Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Schilling to Close?

Finally, something to write about.

News came out today that Terry Francona is going to use Curt Schilling in the bullpen to help him "work himself back into shape." Theo Epstein insists this is just what the club needs, which is quite a surprise to The Ninth who thought a #1 starter is just what the club needs. Clearly we are missing some information. If Curt, as we have been lead to believe, is actually a few rehab starts away from being to ready to begin games, this plan makes little sense. Pitching a few innings every couple of days will not stretch him out, it will not build arm strength, it will not let him refine his pitches. Short relievers don't make good starters, just ask Tanyon Sturtze. It may help Boston win some games in the short run, but come September they need Curt pitching every five days, and this ain't gonna get 'em there. Look at it this way - we know Schill will not be ready 'til after the Break, regardless of the role. So from that point on you could get 35 innings of set-up/closing, or 100 of SP. Which would you prefer? It's obvious, right? Right? The only way this makes sense is if 1) Theo & Co. feel Schilling can not give them close to that 100 SP or 2) Keith Foulke ain't coming back. If it's either of those, then fine, let's cover our butts and get what we can. Because there's nothing worse than an uncovered butt. However, the thing that this team, that any team with champagne wishes and World Series dreams, really needs is dominant starting pitching. And Curt Schilling closing out 5-2 victories isn't going to get it. Frankly, The Ninth is a little surprised that a General Manager who thought little enough of a closer two years ago to acquire one, is now converting his best starter just to get by while Foulke is injured. When did this become so dire? And what do they do when Foulke comes back, or when a starter gets hurt? Take another ten days to stretch Schilling out? Then we're back where we started. It makes no sense. Unless, as we said, they don't think Curt ever will get stretched out, ever will be ready to regain his SP dominance. Maybe that ankle is a mess and this is the best Schill can do. But we have been told that. Right now, Boston is not really saying much. But what they are saying doesn't jive.