Smoltz and Sox face difficult decisions

Updated: August 7, 2009, 12:37 PM ET
By Buster Olney
All Boston manager Terry Francona could do was to try to contain the damage the Yankees had done to John Smoltz in the fourth inning Thursday night. After he directed Smoltz to issue a four-pitch walk to Alex Rodriguez, Francona came to get the ball from a future Hall of Famer who has always wanted the ball in the biggest moment, who has always been accountable.

Smoltz returned to the dugout and sat stoically, his eyes locked onto the field ahead of him as the Yankees continued circling the bases against the reliever who had replaced him, Billy Traber. After the inning was over, Smoltz left the dugout, which is what starting pitchers always do when they get knocked out. They go back to the clubhouse for ice and for a shower, to wallow in 12-ounce doses of regret and frustration, mostly alone.

To read about the decisions facing Boston and Smoltz, plus moves, deals and thoughts on Hal McCoy, you must be an ESPN Insider. Insider