Timlin has been a fixture in the Red Sox bullpen since 2003 and has performed admirably. His Sox career year was 2005 when he was 7-3, 2.24 ERA in 80+ innings. His numbers fell off a bit in 2006, but he rebounded the next year to post a 2-1 record, 3.42 ERA, while being a crucial member of the World Series winning team. He has pitched in at least 50 games and 55 innings every season that he’s worn a Sox uniform. His veteran presence is a valuable asset in the bullpen. Unfortunately, he’s not the same pitcher he was in 2003 or 2007. He’s 42 years old and in his 18th major league season. His WHIP has climbed almost a ½ point since last year, his 5.45 ERA is the highest of his career. All the wrong numbers are climbing up.
Timlin is the type of ballplayer I like. He’s not flashy, needy, or greedy. He got the job done, whether it was middle relief, set up, or closer. At least until this year. There comes a time in every ballplayer’s career to hang up the spikes, and there may only be 2+ months before his get hung. It would be sad to see his last performance of his career be similar to his performance last night. It is sad when players attempt to play too far past their prime trying to prove they still have it, when they obviously don’t. Mike has been on-again, off-again, on-again this year. If this is indeed Timlin’s last year, it may be that he sees mop up duty for the rest of the season. Let’s hope that Tito uses Mike effectively down the stretch, for both the team’s sake and Mike’s. He won’t have his number retired, but he will be remembered as one of the best relievers to ever come out of the Sox bullpen.