An Encouraging Schilling Outing and September Call-Ups

Six earned runs in five innings. On the face of it, it wasn’t a good outing for Curt Schilling, but if we go beyond the boxscore, we can find some very encouraging traits. Curt Schilling gave up nine hits, seven for singles. The remaining two were doubles. Even though this was the “lowly Royals” that is still an encouraging sign. The Royals aren’t as sad sack as you think they are. That 19-game loss streak is terrible and they’ve consistently been a lousy team for years, but they’re no slouches. They have 42 wins and as Clark notes: “You know, it all seems so easy when you are winning. Now, if I could just figure out a way to blank out the 19 game losing streak, my only memories would be of Kansas City taking 2 of 3 from Boston, Oakland, Chicago and Toronto.” These are very good teams. In baseball, wins happen, and losses happen. The object is to win more than you lose, but even if you are one of the best teams in baseball history, you will still lose 46 games. If you win 100 games, you still lose 62.
Not only is this lack of power by the Royals against Schilling encouraging, Schilling started the game off hitting 90 and was able to settle in around 91-92 with spurts of 94 miles an hour, and he was certainly hurt by two botched possible double-plays the Red Sox could have turned. If some of these singles are contained and these double plays are turned, we are glorying in the “Schilling is baaaaaack!” mania sweeping Boston
People are (understandably) upset that Kevin Millar played, but lest you forget, John Olerud did as well. David Ortiz was out of the lineup, hurt, with a bruised left hand. Do you want him sitting out against the Royals or the Tigers? Yeah, I thought so. Sitting him out last night created an option for Manny to DH, and for Millar to play in left field. Sure, we could have made Petagine the DH and kept Manny in left, but when you can DH Manny, you do it. In addition, Kevin Millar was coming off a 2-4 night with a homerun. Remember when I said that Francona was playing Millar in hopes of getting him hot? This theory still applies, and Millar bashed a homerun. Why wouldn’t you play him the next day and hope he can hit another homerun? Some of you disagreed with me, saying Millar should be a bench player, and should not be starting. Well, that’s what Millar was doing, and he happened to draw the start two nights ago, and he hit a homerun. Why not draw the start again with Ortiz out to see if he can continue that? By the by, he had a pretty good game. 1-2 with two walks, while (it pains me to say this) Olerud went 0-4.
In other news, the league has deemed it necessary to assign September 5th to be the makeup game date for the rainout of the White Sox/Red Sox game on August 14th. This means that the Red and White Sox, who both had an off-day the fifth, will have to play at Fenway. The White Sox have it tough because they’ll have to fly from Chicago to Boston, play the game, then fly back to Chicago. However, the Red Sox won’t have it easy either, as they will now go a whopping 30 consecutive days without an off-day – until September 22. Even if we had the youngest, freshest team in baseball (newsflash: it’s the opposite) it would still be one heck of a grind. I think you can pretty much guarantee that there will be a few spot starts by Jon Papelbon during this stretch, and players that would not have otherwise been called up in September will be called up just to provide that extra option, meaning we may see more people in Red Sox uniforms than we are used to.
Call-ups that are assured of coming to Boston rank with Lenny DiNardo and Kevin Youkilis. Other theoretical call-ups include people on the 40-man that are in Triple-A. If someone is not on the 40-man, room has to be made for them to be called up, so it is unlikely that will happen. Here are the people on the 40-man roster that are not currently in the big leagues:
Abe Alvarez
Tim Bausher
Manny Delcarmen
Lenny DiNardo
Keith Foulke
Craig Hansen
Matt Mantei
Cla Meredith
Wade Miller
Anibal Sanchez
Kelly Shoppach
Alejandro Machado
Hanley Ramirez
Kevin Youkilis
Adam Stern
We will not see Matt Mantei, Cla Meredith, Anibal Sanchez, and Hanley Ramirez in the major leagues. Mantei is out for the season following surgery, Meredith has struggled in Triple-A (and he’s upset about it, but working on it) even though his peripherals are improving. Cla is just not there for this year. Sanchez and Ramirez are in Double-A, and while Sanchez is blowing the competition away, we do not need to bring him up, because we have many other options.
That brings us to this list, minus the ones not making it and the ones already confirmed to come up – DiNardo and Youkilis. In addition, Adam Stern will be activated off the DL and return to the majors, so he is a lock as well, and of course, so is Keith Foulke.
Abe Alvarez
Tim Bausher
Manny Delcarmen
Craig Hansen
Kelly Shoppach
Alejandro Machado
Machado should definitely be back up to provide another middle-infield option, and he also has good speed. Kelly Shoppach is also an absolute to provide catcher depth. This will also help in September because now Doug Mirabelli/Jason Varitek can take on pinch-hitting duties because of the Shoppach option on the bench. Craig Hansen is not only definitely up for us in September, but will probably be up to beat the August 31st deadline for postseason roster eligible players.
Abe Alvarez
Tim Bausher
Manny Delcarmen
That leaves three possibles to be called up. Manny Delcarmen will more than likely return, because he’s already in an option year and you know, our bullpen has kindasorta had issues all year long. That means Alvarez and Bausher are the last candidates. Considering at this point we will have fifteen pitchers, I would be extremely surprised to see Bausher up because he has not dominated Triple-A. Alvarez is always a possibility to help start, but Jon Papelbon has that nailed down this year and if we must, we can go to Jeremi Gonzalez, so I highly double Abe will get up. As a matter of fact, I think a position player not on the 40-man will be called up as well. We will probably see outfielder Adam Hyzdu (what, again!?) for precautions with Trot Nixon and an extra OF on the bench to give Manny and Damon some rest.
I would not expect Pedroia to be called up because we will have plenty of middle infield options. We will also have three first-basemen on the roster. So by my count, we are looking at 34 people on the roster. It’s a lot more than we are used to, but it will create added flexibility for us and help us get through these thirty consecutive days. Thank god we have 25 of the final 37 at home…