Schilling to try to end skid vs. Zito

Schilling to try to end skid vs. Zito

Though not as hallowed as baseball's 3,000-hit club, the 3,000-strikeout list is actually tougher to crack.

Red Sox ace Curt Schilling, who enters Wednesday's start against Oakland with 2,999 K's, is set to become just the 14th pitcher in baseball history to achieve that milestone. By comparison, 22 players have had 3,000 hits.

"It's special for its own reasons," said Schilling. "The bigger number for me is [becoming] the 14th guy. When you grow up a baseball fan and you're over a century into the game and you're talking about something that only 13 other people have ever done, that's the kind of thing that kind of catches me a little bit from a perspective standpoint that I think is pretty cool."

Consider the list of those who have 3,000 strikeouts. Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver, Don Sutton, Gaylord Perry, Walter Johnson, Phil Niekro, Fergie Jenkins and Bob Gibson are all Hall of Famers. Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson and Greg Maddux are locks for Cooperstown as soon as they become eligible. That leaves Bert Blyleven (3,701) as the only one on the outside looking in.

"He should be in there," Schilling said of Blyleven. "That much I do feel."

Schilling wasn't about to lobby for his own Hall of Fame credentials, though he has a track record that will make him a candidate, despite his relatively modest win total of 206.

The Red Sox put together an expansive list chronicling Schilling's road to 3,000. Who has K'd the most against Schilling? Rich Aurilia, Andres Galarraga and Marquis Grissom at 22 each. Todd Hollandsworth and Sammy Sosa were strikeout victims of Schilling 21 times.

A classic power pitcher, Schilling has always been able to reach back for that little extra when he's needed it. Even now, at the age of 39, he can still dial it up.

"I always felt like it was something I could always get," Schilling said. "I always felt like it could get me a huge advantage in a game, the ability to go after a strikeout in a strikeout situation and get it. I've always thrived on that."

He's done it without sacrificing his control, issuing just 683 walks in his career.

"That's huge; that's bigger," said Schilling. "I don't know where I'll fall on that scale as far as how many walks people have when they got to 3,000, but I'd imagine I'll be close up there. That's what kind of pitcher I tried to become. Someone that threw a lot of strikes and got a lot of strikeouts and had command of the baseball."

"Earlier in my career, the two guys I wanted to emulate were Clemens and Maddux," continued Schilling. "I wanted Clemens's power with Maddux's control. I never quite got to either one of them, but I felt like I was kind of a mishmash of the two in some cases."

The Red Sox desperately need Schilling to step up, as a five-game losing streak has dropped them 7 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the American League East and 6 1/2 back in the Wild Card standings. This should be a terrific pitching matchup, as the A's counter with ace left-hander Barry Zito.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Curt Schilling (14-6, 3.95 ERA)
The ace right-hander will make attempt No. 5 at his 15th win when he takes the ball against the A's. The Red Sox have lost Schilling's past four starts. Schilling is 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA against Oakland this season. After going 10-3 with a 3.70 ERA before the All-Star break, Schilling is 4-3 with a 4.70 ERA since the break.

OAK: LHP Barry Zito (14-8, 3.64 ERA)
Zito took a no-hitter into the eighth inning Friday in Texas, where he settled for 8 1/3 innings of two-hit work with two walks. Zito recently discovered a mechanical glitch that led to a month of less-than-stellar work, but since making the adjustment -- he's standing taller in his delivery -- he's 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA.

Player to watch
Coco Crisp has had decent success against Zito, going 5-for-18 with two doubles and a homer.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

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

Up next
• Thursday: Red Sox (LHP David Wells, 2-3, 4.98) vs. Blue Jays (RHP Roy Halladay, 16-4, 3.12), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Friday: Red Sox (RHP Kyle Snyder, 3-3, 6.91) vs. Blue Jays (LHP Ted Lilly, 11-11, 4.78), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Red Sox (TBA) vs. Blue Jays (RHP A.J. Burnett, 6-6, 4.53), 7:05 p.m. ET

Ian Browne is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.