“DIARY OF A WINNER”

BRIAN McCANN

A POWERFUL CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM
Schilling gets shelled in Atlanta

June 18, 2007 ... Only 11 days have passed since Curt Schilling dabbled with immortality, coming within one out of a no-hitter.  But tonight Schilling was carried out on his shield after giving up six runs in 4 1/3 innings while failing to strike out a batter for the first time in 348 starts, dating back to July 1, 1993, when he was young and indestructible.

The 40-year-old right-hander was a shell of the Schill who has won so many huge games in the course of his career. He departed after Brian McCann, the 23-year-old Braves catcher who was born just two years before Schilling threw his first pitch as a professional, crushed an 84 mile-an-hour cut fastball into the right-center-field seats for a three-run home run, giving the Braves a 6-1 lead.

The Braves won, 9-4, despite three home runs by the Sox, two by Coco Crisp and one by J.D. Drew. The two-homer game was the first of Crisp's career. In three at-bats last night, he hit twice as many home runs as he had hit in his first 227 at-bats this season. Crisp finished with four hits, his first four-hit game with the Sox and first since Sept. 11, 2005, when he was with the Indians. But it was all for naught, as the Braves also had their way with another Sox pitcher long in the tooth, Mike Timlin, who was touched up for Scott Thorman's two-run home run in the seventh.

The inning before McCann's home run, the Braves had scored twice on four hits, including a bloop single by opposing pitcher Chuck James. The only reason that rally didn't get out of hand was that Schilling was able to retire Kelly Johnson on a fly ball that drove Crisp to the track.

Schilling has found his inconsistency this season maddening, a topic to which he has alluded time and again. He had nothing on Opening Day in Kansas City, lasting just four innings, then gave up one run, total, in 15 innings over his next two starts. That pattern has emerged again and again. On May 28, he struck out 10 in seven innings against the Indians, then lasted just five innings against the Yankees the next time out. In his last start, he was knocked around by Colorado for nine hits and six runs (five earned) in five innings last Wednesday at Fenway, though his defense contributed to his undoing. Yesterday, he had no defense for his own performance.

The winning pitcher was James, a local Georgia boy who would have been a top draft choice but dived off the roof of an apartment building just days before the draft and fractured both of his wrists. The Braves eventually took him on the 20th round in 2002 out of an Alabama junior college, and he cracked the rotation with his fastball-changeup combination. Jones and former Sox shortstop Edgar Renteria had three hits apiece, while Willie Harris, who made a cameo appearance for the Sox last season, had two.

The Red Sox officially cut ties with left-handed reliever J.C. Romero, placing him on waivers for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release. They had designated Romero for assignment 10 days earlier in Arizona, a move that came as a shock to the 30-year-old pitcher, less so to those who had watched him put runners on base at an alarming rate (24 hits, 15 walks in 20 innings). It will take Romero two days to clear waivers, unless some club is foolish enough to claim him and become responsible for the balance of his $1.6 million contract. Teams almost certainly will wait, because once Romero becomes a free agent, they can sign him for the major league minimum ($380,000), with the Sox on the hook for the rest.

David Ortiz was the designated sitter last night. Kevin Youkilis and Mike Lowell will have their turns later in the series. Ortiz wasn't in the starting lineup but pinch hit for Mike Timlin in the eighth. Left-handed reliever Hideki Okajima was not available after pitching three straight days. Julio Lugo remained in the lineup even after going 0 for 4 Sunday, which dropped his batting average to a season-low .207. Lugo was 5 for 44 (.114) in his last dozen games.

Jason Varitek threw out the Braves' Willie Harris attempting to steal second to end the third inning, just the third would-be stealer Varitek has caught in 25 attempts. Harris, who made a cameo for the Sox last season, not only comes from Jackie Robinson's hometown of Cairo, Ga., but has started channeling the Hall of Famer. He had two hits last night and is batting a stunning .386 since his call-up April 29th. The Sox came into the night having played four consecutive errorless games. However, second baseman Dustin Pedroia's sixth-inning miscue ended that streak. It was the rookie's first error since April 11th.

Matt Clement, who is recuperating from shoulder surgery, will meet up with the team next week when it returns from its trip and meet with the manager, pitching coach John Farrell, and the medical staff to evaluate his progress and chart where he goes from here.

 

at Turner Field (Atlanta) ...

R

H

E

BOSTON RED SOX

0

1

0

0

0

1

1

0

1

 

4

9

1

ATLANTA BRAVES

0

0

1

2

3

1

2

0

x

 

9

15

0

W-Chuck James (6-6)
L-Curt Schilling (6-4)
Attendance – 47,562

2B-Thorman (Atl), McCann (Atl)
HR-Crisp (2)(Bost), Drew (Bost), McCann (Atl), Thorman (Atl)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

J.D. Drew rf 5 1 1 .241  

 

Dustin Pedroia 2b 3 1 1 .322  

 

Kevin Youkilis 1b 4 0 1 .331  

 

Manny Ramirez lf 3 0 1 .294  

 

Wily Mo Pena lf 1 0 0 .220  

 

Jason Varitek c 4 0 0 .259  

 

Doug Mirabelli c 0 0 0 .197  

 

Mike Lowell 3b 5 0 0 .299  

 

Coco Crisp cf 4 2 4 .247  

 

Julio Lugo ss 3 0 0 .205  

 

Curt Schilling p 2 0 1 .500  

 

Kyle Snyder p 0 0 0 .000  

 

Eric Hinske ph 1 0 0 .175  

 

Javier Lopez p 0 0 0 .000  

 

Mike Timlin p 0 0 0 .000  

 

David Ortiz ph 1 0 0 .332  

 

Mnny Delcarmen p 0 0 0 .000  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  Curt Schilling 4.1 10 6 2 0  
  Kyle Snyder 0.2 0 0 0 1  
  Javier Lopez 0.2 1 0 0 1  
  Mike Timlin 1.1 4 2 0 1  
  Mnny Delcarmen 1 0 0 0 0  

 

 

         

 

 

 

2007 A.L. EAST STANDINGS

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX 44 25 -

 

 

New York Yankees 35 32 8

 

 

Toronto Blue Jays 33 35 10 1/2

 

 

Tampa Bay Rays 31 37 12 1/2

 

 

Baltimore Orioles 29 40 15