I can't believe I am saying this, but it's true: I want Keith Foulke back.
This Curt Schilling as closer stuff is getting old - and fast. Last night was a prime example as we gave him a two-run cushion, and he still almost blew the game. If it wasn't for John Olerud making a great play defensively (we all know Kevin Millar wouldn't have made that play) than the game may have been tied, and who knows if we could have won last night.
Schilling doesn't look confident in his pitches. His splitter, which is normally his best pitch, is getting hit around a lot. His fastball has been better than his splitter, but it's not hitting the spots as it used to and the velocity is always off. A couple of appearances ago he was hitting 94 on the gun. Last night, 89 and 90 was his usual. He tried to pull back and put a little gas on one of his pitches, but it resulted in an RBI. Schilling hasn't been consistent, and that's the last thing you want in a closer. You want a sturdy and durable closer that you can count on day after day.
It's also obvious, just in general, that he isn't at his best. So why is Terry Francona putting him out there for two innings at a time? I realize he used to be a starter, but it's very apparent that he can't keep his stuff up for those two innings. I don't think he's had his stuff period.
Foulke is looking like an option at this point. He is still recovering from surgery, but something is telling me that his injury was his problem, and when he gets back he'll perform a lot better. Foulke is a tough competitor, and I don't think a few blown saves is going to throw him off-track mentally. I think we'll see him do some rehab stints in the minors and pitch well. He may get rocked a few times, but it will just take a little more time to get into the feel of the game.
For now, though, it looks like we have to settle with Schilling. A few more games like last night, where he almost gave up a lead, nevertheless a two run lead, and I think we may be seeing Mike Timlin close the games out. I personally believe Timlin is our best option at this point, but we all know Francona and his loyalty to his players.
CLEMENT and NIXON
As you probably already know, Matt Clement was hit in the head by a line drive last night. He left the game on a stretcher and was taken to the hospital. Word is that he was conscious the whole time, and was kept in the hospital as a precautionary matter. I see him not making a start or two in the upcoming days, so he may land on the 15-day disabled list.
If he does land on the disabled list, Jon Papelbon is the most likely option to come up and make a start or two for him.
Trot Nixon also hurt himself swinging in the third inning yesterday. Reports are that it is high oblique, and odds are he'll be on the disabled list for awhile. This is not good for the Red Sox, but we do have options. I just hope one of those options isn't letting Adam Hyzdu hit everyday.
I came home yesterday to find some good news: Manny Delcarmen was promoted to Boston, and John Halama was designated for assignment.
Delcarmen, who tops out in the high-90's with his fastball, made his debut last night. He was impressive as he struck out the first batter he faced, and ended up pitching a perfect inning. He topped out at 95 miles an hour, but we know from reports that he can hit 97 and maybe even higher. We have a lot to look forward to in the young prospect, as he has a lot of potential.