Red Sox: A revisit to the core of the 2004 bullpen
By Rick McNair
Mike Timlin was 38-years-old in 2004 and the durable right-hander had already earned two World Series rings while working out of the Toronto bullpen in 1992 and 1993. For Boston Timlin did what he had always done in his career and that is be ready to pitch and do it efficiently.
In 2003, Timlin’s first season with the Red Sox after being signed as a free agent, saw him appear in 72 games. In 2004 Timlin came into 76 games for 76.1 innings. The following season Timlin led the league with 81 appearances before injuries started to impact his career. When Timlin retired after the 2008 season he had accumulated over 1,000 appearances.
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The 2004 playoffs presented a mixed performance by Timlin. In the sweep over the Angels, Timlin appeared in all three games, but after two clean performances game up three runs in 0.2 innings in a game the Red Sox closed out in ten innings.
Against the Yankees in the ALCS Timlin entered the first game in the eighth and promptly gave up two runs in 0.2 innings to give New York a far more comfortable 10-7 lead. In the memorable Game, four Timlin came in for Derek Lowe and gave up the lead. Timlin redeemed himself in the remaining games including 1.2 innings of one-hit ball in-game seven.
In game one of the World Series Timlin pitched a clean seventh inning, but was replaced in the eighth with one out after giving up a hit. That run eventually scored. Timlin allowed another run in the series for two runs allowed in his three innings pitched.
Timlin picked up a fourth ring with the 2007 Red Sox, but for me, the memories are of a gritty professional who always answered the pitching bell.