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Curt Schilling on D&C: ‘More of it’s on Theo than Tito’

09.27.11 at 9:49 am ET

Former Red Sox pitcher and current ESPN baseball analyst Curt Schilling joined Dennis & Callahan Tuesday morning for his weekly appearance. Schilling talked about the Red Sox’ chances of making the playoffs, as well as who is to blame for the September collapse and who will be back next year should Boston miss the postseason.

“I think more of it’s on Theo [Epstein] than Tito [Terry Francona],” Schilling said. “The environment around what they’re doing now, the guy managing this team is the only guy that can keep them together. I would argue that with another manager in this position right now, you’d have some in-fighting, some big time in-fighting going on right now given what they’re going through.”

Both Epstein and Francona have received considerable criticism for Boston’s historically bad September. Epstein has been hammered for overpaying for players who have underperformed in Boston, while Francona has been criticized for simply allowing the collapse to happen as manager. Schilling said that he would not be surprised if neither were back next year if the Red Sox complete their collapse and miss the playoffs.

“I could see a scenario where neither the general manager nor the manager was here next year,” Schilling said. “One of them by his own choice and the other one by being associated with [the collapse]. Again, I think firing Tito would be the ultimate mistake. I think you’d have to start all over here with this group of players and a new manager.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

On who will step up and lead Boston to the playoffs: “Starting pitcher, that’s it, that’s the only person that can do this. One of their starting pitchers and is going to take the ball and throw a one-hit game through eight innings. This is the exact reason I said what I said last week [that Boston would miss playoffs]. I could not see one of their pitchers doing this job in the last ten days, just from a mindset perspective.”

On if Baltimore having nothing to lose hurts the Red Sox’ chances: “This is the worst possible opponent you can possibly have. You’d rather be playing Tampa right now, honestly. The hard part is they had a run-in earlier in the year where everything’s now coming back to fruition, things are coming back to haunt them a little bit. I remember Kevin Gregg making some comments. And you know what? When you’re in last place, that’s the kind of stuff that motivates you.”

On Erik Bedard’s and John Lackey’s recent pre-game distractions: “The guys that I played with, those things always caused them to throw shutouts and throw four hits. Those were never, ‘This is why we’re doing bad.’ That fear of failure thing, you just push yourself to a level you didn’t have. Make no mistake about it, if you watch the way [Monday’s Red Sox game] was played and the way Tampa is playing, they’re in the playoffs right now. Every pitch, every out, every move, every ball is October baseball right now. And I just can’t fathom that they have not been able to find a way.”

Read More: Curt Schilling, Terry Francona, Theo Epstein,
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