Sox, Indians both offer a strong 1-2 punch from starters
Originally Published: October 10, 2007By Tim Kurkjian | ESPN The Magazine
1. How good is Boston's 1-2 punch in the rotation?Josh Beckett is a Cy Young candidate, the only 20-game winner in 2007. And he is becoming one of the best postseason pitchers in recent years. Beckett was dominant in his four-hit shutout of the Los Angeles Angels in Game 1 of the AL Division Series, giving him more postseason shutouts (three) than he has in the regular season (two). In his past five postseason starts, Beckett has a 0.70 ERA, a .118 batting average against, six walks and 41 strikeouts. In Game 2 of the ALCS, the Red Sox will start Curt Schilling, who is one of the best postseason pitchers of all time (9-2). His seven shutout innings in Game 3 of the ALDS were so impressive, a scout who saw the game said, "That's the best I've seen him throw in three years. His split is back."
2. How good is Cleveland's 1-2 punch in the rotation?Just as good. C.C. Sabathia, who likely will win the AL Cy Young, showed how good a pitcher he is in Game 1 of the ALDS against the New York Yankees. He didn't have his command (six walks, 114 pitches in five innings), but he battled and kept his team in the game. Sabathia has faced the Red Sox one time in each of the past two years, allowing two earned runs in 15 innings. Cleveland's Game 2 starter, Fausto Carmona, was sensational in his start in the ALDS. His split is as good as it gets. In his one start against Boston this year, he threw eight shutout innings. What Carmona and Sabathia do so well is work the inside part of the plate; they make hitters (such as Alex Rodriguez) uncomfortable, and they are gifted enough to also work the other side of the plate.