Boston's 1-2 punch could be a knockout

Updated: October 13, 2004, 10:54 AM ET
By Buck Martinez | ESPN Insider

Team Breakdowns
American League
  • New York Yankees
  • Boston Red Sox
    National League
  • St. Louis Cardinals
  • Houston Astros

    For the first time since 1999, the Boston Red Sox won the season series against the New York Yankees. They outhit the Yankees, they outpitched the Yankees, and they outhomered the Yankees during the regular season.

    In my mind this is the best Boston Red Sox "team" since 1975.

    As everyone knows, the playoffs are all about pitching, and Boston's 1-2 pitching punch of Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez is better than that of Mike Mussina and Jon Leiber in the first two games at Yankee Stadium.

    The starters

    Curt Schilling
    Starting Pitcher
    Boston Red Sox
    12 6 1 95 19 1.74
    Game 1: Schilling has been great in the postseason, going 6-1, and he will be totally focused and capable of handling the Game 1 hype in the Bronx.

    Schilling struggled without his splitter in the first half of the season but found it after the All-Star break and rolled through the league the last two months. He also found he could double up with his fastball on the outside corner before going to the splitter and slider.

    Mussina has regained his form after bouncing back from the elbow problems and is throwing the ball well. He really handles this lineup well – current Sox are hitting a combined .189 against Moose – but Manny Ramirez has five career homers against him. There isn't much room for error in this great Game 1 matchup.

    Buck Martinez re-joined ESPN in 2002, following a one-year stint as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, and currently serves as analyst on ESPN's Wednesday night national telecasts of Major League Baseball.