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Curt Schilling on D&C: Red Sox ‘not getting fixed this year’ 07.24.15 at 10:47 am ET
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ESPN baseball analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Friday to talk about the Red Sox‘ post-All-Star-break struggles. To listen to the interview, go to the D&C audio on demand page.

The Red Sox have lost eight straight, including the first seven contests since returning from the All-Star break. With the Sox now 12 games out of first place in the division, Schilling said that the team will not be able to remedy itself this season.

“I think the first answer is that it’s not getting fixed this year. It’s not. I don’t blame [general manager Ben Cherington] in some ways, but you have to in others. It seems like every single move he’s made since the final day of the season last year has been bad,” Schilling said.

According to Schilling, there needs to be accountability for the team’s disappointing results, but that doesn’t necessarily mean firing anyone in management.

“Somebody’s got to pay. That’s the thing. I think that, if I’m running the team, I don’t know that I fire anybody, but I think there’s some readjustments that need to be made,” Schilling said. “There’s not a Band-Aid to put on this, there’s multiple gaping wounds that need to be healed.”

Schilling was definitive when asked if the Red Sox should fire manager John Farrell: “No.”

“I certainly think he needs to get better as a game-manager,” Schilling added. “I’ve seen situations where I go, ‘In my mind he got outmanaged or he was outplayed.’ But this, to me, is on the players. One hundred percent on the players. You can’t make Joe Kelly suddenly start missing bats, you can’t make guys take extra outfield work off the wall.”

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Curt Schilling on D&C: ‘Knowing Ben [Cherington], there’s a plan in place’ 07.16.15 at 11:38 am ET
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ESPN analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling joined the Dennis & Callahan Show on Thursday morning to talk about the Red Sox, the All-Star Game and Pete Rose. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Schilling said there aren’t many teams in the majors who have declared themselves sellers at this point, including the Red Sox. While Clay Buchholz might have been an interesting piece for the Sox to consider dealing, Schilling noted whether or not Boston missed the boat on trading him before his injury might not be a question the team is asking.

“I think the way they played going into the break, I don’t know what their thought process is,” he said. “I would imagine, like everything else and knowing Ben [Cherington], there’s a plan in place, and if that plan is to add a piece at the break, then they’re not actively shopping anybody. I think a lot of teams are in that gray area. There’s the Nats of the world and the Royals, and then at the deadline I think you’re going to see 25-ish buyers and four to five sellers.”

The former pitcher said he’d be surprised if Mike Napoli sticks around unless he starts hitting again. The Sox open the second half with a four-game set with the Angels this weekend, a team he has a .333/.453/.739 career slash line against, although one good series might not be enough unless it gives him a jumping off point for an extended stretch.

“I like Mike and I hope things work out, but it’s getting to the point where, given the contract, [the Red Sox] certainly could walk away because it gets back to what they think,” Schilling said. “Do they believe they’re legitimate contenders? … That’s the question, what they truly think and believe about where they are.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

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Curt Schilling on D&C: Rick Porcello takes mound Wednesday ‘knowing he has to be good’ 07.08.15 at 10:08 am ET
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ESPN analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling called in for his weekly appearance with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about the Red Sox and the Rick Porcello problem. To listen to the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Porcello has struggled mightily this season, posting an AL-worst 6.08 ERA and having not recorded a win since May 16. According to Schilling, misfortune can account for some of the ground ball pitcher’s troubles.

“When you have a guy that’s a contact pitcher, and for the most part that’s exactly what he is, his five-game horrible streak can encompass the same amount of ground balls as his five-game dominant streak. When you don’t make people swing and miss and when you can’t consistently make people swing and miss, there’s a luck factor involved,” Schilling said, adding, “Any time you get into talking about a pitcher who relies on contact for success, you’re coin-flipping.”

Porcello will make his final start before the All-Star break on Wednesday night, and Schilling regards the outing as one of the more pressure-filled non-playoff situations possible.

“He knows, he’s going out there today, they’ve righted the ship, he’s the one guy that’s still floundering,” Schilling said. “He’s going out there knowing he has to be good tonight, knowing he has to protect his turf, protect his spot.

“I love it because now you’re going to find out how Rick Porcello feels or pitches under pressure. This is pressure. This is as much pressure as you can get, I think, besides a playoff game.”

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Curt Schilling on D&C: ‘I’m not sure’ Red Sox can turn it around 06.24.15 at 9:43 am ET
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ESPN baseball analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made his weekly appearance with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning and talked about the Red Sox and Joe Kelly’€™s struggles. To listen to the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Schilling said that despite the lofty expectations, the disappointing Red Sox simply may not be a team capable of turning the ship around and playing better.

“I’d love to think that they’€™re going to turn it around, I’d love to think that they’re going to do the things we’€™d like them to do, but I’m not sure that’s who they are,” Schilling said.

According to Schilling, the Sox’ inability to gather and maintain momentum is a result of inconsistencies across the roster, but largely caused by the team’s pitching.

“A lot of what you see from three weeks ago or two weeks ago or five days ago, the reason you don’t see that sustained thing is the pitching,” Schilling said. “When you run starters out there to the end of the sixth and seventh and eighth innings, those are different clubs.

“It’s game-changing, obviously, and there aren’t a lot of those teams out there. But on the nights that the pitching doesn’t come up big, the offense scores eight or nine. They can’t do either of those things consistently.”

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Curt Schilling on D&C: ‘I lay very little of that blame’ on John Farrell 06.17.15 at 9:56 am ET
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ESPN baseball analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about the state of the Red Sox and manager John Farrell. To hear the interview, go the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Dustin Pedroia said this week that the team was attempting to tune out the media because of the negativity over the team’s poor play. Asked if the players could get inspired in an effort to tell those who say they “suck” that they were wrong, Schilling said: “But they do suck. Listen, I’ve been in that position. One game doesn’t I think turn you either way. I think they recognize that. That was a good win [Tuesday]. The win in some ways was kind of one of those things where you’ve got to look at it and go, ‘Hey, this is what we can do.’ But you’ve got to show up and you’ve got to get it done every day. They’re not doing that. They’re struggling to do anything consistently right.

“I think a lot of people are shocked by it. When we went into the season, I can remember everybody talking about a 900-run offense and all this stuff. I was one of the naysayers, and I was crucified for it at the winter meetings. But I wasn’t a huge advocate of either one of their big signings offensively [Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval].

“They haven’t hit the ball consistently well, they haven’t pitched consistently well. If you don’t do one, you might be able to manage for a little while; if you can’t do both consistently, you’re going to have a long year.”

While the Sox are camped in the cellar of the AL East, Schilling said that he doesn’t blame Farrell for the team’s lackluster performance.

“I think he’s as qualified as anybody,” Schilling said. “I can’t help but go back to the fact that, at the end of the day, no matter what you say or how you act as a manager, your players have to play. Your players have to play and these guys aren’t getting it done. I lay very little of that blame ever on a manager’s doorstep.”

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Curt Schilling on D&C regarding Wade Miley-John Farrell confrontation: ‘With guys that are dumb-asses, sometimes it happens in front of the camera’ 06.12.15 at 9:48 am ET
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ESPN analyst Curt Schilling checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to offer his views on the John Farrell-Wade Miley confrontation from Thursday night. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

During Thursday’s 6-5 loss to the Orioles, Miley — who allowed five runs in four innings — expressed his frustration to the manager in the Red Sox dugout after being told he would not return for the fifth inning. Farrell followed Miley down the tunnel to the locker room and later downplayed the confrontation rather than publicly admonishing the left-hander.

Schilling, who pitched for the Red Sox when Farrell was the team’s pitching coach, said Farrell might have been careful with his words to the media, but he’s sure the 6-foot-4 field general flexed his muscles in private.

“I promise you there was a conversation in which John said, ‘If this ever happens again I’ll break you in half,’ to some degree,” Schilling said. “John Farrell isn’t just a big dude and he doesn’t just have an intimidating presence. He’ll throw down.

“This happens all the time,” Schilling added. “It generally happens a lot of time behind the scenes. With guys that are dumb-asses, sometimes it happens in front of the camera.”

Asked if the postgame conversation would have happened in front of the team, Schilling said that’s not necessary.

“There’s no sound-proof door on the manager’s office, which is about 11 inches away from the clubhouse,” Schilling said. “You don’t need to do it in front of the team to make sure the team knows.”

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Curt Schilling on D&C: Eduardo Rodriguez ‘something special’ 06.10.15 at 10:03 am ET
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ESPN analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about the Red Sox and the talent of Eduardo Rodriguez. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Rodriguez has three impressive starts under his belt following the six scoreless innings of work he put in Tuesday night against the Orioles. Schilling has been very impressed with what he has seen from the young left-hander.

“You’re looking at a guy who, for me, I thought he was by far the most talented player swapped at the deadline last year. He’s just something special,” Schilling said.

The Red Sox took a 1-0 loss and Rodriguez got a no-decision despite his continued success on the hill. According to Schilling, Rodriguez should not be concerned with the lack of run support he received.

“If you’re focused and you’re trying to win a game, you’re pitching to the score as a young player,” Schilling said. “These are the games you need to pitch when you’re young. You need to learn how to pitch in the 1-0 games or the 2-1 games. Then you start to understand, you take the ball, you go out there and realize the leadoff hitter could be the winning run.”

Regarding the struggles of David Ortiz against left-handers, Schilling said that it might be necessary for manager John Farrell to start resting Ortiz against southpaws.

“You can’t let players manage themselves. … The thing that makes him John Farrell and the thing that makes him respected around the league is communication. That’s a conversation. If you don’€™t want to put him up there and you feel like he’€™s overmatched, you have to have that conversation,” Schilling said.

Injuries to catchers Christian Vazquez and Ryan Hanigan early in the season forced the hand of the Red Sox and made it necessary to bring Blake Swihart to the big leagues sooner than expected. Schilling stressed the peril of bringing young catchers to the major league level too early because of the multitude of responsibility placed on that position.

“As a pitcher, I was always very selfish from the standpoint of, ‘I don’t care if you go 0-for-4 and punch out four times on 12 pitches, I need you focused behind the plate.’ And that’€™s hard. Short of probably relief pitchers, I think that is the most dangerous position in the game to have a player in the big leagues prematurely,” Schilling said.

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Curt Schilling on D&C: Eduardo Rodriguez ‘the real deal’ 06.03.15 at 11:01 am ET
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ESPN baseball analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling joined Dennis & Callahan for his weekly Wednesday morning conversation to talk about the state of the Red Sox two months into the season. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

While the Sox haven’t played well and remain under .500, they sit just 4 1/2 games out of first place in the wholly mediocre American League East. According to Schilling, every team in the division could still win it.

“I think Baltimore has the best chance to win if they’re going to win it big, but I don’t think anybody’€™s going to win it big. I don’t think anybody’€™s done anything to take themselves out of it,” Schilling said. “This is not your father’s American League East anymore and … €I don’t see anybody distancing themselves up front or in the back.”

As a former pitcher, Schilling unsurprisingly attributed the struggles of any team, not just these Red Sox, to the performance of the pitching staff.

“You’re never as bad as your are when you lose like this and as good as when you win big. For me, it always starts and ends on the mound. You have to be able to pitch through offensive slumps,” he said.

Schilling did have very positive things to say about newcomer Eduardo Rodriguez. Though Rodriguez has made only one major league start (his second will be Wednesday afternoon), Schilling has been very impressed with the young left-hander.

“To me, the ace-in-waiting, the Rodriguez kid, is the real deal,” Schilling said. “I still believe he was the best player that moved at the deadline last year. That creates some urgency for me to have a veteran guy in the rotation with him. He’s a special talent, and I’d want that to go right mentally for me.”

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Curt Schilling on D&C: ‘Nothing has worked out’ for Red Sox 05.27.15 at 10:40 am ET
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ESPN baseball analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday to talk about the state of the Red Sox and the reasons for the team’s struggles. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Schilling said that, looking at the Red Sox roster back in spring training, expectations and hopes were justifiably high.

“You look at this team and said, ‘They’re going to score, they’ve got a very solid rotation of power arms,’ and nothing has worked out that way,” Schilling said.

However, Schilling does not think that a big trade would be guaranteed to be a difference-maker for the Red Sox. He cautioned against making such a major move just for the sake of making one.

“You don’t want to do something at the deadline that has absolutely zero impact on you other than to give away prospects. … Do you make a move with a Mookie Betts or a Jackie Bradley Jr. or something that brings in that ace, that Cole Hamels, and then you finish seven games under .500 and out of the playoffs?” Schilling said.

Regarding the struggles of both Joe Kelly and David Ortiz, Schilling expressed frustration with Kelly’s disappointing start, considering his ability to throw “98 [mph] pretty much effortlessly.”

“I think you can look at just this eight-week sample and realize that you should be a little concerned. … He hasn’t adjusted, and it’s frustrating as hell to watch because you’re talking about a guy who should be going to the All-Star Game every year, battling to win his 20th in August and looking to put some hardware on his shelf every single season, and instead you’ve got this nightmare,” Schilling said.

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Curt Schilling on D&C: Juan Nieves firing a ‘wake-up call’ for Red Sox starters 05.20.15 at 9:39 am ET
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ESPN analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show on Wednesday morning to discuss the Sox rotation, Deflategate and tobacco use. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Red Sox starters seem to finally be waking up, and have done so after pitching coach Juan Nieves was fired and replaced with Carl Willis. According to Schilling, though, the exact reason for the change is tough to pinpoint.

“They’re just pitching better,” he said. “I don’t know how to explain it other than stuff happens. These guys were supposed to be this good out of the gate and sometimes a group of guys kind of gets a wake-up call by realizing that they did cost somebody their job, and they did.”

Schilling added that while he doesn’t “know that [he’s] ever seen a coach that got fired deserve it” for the most part, there’s not a lot else that can be done.

“You can’t fire a team, you can’t fire a pitching staff, you can’t fire a bullpen or rotation, so somebody has to be responsible,” he said. “Look at the commentary around Nieves when he got hired, this guy’s been nothing but and gotten nothing but praise and accolades for the job that he’s done, and these guys opened up the season and cost him his job.”

One of the biggest differences between Nieves and Willis, Schilling noted, is that the former focuses on a hitter’s weaknesses while the latter spends more time on the pitcher’s strengths. For Schilling, what worked best was a combination of the two as he mapped out what he could do, what he couldn’t do, where the hitters’ holes were and how he planned to beat that.

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