Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling on D&C: 'You don't have to have an ace to win'

February 25, 2015 - 5:24 am

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about the American League East, pitching, the Red Sox and more. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

As it usually is in February, but more this year than others for Schilling, it'€™s tough to judge how good the American League East will be. There are question marks around many of the teams in the division, and different aspects of different clubs put them in position to fight for the first spot in the division or end up at the bottom. "I don't know that it's terrible," the ESPN analyst said. "The team that, to me, that could win by 15 games and I wouldn't be shocked is Toronto. "If you look around the division," Schilling continued,"in Baltimore, they have by far one of the division's best game managers and a roster that's talented, but there are more talented rosters. I think if you look at Boston, you have a guy who's a great communicator, probably not even, I don't think anybody is the game manager that Buck Showalter is, and a very talented roster, but again, it's February and there has never been a year for me more so than this year where they're saying, 'Hey, I want to see where they are at the end of camp.'" Though the Red Sox have added some offense to the lineup, Schilling isn't as enamored with the additions as some have been. "I think it makes their lineup deeper," he said. "As long as they're healthy and David [Ortiz] is David and Pedey [Dustin Pedroia] is back. I don't know, and maybe it's personal, I never get overly emotional about offensive signings just because you can score as many runs as you want, but if you can't stop them from scoring it doesn't matter." Stopping the other team from scoring is up to both the defense and the pitching staff, which also got a bit of a makeover after the Sox did not sign Jon Lester, whose home now is Wrigley Field. Without Lester, Boston doesn't have a clear ace, something that Schilling says doesn't necessarily matter from April to September but becomes vital when making a run at October. "You don't have to have an ace to win," he said. "April to September, you can build a 25-man roster that wins more games than other teams in your division, but who are you giving the ball to in a one-game play-in? And if you can't immediately answer that question, then you need somebody to either step up and mature, which, to me, on this staff it's Joe Kelly, or you need to find that guy at the break, the deadline." For Schilling, an ace is someone who can "make people swing and miss." As many of the current Red Sox rotation are ground ball pitchers, the team doesn't seem to have that one guy. For pitchers like that, it becomes imperative that the defense is sound so that the fielders can make plays when the ball comes their way. Schilling has noticed a trend in the MLB that supports this in that teams are "stockpiling position players." "Batting average and balls in play is a number, you don't have a lot of control over it, but it's a number that you can go extremes, and if you have a staff full of guys that are relying on your defense, that defense is not the same," he said. "I think you've seen a lot of clubs do that. ... I'll get me seven infielders and five that can play shortstop, you can always move somebody from shortstop."