Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Schilling Struggles But Wins Number 198
Curt Schilling won his career 198th game and his sixth of the 2006 campaign as the Red Sox defeated the Orioles, 6-5 in Baltimore last night. Schilling pitched well for the first four innings, but once again ran into trouble in the fifth, as Jay Gibbons and rookie Brandon Fahey (his first career home run) both hit two-run homers that gave the O's a temporary 5-4 lead.
The Sox got two back in the top of the sixth to grab the lead back. Schilling got the first two men out before being lifted by Terry Francona. The bullpen was flawless, as Mike Holtz, Mike Timlin and Jonathan Papelbon held the Orioles hitless the remaining 3 1/3 innings to give the Red Sox their 13th consecutive win over Baltimore. They are two away from the team record, which is 15 straight wins over the Seattle Mariners from 1977-78.
For the second straight start Schilling has squandered an early lead the Sox hitters have given him. In New York last week he had a 3-0 lead before the Yankees came back to beat him and the Red Sox, 7-3. Last night it was a 4-0 lead that evaporated, but this time the Red Sox came to his rescue, and got Schilling his win. Seeing Schilling struggle in the mid-innings is certainly a cause for concern. He seemed to rely on his fastball last night, and threw very few split-finger pitches.
Manny Ramirez and Trot Nixon hit solo homers, and David Ortiz had a clutch run-scoring single in the sixth. It was a night to forget for Jason Varitek, as he went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and hit into a double play. Tek's struggles continue, and I wonder if maybe he could use and additional day off to help him get out of his funk and more importantly, stay sharp for September.
Yesterday there was also a mini-firestorm, as rumors were running rampant that Josh Beckett left Monday's game after the seventh inning because his blister problems had returned. The Red Sox assured everyone that it was a slight twinge in Beckett's back, and nothing more. A web site that I will not name seemed to imply it was Beckett's blister acting up again, and seemed to want to make it a big deal, and showed pictures of the Sox' training staff looking at Beckett's fingers. Beckett reacted angrily when the press asked him about it, and showed the reporters his right hand to assure them that wasn't the problem.
Most Red Sox fans know this web site, that it's a guy who tries to stir up crap, as he sees himself as some kind of sportswriter and news-breaker. Really lame.
And as far as last night's Yankees-Rangers game goes, it shows one thing VERY clearly. Neither team has the pitching to make a serious run at winning a pennant.