There have been precious few occasions when Curt Schilling has let himself down more than during his Opening Day against the Royals. Schilling prides himself on winning big games and eating innings.
He failed on both counts Monday and now he can make amends for that Sunday in what would loom as an important win for his team. The Red Sox have lost the first two games in Texas, and a strong performance from Schilling could prevent a sweep.
"Well, you've got Curt Schilling [on Sunday]. He's one of the best pitchers we have," said Sox righty Julian Tavarez. "He's a veteran guy with great stuff. I give him a lot of credit to still be throwing 94, 95 [mph] at age 40. Curt will give us a good game and we'll get good run support and walk away at .500. That's what we're looking for."
"We go home 3-3 on this road trip and then things are going to change," continued Tavarez. "Our guys are going to get more ready, the more at-bats they get. We'll be fine. It's only five games."
These are the type of "stopper" situations that Schilling has enjoyed throughout his career, so he'll try to rise to the occasion again.
In the opener, Schilling suffered his earliest knockout (four innings, eight hits, five runs) in a decade.
"It was just one of those games where I stunk and didn't improve and then got worse," said Schilling.
Needless to say, Schilling has spent the five days in between trying to figure out why he didn't have his usual fastball command.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona didn't seem like he was losing much sleep over Schilling having a rare bad outing.
"I just don't think he repeated [his delivery] the way he needs to, which is usually one of his strengths," said Francona. "I think he felt that from early on in the game for him, it was a fight the whole way."
But the Red Sox hope to see a much different game this time around.
"The big key is just to keep playing the game hard," said Sox right fielder J.D. Drew. "It's very, very early in the season. You're trying to get over the first week of baseball jitters and things like that. They pitched well, hit well and that's hard to overcome sometimes."
BOS: RHP Curt Schilling (0-1, 11.25 ERA)
The big right-hander had an uncharacteristic lack of command on Opening Day, giving up eight hits and five runs over four innings of a 7-1 loss. It was Schilling's shortest start in a Boston uniform. The Rangers represent a good opportunity for Schilling to bounce back. He is 4-0 with a 3.82 ERA in eight lifetime appearances against Texas. Last year, Schilling was 2-0 against the Rangers with a 3.86 ERA. TEX: RHP Vicente Padilla (0-1, 11.57 ERA)
Padilla makes his first start of the season at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, where he was 8-5 with a 4.80 ERA in 17 starts last year. He was 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts against the Red Sox last year and is 1-1 with a 5.06 ERA against them in his career. Manny Ramirez is 1-for-8 with four strikeouts in his career against Padilla, while Drew is 6-for-14 with a home run. Player to watch
Frank Catalanotto is 10-for-19 lifetime against Schilling with four doubles. On the Internet
Official game notes On television
ESPN On radio
WRKO-680 AM, Spanish Baseball Network (Español) Up next
Tuesday: Red Sox (RHP Josh Beckett, 1-0, 1.80) vs. Mariners (LHP Horacio Ramirez, 5-5, 4.48 in 2006), 2:05 p.m. ET
Wednesday: Red Sox (RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka, 1-0, 1.29) vs. Mariners (TBA), 7:05 p.m. ET
Thursday: Red Sox (RHP Tim Wakefield, 0-1, 1.50) vs. Mariners (TBA), 4:05 p.m. ET
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.