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World Series 2001
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10/28/2001 03:02 AM ET
Browne: Yankees have confidence in Pettitte
Pettitte was the MVP of the ALCS.
PHOENIX -- Curt Schilling stymied the Yankees in Game 1 of the World Series. Randy Johnson can slam down the hammer in Sunday night's Game 2.

So why did the Yankees look so genuinely unfazed about the prospect of facing the world's most intimidating pitcher in a game they badly need to win?

Probably because they have a pretty fair lefty of their own on the hill in Andy Pettitte.

It's the Randy and Andy show, and there's no reason for the Yankees not to like their chances.

Not only does Pettitte always seem to be pitching the games the Yankees need to win in October, but he usually comes up large.

It started with Game 5 of the 1996 World Series against the Braves, when Pettitte -- just a young pup back then -- beat John Smoltz 1-0 in a duel so memorable that Manager Joe Torre still brings it up all the time.

Most recently, Pettitte baffled the Seattle Mariners so thoroughly that he was the MVP of the American League Championship Series.

Still, there's no doubt that all the pre-game hoopla will be centered on the Big Unit and his blazing heat.


But once the game starts, look for Pettitte to execute just as effectively in his own way.

"I don't go out and strike out a lot of people," Pettitte said. "I don't see myself going out and there and dominating games. But sometimes I just get the other guys out and don't let them score too much."

Sometimes? Try a lot. Pettitte is 10-5 in his 22 postseason starts. He's 2-1 in six World Series starts.

By comparison, Johnson has never started a World Series game.

So if the Yankees can muster at least a couple of runs off Johnson with their predominantly right-handed lineup, expect Pettitte to hold the Diamondbacks at bay.

"As far as having an advantage over Randy Johnson at home, that's pretty tough to say that we would, even though Andy Pettitte has pitched huge games for us on the road," Torre said. "But I feel very good about Andy going against Randy."

Who's Sizzling: Randy Velarde. At least against the Big Unit. Velarde will unseat Tino Martinez at first base in Game 2 because he has been a thorn in Johnson's side. Velarde is hitting .452 lifetime (19-for-42) against the Big Unit with seven RBIs.

Who's Fizzling: Derek Jeter. The Yankees need their leader to start providing some leadership with his bat. After going 0-for-3 in Game 1, the star shortstop has two hits in his last 20 at-bats.

Fearless Prediction: Shane Spencer -- who will play right field while noted veterans Paul O'Neill and David Justice ride the pine -- will play a key role. In his limited playing time, Spencer swung a good bat in both the Division Series and the ALCS.

Ian Browne is a columnist for