Think Mussina's month-long timeout with a sore elbow helped? Including the Yanks' best ALDS starting effort, he has a 2.20 ERA in his last eight starts, with 49 strikeouts (to only 11 walks) in 49 innings. Plus, by ending the Majors' longest streak of 200-inning seasons at nine, it has him fresher than in other postseasons.
A hard worker who keeps people on their toes, everyone loves to see Lieber on the mound -- but that includes left-handed hitters. In a comparable number of at-bats, lefties hit him a hundred points higher than righties (.346 to .250). So he does not match up well with the Sox, whose lineup, counting switch-hitters, includes six lefty swingers.
Showed his tenacity and white-heat competitiveness in his solid ALDS outing in Minnesota, but his balky back paid a price. Brown's recovery time is critical, so look for him in the back end of the series rotation. When he's on, sharp control and that herky-jerky motion enable him to get by with only two pitches.
His game really went south after June, and his spotty ALDS turn did nothing to increase Joe Torre's faith in him. Could be showing the cumulative effects of 1,098 innings the last five seasons. The Yanks had better hope to have a series edge when Vazquez takes the mound; may not bear up to the pressure of a must-win start.
Proved anew to be a big-game pitcher in his ALDS start against Anaheim, which improved his career postseason record to 6-1. But Schilling was consistently one hit removed from crises, and will need to notch it up against Yankees. His fickle right ankle bears watching; Yanks may bunt on him to test that joint.
Obviously, needs to make a gigantic mental adjustment to again confront the Yankees, who completely wore him down with two late-season beatings. Given that recent history, controlling his emotions may be his biggest challenge. The arm is fine, with Pedro actually claiming to be only now fully recovered from his 2001 shoulder woes.
Pitches: Fastball, hard curve, cutter, changeup, slider Speed: 78-94 mph
On a staff with the two marquee aces, Arroyo was the most consistent starter down the stretch and that continued into the postseason with his nearly flawless Game 3 effort against the Angels. When your confidence catches up with your physical talents, this is what can happen. Has not lost since Aug. 15, 10 starts ago.
Yep, still on the Boston staff. The deep ALDS work of other starters meant he was never needed out of the bullpen, and his No. 4 turn never came up. Could set a trap for a knuckleballer who relies on work for sharpness: Wakefield has not pitched since Oct. 1; by the time his turn comes up, he'll be looking at 15 days' rest.
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