Monday, September 06, 2004

Games 135

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 6, Texas Rangers 5

I only caught the ninth inning of this one, but it very nearly turned into a disaster. Schilling pitched an excellent eight innings, giving up one run on five hits with ten strikeouts and no walks. However, instead of taking him out and bringing in Mendoza or Foulke to start the ninth, Francona left in his starter to almost disastrous results. Schilling got the first out just fine, but then gave up a single and a homerun before he was pulled. Foulke came in and gave up two more runs in the process of getting those last two outs. My assumption is that Francona felt that letting Schilling pitch another complete game (and the past be damned) would give the bullpen, who has seen some heavy work recently, get some rest. One wonders if he'll finally learn his lesson...? With the win, Schilling has become the first pitcher in the majors to win 18 games in 2004.

Johnny Damon is still day to day on his jammed finger, but an MRI showed only swelling, not a tear, so he should be back in the lineup shortly. Trott Nixon and Scott Williamson are planning to join the team on the coming roadtrip, either in Oakland or Seattle. Pedro Astacio has been called up from Pawtucket to join the relief staff.

The Sox are facing Zito, Redman and Hudson over the next three days. None of the three pitchers have had particularly good luck against Boston this year - a combined record of 0 and 4 and a batting average of above .400. These stats don't make Oakland any less dangerous, but two or three wins by Boston in this series are critical to maintaining momentum as the season ends and could do interesting things to the AL West as the three competing West teams go up against each other to close out the year. GO SOX!