Friday, March 25, 2005

Schilling debuts

1:05 : The game starts and Curt Schilling is on the mound. Two balls get put into play, but both line drives are snagged. He walks Nick Punto (I believe...I was too focused on the Sox to even notice there was another team out there....) promptly took off for second. Jason Varitek is in midseason form as his throw to second bounces twice before bouncing past Edgar Renteria and nearly into centerfield giving Punto the easy steal despite the high fastball from Schilling. The final line of the inning is one walk, one strikeout, and one ace looking like he's ready to go.

1:10 : Trot Nixon is batting in the two hole. Before Mark Bellhorn broke out last year and Nixon spent the bulk of the time on the DL, I was a big fan of the idea of putting Nixon at the top of the order. His OBP is typically pretty high and when he's on, he's a good hitter to want to have a lot of at bats. Now that Bellhorn has showed us that he can get on base I think Nixon should bat fifth or sixth, protecting the big guys. According to Remy and Orsilla, Francona says that he plans on using Nixon towards the top of the order a bit this year, a good move if you ask me.

1:20 : Get used to this site...David Ortiz knocks in Manny Ramirez with an RBI double. We'll probably see that about 800 times this year. The score is 1-0.

1:25 : The Twins are still putting the ball in play pretty hard when they manage to make contact. After striking out Mike Cuddyer for the first out and Shannon Stewart flying out to deep left, Michael Restovich knocked a fly to the warning track that Manny almost got...but he's Manny. Restovich scored on a single up the middle to tie the score at one before the third out on a fly to center.

Speaking of flies to center, am I seeing things funny or is Johnny Damon still really uncomfortable out in the field. He's making the plays but it always seems like he has to make a last second lunge to get to the ball.

1:40 : Brad Radke made quick work of the Sox in the bottom of the inning and leading off the top of the third Johnny makes me look stupid with a nice diving play. Apparently he took exception to me saying he looks uncomfortable out there.

According to Orsilla, Matt Clement had a great game pitching to minor leaguers earlier today. I missed the numbers he put up, but if there's a link later on, I'll be sure to put it here. Clement was supposed to start against the Twins today, but Schilling decided he was ready for action and got the start instead.

A bloop single is all the Twins get in this half. Schilling is looking good and there's no sign that he's not feeling good. He'll likely come out for his last inning in the fourth.

1:50 : The Sox make quick work of themselves once again when Bellhorn gets a line-drive single, Damon wipes him out with a fielders choice, then wipes himself out when being caught stealing by about 25 feet. A bad jump combined with a perfect throw and Damon didn't have a chance. Nixon made the third out and now Schilling is back out there for inning number four.

Schilling hits 50 pitches in the middle of a long at bat against Jacque Jones. On the eigth pitch of the at bat Jones takes a splitter over the fence for his first home run of the spring. The very next pitch and Mike Restovich puts the ball in the same place and the Twins are up 3-1.

With two outs in the fourth Schilling comes out of the game after 65 pitches. He waves to the crowd and is likely unhappy that he let up the home runs, but for the first start of the year I think we can all be pretty encouraged.

2:03 : I'm not sure why I did the running blog of the game and I wasn't planning on it. But Schilling is out and so am I. Time to start the day, cash the check, pay the bills, and all that other stuff that doesn't matter as much as baseball should.....but if I don't do it they shut off my cable therefor not allowing me to watch baseball. So I think I gotta go.

2:50 : Ok, I lied. I took a shower, but couldn't tear myself away from the tv and I'm glad I did. Schilling is in the middle of his press conference. "The ankle feels good and that's really the least of my concerns right now", he says. He wasn't even thinking about his ankle and has said a couple of times that it is no longer an issue. The biggest thing that Sox fans can take away from this day is that Schilling is healthy. He wasn't pleased with the way he pitched. He was pretty down on himself in the press conference, but it's not injury related and that's what's important. It was his first game against an opposing team this year and him being a little bit behind is to be expected. He's going to get more work in and he'll be ready soon. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty encouraged by all of this even if Schilling doesn't seem happy.

Now Matt Mantei is taking the mound for the Sox with a 5-1 deficit. Six games pitched and 5.1 innings is a pretty small sample size for Mantei, but in that small sample size he's put up some impressive numbers and his arm hasn't fallen off yet. Good times...good times.

NICE! Another diving catch for Damon. That guy is really pissed off at me for questioning his defense, and Johnny, I'm sorry.

And now this time, I mean it....I'm out of here.

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