No shame, really -- especially if Mussina is as effective with his new personal catcher, Wil Nieves, as Torre thinks he is. Especially if Schilling's rediscovered split-finger fastball is as much of a revelation as he knows it is.
In his postgame interview on Monday, Schilling credited extra work with Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell for his seven-inning, one-run, 10-strikeout gem against the Cleveland Indians. The return of the splitter prompted him to pen a 2,444-word ode to the pitch and its return on his blog, 38 Pitches.
"First inning starts," Schilling wrote of that start against the Indians, "and it's clear that the 1997 version of my split has decided to show up.
"We end up striking out the side, all on splits," he continued, adding that the pitch had "not been splitting for a very long time.
"The bottom line was that the pitch was acting like it's supposed to."
Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Schilling's last consistently dominant splitter predated even his star pitcher's World Series-winning days in Boston and Arizona. Francona saw the pitch regularly -- it was "devastating," he said -- when he managed Schilling for the Philadelphia Phillies.
"For him to get that split back, if it comes and stays on a consistent basis, that would be terrific for us," Francona said.
And just as nice for the fans.
NYY: RHP Mike Mussina (2-3, 5.86 ERA)
Mussina has thrown 344 career innings against the Red Sox, far more than he has thrown against any other team, with a 3.58 ERA. But he has struggled in recent years, posting a 5.25 ERA since Boston's World Series season, spanning 11 starts. This year, he owns a 2.60 ERA in 17 1/3 innings with backup catcher Nieves starting and a 9.00 ERA in 18 innings with Jorge Posada behind the plate. Nieves will start on Saturday.
BOS: RHP Curt Schilling (5-2, 3.68 ERA)
His famed 2004 ALCS performance notwithstanding, Schilling has actually struggled against the Yankees' deep lineups of recent years, posting a 4.73 career ERA against the Bombers. If Schilling pitches as he did in his last start, that fact could prove irrelevant. The 20-year Major League veteran struck out 10 Indians in seven innings on Monday and had Francona reminiscing about the split-fingered fastball of Schilling's Philadelphia years.
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Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano had 14 hits in his last 40 at-bats entering Friday, when he slugged a second-inning home run off Boston starter Tim Wakefield. He owns a .391 career average against Schilling in 22 at-bats.
Official game notes
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Sunday: Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 8-0, 2.65) vs. Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 3-4, 2.51), 8:05 p.m. ET
Monday: Red Sox (Julian Tavarez, 3-4, 5.40) at Athletics (Dan Haren, 6-2, 1.64), 10:05 p.m. ET
Tuesday: Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 7-3, 4.83) at Athletics (Lenny DiNardo, 1-2, 1.80), 10:05 p.m. ET