We say supposed to because Smith clearly didn’t do the job very well. Including last night’s game where he retired two hitters, but walked three and gave up a run, Smith had completed just four innings in nine appearances. During that span the opposition hit just .250 against Smith, but that’s because he was too busy walking a large number of hitters. Of the 27 hitters Smith had faced this season, he walked 11. Worse, of the 11 lefties he has faced, Smith has walked six and given up two hits.
So when Pat Gillick and Ruben Amaro were seen waiting in the coaches’ room just off the clubhouse following the 9-3 victory over the Nationals last night, it was pretty fair to guess that Smith was a topic of conversation.
“He's had a good chance to come in and face some lefties. With his command, he's having a hard time right now,” Charlie Manuel said about Smith, after noting that the reports on Castro from Ottawa had been good and that he was mulling over other options in facing opponents’ tough lefty hitters.
Castro was a Rule 5 selection for the Rangers last year before being traded to the Phillies. He spent most of the second half of the season sitting in the bullpen, though he got in 16 games with a 1.54 ERA. This season for Ottawa, Castro’s numbers mirror the good reports the manager has received. In six relief appearances, Castro was 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA and held opponents to a .194 average.
There are few different elements working here. First, it’s fair to paint me as a skeptic. Actually, skeptic might not be the right term – non-believer is more apt. And by non-believer I don’t mean anything other than what the words imply. It’s not that I don’t doubt certain things, I just don’t believe them. I don’t believe TV commercials, press releases, conspiracy theories or nihilism (say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism – at least it’s an ethos, Dude).
In that regard, when Curt Schilling showed up to pitch in the 2004 World Series and ALCS with that aesthetically packaged bloody sock with the neatly inscribed shoe for his cause de guerre and the so-called blood placed just so above the outer rim of his Reebok spikes, well, c’mon.
Certainly we’ve never known Curt Schilling as one prone to self-aggrandizing. He’s always been one to shy away from the limelight, right? In fact, isn’t he the guy who always says, “Could you please put those cameras down and turn those tape recorders off? Enough about me, I’ve gone on and on too much as it is… let’s hear about you.”
But 2½ years after the bloody sock became a little bit of folklore, people are still talking about it. And, much to my shock, there are skeptics out there. One, MASN baseball announcer Gary Thorne, even went so far as to say the entire thing was a hoax. How does Thorne know? Well, he says, red Sox catcher Doug Mirabelli told him so.
Here’s how it went down according to published reports:
In the bottom of the fifth, according to multiple media reports, Orioles play-by-play man Gary Thorne said on the air that he had been told by Red Sox catcher Doug Mirabelli that the substance was paint, not blood.
“The great story we were talking about the other night was that famous red stocking that he wore when they finally won, the blood on his stocking,” Thorne told broadcast partner and Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer, according to media reports.
“Nah,” Thorne said. “It was painted. Doug Mirabelli confessed up to it after. It was all for PR. Two-ball, two-strike count.”
Two innings later, according to media reports, Thorne explained Mirabelli had told him the story “a couple of years ago.”
"Go ask him [Mirabelli]," Thorne said.
Needless to say, Mirabelli, Schilling and Red Sox skipper Terry Francona weren’t too happy in having the ruse, er… story, replayed all over again. Denials over Thorne’s accounts flew like blood from a ruptured superior vena cava.
According to reports:
“What? Are you kidding me? He's [expletive] lying. A straight lie,” Mirabelli said, according to The Boston Globe. “I never said that. I know it was blood. Everybody knows it was blood.”
“It gets stupider,” Schilling added, according to the newspaper. “I got the 9-inch scar for you. You can see it. ... There are some bad people in your line of work, man.”
Gordon Edes of the Boston Globe contacted Red Sox GM Theo Epstein via e-mail and got this response:
"You're kidding me, right?" Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein wrote in an e-mail last night. "I'm the GM of the team, not Jerry Springer. I couldn't give two [expletives] about what was on his sock, I care that we won the game. The rest, and Gary Thorne, is just noise.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona also questioned Thorne's version of the story.
“What Schill did that night on the sports field was one of the most incredible feats I ever witnessed,” Francona said, according to The Globe. “[Thorne's remarks] go so far past disappointing. Disrespectful to Schill, to his vocation. I'm stunned.
“I am just floored. Schill takes his share of shots, and this one is so far below the belt that I'm embarrassed and I wish somebody would have had the good conscience to ask me,” Francona said, according to the newspaper.
It should be noted that Mirabelli has been burned by conversations that he thought he was having in confidence in the past. It also should be noted that Schilling has talked, a lot, in the past as well.
It also should be noted that ESPN’s Jayson Stark believes Schilling bled like a stuck pig during the World Series and ALCS in 2004. That, and that alone, is good enough for me.
Speaking of Jayson Stark, check out what he wrote about today's starter, Cole Hamels under the sub-head "Cys in the making":
The other name is 23-year-old Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels. Just last Saturday, Hamels struck out 15 Reds, in only the 27th start of his career. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only four other pitchers in the last 25 years have had that big a strikeout game that early in their careers -- Roger Clemens, Kerry Wood (twice), Hideo Nomo and Greg Swindell. One scout who watched Hamels told Rumblings he'd vote for him for the Cy Young right now.
"I would never say he had a better changeup than Johan Santana, because nobody's better than Santana," the scout said. "But let's just say Santana's change is no better than this guy's. It's just as good. And I can't give any higher praise than that. They never made contact with it the whole night. He kept throwing it, and they kept swinging right through it."