ESPN’s Baseball Tonight Commentators Provide Insights and Predictions for World Series Game 2 – Earlier this evening, ESPN televised a pre-game edition of Baseball Tonight outside of historic Fenway Park before Game 2 of the World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox. Karl Ravech hosted the show with Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, John Kruk, Curt Schilling and reporters Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian. Chris Berman also joined the telecast from the field with analysts Orel Hershiser and Rick Sutcliffe. During the telecast, the Baseball Tonight team offered Game 2 insights and predictions
Schilling on the Clay Buchholz situation:
The one thing that I wanted my entire career was the respect of the 24 guys I suited up with. This is the end. You do whatever you can do, however you can do it, to be on the field. I would have been begging to pitch Game 2 because that means I get another start in the series. You find a way. Listen, if he’s hurt, he shouldn’t be on the roster. He’s making it sound, to me, like he’s done.
Kruk on Buchholz making a start:
It’s a two-way street. If he gets hit up pretty good and he does start, he can have that excuse. Well, my shoulder was tired. If he pitches great, he’s a warrior. It’s a fine line between the two. I would take the guy that says nothing, takes the ball and lives with the consequences.
Schilling on pitchers using pine tar:
The challenge is it’s incredibly sticky. I couldn’t put it on my glove because I couldn’t get sticky between the fingers because I threw a split. I know a lot of pitchers that did. They put it [on the glove], under the brim of your hat, the back of the hat, inside your pants – there’s a lot of different places. The argument I keep using and I think has weight – it’s cold. This is the worst possible weather to grip a baseball in. The hitter would be a lot more comfortable knowing I’m not going to throw it behind his helmet.
Kruk on Michael Wacha’s changeup:
Very impressive, especially for a young kid to be able to pound the strike zone and know that they can’t hit it if he throws it in the spot he’s trying to throw it to. It poses a problem to the Red Sox and this is what’s different than Wainwright. With that changeup and it coming out of the same plane – to me as a hitter, it was the hardest thing to differentiate. He might get more swings and misses tonight than Wainwright did.
Schilling on Wacha’s success:
His 95-mph fastball on the inside and outside corner and that devastating wipeout changeup [have made him successful]. In the regular season, he threw his curveball, his third pitch, five percent of the time. I promise you the Red Sox have heard this number – 13 percent. That’s how many times he’s throwing his curveball in the postseason. You have to watch the changeup all the time – he has a wipeout changeup – but now he’s bringing this pitch to the table and that is a game changer. He’s lethal with fastball, changeup. He brings that curveball and that neutralizes some of that left-handed thump in the Red Sox lineup.
Hershiser on John Lackey’s slider:
He’s had to remake his whole world. He’s had to remake his arm with the surgery – Tommy John. He’s had to remake his reputation here in Boston. You go back to 2011 when the rubber band in his elbow was probably stretched out and he wasn’t throwing quite as hard. The pitch that you watch, for me, is the slider to left-handers. The slider to righties, you expect it to do great things because it’s breaking away. But when a pitch is bad to the left side and it’s a slider, it gets hammered. That’s what was happening in 2011. Well, he gets his elbow remade. He remakes his body and in 2013, the arm speed is back and now the slider is not only getting righties out – it is getting lefties out. It’s firmer, it’s deeper and it’s more accurate.
Schilling on Lackey’s evolution:
I think that John Lackey 11 years ago was not as good of a pitcher as he is today. First of all, he’s throwing harder and so he’s allowed to make more mistakes inside the strike zone. He brought the cutter and made it a much more prominent pitch to left-handers, but he’s always had a very good slider. He can throw that slider below the hands to left-handed hitters. Now, he’s starting to pound lefties in a lot more consistently and he’s throwing harder. He’s a better pitcher.
Larkin on the Cardinals putting Game 1 behind them:
I think the way you wipe it clean is you say that’s not the first time we played poor defensively, but we have had the bounce-back ability. You have to have selective amnesia. Forget about the old stuff, tonight’s a new day.
Kruk on Carlos Beltran’s injury:
The bigger concern when you have a rib injury is a swing and miss. That’s when it hurts the most. When you’re full court and you don’t make contact, there seems to be a lot more strain on the rib cage. If he’s healthy, this lineup can win.
Schilling on pitching to Beltran:
The one thing that I would try to make him do is get extended and be long today. See if he can reach across the plate to the outer half because I’m going to try and make him pull the ball to right field. I don’t want him to be able to pop the ball to left
Kruk on the middle of the Red Sox lineup:
I think everything that happens with David Ortiz is predicated on how [Mike Napoli] is swinging too. You don’t want Ortiz to beat you but this guy is beating you now. You have two guys in the middle of that lineup who are hitting. Now, it’s dangerous for the Cardinals.