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4/25/07 vs. Baltimore and post Yanks stuff

April 25, 2007

I’ll try and grab some Q & A from the last post over the next few days if time permits (which it does more so on the road than at home).

So what did we learn from the Yanks series? They can hit. So can we. Mariano, like every other reliever in baseball, can have issues pitching on a weeks worth of rest. Love to hear all the doomsayers talking about his demise. Check back in September when he’s sitting on 40+ saves and a 2 ERA.

Alex Rodriguez is hotter than hot. The amazing thing, and people might find it hard to believe but I got to see it up close and personal, was that Barry Bonds spent an entire season that hot. When players of that talent level get hot it’s pretty amazing to see. They do things that you know no other person on the planet is capable of doing.

In a series where our starters gave up 16 runs, we still swept them. That’s not a bad thing. Say all you want about so and so is hurt, we don’t have this guy or that guy, but the games still count so no one really cares. They aren’t going anywhere. Obviously they aren’t at full speed due to missing Matsui, Mussina, Wang and Pavano but they are still going to win games. I just think it’s going to be tougher this year because every team in the AL East can hit, and that’s where we play a huge majority of our schedule. Having to get 3-4 innings from your pen every single night this early is catastrophic to bullpens as the season progresses. That was as big a factor this past weekend as any I think, our starters threw 20 2/3 innings and we didn’t have to drain the pen every night. Those innings will be huge later in the season.

I was getting ready for this game and hearing that there was potential rain incoming. As someone who thrives on routine I was less than happy to hear it, but figured I’d do what I needed to, to be ready. Nothing happened and everything went off on time.

Verlander, Harden, Hernandez, Burnett and Cabrera. If I had to list the 5 most electric arms that are starting pitchers in the big leagues that would be my five. There are a ton of incredible arms, young ones, starting to make their mark, but if you want to talk about pure stuff, velocity, this would be my list. These five guys can hit 100 mph on any given night. You can clamor on and on about bullpen guys that throw 99-100mph, but when a guy can hit 100mph on pitch 100, that’s pretty damn impressive. Daniel was starting tonight and I can imagine that this guy is in no way a comfortable at bat for anyone. He’s progressed immensely over the last two or so years. You could almost see him run off the track in prior years. He could sail for 3 innings, punch out 5 guys, and then walk the park. It’s not that uncommon, but it is at this level. To do that at this level you have to have some pretty incredible stuff to hang around and be given repeated chances. I don’t know him well but I’ve heard he’s a hard worker and a great kid. I remember hearing when Leo got this job, and my first thought was, actually the hope, was that he wouldn’t get this kid straightened out too fast. Well from what I’ve seen before, and tonight, I’d say he’s close. He’s starting to harness the fastball inside the zone. Certainly much more than he has in the past and I think it’s now only a matter of time before he starts putting up some incredible numbers. That all being said I was hoping he’d fall off the wagon tonight. He didn’t and ended up pitching a good game. He had to pitch around some walks but he made his pitches. Though he ended up with the loss he could have won that game on most nights.

Angel Hernandez was behind the plate. I’ve known Angel a long time. Angel certainly is not a pitchers umpire, but I don’t think he’s a hitter’s ump either. Angel makes no bones about his strike zone. He’ll go up and down but you won’t get much corner, if any. He was consistent all night tonight. I thought I threw one ball that was called a strike (first FB to Payton leading off the 2nd inning) and I didn’t think he missed a strike all night. At the end of the day you can NEVER have a problem with a consistent umpire, regardless of his strike zone.

First inning starts with Brian hitting a 1-0 fastball to left center for the first out. My curve ball felt fantastic in the pen but the first two to Markakis were balls, bad misses too. Run the count full and he gets out in front on a 3-2 curve ball for an F-7. After going to 1-2 on Tejada I run a good FB in on his hands and jam him badly, but Angel calls catchers interference. I call BS. No way he hit the catchers glove and Angel was the only one who heard it. Wrong. Angel was right, Tejada barely nicked Tek’s glove and Angel heard it. Umpire 1 Me 0. Huff takes a curve for strike one, and after fouling off an 0-2 FB he hits a fly ball to center to end the inning.

If I am not going to throw 95mph anymore, I need to get ahead in the count. Velocity makes up for location when you hit a certain number. When you are below that number you better be locating. Maddux is the best I’ve ever seen at it. Wells is pretty damn good too. 17 of 28 first pitch strikes tonight. Definitely too few, but what’s even worse is 7 2-0 counts. Ball one can be mitigated with a good 1-0 pitch but 2-0 is bad news, regardless of who’s hitting. I know I am not the 95mph guy anymore, but I can live with it because I can command the baseball. The command is still not where I want it to be and I know that because of the counts and a few other things I notice during the course of the game.

Payton gets to 0-2 and hits a split to third to lead off the second inning. Kevin comes to the plate and I know based on the video I’ve been watching that he’s creeping way up on the plate. Kevin hooks the ball foul about as often as the sun comes up. Even with a leak he has immense plate coverage and can still pull a bullet. My goal was to keep the FB out of the middle of the plate tonight and up until the last one I threw him I did. First AB he fouls strike one, a fast ball in, down the third base line. Next pitch is a 2 seamer in that jams him to short. First faux pas of the night occurs next. Two outs, no one on, and I walk Patterson. Ball four was the only pitch that was even close to the strike zone. Gomez comes up and I miss badly with ball one, throw a CB for a strike and misfire by about 4 feet, the 1-1 fastball. He cues it to first and Youks catches it to end the inning.

Bako starts the third inning by taking a FB in for strike one. I throw a good 0-1 curve that gets the desired result, a routine ground ball. Unfortunately the ball is hit in just about the perfect spot and rolls into right for a single. Now we’ve just taken a 1-0 lead on Alex’s HR and I’ve got the lead off man on, no outs. Brian takes a fastball for strike one and then grounds a splitter to 2nd that Alex and Julio turn into a DP. Huge break. Markakis ends the inning hitting a 1-1 split to short.

Tejada hits a 1-1 split to center to lead off the fourth. Aubrey hits a very good first pitch slider that Youk snags but can’t hang onto, ball rolls into right and he ends up with a double. In my mind the game changes on the next AB. Even though it’s still 1-0, Julio makes a phenomenal play on a slow roller. I didn’t think he had a chance when it went by me and the out is huge. Instead of first and third one out, I have two outs and a runner on third. Still have to deal with Kevin but doing it with two outs is an enormous change. The approach and selection of pitches changes dramatically with 2 outs in that situation. We battle for five pitches and he lays off a front door slider on 1-2. I throw a good split next and he chases it down. When you are pounding a RHH in with fastballs, the split becomes twice as effective if you can keep it middle of the plate and get it below the zone.

Patterson flies to left on a first pitch fastball, Gomez grounds to short on a 2nd pitch curve. I know my pitch count to this point is not high but this inning, if I can end it now, will give me a shot to finish the game. Instead I go 0-2 on Paul and proceed to throw 4 straight balls and walk him. Again two outs and no one on, walk….. I start Brian off with 2 fastballs to go 2-0, and John makes a trip out. He says something I need to hear, it works and we end up striking out Brian on a 2-2 fastball away.

Sixth inning starts with Nick hitting a 2-2 split to short for the first out.

In baseball we use a term called ‘get me over’. You never throw a breaking ball saying “I just hope I get this one over”, or a fastball for that matter. However the difference is that at times you get into a situation and you DO think “throw this pitch for a strike”. Instead of making the pitch with conviction, you just ‘make the pitch’. You tend to know the minute it gets hit, what you did, but you still do it from time to time. Well I did it. After going 2-0 on Miguel, one of the best bad ball hitters in the game, I went to curve ball, and threw what can only be described as a hanger. I knew when I let it go that I didn’t finish it, and was praying that it went to the backstop or something, but it didn’t. The ball hung on the inner half of the plate, up, and he crushed it. The reason it’s an inexcusable mistake is that it’s a 1-0 game. You cannot make even one pitch without total focus and commitment. Obviously looking at it now it’s a lot less painful than it could have been, but at the time I thought it was going to be a huge mistake. After that I fell behind Huff 3-1 and got him to ground out on a split. Payton ends the inning swinging at a FB away for strike three.

The mistake becomes a lot less painful as we hit for over a half hour in the top of the 7th. My biggest concern was getting out to the mound fast enough to get as much throwing in as I could to get warm. Having a three run lead this late changes everything about some guys, and nothing about others. Fact is that it does give you breathing room. That doesn’t mean you relax, but to me it’s always changed some things about how to approach hitters and counts.

Kevin takes a fastball and fouls off the next one to go 0-2 and then I get a bit too much of the plate and he hits a liner to Mike for the first out. We literally played him in a no doubles defense given how we were pitching him and having Mike back I think helped out. Patterson hits a first pitch fastball for a pop up to get a quick second out. I’m now thinking a CG is a legitimate possibility. I fall behind Gomez on two bad fastballs and then misfire the third one and he hits a single to left. Bako hits a first pitch fastball down to right for the second single in two pitches. Now I am in perfectly good position to piss away a good night. Fortunately Brian gets the first pitch a little off the end. It went farther than I was hoping it might but I could tell by the sound he didn’t square it up. Camden was playing bigger tonight than it does during the summer. The ball ended up on the track and the inning was over.

I knew I was around 100 pitches but I felt great and was thinking I’d get through at least eight if I executed. Tito had other plans and despite the argument he was not letting me go back out.
 

122 Comments leave one →
  1. adamcutler permalink
    April 26, 2007 6:11 pm

    Hi Curt,
    I have loved the sox all my life, and when i heard you would be coming here to pitch for us I was ecstatic. Last year when you said you would retire after this season, I was sad because you still have some great stuff, but I was glad because you would be retiring as a member of the Red Sox. Before this season started, it was said that you did not want to retire after this year and wanted to stay with us for another. Can you give me any insight as to what happened with that? Is it something that will be discussed after the season is over? I truly hope you get a chance to pitch for us another year. Thanks for reading this.

    Adam Cutler
    Cape Cod, MA

  2. soxfanindan permalink
    April 26, 2007 6:32 pm

    Hey Curt, Great game last night. An exciting season so far! What happened with the bloody sock story? What did Mirrabelli say? It certainly looks like blood. Only in Boston would we be still talking about this 2 1/2 years later! Anyway I got a kick out of Millars sock before the game tonight. Good luck to you guys this weekend in NY.

  3. rubbersuitman permalink
    April 26, 2007 7:15 pm

    Hey Curt, I got your back on the whole bloody sock thing:

    http://www.third-option.com/2007/04/new-shroud-of-turin.html

  4. thedoctorx permalink
    April 26, 2007 7:54 pm

    Nice pictures rubbersuitman!

    Here is a linkypoo to the MLB site that gives Thorne’s retraction:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070426&content_id=1931740&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

    Since I “speculated” why, say, former Sox-now-Yankees players never made this charge if it was true, here is what Doug Mientkiewicz has to say:

    “Doug Mientkiewicz, the Yankees’ first baseman and another member of Boston’s title-winning team, said that he had also witnessed the surgery in question.

    ‘The fact that you sit there and watch a guy get his ankle cut open, it’s pretty gross,” he said. “You go into the trainer’s room and you’re used to seeing dislocated fingers, dislocated shoulders. You see a pretty nice bruise once in a while. You don’t see an Exacto knife going to a human being’s skin, but all of a sudden, there it is.'”

    Since a ESPN guest on Jim Rome blathered about how he believed Thorne’s original accusation and other “experts” blathered about how Curt’s teammates feel, perhaps Doug M’s comment is tenchent:

    “He likes attention, but he doesn’t like that much attention,” Mientkiewicz said. “He did it for him, he did it for us, [and] he did it for the city. I know what it was. It wasn’t nail polish.”

    as is Kevin Millar’s:

    “He’s one of the players that’s asked about the most, once you’ve played with him,” said Millar. “Truly, and behind the scenes, Curt Schilling is a tremendous teammate. He’s probably the one pitcher I’d take in any big-game situation, and he’s probably the best big-game pitcher of our generation.”

    Will these “experts” retract and apologize to the Sox and Schilling?

    [Cue Sounds of Crickets Chirping in the Still Cold Night.–Ed.]

    –J.D.

  5. aegis9777 permalink
    April 26, 2007 9:21 pm

    Hey Curt. Not sure how much time you have to read 100 comments with all the stuff going on, but am planning a trip to Tampa to see my sister and nephew in july ( redsox happen to be in town that weekend too… what a coincidence). Would love to get my nephew a few autographs, but never been to an Major league game, any tips for approaching players?
    Thanks for the blog, response or not
    It’s awesome to see a players unadulterated perspective on things, instead of sound bites and “Color commentators” takes on those 1 minute clips.

  6. April 26, 2007 9:26 pm

    Curt,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us on this blog. Thank you for your openness and accessibility. Thank you for signing autographs in Ft. Myers in 2004 (before the official pitchers and catchers reporting date, outside the stadium, leaning out the window of your car, for all 100+ fans who were there). Thank you for risking your career for us in the bloody sock games.

    Thank you for 2004. No one can take that away, and Gary Thorne owes an apology not only to you and Doug, but to all of us in Red Sox Nation! (Even CHB would not have stooped so low!)

    RedSoxDiehard

    P.S. to “poltroop” who asked:

    ———————————————————
    Mr. Schilling,

    I have 1 question for you:

    What can I do to find 2 affordable tickets (military pay standards, which means non-ebay pushin’ non-rip-off scalpin’ prices ) to a BoSox game, in August?

    Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

    Tom
    3rd Generation Sox fan
    ——————————————————–

    Poltroop,

    The Red Sox hold a couple hundred tickets back for day-of-game sales. I did this last year twice, and got to see two of Curt’s starts. The tickets are some standing room and some actual seats, all at face value. (I got standing room for $20 one time, and RF grandstand for $27 the other time. This year there are also the Conigliaro’s Corner seats for $25.) The only real investment is your time, which for a real fan is no big deal.

    The lines starts at Gate E and officially forms 5 hours prior to the game. They hand out numbers so people can’t cut in line, and check every hour that everyone is in place. 2 hours before game time, when the gates open, they start selling tickets. It’s one per person and you have to enter the park right away. But the process works!

    Good luck and enjoy the game!

  7. soxrex permalink
    April 26, 2007 9:36 pm

    Nice job the other night in Baltimore. You consistantly do what an ace does for the team. 93 or 95, Blood or Ketchup, whatever! LOL

    And please send a HUGE congratulations to Josh for win no. 5 – all in April!

  8. redsoxocd92 permalink
    April 26, 2007 9:37 pm

    curt i loved this game. also beckett was AMAZING in tonights game. and Wily Mo Pena made my night. but when i went onto yahoo sports today to check my fantasy baseball stats i stopped real quick when i saw the story about your bloody sock. i was surprised and pissed at the same time that anyone would question the authenticity of the blood. it’s the most outrageous thing that i’ve heard in a while. thankfully maribelli cleared up the comment that was made that sparked all of this controversy. but i also want to know who the’anonymous’ person that reported the same issue is but on a lighter note, i cant wait to see dice-k in NY tomorrow night. again, great game the other night!

  9. soxfan61075 permalink
    April 26, 2007 9:48 pm

    Curt- I cannot believe the crap the media was going on about today… anybody who watched that game could tell you were in pain. It was one of the gutsiest things I have ever seen. I love to watch you pitch, and I hope you stay in Boston.

  10. gaylesomers permalink
    April 26, 2007 10:07 pm

    Hey Curt,
    You might be tickled to know that you’ve got a big fan in Manchester, England. My cousin, Lee Woodward, came to visit us several years ago in Phoenix, and we got him hooked on the Sox. He and his family are coming to Boston in August, and he’s finally going to live his dream of seeing a game in Fenway. He’s actually the one who told me about your blog–fancy that! An Englishman clues in an American citizen in good standing of Red Sox Nation. He’s truly hoping to see you pitch when he comes. It is VERY amusing to see a Brit so thoroughly converted to baseball (he has to tape games that come on in the middle of the night). Keep up the great work, and all the best in NY this weekend.

  11. beyondb4 permalink
    April 26, 2007 11:30 pm

    I once had a friend who, because she was very pretty and impish as well, was talked about a lot. She used to laugh, “As long as they are talking about me, they’ve got a good topic.” As for supposed conspiracies about a manufactured bloody sock, I say the dirt comes from dirty minds. Mostly they are smearing it on themselves. And as long as they are talking about Curt Schilling, they’ve got a good topic.

  12. btownboy81 permalink
    April 26, 2007 11:39 pm

    Curt, great team effort in Baltimore this week after the Toronto series. Nice momentum going into the weekend against the Yanks. You and beckett both pitched well and the bullpen as well. Those guys are underrated. The scary thing about you guys this season is that the bats have not woke up yet. Whether you are with us or not next season at least you can bring us one more championship home and you will go down in the history books here. As for the bloody sock thing their will always be enemies out there who will try to rewrite history in their favor. We all know better.

  13. stevenrockwell permalink
    April 27, 2007 6:49 am

    I hope someone takes you up on that bet so that this can be settled once and for all AND ALS research can receive that 1MM.

    I pray that the media reports your challenge with as much fervor as they have when trying to discredit you or take shots.

    You’ve got sack brother, well done.

  14. route103 permalink
    April 27, 2007 7:53 am

    The sheer insanity of these trumped up claims, do not warrant a response, Curt. You keep doing your thing bro. I’ll keep getting my enjoyment watching you pitch. Thanks for having the sack to stand up to these ingrates.

  15. birdboy2000 permalink
    April 27, 2007 11:20 am

    Aren’t the sox Rivera-killers anyway? Of course, it might just be that 2004 sticks in peoples minds… but I was under the impression the Red Sox usually hit Rivera much better than other teams.

  16. jamesface permalink
    April 27, 2007 1:17 pm

    you suck, schill. can’t wait till theo drops you like a bad habit after the season. one good season. thats it. looking forward to joining the weak unit again in arizona after the season?

  17. jamesface permalink
    April 27, 2007 1:18 pm

    you’re a loser

  18. nyaudioguy permalink
    April 27, 2007 2:29 pm

    I’m a New Yorker and a Yankee fan and generally enjoy hating and berating the Red Sox at every opportunity I get. I have to admit you are a compelling writer and offer an insight to the game I rarely see. The sports writers can be so subjective at times as you can see with the “was it blood or was it ketchup” nonsense. I’ll be back to read again, looking forward to seeing you guys in the playoffs.

  19. kapust permalink
    April 27, 2007 10:50 pm

    Although unrelated to you personally, Matsuzaka has just won his second game against New York. I know when you have a rough outing you are not overly hard on yourself, as its only a game. Additionally, with the team you have, you can expect run support. You as a pitcher have a job to do and that is to limit runs and allow the offense a chance to score. You as a pitcher are only half the game. Has anyone sat down with Matsuzaka and told him that he is way too hard on himself, currently he is number 2 in K’s in all of MLB. He has been as good or better than anyone expects him to be, and a loss is only half his fault. Perhaps in translation something is lost, but it seems that he is exceptionally hard on himself.

    I would like to commend the work you do for ALS, as I am close with a Needham family whose mother is stricken with the disease (and yes you work with them personally). Do whatever you can to stay in Boston. You support the community and we support you.

    Justin

  20. Peter permalink
    April 28, 2007 12:44 am

    The one thing about Mariano and the Yanks is, that over three weeks into the season he has had 2 save opertunities. Why? Cause the Yanks either win by 5 or more runs, or lose. I think with the Yankees team this year, you wil see that trend continue. Riviera will be lucky to get 25-30 saves. I don’t see him having lower then a 3.00 era either.

  21. celtics33 permalink
    April 29, 2007 7:31 pm

    To further the outrage, none of these people provided a trace of contrition after Thorne at least gave his half-assed “apology.” The “Around the Horn” crowd (Mariotti, etal), among the most negatively vocal towards you when the “story” first broke, owned up to the demands of journalistic integrity by addressing the matter…not at all. Similarly, the Cold Pizza clowns opted not to confront their wrongs (other than Bayless derisively sneering at your $1 million challenge). The only guy I heard call out one of his brethren was Dan Patrick (on ESPN radio) who noted that Thorne had been bound by Journalism 101 to corroborate, validate, and verify data before it is reported. The only “validation” that had been spewed was stuff like “I know Thorne, and he wouldn’t lie,” and “I respect Thorne; why would he lie?” The only “corroboration” I heard regarding this matter, oddly, was in its own way insidious enough. Mariotti, on Day One, for example, said “You know, this has come up before.” Peter Gammons, who I used to like, said “It was written in 2004 in a couple of places that he was accused of faking the bloody sock.” So, if I get this straight, these guys are free to “report” whatever it is they want and, once reported, it becomes empirical data upon which reliance can prudently be based. This mirrors the abuse of power manifested in the Duke case. Although the “rogue” DA had been elected (and thus perhaps should have been at least somewhat honor-bound), these “reporters” also trespassed every principle of civility. The Duke DA was (albeit belatedly) ousted; these scoundrels, on the other hand, are free to slander tomorrow without regard to what is true and correct.

  22. phunguyy permalink
    May 2, 2007 2:09 am

    Awesome, givin credit where credit is due, good man, good words.

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