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Born: November 14, 1966; Anchorage, AK Height: 6'3" Weight: 235
* Led league
Schilling gave up one run in six innings in his first start of the year, striking out seven. The Sox had lost on Opening Day, so Curt's strong performance on the second day got the season on the right track.
On July 3, the Red Sox had lost four in row, including two grueling extra-inning games, and the bullpen was spent. So Curt pitched a complete game against the Braves in Atlanta, striking out ten as the Sox went on to win 6-1.
He led the team and tied for fifth in the league with three complete games. Besides July 3 in Atlanta, he also went the distance against Kansas City on May 8 and in Tampa Bay on August 3.
When Schilling lost to the Devil Rays at Fenway Park on August 9, it was the first and only game he lost at home all season. He finished 12-1 at Fenway, leading the league in home wins. He wasn't shabby on the road, either, finishing fourth in the league with a 3.00 road ERA.
Although the Red Sox struggled against the Orioles in 2004, Curt dominated them on September 21. He struck out 14, and allowed only three hits and one walk. He left with a 1-0 lead after eight innings, but the bullpen blew the lead and Mark Bellhorn's walkoff single in the ninth won it for the Sox.
Schilling finished the season first in the league with 21 wins, second with a 3.26 ERA, third with 203 strikeouts, third with 226 2/3 innings pitched, fourth with a .239 opponents' batting average, and tied for fifth with 8.1 strikeouts per 9 innings. With those impressive stats, he was second to Minnesota's Johan Santana in Cy Young balloting.
Curt started Game 1 of the Division Series in Anaheim, and got the Sox' postseason off to a good start. By the time he allowed two solo homers, his teammates had already staked him to an 8-0 lead. He went 6 2/3 innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out four. He left after tweaking his ankle covering first base on a play in the seventh.
The ankle injury suffered against the Angels was worse than it first seemed. He had pitched with nagging ankle trouble all season long, but this was different. He had a dislocated tendon that he could feel popping out of place on every pitch. As a result, he wasn't his usual self in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Yankees. He gave up six runs in three innings, but the most disturbing thing was that his availability for the rest of the postseason was uncertain.
Thanks to a minor medical miracle by team doctor Bill Morgan, Schilling was able to pitch again a week later. After the Red Sox rallied to win Games 4 and 5, they went to New York needing two more wins to complete the comeback. Dr. Morgan developed a new procedure, never done before, in which three sutures in the tissue around the ankle bone held the tendon in place. That enabled Curt to not just pitch, but absolutely dominate the Yankees. With blood seeping through his sock from the surgical procedure, Schilling pitched one of his best games of the year. He went seven innings, and allowed only one run on four hits, while stiking out four.
Five days later, Dr. Morgan performed his procedure again, allowing Schilling to pitch Game 2 of the World Series. Although a fourth stitch had made it impossible for him to even stand up in the morning, by gametime he was able to go an amazing six innings, giving up only four hits and one unearned run.
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