Smoltz is 42, coming off shoulder surgery, and had lost velocity off his fastball and tilt off his slider, didn't have a feel for his splitter, and simply didn't have enough stuff right now to swim in the rough waters of the AL East. There were times at Yankee Stadium Thursday night, especially against left-handed hitters, when he stood on the mound and knew he was unarmed against an unforgiving Yankees lineup. He knew he had nothing he could throw in or close to the strike zone to get left-handers to miss. It had to be an awful feeling for one of the fiercest, proudest competitors in baseball.
"And when I did throw the splitter it was horrible," Smoltz said after the game. "And against that lineup, with the left-handed hitters they have, it's like being out there with a straitjacket on."
Smoltz is the kind of athlete you never count out too early. You don't rule out a bounceback, but as even he said, "But time might not to be on my side if this continues." The Red Sox could give him no more time.
Smoltz recorded only 10 outs while giving up eight earned runs. Only once before, way back in 1994, did he ever give up more earned runs in a start. It was sad to see, not just Smoltz getting hit like this, but lingering in the dugout with doubts in his mind, and standing at his locker not knowing if he gets the ball again or what is left in his arm. He might well pitch again, perhaps as a situational righthander for a contender. (Glavine, because he did not pitch a big league game this year, will be on the same Hall of Fame ballot as
Once the Red Sox had pitching depth that was the envy of baseball. But
The Red Sox gave 41 starts to Smoltz, Penny, Buchholz and Matsuzaka -- and they are 16-25 in those games. Tazawa is up next.
And no, the Red Sox are not blowing through the playoffs with utility man
[Editor's note: The Red Sox claimed infielder Chris Woodward off waivers from Seattle and added him to their 25-man roster Friday night.]
"They've got 33 home runs from two guys who are almost part-time guys,
The Yankees' pitchers walked 12 guys and they still won the game.
The Yankees just have too many switch-hitters and too many left-handed hitters who hit left-handed pitching well to be kept down for long. Unlike most teams, you can't win playing the bullpen matchup game against them and constantly jockeying for left-on-left and right-on-right. They do have some age, which has really hit Boston much worse than them, but as they sit today the Yankees have a playoff spot that is theirs to lose.