Thursday, October 25, 2007
Tonight’s starter, Ubaldo Jimenez, stands the best shot at taming the Sox offense. He throws a mid-90’s fastball that sets up his off-speed pitches – curveball, slider to RHB, change up to LHB – that he tries to get hitters to chase. If this kid is pitching well, Jimenez could be especially tough on the bottom half of the lineup. Lowell and Tek have the tendency to chase high fastballs with two strikes; for Drew, it is sliders down-and-away. The front four are so locked in right now (knock on wood) that only a sick performance is going to keep them off the base paths. A solid outing and/or some luck from Jimenez could easily translate into him going five or six innings while giving up two runs, which should keep them in this ballgame because this is a tough match up for Curt Schilling.
As we said, Holliday and Helton are hitters. Schilling’s stuff will not beat them. Even when Schilling was on, Helton still hit him at a 333/390/722 with five home runs in 54 at-bats. That’s not good, my friends. Even though Atkins, Hawpe and Tulowitzki are overrated as hitters, they like the ball down (the split) and hit curveballs from RHP well (Schilling likes to drop in a deuce for an early strike). They will be tough outs as well. The match up issues could lengthen innings for Schilling.
Both starters could be out after the fifth tonight. This looks like a bullpen game, and here the Sox should have the edge as Hurdle is likely to go with the A.L. castoffs in the middle innings instead of Corpas and Fuentes. Tito will not hesitate, with a day off tomorrow, to have Okajima and Papelbon each go two innings tonight if necessary.