The following is a transcript of Buster Olney's in-game analysis from Yankees-Red Sox Game 2 during SportsNation's The Show, which will be every night for postseason games. Click here for more details.
Hey, folks -- ready to go? Big game for the Sox, almost as much for the Yankees. A virtual must-win for Boston, I think, with all the questions swirling around Schilling's availability the rest of the way, and all the pressure on Pedro. I wonder if Martinez will throw inside to somebody early in the game to in attempt to change the tone of the competition and re-establish himself a bit -- just as he did in Game 3 of the ALCS last year, at the moment he threw over Karim Garcia's head. Most likely candidate, if he does throw inside: A-Rod. I don't think he would take another shot at Sheffield, or at Jeter. We'll see, though. And look for Jon Lieber to pound fastballs inside ...
Top: Manny Ramirez missed that last slider by what, five feet? Ugly. Took Lieber two pitches to overcome his butterflies and get command of his stuff, which is part of the reason why he's become such an important guy for Joe Torre. There are no Kevin Brown-like emotions, no El Duque physical mysteries, no Vazquez-like anxieties that overcome his delivery. Impressive first inning: 9 pitches. And here comes Pedro ...
Bottom: After Pedro beat the Angels last week, he said that he felt very strong -- surprisingly strong, he said -- and that his extra velocity was actually a problem, because he struggled for his control. Looked like the same thing in the first inning tonight: He was throwing as high as 97 mph, four fastballs of 94, 95, 94, 93 to Jeter, and he was very erratic. By the end of the inning, he was much sharper, but there was a heavy toll, besides the run that the Yankees scored. Twenty-six pitches. The announcers are harping on the communication issues between Pedro and Varitek, but any time Pedro pitches, some of this stuff goes on. He likes to control the tempo.
Top: Lieber uncharacteristically wild to start the second; you've got to wonder if the long bottom of the first affected him a bit ... Lieber recovers quickly -- and quickly being the operative word. Two innings, 20 pitches, not a single hard-hit ball.
Bottom: Pedro's pitch count continues to climb -- after 26 in the first inning, another 20 in the second inning, 46 in all. At this rate, he's going to last five innings. Something else that's interesting: As hard as he is throwing, the Yankees are locked onto his fastball -- Olerud, Lofton and Jeter all had good hacks at his hard stuff that inning -- and they are ignoring his breaking stuff. Of the 46 pitches he's thrown, the Yankees have swung and missed once. And seven foul balls. One swing and miss. This is Pedro Martinez we're talking about.
Top: Jon Lieber is rolling, firing, getting the ball back, firing again, his pace exactly the opposite of Pedro right now. Three innings and 30 pitches. The Red Sox hitters have got to put up some kind of struggle at some point, or their season will be in jeopardy within a couple of hours. The Yankees only lead 1-0, but it's playing out completely one-sided so far.
Bottom: Pedro gets three outs, 10 pitches, 56 pitches in all; his best inning. The Red Sox have the heart of their order coming up. It'll be interesting to see if Lieber can keep jamming Ramirez, mixing that with his slider away ... Can't make a mistake with Manny.
Top: Is this Jon Lieber, or Greg Maddux? Wow. He's faced 14 hitters and nine of those have seen three pitches or less. He's had one three-ball count, only four two-ball counts. The Red Sox hitters are getting nothing to swing at, but he's throwing enough strikes that they keep swinging. Thirty-six pitches in four innings.
Bottom: Pedro is hanging in there, with his command at less than his best. I agree with what somebody else said here, that the movement on his fastball is not as dynamic as it often is. He's thrown 72 pitches, and the Yanks have swung and missed three times.
But as weird a game as he's pitching, the Red Sox are still down just a run. And Jon Lieber has always been a guy who gives up some homers, when he's pitching well. Pedro seemed like he was on the ropes early, and the Yankees haven't capitalized.
Top: Is Lieber just playing catch with Posada? 'Cause that's what it looks like. Sliders away, sinking fastballs inside, occasional changeup. It's like the Red Sox aren't even in his field of vision.
Forty-five pitches, five innings. He's on a pace to throw an 81-pitch, one-hit shutout ... At this rate, we'll see the end of the debate.
Bottom: Pedro is holding the Yankees down, still 1-0, but he is nearing his own finish line -- thought to be about 105-110 pitches. He's thrown 91 pitches, and began to look a little gassed during that Matsui at-bat, his fastball drifting high and outside a couple of times. The Red Sox will need help sometime in the seventh inning, probably.
Top: Johnny Damon had more pitches in his at-bat (16) than the Red Sox did in any previous inning, but it didn't seem to slow down Lieber at all. He kept pumping strikes to Damon, then went right after Bellhorn, striking him out. Now the Yankees will reach the seventh inning with the lead, and Lieber might start the inning, but the Yankees can try to get the last bunch of outs from just Gordon and Rivera. They don't have to go to Sturtze or Heredia or Quantrill now. Huge outing by Lieber.
Bottom: I can't remember seeing Pedro looking that disheartened. I've seen him angry, arrogant, petulant, laughing, smiling, but it's like all the emotion just drained out of his face after Olerud hit the home run. He's got 113 pitches and you'd have to assume that Timlin will come in to face the right-handers at the top of the Yankees' lineup next inning.
Pedro was not overpowering, for certain. But heck, if the Sox can't score any runs, it really doesn't make any difference.
Top: They just flashed a graphic on Fox -- The Red Sox, in innings 1-6 in this series -- 37 at-bats, 1 hit, 1 walk. And they didn't add much to that in the seventh against Lieber. The Yankees' scouts were insistent that the pitchers not give anything to Millar on the inner half of the plate; keep everything away. Lieber threw a slider away and it looked like Millar missed it by about 3 feet, before hitting into an inning-ending doubleplay. Seven innings, 79 pitches, no runs. Can't say I ever envisioned anything like that.
Bottom: This might turn out to be Pedro's last outing for the Red Sox, without question, if the series doesn't reach Game 6. If you were the Boston ownership, how much would you be willing to spend on a pitcher who is very good but not dominant, has a lot of wear-and-tear, a small body and a violent delivery, and he seems to have hit something of a mental roadblock against your most notable rival (Boston is 11-20 against the Yankees in his starts now, I believe). You'd pay $8-9 million annually, I think, but nowhere near the $12-15 million that Pedro is going to want.
Internally, the Yankees' execs hope that the Red Sox lock up Pedro, because they think he's going to break down and because they fear a Steinbrenner cocktail napkin deal, where George deals with Pedro directly and signs him. And I wonder if the Red Sox would love for the Yankees to overbid and take Pedro off their hands, this late in his career; that way, their PR posture can be that they wanted Pedro, but Pedro wanted the cash. It'll be interesting, no matter what happens.
Top: Damon's face said it all after he took called strike 3 on the outside corner. After all those cutters inside, including the one that shattered his bat into 12,126 pieces, it's unfair to throw a 93-mph fastball over the outside corner -- absolutely unfair.
Bottom: The Red Sox cut the lead to 3-1, they've got an off-day Thursday, and Foulke started warming up in the bottom of the seventh, which all leads to this question -- what is Alan Embree doing in the game? You've got to keep it close to give yourself a shot, so let Foulke start the inning.
Top: It's over: Count me among those who find very little reason to think the Red Sox can win this series, now that they're down 0-2. Curt Schilling lost and is out indefinitely, Pedro Martinez lost and would have to win in Yankee Stadium in Game 6 if this series continues, the Red Sox still don't know who their starter will be for Game 5. And we haven't even mentioned how Mussina and Lieber completely shut down the Red Sox hitters and kept them off-balance (I suspect Gene Michael's team of seven advance scouts had something to do with this; they are loaded with experience, too).
The Red Sox will have to hit their way back into this series, so it's good they're going home. But they have to sweep, probably with Arroyo, Wakefield and Lowe. A tough, tough assignment, against a team that finishes games with the best closer in history.
Talk to you guys again Friday night.
Buster Olney is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. His book, "The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty," is a New York Times best seller and can be ordered through HarperCollins.com.