Former Red Sox pitcher and current ESPN analyst Curt Schilling joined Mut & Merloni Wednesday morning. He picked the Sox for the wild card.
On who will win the AL playoff races: “I would tell you that it’s going to probably end up being the way it is today, in my mind. The Yankees, the Tigers, the Rangers, even though I like [Mike] Scioscia‘s Angels, and I think you’ll have the Sox coming in as the wild card.”
Among the other topics discussed was Josh Beckett‘s sprained right ankle. Schilling, who is no stranger to ankle injuries, said that he is not sure how serious Beckett’s injury is as Boston heads toward the postseason.
“Their season’s riding on it, that much is clear, but I don’t have a clue as to what’s going on,” Schilling said. “I think it’s going to be very Belichickian around there for the next few days to a week as you try to get information.”
Beckett sprained his ankle in the fourth inning of his start against Toronto on Monday. While the sprain was good news to those expecting a more serious injury, it is still unclear as to when Beckett will pitch next. Schilling said that even if Beckett is not at full health for the rest of the season, it is important that he is able to pitch before the playoffs begin.
“We’re never 100 percent; last time I was 100 percent I was like 13,” Schilling said. “My concern is this: I don’t want him to have to work back up to pitching going into the postseason. … When you’re rolling into the postseason, you literally want to be gearing up like you do at the end of spring training going into the season. You want to feel like, ‘I’m executing some stuff, I’m doing some things game-plan-wise,’ and then you’re rolling into the postseason. If it’s anything other than that, it doesn’t bode well for them.”
On injured pitcher Clay Buchholz possibly returning for postseason: “He’s throwing flat ground, 60 feet. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being pitching in a big league game as a starter, he’s at step 2. … You’re asking him to go onto the mound in front of the most rabid, loyal, passionate audience in the world, in the most important games of his life. That’s tough to do with a healthy regular season finish into the postseason.”
On the American League MVP race: “I think it’s going to come down to [Curtis] Granderson, to [Jacoby] Ellsbury, to [Adrian] Gonzalez, to Pedey [Dustin Pedroia], all stealing votes from each other. It’ll end up being a close vote, but I think you’re going to see Granderson or probably Ellsbury win it.