Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Game 20: What Makes a Champion?

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 8, Cleveland Indians 6

There goes a champ

Shilling didn’t have it tonight. He won’t tell you that (he sure as hell didn’t tell Francona that) but it's the truth. 6.2 innings, 8 K, 5 R and 133 pitches(!!!!) is one hell of an outing and it might have been good enough to win if it weren’t for parts of the offence stalling out of the gate (Trot and Tek were BAD and Willie Harris should NEVER START AGAIN), but that’s not the point.

Sometime during this game, Tito asked Schill if he was ok to go on (middle of the 7th I think) and Schilling said he was 100% ready, fired up, and would go “Tom Cruise Nuts” if he got pulled before he said he was done. Francona said “OK” and let him start the 7th. Schilling left that inning after a run had scored (re-tying the game), he got a lucky double play, and only one guy (Schilling walked Peralta) was on. Francona then came out to relive a VERY upset Curt Schilling before he had to face Travis Hafner (Foulke K’ed him).

Was Schilling mad at himself? Was he mad at Francona for not letting him finish? Was he mad he wasn’t getting the win? I am not sure. What I am sure of is that the Red Sox #38 is a champ, and a champ wants the ball when the game is on the line. Champions KNOW they are winners and they KNOW they can get it done. It's the manager who is responsible for telling those champs to “pack it in” or “you are running on fumes, you’re done”. A champ like Schilling won’t quit, so it’s up to Francona to shut him down. He should have done it before the 7th even started. Curt running out of steam and twisting in the wind gave me acid flashbacks to a game (and a manager) some have poured a lot of time into. It was a bad feeling to have this early in the season.

Luckily, Manny is also a champion. And when a champ sees somebody like Ortiz (total champ) intentionally walked in front of him, it just gives him that little extra drive to make a sucker pay. Thanks for the blast Manny. Glad to see you’re back.

Papelbon is a “champ in training”. So far his marks are off the charts (0.00 ERA, 9th Save).

2 more in Cleveland. Get ‘em Wake, you’re a champ too. GO SOX!