As quickly as we embraced the warm and fuzzies of another Wakefield gem leading to a win, frustration and bitterness took over in the nightcap. And they looked a lot like Terry Francona and Curt Schilling.
If the baseball gods conspire to end our one-year reign of happiness, we will all look back on last night’s game, along with a few others, as the reason. Quite simply, this was a very winnable game. In my opinion, it is the specter of “The Bloody Sock” that lost this game.
Too often this season, Curt Schilling has been looked upon as a superhuman entity, expected to perform with the same effectiveness as last October. The reality is, it is because of last October that he cannot meet these expectations. Unfortunately, Terry Francona is one of the many who refuse to acknowledge this.
We have seen Schilling brought back too early only to perform poorly. We have seen him inserted into the closer role, costing the team wins. And we now have him back in the rotation, performing like a third or fourth starter – which is perfectly fine all things considered, but expected to be the ace.
Last night may have been the worst example. Schilling gave us six good innings – not great, not ace-like – but good enough. He started the seventh having already thrown close to 100 pitches. He allowed a single to the ninth hitter in the order, Aaron Hill. Then he inexplicably begins throwing to first base, holding on Hill who has 2 steals. Looming on deck are Catalanotto and Wells, 9-for-18 and 6-for-15 respectively against Schilling. I’m not Bobby Cox, but nor am I Grady Little, time to go to the pen. But Tito chooses to stick with Schill for both batters who own him, and pays the price as they get back-to-back singles to tie the game.
Curt’s mouth may never tire, but his arm does. Call it loyalty, hope, friendship or worship, it cost us the game.
And on to the pen. The lefty specialist comes in and walks the only batter he faces. Bradford gets out of the jam he inherits but creates a new one in the eighth. Hanson “we won’t put him in a situation like that, we just won’t” is brought in and gives up a run on a sac fly. The other Chad starts the ninth and walks Hillenbrand. The same guy who struck out seven times yesterday. A double and a hit-batter later and in comes Gonzalez. He gives up a sac fly insurance run.
Tito, this is the playoffs. Nobody named Chad is allowed to pitch unless we are either winning or losing by 8 runs. Papelbon is available. Always. And please answer this: Why do you refuse to let Manny Delcarmen pitch.