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.
Nothing is easy here in Boston.
Coming Tomorrow: How good is Dustin Pedroia?