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December 06, 2001

Extreme heat in the desert
By Rob Dibble

Editor's Note: Although neither pitcher lasted past the sixth inning, Kerry Wood outdueled Curt Schilling in the Cubs' 6-2 victory Tuesday night.

It's not often we see a pitching matchup of Tuesday's caliber midway through the season. What could be better than two first-place teams, the Cubs and Diamondbacks, going at it with two of the top five pitchers in the game -- Curt Schilling vs. Kerry Wood? Considering these two teams could meet each other in the postseason, a lot is riding on Tuesday's outcome.

Curt Schilling
Curt Schilling struck out seven batters in six innings in his loss to the Cubs.
Both guys are hard-throwing right-handers with about 50 more strikeouts than innings pitched. Both have surgically repaired arms and could be poster boys for full recoveries.

Look for the veteran Schilling to come out on top. On his home turf, Schilling will most likely challenge the predominantly right-handed Cubs with his hard stuff, and he has a good slider to accompany the heat.

Wood, who's in the record books for striking out 20 batters in one nine-inning game, has a devastating breaking ball. I call it a "12-to-6" because it goes from 12 o'clock to six o'clock. When Wood is throwing his breaking ball for strikes, he's almost unhittable. He is very capable of overmatching any team when he's in a zone.

Like Roger Clemens vs. Pedro Martinez or Greg Maddux vs. Kevin Brown or Randy Johnson, any time two aces from two quality staffs match up against each other, it's almost guaranteed to be a tremendous game. Expect a lot of broken bats and a lot of first-pitch swingers, because once a hitter gets behind, he'll be in trouble.

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