Schilling goes back to basics Overpreparation blamed for Game 1

October 21, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Curt Schilling figures that not being overly prepared will be the key to his preparation for tonight's Game 5 of the World Series.

And if that sounds like a contradiction, that's nothing unusual. The former Orioles right-hander has often been accused of not being on the same page as the rest of the baseball world.

But Schilling is considered among the more logical spirits in the clubhouse of the Philadelphia Phillies. He figures to make some adjustments tonight when he makes his second, and final, start of the World Series against the Toronto Blue Jays.

In evaluating his performance in Game 1, an 8-5 loss, Schilling said he pitched away from his own strengths. That strategy backfired, resulting in seven runs in 6 1/3 innings.

"I'll be prepared this time," he said before Game 4 last night. "I found all their strengths last time. This time I'll pitch to my strengths instead of to their weaknesses."

Game 1 was a case, Schilling said, of looking for too much on videos and perhaps subconsciously copying other patterns. "I might have been overprepared," he said. "I was over-analyzing."

Even though the Phillies and Blue Jays are frequent opponents in spring training, Schilling felt unfamiliar with the lineup of the AL champions. So he went to the baseball film library.

"I hadn't seen them all year, nor had I seen their hitters," said Schilling, a statement of duplicity no doubt intended for emphasis. "I got some videotape and watched some [American League] pitchers who I thought throw the ball similar to the way I do, to see how they pitched the Blue Jays.

"I made some plans to go after their hitters, but maybe I went after them too much. I didn't see much of the faces of my outfielders for six innings.

"I think I went out there with too many ideas, too many plans. I think I was overprepared," said Schilling.

Which could be translated into giving the hitters too much credit, instead of staying with his game plan. That had been good enough to make Schilling the Phillies' ace over the second half of the season -- and the MVP of the NLCS.

Not bad for a guy who has been traded three times, and originally had been groomed as a relief pitcher. In fact, it was as a reliever that he first thought he had established himself -- with the Orioles, after being traded from Boston in 1988.

"I thought I handled the first trade pretty good," recalled Schilling. "When I was traded from the Orioles [to Houston in the Glenn Davis trade] I was a little upset.

"I was happy in Baltimore, I was living there and I thought I'd found a niche for myself as a set-up man for [Gregg] Olson. But when I went to Houston I got a chance to be a closer and thought I could establish myself. I just couldn't do the job they wanted me to do, I guess."

Now that he's back where he started, as a starter, Schilling is content. "I'm happy doing what I'm doing," he said. "In a short series, I'll go to the bullpen if I have to, but I think I've proved myself."

Like Schilling, Toronto's starter tonight, Juan Guzman, was ineffective in the World Series opener. Although he follows the standard pitcher's line of not being influenced by whom he's pitching against, Schilling admitted it can be a factor.

"Sometimes," he said, "you get up more for some games than others because you know a guy isn't going to give up a lot of runs -- and you can't give up runs early in the game and expect to win."

For his part, Guzman said he is approaching Game 5 of the World Series in much the same way he did his second start against the White Sox in the ALCS. "This will be better, because I know the hitters and I will learn from my mistakes," Guzman said.

"I wasn't nervous [in Game 1], but I didn't know their hitters and I made some mistakes. They remind me of the Yankees. I had some problems with them the first time I faced them.

"There are a lot of teams in our league that are patient. But that's OK. If they are taking a lot of pitches, I'll just have to throw strikes, that's all."

Which is something Guzman didn't do the last time (four walks). Now it's a question of which pitcher makes the better adjustments.

WORLD SERIES TONIGHT

GAME 5

(Best of seven; Blue Jays lead, 2-1)

Site: Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia

Time: 8:12

Blue Jays starter: Juan Guzman (0-0, 7.20 in Series)

Phillies starter: Curt Schilling (0-1, 8.53 in Series)

TV: Channels 11, 9

Radio: WBAL (1090 AM)

LATE SERIES GAME

Last night's Game 4 of the World Series between the Blue Jays and Phillies in Philadelphia did not end in time to be included in this edition. A complete report can be found in later editions of The Sun and all editions of The Evening Sun. For the latest sports results, call Sundial at (410) 783-1800, ext. 5001 (in Anne Arundel County, call [410] 268-7736, ext. 5001).

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