In order to minimize the number of death-threats I’ll receive from writing this (I know I won’t eliminate them – I’m sure some have already started building anti-Denton devices after just reading the headline), I will preface with this: I love everything Mike Timlin has done for the Red Sox. He’s been a workhorse, averaging about 72 innings per year since 2003. His ERA is right at 3.5 in that time – very solid. He’s been very “Wakefield-like” in that he’s worked middle relief, set-up, and tried his hand as closer when needed, all with a professional, team-first demeanor. Who can forget the 2003 cry of “Timlin in the eighth?” Well, other than Grady… And there was certainly no denying his level of badassness in any situation.
But the sad fact remains: Mike Timlin is done. We’ve seen it coming for the past year or two. It started with his inability to come in with runners on base and get outs. To extend his career, he became the guy that only came in to start an inning, or when there were no inherited runners to cross the plate. And that worked for a while. But Timlin is just not reliable anymore. He’s given up runs in 10 of his 24 appearances. Very rarely does he come in and get a one-two-three inning: he’s only done it eight times this year. His strikeout to walk ratio (a ridiculous 65:9 in 2003) has gone from about 3:1 in ’04 and ’05, to 2:1 in ’06 and ’07, to just about even in 2008 (12 K’s to 11 walks).
I would prefer to remember the Mike Timlin pictured above in October of 2004 or the Mike Timlin who continued to wear camo tee shirts under his uniform despite warnings from the commish. I don’t want to remember Mike Timlin as the guy who makes me cringe when I see him walk in from the bullpen. Which is what he’s quickly becoming.