Schilling makes first home start of '07

Schilling makes first home start of 2007

Curt Schilling's fastball deserted him on Opening Day, but the veteran right-hander regained his command last Sunday in Texas. What will a Saturday afternoon showdown with Vladimir Guerrero's Los Angeles Angels bring?

A whole lot of cheering supporters, for one. Schilling has not yet pitched at Fenway Park this season.

Just before Schilling agreed to join the Red Sox on Thanksgiving Day 2003, he expressed doubt to general manager Theo Epstein's delegation that he could succeed at Fenway Park. His thinking was that the short porch in left could provide all sorts of challenges for a strike-throwing machine from Arizona who was prone to the occasional solo shot.

It seems laughable now, nearly four years -- and one World Series championship -- later.

"If you can pitch," manager Terry Francona said on Friday, "you can pitch anywhere."

With a more varied repertoire than he had in 2003, and a few fewer miles per hour on his fastball, Schilling will seek to limit an Angels team that has quickly jumped to first place in the American League West.

According to Francona, Boston has no plans to scrap Schilling's newly acquired changeup, which has been inconsistent so far in 2007.

"I would certainly think we need to never overreact," Francona said, "especially early. Or you could have a chance to lose out on something that could be very productive. The more pitches you command, the better you can change speeds and feel command, the better pitcher that you will be."

The Angels will counter with Hector Carrasco, who has given up only one earned run in five inning of relief work. Carrasco will be filling the rotation slot of Kelvim Escobar, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Friday with right shoulder irritation.

Pitching matchup
LAA: RHP Hector Carrasco (0-0, 1.80 ERA)
The one-time Red Sox reliever was 0-2 with a 5.79 ERA in only three appearances as a starter last season, but was otherwise effective as a right-handed option out of the 'pen. The 14-year Major League veteran posted a 3.41 ERA and seven wins in his first season as an Angel, and held opponents scoreless in 12 of his last 14 outings, lowering his season ERA by more than half a run in September.

BOS: RHP Curt Schilling (1-1, 4.91 ERA)
Schilling shut down Texas at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Sunday, allowing only a Frank Catalanotto solo blast in a 3-2 Red Sox victory. On Saturday, he makes his first start of the 2007 season at Fenway, against the Angels. In 43 career starts at Fenway, Schilling is 25-8 with a 3.99 ERA and 291 strikeouts in 302 innings. Against last year's Angels, Schilling was roughed up to the tune of six earned runs and 10 hits in a five-inning start, but his overall body of work against the Halos is much better (a 3.44 ERA in 34 career innings).

Player to watch
Former Red Sox shortstop Orlando Cabrera has a .294 average in 34 appearances against Schilling, the best among current Angels with at least 10 at-bats.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WRKO-680 AM, Spanish Baseball Network (Spanish)

Up next
• Sunday: Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 2-0, 1.50) vs. Angels (Ervin Santana, 1-1, 6.35), 1:05 p.m. ET
• Monday: Red Sox (Julian Tavarez, 0-1, 9.00) vs. Angels (Jered Weaver, 11-2, 2.56 in '06), 10:05 a.m. ET
• Tuesday: Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 1-1, 2.57) at Blue Jays (Gustavo Chacin, 1-0, 4.91), 7:07 p.m. ET

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