|Schilling brings postseason experience, Jimenez playoff exuberance on Thursday night|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 24 October 2007 13:53|
Ubaldo Jimenez? He totes a ton of playoff exuberance - along with a million-dollar smile and a 100 mph fastball.
The 40-year-old Schilling can't match Colorado's 23-year-old rookie on the radar gun, but he sports one of the best postseason resumes in baseball: 10-2 with 23 walks, 116 strikeouts and a 2.25 ERA.
``With the miles that have been put on his shoulder and the games he's pitched, he's not the guy that can pitch 96, 97 anymore,'' Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Wednesday. ``But he can still pitch very effectively and still navigate his way through some lineups.''
After a trying 2007 season in which he went 9-8 and spent seven weeks on the disabled list with tendinitis in his right shoulder, Schilling went 2-0 in the AL playoffs with one walk, 12 strikeouts and a 3.38 ERA.
He twice faced Cleveland ace Rafael Carmona in the AL championship series, which he said gave him extra juice. He hopes to recapture that adrenaline rush in facing Jimenez, who isn't a household name yet.
``I'm probably just as worried when you face somebody that isn't well known,'' Schilling said Wednesday. ``Because those end up being guys that everybody does know after a game like tomorrow. I've heard nothing but rave reviews about his stuff, and he's done well in the postseason, which means he's answered the first question, which was, 'Can he handle the pressure?'''
Jimenez has a 1.59 ERA in two postseason starts, allowing two runs on eight hits over 11 1-3 innings. He's walked eight batters and struck out 11.
``That stuff will be electric,'' Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. ``That's the kind of stuff that every once in a while, you step back and you go, 'Wow! That's special.' He's shown some special poise for a young pitcher. And he's got good stuff. Anytime you get a swing-and-a-miss pitch against a good offensive club and you're playing in a small park, that's important.''
Jimenez was rushed to the majors just after the All-Star break when the Rockies were in the midst of losing three-fifths of their starting rotation to injuries. The Dominican righty went 4-4 with a 4.28 ERA in 15 starts while holding opponents to a .228 batting average.
The bigger the game, the better he was.
With the Rockies needing a win on the last day of the season to force an NL wild-card tiebreaker with San Diego, Jimenez held Arizona to one hit over 6 1-3 innings and struck out a career-high 10 in a game the Rockies won 4-3.
In his first playoff start, against Philadelphia, Jimenez allowed one run on three hits over 6 1-3 innings of Colorado's 2-1 series-clinching win. Against Arizona in the NLCS, he gave up one run on five hits over five innings in Game 2, which the Rockies won in 11 innings.
Jimenez said he isn't intimidated by either Boston's power-packed lineup or its history-steeped ballpark.
``I don't feel any pressure,'' he said. ``I'm just really excited about it.''