Lowe to start against Brown

Originally Published: October 20, 2004
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Kevin Brown was picked to start Game 7 of the AL Championship Series for the New York Yankees against Boston on Wednesday night, a chance for the temperamental pitcher to earn redemption.

For the Red Sox, Derek Lowe gets the nod over knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.

Kevin Brown
Starting Pitcher
New York Yankees
22 10 6 0 83 4.09

Brown, sidelined for much of September after breaking his non-pitching hand punching a clubhouse wall, won Game 3 of the first-round series against Minnesota.

The right-hander lasted just two innings Saturday in the third game against the Red Sox, giving up four runs and five hits. Bothered by a bad back for most of this year, Brown appeared to be uncomfortable on the mound at Fenway Park.

Brown was pitching on three days' rest. He threw 57 pitches in Game 3, won by New York 19-8.

Derek Lowe
Starting Pitcher
Boston Red Sox
33 14 12 0 105 5.42

Lowe, a former 21-game winner with a no-hitter to his credit, was Boston's third starter before struggling in the regular season and getting bounced from the playoff rotation. When the injury to Curt Schilling rippled through the pitching staff, Lowe was given the Game 4 start and, with Boston facing elimination, held the Yankees to three runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings to start the Red Sox on a three-game winning streak that forced the decisive seventh game. Lowe threw 88 pitches in that game.

Having appeared in only two games for 6 1/3 innings during the two playoff series, he is one of the best rested pitchers on the staff.

Wakefield was the No. 4 starter for the division series against Anaheim but didn't pitch because Boston won in three games. He was also scheduled to start the fourth game of the ALCS, but he was needed in Game 3 when the New York Yankees scored 19 runs and then threw the final three innings of Game 5, getting the win in Boston's 14-inning, 5-4 victory on Monday night.

Yankees manager Joe Torre said he hoped Brown "is able to go out there and throw strikes and take control."

"I'm comfortable with the fact that he says he's OK to pitch," Torre said.

Brown was 10-6 with a 4.09 ERA during the regular season. If he leaves the game early, Torre said Javier Vazquez probably would be the first pitcher out of the bullpen.

Torre spoke with Brown after Game 6 before making his decision.

"Experience is very high on my priority list, especially when it comes to a game like this," Torre said.

Before Game 6, manager Terry Francona said he was still planning to give Wakefield his first start of the playoffs, but Wakefield said afterwards that Lowe would start.

Wakefield and Bronson Arroyo, who pitched an inning of relief on Monday and Tuesday nights, would be available to help a bullpen taxed by consecutive games totaling 26 innings Sunday and Monday.

"They're beat. The whole group," Francona said before the game. "And they all keep wanting the ball."

Yankees manager Joe Torre wouldn't address a potential starter before Tuesday's game, preferring to believe that the series would end in six games.

"We're not talking about Game 7," Torre said.

He did not commit after the game, either.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press