The analysis: "Schilling was outstanding. From the beginning, his command of the fastball was there ... both sides of the plate, up and down. Changing speeds ... Ten years ago, I would have had some concerns [about pitching him on such long rest], but now he is a different pitcher. I think he's gotten to a point where he's comfortable." -- Francona
Where there's a Willits, there's a way out
The situation: The Angels threaten to break through in a scoreless game, a pair of singles placing runners at the corners with two outs in the third inning, bringing Vladimir Guerrero to bat in a clutch situation.
Schilling transparently pitches around Guerrero, walking him on four straight pitches -- exceeding the total of three balls he had thrown to the first 12 batters he'd faced -- to load the bases. Schilling prefers to face rookie Reggie Willits, who had entered the game in the top of the inning to replace Garret Anderson, finally shelved by the conjunctivitis that has plagued him since Wednesday.
The outcome: On a 1-2 breaking pitch, Willits fouled out meekly to catcher Jason Varitek, ending the Angels' first and last threat against Schilling.
The analysis: "That was one of the two times I felt the game was on the line. I don't know if I've ever gone the intentional-unintentional walk route to that extent in my career. I just didn't feel comfortable with the matchup. Knowing Garret wasn't the next hitter, I decided to take a different approach." -- Schilling
Take a day off ... or five
The situation: As the team with the best record in the American League, the Red Sox have their choice of Division Series formats.
The Boston organization picks the "extended" series, which called for off-days between each of the first three games.
The outcome: By making quick work of the Angels, the Red Sox invited for themselves the mixed blessing of a sporadic schedule. When the AL Championship Series opens on Friday, they will have played three games in 12 days. Off-days can help heal their injured, of which the Red Sox have none, but can also dull their edge, which is sharp.
The analysis: "We knew what were getting into in advance. That doesn't mean we would have preferred this series to go five games just so we would have less days off. I think anyone would rather not have five days off, but we'll just go with it. If you're going to let down because you've got too many days off, you've got a problem." -- Mike Lowell