"If they said, 'Come on, here's a steak dinner,' and I had a chance to go out and play a game of ball, I'd go out and play the game and let the steak sit there. I really would"—Lefty Grove
For each of the pitchers on both sides we'll supply a brief scouting report and the hurler's best season ever in a Red Sox or Yankees uniform.
The Red Sox Starters
No. 1 LHP Robert Moses "Lefty" Grove
The dominant pitcher of the hit ball era he came to the 'Sox on the relative downside of a great career which included a record nine E.R.A. titles, 300-plus wins, having twice accomplished the unique feat of striking out the side on nine pitches twice, duplicated only in all the years since by Sandy Koufax and Nolan Ryan.
Fastball, curveball pitcher, some say the originator of the curve in the aftermath of the Major League ban on the spitter in the late '20s.
Best season for the Red Sox? 1935 when he was 20-12 with a 2.70 E.R.A. Best season ever? 1931 when he was 31-4 with a 2.04 E.R.A. for the world champion Philadelphia Athletics.
No. 2 RHP Pedro Martinez
Something of a question mark in this forum because for all his greatness he had little success against the modern day Yankees in late or postseason affairs and obviously in this case he's going up against a far stronger contingent.
Still, a dominating multi-pitch hurler, one of the best in the game for an approximate 13-year period from 1993 to 2005. His best season for the 'Sox came in 1999 when he went 23-4 with a 2.04 E.R.A. He'll benefit from this version of the Red Sox bullpen.
No. 3 RHP Luis Tiant
El Tiante, perhaps the perfect type of pitcher to shut down this slugging bunch of Bombers, Tiant was a man of many moves, famous for his back-to-the-batter delivery, variety of pitches and, after a career-changing arm injury in 1966, an uncanny ability to hit spots and change speeds, generally keeping even the best of major league hitters off balance.
At his best he was near unhittable. Top season with the Red Sox? 1974 when he was 22-13 with a 2.79 E.R.A. Best season ever. 1968 when he was 21-9 with a 1.60 E.R.A.
No. 4 RHP Curt Schilling
One of the top money pitchers of his day he had a career 11-2 postseason mark. Hard-thrower with pinpoint control, great split finger, decent slider and change.
Best season for the 'Sox? 2004 when at the age of 37 he went 21-6 with a 3.26 E.R.A. Best season ever? 2001, 22-6 with a 2.98 E.R.A. for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
No. 5 LHP Mel Parnell
Ten-year career, 1947-1956, all with the 'Sox. Southpaw with good movement was capable of dominant stretches. Best season 1949, 25-7 with a 2.71 E.R.A and 27 complete games. Fifth starter will probably get more work out of the 'pen than anything else in this format.
RHP Jim Lonborg
Durable career starter who was known to come in and finish another hurler's work on occasion. Pitched his best ball for the Sox in 1967 when he went 22-9 and won the A.L. Cy Young. Will pitch in long relief here.
LHP Jon Lester
His time in the majors has been short but he has no doubt shown extended flashes of brilliance in a young career already very seriously interrupted by cancer. Impressive 61-25 career mark, 19-9 in 2010. Will be lefty long man here.
RHP Josh Beckett
When his arm is right one of the game's hardest throwers. In another life would have been a great closer. Here he'll pitch late inning relief.
RHP Smokey Joe Wood
Had a truncated career as a pitcher but while he was on the mound dominated major league hitters with a blazing, hopping fastball as few other hurlers ever have. (Of Wood, the great Walter Johnson once said to a querying reporter, "My friend, no man alive can throw harder than Smokey Joe Wood.")
Pitched all or parts of seven seasons for the 'Sox, best of which was 1912 when he went 34-5 with a 1.91 E.R.A, 35 complete games, 344 innings pitched. Later went on to play outfield with his great buddy Speaker in Cleveland where he hit .366 with 60 RBI in only 66 games in an injury shortened 1921 season. Played one more year and retired at the age of 32 after the 1922 season.
Here he'll throw in the setup role leading up to Papelbon.
Closer: Jonathon Papelbon
along with Rivera he's been the best in the game for the past five seasons although he fell off a bit last year in what turned out to be a lost season for the 'Sox. 188 career saves and a 2.22 E.R.A give him a nod of confidence here.