Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Game 37: Something Wicked This Way Comes?

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 6, Baltimore Orioles 5

Why does it feel like something ominous is on the horizon?

Hurrah for the win, but any day where Curt Schilling survives an outing instead of dominating it is not a day where confidence abounds. And, given Curt’s steadily rising ERA since that long start in Cleveland on April 25, confidence seems to be slinking towards the door, not abounding in that special way that only confidence can. It seems foul things are afoot in the house of Schilling.

Eight home runs. That’s how many dingers Curt has surrendered in his past five starts – including the three he gave up tonight – accounting for about half of his total runs in that time frame. Home runs suggest pitches that stay up, don’t sink, don’t fool the hitter, suggest mechanical problems and raise the ugly specter of the 2005 ankle. Given Schilling’s magical first four outings and the incredible reversal that’s happened since, I have to wonder if something’s up, or if he’s just having a bad May. Robin and I were discussing today: the Yankees are in a position of weakness right now with their spate of injuries; Boston could pull a 2005 White Sox and establish a commanding lead in the AL East now before the Yankees pull in the talent at the trading deadline to help them make a playoff run. Curt Schilling off his game and hurt won’t help the cause at all.

At the same time though, maybe it just is a bad May. With the new level of press security enacted by the Red Sox Front Office over the winter, getting answers to injury questions seems to be about as easy as breaking in to Fort Knox, so it might be a while, if ever, before any of us outside the organization know what’s going on. At the same time, though, this is Red Sox Nation we’re talking about: we’re Chicken Little hypochondriacs who go into full panic mode at the slightest rumor, lead by our beloved sports media. We don’t need to know what’s going on with Schilling unless he’s going on the DL and they have to amputate something.

In the meantime, I choose to enjoy these little gifts from Baltimore as they come. Tonight’s victory, bolstered by some timely offense from pretty much everyone in the lineup, makes it thirteen in a row against the orange birds. The bullpen shut things down without a hitch, Timlin got six outs on twelve pitches because he’s awesome like that and Papelbon picked up save number fourteen because he is a god sent to us from on high to show us all love and fear in a single pitch. Not that I’m a fanboy, or made shirts that compared our closer to the Pope, or anything like that. Anyway…Tim Wakefield tomorrow night against Erik Bedard for the sweep. Wake, by the way, could be a twenty game winner this year if the Sox could consistently score more than three runs for him.