run, they’d have likely been fitted for Buckner slacks. But not Wakey. We love the guy. I love the guy.

That said, whatever magic he had during the latter half of 2003, that stuff that didn’t just fool but absolutely shut down the Yankees in the ALCS, is gone. He’s not a mystery. The knuckler ain’t knucklin’. Or maybe he’s just got too much on his mind, like being a relatively new daddy. Which is daunting in its own right. Whatever the problem, watching him pitch has become almost as painful as watching Lowe. And as the number of games remaining slowly dwindles, something needs to be done. Do we get another starter and put Wake in the pen? I dunno… but we’re getting to the point where everytime he’s on the mound, we’re giving up a game. And we can’t afford to do that.

Again, I love the guy. I just cringe when I see him on the mound these days.