BOSTON (AP) – Curt Schilling figures if he feels as well as he did when he allowed six runs in his first start in four months, he’ll be a dominant pitcher in the postseason.

But he doesn’t think he has to fill that role for the Boston Red Sox to win their second consecutive World Series.

Despite Thursday night’s 7-4 loss at Kansas City, Schilling said Friday that he felt fine physically.

“I feel great. I’m not sore. I’m not really stiff at all,” he said. “If I go out every time from here on out and feel like I did (Thursday) night, I’ll win more than I lose, and when we get to October I’ll be the pitcher I was last year and the year before.”

Schilling made his third start on April 23 and went on the disabled list six days later with a right ankle bruise after going 1-2. He missed 69 games, then went 4-3 with nine saves in 11 chances while filling in for injured closer Keith Foulke.

On Thursday, Schilling (5-6) allowed nine hits and threw 82 pitches in five innings as his ERA rose to 6.89.

“I knew everybody off the field was going to be making a much bigger issue with the results than I was, than we were,” he said. “There’s an opinion around here that Curt Schilling has to be his former self for this team to win a World Series, and I don’t agree with that.

“I think I can help us win one, but if I don’t get back and throw dominating baseball, this team can still win a World Series.”

The Red Sox lack an ace after losing Pedro Martinez as a free agent to the New York Mets and hoped Schilling could regain that role he filled last season when he went 21-6 and pitched six shutout innings in Game 2 of the World Series against St. Louis.

He pitched that game after a detached tendon was stitched to the skin of his right ankle, the same procedure done before his strong start against the New York Yankees in Game 6 of the AL championship series. He had offseason surgery and has struggled this year.

He could make seven more starts in the regular season, but the time between them is important to make adjustments.

“It’s little things, just tying up loose ends,” Schilling said. “I can’t do that at the expense of a game. It’s something I’ve got to get done between now and Tuesday” when he’s scheduled to start at home against Tampa Bay.

Right now, his ankle feels fine and he has trouble reconciling how strong he feels with how poorly he pitched Thursday.

“I had all four of my pitches. I just didn’t pitch well,” he said. “I’m not used to feeling that good and not pitching well and that was kind of odd for me.”

He was pleased to return to his usual routine as a starter but didn’t enjoy it all that much as his loss lowered Boston’s AL East lead over the Yankees to 21/2 games.

“The only joy out of this comes out of winning,” Schilling said, “especially now.”

AP-ES-08-26-05 1935EDT


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