I like Roger Clemens for six innings, Ramiro Mendoza for one, and Mariano Rivera for two. Rivera has had two full days' rest and should be his typical unbeatable self. If the Yankees had to lose Game 6, they did it in the best possible way -- they lost by a million runs so they didn't have to waste Mendoza or Rivera. Losing a game where you've also had to use (and waste) you're closer -- like the D-Backs did with Byung-Hyun Kim in Games 4 and 5 -- those are the games that kill a team.
Schilling will be pitching on adrenaline. He said he felt horrible after the Game 4 start, but that he felt much better on Saturday. His body language is such that I'd be the most surprised person in America if he threw a 125-pitch complete game, because his body just doesn't look like it will let him do that right now. He'll be strong for about 75 pitches, and then manager Bob Brenly will have to keep an eye on him.
The Yankees will have to be really patient with Schilling. If they can get him out of there after five innings, there isn't a lot of strength in the D-Back bullpen.
Clemens, who left the park in the sixth inning Saturday night, is the active leader in victories with 280 and the all-time leader in Cy Young awards with five (he'll likely receive No. 6 in a week). He also was instrumental in changing Schilling's approach to the game, turning around his career with a stern lecture 10 years ago that the right-hander was wasting his talent.
"What better script could you imagine?" Arizona pitcher Brian Anderson said. "Roger Clemens and all he's accomplished and the year he had. Schilling and all he accomplished and the year he had and the fact that Clemens played such a key role in Schill's development as a pitcher.
"It would be like Obi-Wan Kenobi going head to head with Luke Skywalker."
Obi-Wan Kenobi? Luke Skywalker? Maybe Industrial Light and Magic is involved in this after all.
"This might be like being in the essay finals against Hemingway or a paint-off against Picasso," Schilling said. "It's Roger Clemens. It's Roger Clemens and the Yankees, Game 7. Everybody that's ever played this sport at any level has had a wiffle ball in their hand at some point and said, 'It's the seventh game of the World Series' and you're either pitching or hitting. How cool is that?"
With the Yankees down 2-0 in the series, Clemens pitched great in Game 3, holding Arizona to three hits and one run while striking out nine in seven innings. Schilling has been even better this series, holding the Yankees to two runs and six hits while striking out 17 in 14 innings.
But this will mark the second time in a week he's pitched on three days' rest, which he had done before his Game 4 start. He said his arm was sorer than normal after that outing and there is some question as to how effective he can be or how far into the game he can go.
Despite the uncertainty, Schilling said he is ready for the biggest game of his career and believing he will win.
"I’ve never taken the ball not expecting to win," he said, "and I would assume if you asked Roger the same question, he would tell you he plans on winning tomorrow, too."
And if Schilling can't go the distance, everybody else is available, including Johnson, who said he wouldn't rule out an appearance after pitching the first seven innings of Arizona's 15-2 victory.