The following is a transcript of Buster Olney's in-game analysis from Yankees-Red Sox Game 1 during SportsNation's The Show, which will be every night for postseason games. Click here for more details.
Hey, everybody -- Only five minutes to go; this should be great. Two words for tonight's game: Pitch count. If the Yankees can rack up Schilling's pitch count quickly, it'll be serious trouble for Boston. And if the Red Sox press Mussina -- count the foul balls, because that'll tell you if Moose has the stuff to finish hitters -- and rack up his pitch count, then Torre will have to make some tough choices in the sixth and seventh innings.
Top: Extremely impressive start for Mussina. In early and mid-September, he would sometimes open games throwing 87-88 mph, and his velocity tonight, to start, was 92 mph; he hit 94 mph on his last pitch. It was clear in Ramirez's first at-bat that the Yankees' plan is to pound him inside. Mussina threw two fastballs inside, and Ramirez became so conscious of this that when Mussina threw a cutter outside, with the count 2-1, Ramirez was looking inside and almost fell over swinging at the pitch away. Remember that Mussina grew up in Central Pennsylvania; he loves the sweater weather.
Bottom: Two quick runs after Schilling, and even besides the early runs for the Yankees, there are some ominous early signs for Boston. Three of Schilling's first 14 pitches were curves -- I bet he threw only three or four the whole game against Anaheim last week -- which makes you wonder if he's comfortable with his slider and splitter, pitches he needs to finish hitters. And in the first inning, big advantage to the Yankees in the battle of the pitch counts: Schilling has thrown 21, Mussina 11. You wonder how much the ankle is actually bothering Schilling... The one good splitter that Schilling threw in the inning, and Matsui reached down and dumped it over shortstop for that RBI double; a tough moment.
Top: Mussina is perfect so far: 10 pitches in the top of the second, 21 overall, a sharp curve. The Yankees couldn't have asked for more. If the Yankees add to their lead, it will be interesting to see how Mussina does; he's always been a guy who throws better if the score is close.
Bottom: Schilling pitch count after two innings: 31. He needed only 10 pitches to cut through the bottom third of the Yankees' lineup, which will be critical throughout this series; the bottom third of the New York lineup will usually put up some good at-bats. Something that is either ominous or perhaps Schilling just being smart: His best fastball in that inning was 91, modest for a guy who can hit 94 consistently. Maybe that's his ankle, or maybe he's conserving his energy. Love the way Varitek always stands and sets his target when he wants the ball high in the strike zone, as he did for the last pitch to Lofton.
Top: Three innings for Mussina, nine outs, not a whiff of a hit. Anybody else starting to think about a possible no-hitter, which Mussina came within one strike of accomplishing against Boston in Sept. 2001? The way he pitched to Varitek confirms what scouts are saying about the Boston catcher, that his bat has slowed dramatically. Mussina threw him five straight fastballs, the last with a 3-1 count over the plate. Varitek was able to extend his arms, get a decent swing -- and the ball died in medium left field. Three innings for Mussina, 33 pitches. The Red Sox won't see that soft Yankees' middle relief, at this rate.
Bottom: After the Bottom of the third: The Red Sox have a serious problem (besides the fact that they are down 6-0). Curt Schilling is not Curt Schilling (and I'm assuming they're going to yank him before the fourth inning). He's clearly not himself, either in stuff or in his command, and it's hard to imagine that he's going to be himself by the time he pitches Game 5. We all thought that Pedro would finally have some help this year. But it's evident that Pedro will have as much pressure as every other year; they must have him win Game 2. The only saving grace in this game, at this point, is that Mussina usually starts to struggle when he gets a big lead.
Top: Mussina: 49 pitches, including first-pitch strikes to 9 of 12 hitters. And if everything else wasn't bad enough for the Red Sox, there is this -- the home plate umpire is starting to give Mussina a couple of inches off the corner, which Mussina has earned with his control. He's still perfect, through four. Anybody else think Schilling was fighting his emotions when Dave Wallace, the Red Sox pitching coach, came over to pat him on the back?
Bottom: After the bottom of the fourth: The Yankees lead, 6-0, and because of Schilling's early exit, there will be ramifications for Game 2. The Red Sox will have to empty their bullpen in this game, sharing work among Leskanic, Mendoza, Timlin, Embree, Myers, Derek Lowe. And they could use a hit, at some point. A perfect game would not look good on the Red Sox playoff resume.
Top: After the top of the fifth: OK, this perfect game thing is serious. Sixty-two pitches, the Red Sox are not getting any kind of hacks against Mussina. the way he pitched to Millar was masterful in the top of the fifth -- 1-and-2 count, threw a sidearm fastball up-and-in, and Millar fouled it off, a defensive hack. Then Mussina went sidearm again -- but this time, it was a breaking ball, down and away, and Millar, backed up, had no chance, flailing. Only 12 outs to go for Mussina.
Top: I don't mean to jinx Mussina, but wow -- a perfect game in this setting, in this particular series... Think about that -- the last three perfect games would have occurred in Yankee Stadium, with Wells, Cone and Mussina (I don't think I'm forgetting anybody). As they've been saying on the tube, he's going for it, making tough pitches, conceding nothing to the ball-strike counts. They also were talking about Schilling possibly coming back in Game 4: Only if Boston was down, 2-1, I would imagine. He's diminished, hurt, apparently, so rest makes more sense than rushing him back.
Mussina, 78 pitches, 9 outs to go, and the Red Sox are absolutely doing nothing against him -- no decent hacks. Even when they're ahead in the count, they're swinging like they're down 0-2. It's pretty clear he's bearing down, as well. Orlando Cabrera, the 17th out in this game -- and the 27th out in Cone's perfect game in 1999. Talk about your omens. Cabrera said after that game that in the fifth inning, the Expos were encouraging each other to get a hit. In the sixth inning, and the players realized Cone had a perfect game, the Expos were encouraging each other to hit the ball to Knoblauch, who was having his throwing problems. Then somebody did hit the ball to Knoblauch, and he made a nice play.
Bottom: Wake just ended the inning, but not before the Yanks added two more. How 'bout Godzilla? Two doubles, a single and 5 RBI.
So another bad sign for the Red Sox, running Wakefield out there to get some work, and he gets knocked around. Maybe they will bring back Schilling for Game 4... Matsui is ridiculously hot... Everybody hear the crowd? Besides the Who's Your Daddy chant for Pedro, they've got '1918' going, and Red Sox (stink). They've got a few innings to practice all their ol' favorites, with the rout on.
Top: Top of the seventh, after the pitching change with Mussina, Yankees leading, 8-3: Mussina rarely looks at scouting reports, going with his own instincts when he pitches, and when he faced Bellhorn, he started with a fastball. And another fastball, for strike two. Virtually every other pitcher would have thrown something else, a curveball down or a changeup or a fastball inside. But Mussina, following his instincts, when fastball away, and it was about the only bad pitch he's made. Bellhorn got him... Mussina let down a bit after the perfect game went away, but it doesn't matter, though; Mussina and the Yankees made a serious statement in this game.
On Rivera: The man had to fly to Panama Sunday, flew all the way back this afternoon, rushed to the park, and part of him must be overwhelmed with the horrific tragedy at home. But if anyone is capable of blocking out all but baseball, it is him; Rivera might have the deepest religious faith of any player I ever met. He is convinced everything that happens is part of God's plan, without question... He's probably more likely to have problems from simple weariness.
Top: Top of the eighth, two outs, 8-7 Yankees. Torre has been accused many times of bringing Rivera in too early, but I can't remember another time he brought him in too late, like in tonight's game. Torre must have a lot of concern about Rivera's travel to wait this long to call for him.
After the top of the eighth: It looked like Rivera's stuff is a little flat, and in the bottom of the ninth, he's going to have Nixon, Varitek and Cabrera. Remember, Dave Roberts is available to come off the bench and pinch-run, as the Red Sox try to score the tying run.
Bottom: I was shocked that Francona didn't have Myers ready to pitch to Matsui, but wow, did Timlin make a great pitch to Matsui to get him out -- and then gave up that killing two-run double to Williams. Bernie did a great job of going the other way with that pitch. And now, what is the point of bringing Foulke in to face Posada? He should've gone Myers with Matsui, Foulke with Bernie. Francona's managing of this inning makes no sense.
Yankees win, 10-7, with Rivera closing them out. He had a very long and tough day and prevailed, and Mussina got within eight outs of the perfect game. But by far the most important thing that happened in this game was the awful showing by Curt Schilling; the Red Sox cannot win this series -- let alone the World Series -- without more from him, and his ankle is clearly a concern.
And now the pressure is squarely on Pedro Martinez, who will be hearing a lot from his Daddies Wednesday night.
Thanks to everybody, and good night. We'll see you tomorrow.
Buster Olney is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. His book, "The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty," is a New York Times best seller and can be ordered through HarperCollins.com.