Now that Curt Schilling's ERA is almost as high as Keith Foulke's was during his unsuccessful and injury-plagued turn as closer this season, perhaps it's time to give the job to the guy who should have gotten it in the first place?
Not that Schilling hasn't had flashes of success, but he's not a reliever, and he's certainly not a closer. The Baghdad Ritz Carlton has better location than Schilling had on the mound last night, when he allowed three runs and turned a certain Red Sox win over to the Tigers. Normally, we'd be screaming for Mike Timlin during such a meltdown, but Terry Francona had the setup man pitch the seventh inning, before Chad Bradford, who set up Schilling. Make sense? Nope. And neither does the bullpen situation.
Keith Foulke or not, it's time for Schilling to start stretching out that arm and get back into the starting rotation. Now. At the start of a game, he can work through those kinks that are sure to come from time to time, including last night. And Friday night. In the ninth inning, with everything on the line, it's impossible. The bigger question to ask is how much is he still hurting. There can be no question that whoever has stepped into the closer's role this season has generally hurt the team.
How about these telling stats from Chick Waseleski: The bullpen in save situations overall: 87 1/3 innings, 100 hits, 51 runs, 49 earned runs, 27 walks, 62 strikeouts, 27 saves, 14 blown, 5.05 ERA.
Yikes. Somehow the Red Sox are in first place. With an effective closer all season, we're talking about them running away with the thing.
The one aspect we can all agree on when it comes to bullpen by committee is that your best pitcher in the bullpen is your closer. Period. Is Curt Schilling the best pitcher in the bullpen? Nope. Is it Mike Timlin? You bet your sweet you know what it is.
For all the many problems in the bullpen, so much might be fixed by inserting Timlin as the closer until Foulke returns. And if Foulke isn't effective, keep Timlin in the role. Enough about egos and what job someone was promised. How about if you do it best, you keep it. How novel.
Schilling's nine saves have been important for the team with the loss of Foulke, but Friday's heart attack moments and last night's disaster have to make everyone nervous. And yet, there is a guy available who is flouting a 1.39 ERA, while the guy with the job is creeping to Foulke-like realms, with a 6.69 mark. In 8 2/3 innings this month, Schilling has allowed four home runs. Four. Timlin, by the way, has allowed one home run all year. All year long.
Tell you what, we all owe Johnny Damon, Tim Wakefield, and anyone else who doubted this little experiment from the get-go an apology. Schilling belongs in the rotation and Timlin deserves the chance to close. Bradford can remain the setup man. Mike Remlinger can … well, until he gets an out, we have to reserve judgment.
We've seen enough of Schilling as closer to know that it's not good enough for a team with World Series aspirations. Timlin might not be either, but at least he's earned the right to give it a go.
Bay Area scribes Brian Murphy and Ray Ratto both lay into Baltimore fans for cheering Rafael Palmeiro upon his return. Not that they've watched hometown fans cheer a steroid user or anything.
The Ken Griffey Jr. to Chicago rumors continue to pick up steam, as the White Sox lost their third straight game to the Twins last night. Griffey cleared waivers yesterday, but there is no clear sign that he'll end up at the dump formerly known as Comiskey. Meanwhile, despite being stunned by the Tigers last night, the Red Sox, along with the Angels and A's, are within striking distance still of the best record in the AL, which would assure them home-field and the wild-card in the first round, barring the wild card is somehow the Yankees. Boston is six games behind Chicago for that distinction. If they're a game out at the end of the season, will Johnny Damon and the Sox want to make that game up then?
With the wife off swaying to the crooning sounds of Neil Diamond last night, I flicked the On Demand button and finally sat down and watched an early evening showing of "Easy Rider" for the first time. On a somewhat unrelated note, does the world really need a new "Stryper" CD?
Remember when the Bruins were going to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the NHL's financial restructuring? Looks like that title needs to go to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who stand out among a sea of teams nobody has a clue what to expect from. Yesterday they inked John LeClair to go along with Ziggy Palffy, Sergei Gonchar, and Mark Recchi. They boast the No. 1 super draft pick in Sidney Crosby, and are thisclose to signing Jozef Stumpel.
I want to know who felt the need to sit in an ESPN boardroom and insist that the network needed to create a show that utilized AC Slater's talents. Next thing you know Screech will be a permanent fixture on PTI. I did in fact catch some of the debut of "ESPN Hollywood" last night. It was, in a word, painfully awful. I tried to flip over to "SportsCenter" to relieve some of the pain, but all I found was a Terrell Owens infomercial. Thank God for ESPNews, but you have to wonder how long it's going to be until they screw that operation up, too. It's inevitable.
The Burlington Free Press Sunday did a fairly good job summing up Phish's Coventry experience of a year ago. Oddly enough though, they don't use the words "living hell" once.
From Peter King's Monday Morning QB: "When I was in Philadelphia, it was like a benign tumor. I knew it was gonna get malignant eventually and now it has. But they can't cut it out right now. They have to wait till the end of the year to do the surgery. What they have to do right now is give that tumor some chemo so it's manageable for the rest of the year."
-- Former Eagles receiver Freddie Mitchell, now a Chief, comparing the relationship between [Terrell] Owens and the Eagles to cancer.
Just when you thought Mitchell couldn't be any stupider.
Call me crazy, but I'm not sure Mitch Albom is the right guy to be issuing decrees on proper journalism.
I admit to a certain pang of uneasiness when I wear sandals into the Morrissey Blvd. offices, but these kids take the cake. It's not like the Globe interns are going to be hanging with Tom Brady in GQ anytime soon, but let me assure you they aren't dressed anything like these knuckleheads. I'm as casual as they come (to a fault at many times), but there's no way I'd come in wearing a Budweiser T-shirt. Or drinking one for that matter.
Every Red Sox fan's fave Murray Chass of the New York Times writes, "Carlos Delgado said in January that he signed with Florida rather than the Mets because he thought the Marlins had a better chance of going to the World Series. He thought wrong."
Last I checked, the Marlins were two games ahead of the Mets in the standings.
Is it weirder that the Orlando Sentinel spent 1,200 words on the San Diego Chicken or the fact that writer Josh Robbins had the aid of a pair of correspondents to write the feature? This isn't exactly the Gaza Strip we're talking about here.