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Curt Schilling on M&M: Jon Lester ‘frustrating,’ Alex Rodriguez likely done as a Yankee

07.15.13 at 2:24 pm ET
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Curt Schilling joined Mut & Merloni on Monday afternoon, and the ESPN baseball analyst was critical of significant pieces of the Red Sox rotation despite the team’€™s overall success leading up to the All-Star break.

Jon Lester‘€™s ineffectiveness? Frustrating. Clay Buchholz‘€™ DL stint? Frustrating. Felix Doubront‘€™s breakout half-season? Impressive, but still frustrating because he can do more.

Schilling started with Lester, who outside of nine starts to open the season has pitched similar to how he did during his largely unimpressive 2012.

‘€œThe frustrating thing is I don’€™t see his ability to adjust,’€ Schilling said. ‘€œAnd if you’€™re going to be great in the big leagues, you have to make adjustments. Everybody goes through it. Everybody goes through what Jon Lester went through last year, but you don’€™t go through it multiple times because when you go through it the first time, you figure it out and you fix it.

‘€œIt’€™s frustrating because he’€™s a no-hit guy, he’€™s a Cy Young guy if he can be consistent. He has not proven over the course of a season to be able to be consistent, and I think it’€™s a physical thing. Mechanically he doesn’€™t have a feel for it or something.’€

Schilling also pegged Lester’€™s apparent lack of focus as a reason he so often comes unraveled. Opposing teams regularly find success with two outs against Lester, who also has had issues with umpires ‘€” another part of the game Schilling felt strongly about.

‘€œGets off his game by doing stupid stuff,’€ Schilling said. ‘€œHe should have that down already. He should know who he’€™s had run-ins with, who calls what, who does what. And he shouldn’€™t be caught off guard by the things that happen out there, and he’€™s continuously doing that, and that’€™s the frustrating part.’€

Buchholz, who was off to a sparkling start with a 1.71 ERA and 1.02 WHIP, has not pitched since June 8 due to a lingering neck strain. While acknowledging it is impossible to truly know what is going on with another player’€™s injury, Schilling questioned whether or not Buchholz is physically able to pitch right now.

‘€œEvery start since I was about 25 [or older], there was discomfort and pain somewhere,’€ Schilling said. ‘€œIf he can’€™t pitch he can’€™t pitch, but I also want him to know and understand pitching with discomfort is part of the rest of your life. That’€™s what happens.

‘€œObviously there’€™s no structural damage, which is huge and important, but he’€™s got to clear it in his own head, and I think that’€™s the hurdle now. If this was October or September, would he be pitching? That’€™s the question I’€™d ask. If this was September and we’€™re in a pennant run, and you’€™re two games up, are you taking the ball?’€

Doubront, meanwhile, has pitched quite well in his second year as a full-time major league starter. He owns a 2.70 ERA and is limiting opposing batters to a .220 clip the last two months.

Still, Schilling says Doubront has more in him.

‘€œThis is not your No. 5 [starter],’€ Schilling said. ‘€œI look at Doubront kind of like I look at Chris Archer and the guys in Tampa. They have some arms in the three, four and five holes that are other teams’€™ No. 2s and 3s. Felix Doubront is not a four or five.

‘€œHe’€™s a loaded, 92-94 power lefty with a good breaking ball and great stuff who should be getting better every start. And that’€™s the frustrating thing right now. I want to see him go into the seventh, eighth, ninth innings at 100 pitches, 90 pitches.’€

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To listen to the interview, visit the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

On Alex Rodriguez: “I will be wrong and I will be stunned if he ever puts the Yankee uniform on again. I don’€™t think there’€™s any scenario now that has him stepping the field at Yankee Stadium again. I think he knows where he’€™s headed. I don’€™t think he can fight what he knows.

“I think a lot of them are in that position, and that’€™s what’€™s shocking to me. There are guys in the big leagues taking the field right now knowing their seasons are about to end. And I’€™m going to be curious to see how that plays out.”

On John Farrell: ‘€œIf the season ends today, he’€™s the Manager of the Year in the American League. ‘€¦ I think he’€™s one of the best, top two or three baseball people I’€™ve ever known. I don’€™t think there’€™s a job in the game he’€™s not overqualified for. He’€™s probably the best communicator I’€™ve ever been around, and that, to me, is what managing in the big league is these days ‘€” it’€™s about communicating. It’€™s not about X’s and O’s and knowing when to bunt and when to hit and run.

‘€œIt’€™s about getting across to your players. It’€™s about putting your 25 players in the best position to succeed, and that doesn’€™t always have to do with being on the field. That has to do with having them mentally prepared for the grind and for playing in Boston, which is a very different animal. I think he’€™s as good as anybody that I’€™ve ever been around at doing that.’€

On Brandon Workman: ‘€œI thought he pitched phenomenal. The end of it was kind of tough to watch. I thought he should’€™ve been out of it after the first hit. ‘€¦ I’€™d want to make sure my starting rotation, my guys are happy. He comes out after 6 1/3 [innings], giving up one hit, get an ecstatic report and feeling great about himself. Instead he comes out after the home run and they end up losing the game. it’€™s a tough one to watch. But I was impressed. I was impressed.’€

Read More: Alex Rodriguez, Brandon Workman, Clay Buchholz, Curt Schilling
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