2 Oct 2007
Earlier today I posted the roster and rotation for the Red Sox in the upcoming ALDS series against the Angels. I didn’t get into my feelings on things. Well, here it goes.
I have no problem with Josh Beckett getting things started. He was the best starter for the Red Sox hands down and has a legit shot at the AL Cy Young award. But, I think starting Daisuke Matsuzaka game 2 and Curt Schilling makes little sense. Here’s why:
game 2 @ Fenway
Matsuzaka home – 92.2 IP, 4.86 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 75 K, 30 BB, 2.50 K/BB ratio.
Matsuzaka away – 112.0 IP, 4.02, 1.31 WHIP, 126 K, 50 BB, 2.52 K/BB ratio.
The 19.1 more IP on the road yielded 50 more K’s (and 20 more BB’s).
game 3 @ Anaheim
Schilling home – 82.0 IP, 4.06 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 61 K, 12 BB, 5.08 K/BB ratio.
Schilling away - 69.0 IP, 3.65 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 40 K, 11 BB, 3.64 K/BB ratio.
Ok, so far not so bad, Matsuzaka was better on the road, but Schilling was also better on the road. So?
8-2 record, 109.1 IP, 2.09 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, 104 K’s, 22 BB, 4.73 K/BB ratio. Those are Schilling’s career postseason numbers. There are few better starters in the history of baseball than Schilling. Daisuke, through no fault of his own, has no MLB postseason history. Even though Schilling is of age, I still think they should have gone with him in game 2.
Now, before I get accused of manipulating the facts, let me share with you that Matsuzaka was 8-4 at home and 7-8 on the road despite his stats and Schilling was 4-3 at home and 5-5 on the road. So by record only, the decision as it stands is correct, but we all know w/l records can be misleading.
Now that I’ve gotten off my chest, I think there is more than meets the eye here as Schilling himself said he was not as strong as he used to be and a long Red Sox half inning meant difficulties for him as he didn’t warm up as quickly. His velocity is down and he is not what he used to be, but old horses don’t lose it over night and we’ve seen inspired performances on more than one occasion from Schilling in his career. The Red Sox must be aware of some specific issues and feel that asking Schilling to step up twice in a 5 gamer is not wise. At 14 years younger, Daisuke will get the call in game 2.
Time will tell.