PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Curt Schilling tries to succeed where Randy
Johnson failed on Thursday when he takes the mound for Arizona
Diamondbacks in Game Two of the National League Division Series
against the St. Louis Cardinals at Bank One Ballpark.
Johnson and Schilling are the top candidates for the National
League Cy Young Award after they combined for 47 wins this
season. But Johnson was roughed up for six runs and 10 hits in
six innings as St. Louis rolled to a 12-2 win in Game One on
Schilling's Cy Young hopes were damaged as he struggled toward
the end of the season and is looking to regain his form for the
playoffs. He gave up 18 earned runs and 28 hits in 23 1 /3
innings over his final three starts.
"Everybody was ready, set to make excuses for me in September,"
Schilling said. "I feel great physically. I stunk it up the last
five or six starts. No one wants to have their psyche beat like
that. But it's the new season. It's a five-game season. Now
it's a four-game season. We have to win three out of four. There
are no options. You have to go out and you have to pitch a
tremendous ballgame to get a win in the postseason."
Schilling (23.7, 3.23 ERA) struck out 316 batters this season
and walked only 33 - the best strikeout-to-walk ratio for a
pitcher with more than 200 strikeouts. He and Johnson are the
first pair of teammates to record 300 strikeouts in the same
The hard-throwing righthander is looking to build on his
impressive postseason resume. He is 5-1 in 10 career postseason
starts, including 2-0 with a 0.50 ERA in the Division Series.
"The bar is set by how you do in games that truly matter for the
entire season," he said. "At this point in the year they matter
"I think in any sport, there are certain guys who relish the
limelight," Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly said. "I think
(Schilling) is a lot along those same lines. He's as dependable
and consistent as any pitcher in the game throughout the regular
season. But when the lights are the brightest, he seems to
bring his best."
Schilling was 4-0 with a 1.12 ERA in the 2001 postseason,
allowing just six runs and 25 hits in 48 1/3 innings. He struck
out 56 and walked only six batters.
Schilling lost two starts against the Cardinals during the
regular season, giving up 12 runs and 15 hits in 14 innings. He
made his final regular season start at Busch Stadium and
surrendered six runs and six hits in eight innings in a 6-1
"(St. Louis has) probably as good an offense as I'll ever face,"
Schilling said. "All the way down to the bottom of the lineup,
they got guys that can pop the ball out of the ballpark. They
strike out less than anybody else. All eight pieces in this
lineup tend to fit together. That makes it tough."
The 35-year-old righthander is 5-9 with a 4.58 ERA in 22 career
appearances, including 19 starts, against the Cardinals.
Schilling was 11-4 with a 3.24 ERA in 18 starts at Bank One
Ballpark this season. He is 22-4 in 35 starts here since joining
St. Louis counters with veteran lefthander Chuck Finley (7-4,
3.80), who is pitching in the postseason with his third team. He
was with the California Angels in the 1986 playoffs and pitched
for the Cleveland Indians in the 2001 American League Division
Finley started the year with the Indians but was acquired in a
trade on July 20 to bolster the pitching staff.
"He goes about his business in a very professional way," St.
Louis pitching coach Dave Duncan said. "He prepares in a very
professional way. When he goes out to the mound to pitch, he
competes at 100 percent every time. He hasn't one time not been
ready to give everything that he was capable of giving. So I
think we we're very fortunate to add him to our staff."
Finley did not fare well in the playoffs last year, losing both
his starts against the Seattle Mariners. He gave up seven runs
and nine hits in 8 2/3 innings.
"I'm very anxious to go out there and us win the game. For me
personally, it does not really matter," Finley said. "To go out
there and pitch a good game, put ourselves in a position where
we can go back to St. Louis up two games to none would be huge.
I'm going to go in with the mindset it's going to be a very
close game down to the end and hopefully we come out on top."
The 39-year-old Finley faced Arizona on June 29 and lost,
allowing four runs and seven hits in six innings. He is 1-1 with
a 6.00 ERA in three career starts against the Diamondbacks.
Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen hit long two-run homers against
Johnson in Game One on Tuesday. Matt Morris pitched seven strong
innings for the Cardinals, who have won five straight games
against the Diamondbacks.
"These guys have played in a lot of games in their career where
they've been blown out, and you have to come back and play again
the next day," Brenly said. "It doesn't make it any easier. It
doesn't soften the blow of a tough loss. It's just one game. The
sooner you can let a bad game go and move on, the sooner you
can get a good game go and move on, the better your chances of
competing the next day."