Wednesday, September 22, 2004
The box score tells the story of Curt Schilling's dominance. I echo Remy; it was the best performance by a Red Sox pitcher this season. But the Sox most questioned off season acquisition, Tito, out maneuvered MFY, Kathy Lee Mazzilli, in the eighth that allowed Bellhorn and company to bail out Foulke to get the win.
First, Tito came out to request the Umpires check the dealing Rodrigo Lopez's hat. It may or may not have had an affect on Lopez, but the pitcher did walk the next couple of batters.
With one out, first base open and Big Poppi up, Kathy Lee Mazzilli puts on Ortiz to face Trot Nixon. Mazzilli brings in tough southpaw, BJ Ryan, to face the feeble Nixon against lefties. Tito counters with Kevin Millar, who drives in the first and go ahead run.
It was a no brainer to pinch hit for Trot, but Kathy Lee Mazzilli did not realize this. If BJ came into the game to face Big Poppi, it is unlikely that Tito would have pinched hit for Ortiz with Nixon behind him and one out. Kathy Lee Mazzilli would have gotten the better match up - BJ versus Ortiz. Ortiz is 243/311/455 against southpaws this season and BJ has held LHB to 101/167/172 line. In contrast, Millar is 298/366/450 against LHP – virtually his career mark. Kathy Lee Mazzilli made a mistake and Tito took full advantage of it.
The credit for this win can be divided up - 70% Curt Schilling, 15% timely hitting and 5% good managing. The 5% won’t get much media coverage, as it should, but Tito was a factor in this much needed victory.