August 12, 2006
A QUESTION OF CHARACTER:
The pickup artists (Tom Singer, 8/11/06, MLB.com)
You can look it up: Curt Schilling, the intense Boston right-hander, has not allowed a single unearned run the last two seasons. That makes him tops in an overlooked category we've always considered an important tell-tale sign of pitching verve: The ability to steel up, rather than let down, after mistakes behind you. [...]Posted by Orrin Judd at August 12, 2006 11:23 AM
The ability to do that is not universal. Nor are the consequences of mistakes random. Season after season, the same names tend to recur on lists of those best and worst at minimizing unearned runs.
Next time you see a Schilling game and there is a defensive breakdown around him, watch closely. He'll pace behind the mound with deliberate steps, impatient to get the ball back in his glove. Once he's got it, he'll climb the hill purposefully, look in for the sign with a determined squint ... and make his subsequent pitches with an extra grunt.
That I-got-your-back attitude helps explain the fact he has not permitted an unearned run in 260 1/3 innings over the last two seasons. On Thursday at Kansas City, he set a Major League record by going a 54th consecutive start without giving up an unearned run, surpassing his own mark of 53 straight while with Arizona from 2001-02.
To others, errors are a refuge from responsibility.