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Curt Schilling is an interesting case.

At times, he appears to be an “ace.” Then, within minutes, the opposition has four runs are on scoreboard.

While it’s obvious he is not a stopper, a. k. a. an ace any more, he is still very productive and very importat to this team come October, which could be his last month as a Red Sock (more on this topic later).

Through today, his record is 8-6 with a 4.04 ERA.  He’s been on a pace of three very good starts every five outings. Is that No. 2 stuff? That is up for debate.

Honestly, he appears to be in the transition stage of power pitcher to Tom Glavine, with a little harder fastball. His strikeout-per-inning average through last year is now about 0.67 strikeouts per inning.

The problem is his pitch count hovers near 100 in the sixth inning, rather than seventh or eight, like the old days. But that being said, he has been very, very good a lot of times. It seems like that one bad inning has hurt him.

Let’s look at the plusses and minuses. 

 Positives: He’s consistent, always giving the Red Sox a chance to win … He has a wealth of successful experience in playoff baseball … He loves pitching in Boston … If he can keep away from bad inning, is a No. 2 pitcher … Is rested because of seven week layoff from June 18 to Aug. 6.

Negatives: He has become a 6-inning pitcher (six of last seven starts six innings or less) … Doesn’t strike people out like he used to … Can No. 2 or No. 3 guy tax bullpen like he probably will? 

This question appears to be unanswerable (is that a word?) right now.  A few factors to consider are Schilling’s next four starts and Tim Wakefield’s performance. Wakefield has been red-hot, but as a knuckleballer he can change with the weather.

While Schilling is still good, as a No. 2, doesn’t he lose in the matchup versus Andy Pettitte or Chien-Ming Wang, if there was one?

I believe he will have a good month and will take ahold of the No. 2 spot, which was being groomed for Dice-K. But Schilling will have to be a seven-inning pitcher.

I’d be interested in what you think.

 Another question to ponder is next year. Similar to Mike Lowell, the Red Sox have some thinking to do. Schilling’s best days are behind him, but he still could be a 15-win guy if he finds himself as a new pitcher. But that means Schilling’s days of $13 million per year are probably over.

Maybe the compromise would be a 2-year, $20 million deal, with incentives that could get him is $13.5 million per. Like Lowell, Schilling would want one more year than the Sox would initially offer.

Now, the Sox could go another way and decide it’s time to cut bait and go with Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz. Both could be very, very good, but both could be OK.

Nothing is easy here in Boston.

Coming Tomorrow: How good is Dustin Pedroia?

  • http://jddrewrelieffund.blogspot.com Colin

    Schilling is definitely the No. 2 starter come playoff time. Not only does he have playoff experience, he is probably the best big-game pitcher of the last decade. Even though he hasn’t dominated this year, you just know that he will step up when it matters most.

  • Justin

    You’re gonna laugh at me!- BUT, I think they should sign shilling for next year, if he is willing to sign a 1-year deal, and switch to a 6 man Rotation! Why? i’ll explain:

    1) Wakefield and Shilling are both over 40 and pitch better on an extra day rest (just look at wakefield’s recent success!!)

    2) Dick-K is used to the extra day between starts and appears to be exhausted at this point in the season.

    3) Beckett has a history of blister problems and the extra day could help!

    4) Buchholz is under 25 and they are concerned about innings pitched & Lester is still figuring things out!

    Also if any of the 6 don’t work out you have options! Thoughts?
    -J

  • http://blogs.eagletribune.com/sports/ Bill Burt

    Justin
    You stole my thunder. Though I believe I mentioned this in a previous post about six weeks ago. The six man rotation, I believe, is the wave of the future, with the goal of saving arms. You could make a case for the Sox right now. Great post.

  • Justin

    Bill,

    Sorry about that (i didn’t read your blog post 6-weeks ago but i’ll have to look it up), I keep your thunder in my kitchen and use it to scare the dog when he tries to get into the garbage…. so much better than the electric fence!!!!!

    anyway, It may be the wave of the future (6 man rotations, not thunder fences), as long as the future hold pitching prospects who will pitch for peanuts! Most teams can’t afford a 6 man rotation if they are making in excess of $13million. However, it is a great opportunity to save arms, transition prospects, and hang on to Veteran players just a bit longer…..

    -J

  • Justin

    PS: I like the sox’s chances with the following rotation for next year:

    1) Shilling
    2) Beckett
    3) Dice-K
    4) Wakefield
    5) Lester
    6) Buchholz

    -J

  • http://blogs.eagletribune.com/sports/ Bill Burt

    Let’s get back to Schilling and his spot in the playoff rotation and possibly next year’s contract.

  • Kelly

    I believe Schilling is a No. 3 at best right now. As you said, he’s a six-inning pitcher. If he’s your second best pitcher, you are in trouble. I like his experience, but I like it at No. 3. The problem, who is No. 2? If it’s not Wakefield or Matsuzaka, then it has to be Schilling if he is a little better than he’s been lately. Honestly, I’d love to see him throw seven innings.

  • Justin

    Shilling will start game one no doubt. Tito is VERY loyal to Shilling….I do not think that Beckett thinks that he will start game 1, despite deserving it! ie Shilling gets it based on his resume! -J

  • http://blogs.eagletribune.com/sports/ Bill Burt

    Justin, not to burst your bubble, but Beckett will be starting Game 1 of any series if everyone is rested. He is the ace of this staff. The tough part is who is No. 2? Maybe it is Schilling.

  • Justin

    ahah Bill,

    Glad to see you feel the need for the condescending attitude. I guess working at the eagle tribune is hard on your self esteem ;-) i can see why! Perhaps i need to preface my opinion w/ “IMO”. IMO, which is Schilling will get the ball in game one. Personally, I hope you’re right and I’m wrong..

  • http://plls.blogspot.com s1c

    I don’t think that Schilling will be back next year. After this season I expect the Jamesian boys will project 10 and 8 wins for Schilling in the next two years. That means that the most they would be willing to pay him would be probably 12 million for both years. Also, Schilling will want to see if he can do better somewhere else and I think he has enough left in the tank that he can get 10-11 mil a year from someone. Enjoy the big boy while you can because after this year you will never see him again in a Sox uniform.

  • Sheryl

    I think Schilling is our number two through a process of elimination. Who else would you make #2 right now? I am much more comfortable with Schilling being #2 than Dice-K. You mentioned Schilling having that one bad inning but it still doesn’t compare to the one bad inning Dice-K seems to have each outing. I am leary about putting Wake there b/c like you said, that knuckleball changes like the weather even though his record this year would make us look like liars! Yes Schilling is a different type of pitcher than he was even a season ago but the dedication, work ethic, & playoff experience is still there and I think that will make him a successful #2 starter come playoffs!

  • John

    I do feel Beckett will be the number 1 starter in the playoffs, but I would rather see him start in the first road game (if Red Sox hold onto 1st overall place). The reason is, Beckett this year is much better on the road than at home. He only has 2 losses on the road and has a 4.8 era at Fenway.
    I would do
    Schiling
    Dice-K
    Beckett

  • mr joshua

    Schill is most definitely a #2.

    I’m really concerned about a failing Dice-K and Okajima as we go into September. Got past by the skin of our teeth last night. I think the O’s are going to split the series with us and the Raze are on an awesome tear now. So I’m projecting 3 and 4 over the next 7 games. If the Yankees go 5 and 1 that means the spread will be 3 or 4 games at the start of the last series. I can’t remember the last time we beat the yankees.

    So on 9/17 this will be a dead heat.

    our last 6 games are against the a’s and the twins. I hate this schedule. I think we’re screwed again. I know it. I can feel it in my bones.

    Schill is the greatest post game pitcher in the history of the game. But will we get there?

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