Schilling set to reignite rivalry

Schilling set to reignite rivalry

Julio Lugo didn't get to taste Red Sox-Yankees up close during his time with the Astros, Devil Rays and Dodgers. But he witnessed enough from afar to know that the epic rivalry he officially enters on Friday night at Fenway Park is a win-win proposition.

"It's two great teams battling each other, competing," said Lugo, Boston's new leadoff man and shortstop. "A lot of exciting players on each side. It's good. It's good for them. It's good for us. It's good for the fans -- for everybody."

J.D. Drew, the other big addition to the Red Sox's lineup, is just glad he doesn't have to watch the rivalry anymore. Forgive Drew, but he's not big into being a spectator.

"I think everybody sees it," said Drew, who played for the Cardinals, Braves and Dodgers before Boston. "It's almost kind of humorous from afar. It's like, 'How many times can those teams play?' It's always on. I've been a part of some good rivalries. I know this is on a much larger scale. It will be interesting to be a part of, that's for sure."

Ever since his arrival in Boston in 2004, Curt Schilling has always relished his part in the rivalry. The ace gets the nod in Game 1, which starts at 7:05 p.m. ET.

"It's exciting," said Schilling. "Yankees-Red Sox at Fenway. They're still really good. They're playing really good and swinging the bats really good. We've got a good thing going here pitching-wise, so I want to maintain the momentum."

Always, it seems, the subplots are endless when the Red Sox and Yankees renew acquaintances. And in this one, Andy Pettitte opposes Schilling in his first matchup with the Red Sox since the 2003 American League Championship Series.

The rivalry hasn't cooled off any since Pettitte was last a part of it.

"Obviously, there's a little more intensity because the fans are so into it," said Pettitte. "I'm just looking forward to it again. I'm looking forward to going back to Fenway -- I've always loved pitching there. It'll be fun."

The Red Sox and Yankees both come into the series on high notes after thrilling wins on Thursday afternoon.

Boston overcame a 3-1 deficit in the eighth inning to beat the Blue Jays, and the Yankees rode Alex Rodriguez's latest walk-off home run to down the Indians in the Bronx.

Sox manager Terry Francona is just staying focused on the big picture.

"The games are a lot of things: They're exciting, they're long, usually -- we beat on each other so often," Francona said. "It will be exciting; it always is. And the fans will be all charged up and there will be a million media [members] there. It's kind of what it is. It's April baseball and I hope we win."

Following Schilling, the Sox send Josh Beckett to the mound Saturday and then Daisuke Matsuzaka for his rivalry unveiling Sunday night. The Yankees counter with rookies Jeff Karstens and Chase Wright, who have been thrust into action because of injuries to New York's starting staff.

In making his return to Fenway, Yankees manager Joe Torre expects the usual mix of friendliness and hostility.

"You walk in and the vendors say, 'Hi Joe, hey, good luck,' and they mean it," Torre said. "I don't know why they mean it, but they mean it. It's a friendly place to be for me, I enjoy it. But when that game starts, something happens to those people when they come through the turnstiles. Sometimes they forget they won the World Series a couple of years ago."

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Curt Schilling (2-1, 2.00 ERA)
After a rough Opening Day in Kansas City, Schilling appears to be back to true form. On Saturday at Fenway, Schilling dominated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, throwing eight shutout innings and allowing four hits on just 103 pitches, 68 of them strikes. It was the first time Schilling had thrown as many as eight shutout innings since late September in the World Series championship season of 2004. Schilling has allowed just one run over his past 15 innings.

NYY: LHP Andy Pettitte (1-0, 1.50 ERA)
Although the Yankees didn't win, Pettitte put in a solid performance in his previous start against Oakland on Sunday, when he threw seven innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits. The left-hander has allowed only one earned run in his first two starts. Pettitte opens the series with a 13-5 career record and a 3.05 ERA against the Red Sox.

Player to watch
Sox slugger David Ortiz is hitting .409 lifetime in 22 at-bats against Pettitte.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• NESN

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

Up next
• Saturday: Yankees (RHP Jeff Karstens, 2-1, 3.80 ERA in 2006) at Red Sox (RHP Josh Beckett, 3-0, 1.50), 3:55 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Yankees (LHP Chase Wright, 1-0, 5.40) at Red Sox (RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka, 1-2, 2.70), 8:05 p.m. ET
• Monday: Blue Jays (RHP Tomo Ohka, 0-2, 7.02) at Red Sox (RHP Tim Wakefield, 2-1, 1.35), 7:05 p.m. ET