Aces high in Metrodome opener

Aces high in Metrodome opener

Despite all of Curt Schilling's accomplishments and the accolades he has received over his extraordinary 19-year career, amazingly, he has never won the Cy Young Award.

Tuesday night, Schilling will be matched up with the man he finished second to in the Cy Young voting in 2004, Johan Santana, in a fantasy pitching duel matching two of baseball's best hurlers.

While the rest of Boston's rotation has yet to cement their identities, Schilling has been the stabilizing force that a team expects from their ace.

"He's not a question mark for me. You've got to have guys you can lean on," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "On good staffs there always is that guy."

In his last outing, Schilling avenged an earlier loss in Yankee Stadium this season by limiting the Bronx Bombers to three runs and four hits over eight innings.

Schilling will be looking to become the American League's first 10-game winner this year and may be on track to best his career-high 23 wins with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2002.

He has won his last four decisions and has maintained excellent command this season by striking out 77 batters and only walking nine.

Tuesday will also mark Schilling's first career start at the Metrodome. His only three appearances in Minnesota have come in relief.

This season, Schilling has suffered his only two losses on the road, and is 4-2 with a 4.73 ERA away from Boston.

This will mark the first meeting between the teams this season. They are scheduled to play six times.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Curt Schilling (9-2, 3.81 ERA)
The ace, Schilling continued his stellar pitching with his fourth win in five games in his last start, tossing eight innings while only giving up three runs and four hits. However, three of those hits were solo homers. Schilling, who didn't have his best stuff, according to ex-teammate Johnny Damon, limited the damage by not walking anybody. The veteran hasn't lost in over a month.

MIN: LHP Johan Santana (6-4, 3.16 ERA)
The Twins look for Santana to pitch well, and he's not disappointed them in his last two outings. He's given up two runs in his last two starts, which led to victories over the Athletics and the Mariners. Now, Santana faces a tougher challenge. The Red Sox aren't the A's or the Mariners, and Santana's career has produced mixed results against them. In his career, he's 3-3 with a 4.06 ERA, which are hardly Santana-like numbers. But he'll be facing the Sox while he's at his best, and Santana at his best is a difficult pitcher to beat.

Player to watch
After a slow start to the season, Mark Loretta has raised his average from .207 to .303 since May 3. He is hitting .600 (3-for-5) with one home run in his career against Santana.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WEEI 850 AM, WROL 950 AM (Español)

Up next
• Wednesday: Red Sox (RHP Tim Wakefield, 4-7, 3.93) at Twins (RHP Brad Radke, 4-7, 6.17), 8:10 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Red Sox (LHP Jon Lester, 0-0, 6.23) at Twins (RHP Carlos Silva, 2-8, 7.73), 8:10 p.m. ET
• Friday: Red Sox (RHP Josh Beckett, 7-3, 5.26) at Braves (RHP Tim Hudson, 6-4, 3.79), 7:35 p.m. ET

Howard Kussoy is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.