I said I wasn’t going to, but I will anyway. We’ll get to the obvious in a moment. First, the positives from tonight’s crushing 5-2 loss to Minnesota:
- Two players much maligned on this site did quite well on a night when most hitters were flailing away. Alex Gonzalez (three hits) and Jason Varitek (HR) both gave the Red Sox crucial leads from the bottom of the lineup. Kudos to them.
- Curt Schilling had perhaps his best start of the season on a night when the Sox should have lost in nine. Johan Santana was Roger Clemens circa 1986 out there, and the newly economical Schilling matched him zero for zero (and, unfortunately, 1 for 1).
But there was the bad.
We’ll find out soon, but I suspect Curt Schilling, whose pitch count was absurdly low by his standards, could have gone nine without approaching the danger levels we saw earlier this year. Jonathan Papelbon, blowing hitters away, could have gone three. Even Mike Timlin, fresh off the DL, was fast enough in the 11th that he could have gone two. Knowing that we have essentially no pen beyond Timlinbon, Terry Francona surprisingly didn’t do any of those.
He did bring in Julian "I’ve never pitched in a game-on-the-line situation without exploding and leaving flaming pieces of flesh all over the infield" Tavarez when better — but granted still poor — choices remained on the bullpen bench. How about Delcarmen, who acquitted himself well in a similar situation Sunday? How about Van Buren, who has pitched well in all but one game, and even that was under extenuating circumstances? How about Pauley, who has pitched well under pressure (tie game at the Stadium) before?
So Tavarez comes on: Strikeout, HBP, ground-rule double, intentional walk, grand slam on a 3-2 count (everyone in the park knew a strike was coming on the 3-2. Tavarez knew everyone knew. Yet he threw a meatball. Nuff ced). Following the poor outing in Game 2 of Sunday’s doubleheader, following the Tampa Bay debacle, this man cannot be allowed to pitch another game for the Red Sox.
Although tonight’s horror show was in the 12th, let’s combine it with Tavarez’s line in the 9th thus far this season. Here’s how he is with the game on the line in the final frame of a ballgame: 3 outs, 8 hits, 2 walks, 3 HR, 10 runs. Yes, that’s a 10.00 ERA with as many home runs as outs recorded. That’s all I have to say.