Adjustment made

Curt Schilling challenged himself to make adjustments last time out and that’s exactly what he did. He said he was overthrowing his fastball, so tonight, if you noticed, the radar gun readings were consistently in the low 90s and the man’s location was pinpoint. His split was the best it has been all year.

If Schilling can successfully make the adjustment from a fireballer to a painter — a low 90s painter– that can only bode good things for the Red Sox. This guy is such a smart pitcher that you have to think he will make the necessary adjustments.

Much like Bill Parcells’ press conferences were must-listen when he coached the Patriots, a post-start Schilling presser falls into the same category. He is entertaining and insightful and nearly always gives you some choice annecdotes.

Tonight he spoke of how a friend of his who has ALS and e-mails him before every start told Schilling, "I lost the ability to talk and
to walk, and if all you have to do is make an adjustment on your fastball, get
your frickin [butt] out there and make an adjustment."

Well put. I also enjoyed listening to Schilling talk about how this version of the Yankees, minus Matsui and Sheffield, needs to be stomped on. Most pitchers would say, "They’re still a Major League team" and then utter a bunch of other boring cliches. Schilling is realistic and he notes that this is the time to pounce on those Yankees.

Did everyone enjoy watching Alex Cora tonight? I wonder if the Red Sox would be better suited having Cora in the lineup more often. He does all the little things and is a better hitter than Gonzalez. He also holds his own defensively.

Obviously the big concern tonight was Foulke. He had nothing. It seems as if he’s sort of hit a plateau. You wonder if he is ever going to regain that level that made him such a great closer two years ago. I’m not seeing it, but who knows.

Boomer in the rotation on Friday. That’s great news.

As for the fact that he’s not talking to the media, big deal. I think we’ll all survive. His quotes were taken out of context? I was there. He should know better. How long has he been around now? He should know how the game works. When he says things, it’s going to get in print and fans and other players are going to interpret it however they wish.

To me, David Wells is the Charles Barkley of baseball. He talks first and thinks later. Whatever. He should just pitch, and talk to the media only about his own pitching and not wax poetic on his opinions of issues, unless he is prepared for the fallout when those opinions are aired!

Oh well, that’s all for me.

Ian.

25 Comments

If Foulke had nothing, then why did Tito throw him out there? Hopefully this would allow Foulke to refine himself.

Cora was unbelievable tonight.

Another thing: why didn’t Schilling come back out for the 9th? As much as I hate to admit that, yes, there are about 5 more months of baeball (counting playoffs), most people would prefer Curt back out there tonight after seeing Foulke falter. He deserved a chance at CG, at least.

Same question here about Cora sharing more. Same reservation here about Foulke. Same sentiments here for Wells: “Just shut up David and pitch.” Coco has been out weeks. He has not had a chance to make his own imprint on the team. I look forward to him returning. But, the Sox haven’t skipped a beat, and their play have allowed us not to miss him. I applaud every Red Sox who has swung a bat, stolen a base, turned a double play, run down a fly ball, thrown a pitch and gotten an out so far this season. This is such an excellent team. Better all around than last year or even 2004, in my opinion. They can pitch! They can catch! And, they can hit! AND, they’re doing it with less hair and fewer camera and microphone hogs! Compliments to Theo and the front office staff and ownership. With all our fears last winter over whether the sky was falling, the pieces of the puzzle fell together pretty tight, didn’t they? Keep on ‘em, Wake and Matt!!! 3-OF-3

We’re seeing a master of pitching quickly making the adjustments he needs to make as he enters another stage of his career. The fine all-around play of Alex Cora is another thing that stands out in my mind from last night’s game. He was the complete ballplayer out there last night. It shows the depth the Sox have. To me, that’s one of the earmarks of a team that’s headed for a championship, in baseball, football, or any team sport. On any given day, there will be someone who’ll come through and get it done. Another earmark is players who can “make big plays in big games, and in big situations,” as we say in both baseball and football, who can take it up yet another notch when a lot is on the line. The Sox have them, too. Manny and Papi are two who come to mind. Now into the negative and grouchy zone, which, it seems, I always visit when the AL NY franchise is involved. It’s a shame Schilling wasn’t allowed to finish his masterpiece. Even if he was getting a little tired, he wouldn’t have done any worse than Foulke. It seems Francona is always rehabilitating someone, someone he’ll give more work when an opportunity like last night’s huge lead presents itself. I, for one, am getting tired of Foulke’s rehabilitation program. It’s not working! Why does every opposing team seem to hand the AL NY franchise some kind of lift before the game is over, down for the count though they may have them?

Not to make excuses for Foulke, but I have heard the theory that relief pitchers that are used to coming into games in pressure situations often falter when they enter games with a big lead. The reasoning is that their adrenaline is not as high and their overall mindset is not as focused.

Either that, or Keith Foulke has all but lost the ability to maintain a consistent level of play. I hope it’s the former, but I fear it’s the latter.

Other than that, what a game!

Did anybody besides me notice the way Manny ran when he hit that home run? It looked to me like he couldn’t make up his mind whether to go into a home run trot or hustle it out because it might drop in. I found it a little comical, but also felt that it was a great reminder that Manny has left behind his lackadaisical baserunning style of a few years ago. I really think his repuation as a hitter overshadows the other aspects of his play. He may not be a complete “5-tool guy,” but he has become very solid in all facets of the game.

I like Schilling’s attitude; STOMP ON THE YANKEES!! Heck yes, kick ‘em while they’re down! You don’t win championships by taking it easy on teams that are having problems. All that stuff about “They’re still a great team blah blah blah” just sounds like you’re giving yourself an excuse to lose. Go for the throat.

Hey Ian, just a quick question: I just read the note about Gabe Kapler’s continued improvement and possible near-future rehab assignment. When Kapler is ready to return to the majors, do you think the Sox will continue to carry Willy Harris, or is it more likely to be Manny, Coco, Trot, Willy Mo and Gabe? I can’t imagine that they’ll carry six outfielders on the 25-man roster.

I’m probably in the minority, but I think it was fine taking out Schilling for Foulke last night. Schilling is 39, the game was well in hand, and he has struggled since his last 133 pitch outing. No reason to risk it. Foulke had been pitching better of late and I still think we might eventually need Papelbon in the starting rotation. The only way that is going to happen is if Foulke can prove he can still pitch. He needs innings anywhere he can get them to get that done.

I really enjoyed seeing Curt come roaring back last night against the Yankees. It was a great pitching performance from a guy who is probably the smartest pitcher in the game. I think Schill brings an edge to this team that was lacking last year without his presence in the rotation. Not only does he come in and have the ability to intimidate lineups, but he also has an attitude that this team needs. His comments about stomping on the throats of the Yankees are a great example of some of the intangibles that he provides to this team…something that so many players today don’t bring to the clubhouse. There are many people out there who criticize Schilling for being outspoken and having an opinion on everything. The fact is, we all have opinions on everything, I enjoy Curt because he doesn’t just go out and pitch every 5 days, he also brings a real presence to the clubhouse that cannot be matched.

Ray,
I agree. I don’t think Schilling cares as much about the CG stat as people would think. He’s a smart guy, and probably knows that the rest is good for him, as well as that the work is good for Foulke. Its funny; If Tito had left Curt in people would be asking why he didn’t pull him in such a blowout and save some of his arm for his next start.

Personally, I think Foulke’s days are numbered. With Hansen as a closer and Papelbon in the starting rotation, Foulke is merely an overpaid middle reliever. I just wish he’d get good enough to trade.

Yes, you are right. Curt Schilling made a success in pitching adjustment and showed himself the real ace of the team.
In addition, I appreciate Youk. He disturbed Wang by going out with four balls. I believe that he is really essential.

Great game! Cora looked awesome. I think it was a good opportunity to see how Foulke would pitch in a low-pressure situation. Not so great the outcome, though. I think he has lost his confidence in himself.
Does anyone else think that David Wells’ contract should have language about a muzzle in it? He should NEVER open his mouth. Even if he’s not saying something stupid, then he’s been baited into an inappropriate remark.

I keep reading that we should have Papelbon in the starting rotation. I know we need someone else in there, as it’s very clear that DiNardo is just not getting the job done, but if Jonathan moves out of the role of closer, who’ll then be our stopper?? Without Foulke for sometime last year we struggled mightily late in games. I see that Wells is starting against the Rays Friday night. I’m still more than a bit wary of David being back. But if he can get the job done maybe the rest falls into place. I’m hoping for the best possible comeback for him.

Wells being back is anything but good news. Let’s be realistic here. He is 43 years old. Roger Clemens is 42. Roger Clemens is on the brink of retirement, yet Wells still thinks for some reason he can be consistently effective. He isn’t in shape, he isn’t Roger Clemens, and he should just retire so the Red Sox can get on with the decision of who to start fifth. Wells realistically will not win a World Series the way he is pitching.
This Arroyo trade still looks dumb.

-A

http://catchingredsox.mlblogs.com

not to rain on the Cora parade, but he has made 3 errors in about 60 innings whereas AGon has made only 1 in 300+ innings. good bat, but I’ll take the defensive expertise…

I can certainly understand having reservations about David Wells’ return. I have some myself. But at this point I am still willing to reserve judgment and admit that Terry Francona, Theo Epstein and others who have a say in these decisions know a heck of a lot more than I do about evaluating a player’s abilities. If they really thought that Boomer didn’t have it, they could designate him for assignment, keep him on the DL, or just release him outright.

As for Arroyo, I too would have preferred that he stayed and Wells moved, but there’s a lot that we will probably never know. I suspect they tried to move Wells; what general manager would honestly want to keep a 43 year-old who says he’s going to retire this year and trade a 29 year-old who you just signed to a new contract and has shown consistent improvement throughout his career? Then again, what general manager would honestly want to SIGN a 43 year-old who says he’s going to retire this year instead of a 29 year-old who was just signed to a new contract and has shown consistent improvement throughout his career? I think they probably couldn’t find a taker and thought they could get some value for Arroyo, which they did in Wily Mo Pena.

I think Wells’ return is good news, relative to what the current alternatives are. If the Sox can entice Clemens to come to Boston, or pick up another pitcher somewhere else, then I’d agree that Wells should go. But I don’t see a smart, REALISTIC alternative within the current roster options.

I think the Arroyo trade will be solid long term. Arroyo fully had an opportunity to step up over the last few years and he was mediocre. His ERA was 4.52 last year in 35 starts. Just because he’s hot for a quarter of a season in the National League, doesn’t mean much to me. I think the Papelbon question is a tricky one right now… one way to look at it is… How many innings do you want him to pitch this year? 220+ as a starter or 70 as a closer? Thats like asking, do you want Ortiz to get 600 At Bats this year or 200? I know its not that simple, but as the season progresses, the answer should be more apparent. Its my gut call that we won’t need a closer that often for Schilling or Beckett (easier wins)… and we probably won’t for our Fifth starter either (losses). Is it really worth having Papelbon for the times in between vs. starting every fifth day?

Ray, to be honest, I had been thinking the same way. However, I guess my thinking has changed now (esp. with Folke’s performance last night)…I would rather not find out. Isn’t it true that you don’t really miss something until it’s gone? (the best example of that will be catching in tonight’s game) I’d rather NOT have to find out if it’s worth losing Papelbon for those times in between, not when we know he can go in and get the job done.

I, too, agree with you Rayman on Schilling. In spring training, Curt stated two goals only: (1) X amount of starts and (2) X amount of innings pitched. He knew that if he could reach those goals, everything else would take care of itself. Never once did he mention complete games, shutouts, ERA. And, I also think you’re right about all those pitches 100+ he threw in that previous start affecting his subsequent performances. And, remember folks: it’s a long, long season…and that’s an old, old arm. Save it! I also agree with you that Foulke had been pitching well lately, and what better game to get battered in than in one with an 8-run lead? We can’t really tell whether Keith’s problems are physical or mental. I doubt if he knows. I part on the prevailing cry to put Pap into the starters rotation. Hopefully a reliever or two more will step up soon, but right now the only guys I trust out of that pen is Timlin and Pap. Pap is the premier closer in baseball now. What? 15/15…and counting. What good is it for Jonathan to go seven shutout innings to have a lesser closer blow it for him? See Billy Wagner Saturday. Foulke last night. Relievers and closers–good ones–nowadays are not relegated to lower status as guys not good enough to start. Closers–good ones like Pap are neurosurgeons. Keep him where he is. This year. Next year. As long as he’s throwing fog. —–Can’t let you get away, Ray, without a little parting shot: how’d you like those .200 hitters Willie Harris and Alex Cora last nite. The former 1/3 with an rbi and a run scored, BA from around .074 to .154; the latter with 3/4 with rbi, run, .100-something up to .242. You see how fellas who have had few at bats can jack those averages up with 3-4 good games. Loretta is sitting on .300 now…as many of us knew he would. Ole washed up, “throw in” Lowell is knocking the cover off the ball, and seemingly, everything off his bat a homer or double with someone(s) on base. All in all, we don’t have much to complain about. MAY THE WIND BE WAFTING TO YOUR FACE TONIGHT, TIMMY. FLUTTER, KNUCKLER, FLUTTER!!!

Same song. Second verse. Shorter than the first. In the past I have disagreed with just about everything Rayman has written. We’ve exchanged some pretty ugly rebuttals. But I agreed with so many of his solid points today that I felt if I agreed any more I was going to throw up, thus the tongue-in-cheek parting shot about .200 hitters. Therefore, Ray, I’m officially releasing my Eagle of Peace your way, olive branch in beak. If we all have no other redeeming quality than being Boston Red Sox fans, that’s enough glue to hold us all together! peace.

By the way, how’s ellencullum today? and, what’s her take? While the rest of you will be glad to know: I’m signing off now. Going to work (with my radio!)

I accept the olive branch and will try to be more patient going forward with the lower performing players. I know my expectations are probably too high… and I am pretty sarcastic by nature… and on top of all that, I tend to push the envelope on the blog just to be a little more interesting. I was almost going to mention something about the sub .200 club that I usually rag on… but didn’t get around to it. Anyway, Cora sure looked good and even Harris got some solid contact. All that said… it doesn’t change my pet peeve of the month… The ridiculously poor strike zone the umps are calling these days. Did anyone see Ortiz stolen at-bat last night? Perfect example… Strike 1 – ball way outside, Strike 2 – K Zone showed it clearly 4-6 inches outside. Ortiz turned around and confronted the ump. Strike 3 – a terrible swing by Ortiz at a bad pitch. A completely wasted at-bat, stolen by the ump’s bad calls. We’re the consumer here… we demand to see our superstars get a fair shake at the plate!!! Similar example last night… Manny’s homer was on a pitch about 3-4 inches high, right over the middle of the plate. That pitch is hittable and always called a ball, Ortiz’s strikes were unhittable. Can somebody possibly explain this situation rationally? Who wants to see players called out on strikes or flailing at outside pitches? If the umps are going to stretch the strike zone, why not stretch it up and down, where the pitches are hittable??? Ian, please explain!!!

danielfagan: Thanks for asking!! ellencullum is fine especially since she still hasn’t fallen off a barstool!! I thought that Schilling had a REALLY GREAT GAME> Last night I said that I thought that Terry should’ve let Schilling stay in. But after reading rayman and danielfagan, my point of view has changed. You’re right, the season is long and the arm is old so why risk anything going wrong or just tiring him out. As far as the Papelbon issue, I’ll stand fast with my opinion that we need a sure fire stopper! I still don’t think he should be moved into the rotation. I’m not sure who we would give (depending on his rehab and comeback, possibly Wells?) but couldn’t a trade for a decent starter be an option?? Am I way off base with this??

papelbon needs to remain the closer because: a) there is no one that can currently fill in without hurting another area of the pen. b) don’t mess with success, he’s been lights out. c) would you rather have a problem every 5th or 6th day or every 9th inning lead. i’d take my chances with wells.

Guys,
I think Theo and the rest of the front office is:

1) Waiting to see what Roger Clemens does.

2) Waiting to see how Lester and Hansen develop this year (at least until the break).

3) Waiting to see who will come available around the break.

The thing is, the Redsox have a surplus of young arms. Obviously you don’t want to trade pitchers, but when you have the arms that the Sox have, you can be patient enough to wait for a guy like Dontrelle to become available because you know you could get him.

I still like the Wily Mo-Arroyo trade. Although Bronson has been great for the Reds and he would be a serviceable back-end starter for the Sox, Wily Mo is still very young by major league standards, and has the potential to be a superstar. The guy has definitely shown that he’s willing to put the work in to refine his approach at the plate, and he hasn’t been bad in the field at all. Bronson has kind of reached his potential, whereas, Wily Mo isn’t even close to his ceiling yet.

It’s time to cut our losses with Clement now that Boomner is back, let’s give one of the young kids a regular turn in the rotation.

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