ALDS Game 3: Sox sweep on strength of Schilling

The Red Sox took game 3 of the ALDS today in Los Angeles 9-1, completing the third sweep of this Divisional round of the playoffs. An inspired outing by Curt Schilling paved the way, and the Sox offense exploded in the 8th to pad the lead late in the game.

Schilling needed 100 pitches to go seven scoreless innings, limiting the Angels to just six hits and a walk, despite rarely touching 90 mph on the radar gun. I think Schilling should definitely pitch second in the next series, not just based on his performance and experience, but also because his style is now in stark contrast to Beckett’s hard-throwing style. He’s making a pretty strong case for why the Sox should bring him back next season. Said Schilling:

As a young pitcher, I had seven or eight more miles an hour than I do now. It’s different now, a different approach.

Jered Weaver pitched well, giving up only two runs on back-to-back homers by David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. But the Boston offense did an excellent job of waiting him out, and he was gone after five innings of work. That allowed us to get into the bullpen early and resulted in the big 7-run inning late. It’s good to see Papi and Manny both raking once again; it feels like old times.

The Angels came into the series pretty banged up, and with an ailing Vladimir Guerrero and a half-blind Garrett Anderson, I don’t know where they could have gotten any punch out of this lineup. Getting home-field advantage was a key to our taking this series so easily, and we now have 9 straight postseason wins over the Angels. I kind of feel bad for them, they had a great season; but I always thought they kind of overachieved this year, too.

The whole lineup got into it, our big guns are swinging well, we came out of this series healthy, Hideki Okajima looked very good again. Maybe the only piece of bad news: Eric Gagne was shaky yet again today, giving up a double to Maicer Izturis, which became the Angels’ only run in the bottom of the 9th.

This is the best possible situation for our Red Sox, giving us a couple of extra days for some players to finish getting healthy and rested, and allowing us to start the next series with a fresh Jason Varitek and Josh Beckett on the mound.

Meanwhile, the Yankees managed to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Indians today. An offensive surge in the middle innings netted them an 8-4 victory. Roger Clemens did not appear sharp in his return to the starting rotation. With the lead at 2-1, we find ourselves in a strange situation. Whoever the victor, we want the series to go out to a full five games, so that our next victim will be worn out and unable to put their ace on the mound. So does that mean we actually root for the Yankees totake the next one? Well, let’s not go that far.

2 Responses to ALDS Game 3: Sox sweep on strength of Schilling

  1. Pat says:

    I wonder if you would like Curt back in Boston next year?

    Personally, I was pretty dissapointed in how he got so out of shape last off season. I don’t think he took good care of himself as an athlete and it cost him, and us, this year. Of course right now all is forgiven. His last three games have been brilliant and worthy of lots of respect. Still, I can’t say I would want him back.

    I guess it depends if we land a superstar free agent to funnel the freed up money. I’m still in love with the idea of gettin Santana on this team. You brought it up a long time ago, and just recently ESPN.Com wrote an article about the Mets trading Reyes for Santana. I suppose we don’t have a Reyes caliber guy for the Twins. I am sure though, that Santana would like to play in Boston with Ortiz.

    Though without him, Beckett-Matsuzaka-Buchholz-Wakefield-Lester looks like a great lineup to me.

    I hope the Yanks/Indians series goes to 5.

  2. donchoi says:

    Schilling has limited effectiveness now, I agree, and some writers have wondered whether he might try to do the Clemens “short season” starting from next year.

    Personally, I wouldn’t mind if he stuck around for one more year, until the rotation you wrote about above is solid and injury-free. Lester (inconsistency) and Wakefield (injury risk) particularly worry me. We could always move Schilling at the trading deadline and still get something; that would translate into paying about 60% of his money for next year (our share would probably end up being about $9-10M).

    While that is a lot of money to throw at a fat 40+ pitcher, I don’t think we want to run the risk of repeating 2006 (the “too much pitching” theory). At the same time, him signing with someone else would almost certainly result in two compensatory draft picks for us, which is good too. Basically, we have a nice problem in Schilling, and it’s hard to see us losing out either way. I see it as, do we need pitching now, or pitching later?

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