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Hurlers Set For All-Star Start


Not many hitters have given Pedro Martinez trouble this season. So he's not about to worry now that he has to face Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and the rest of the NL's best.

"What should I do, start crying?" he said with a laugh Monday.

No, just keep pitching the way he's been doing all season. He's 15-3, the most wins in the majors, with a 2.10 ERA. He'll be the AL starter in Tuesday night's All-Star game in his home park against Philadelphia's Curt Schilling.

"I pitch the only way I know. I'm not going to switch anything," said Martinez, chosen for his fourth straight All-Star game, the last two with Boston.

That can't be good news for the National Leaguers, who had to face Martinez in his two seasons with Los Angeles and four with Montreal before he was traded to Boston before the 1998 season.

NL catcher Mike Piazza was with the Dodgers in Martinez's rookie season in 1992.

"Catching him, I knew he was going to be an outstanding pitcher," Piazza said. "He can make you look bad."

Plenty of American Leaguers would agree. In 132 2-3 innings, Martinez has allowed just five homers, struck out 184 and walked only 24.

"I don't think I have a hit against him yet," said AL second baseman Robbie Alomar of Cleveland.

"He throws so many pitches. His ball moves," said Cleveland's Kenny Lofton, the starting left fielder. "He can throw one ball 70 (mph) and the next one 96. You don't see that every day."

He has a chance to become baseball's first 30-game winner since Denny McLain won 31 in 1968. That's a longshot since starters usually work on four days rest instead of three as they did 31 years ago.

But it's not impossible.

"The chances are there if you get the outings," said Martinez, who has a decision in all 18 of his starts. Then he added, with a smile, "After getting 25 (wins) I'll probably ask to pitch every day."

There was little doubt he would start Tuesday night because of his outstanding record and the site of the game at Fenway Park, which "makes it really special," Martinez said.

"That was the only choice," AL manager Joe Torre said.

The selection of Schilling as the starter didn't come until Sunday when he got a call from NL manager Bruce Bochy. The other leading candidate was Randy Johnson. He was 9-3 before losing his last four decisions despite striking out 54 and allowing just five earned runs. Arizona hasn't scored in Johnson's last 34 innings.

"I'm honored to be chosen to get the start," said Schilling (13-4) "but seeing the lineup they're throwing out there, it might not have bothered me throwing second or third."

Schilling, on his third consecutive All-Star team, said, "I'm as nervous for this as I've been for any game I've ever pitched."

Like Martinez, Schilling has a link to the Red Sox, although that was severe more than a decade ago. They drafted him in 1986 before trading him and Brady Anderson to Baltimore for Mike Boddicker in 1988. He went to Houston in 1991 and has been with the Phillies since 1992.

"No," he said, when asked if he had any bad feelings about leaving Boston, "because I think everything that's happened to me happened for a reason."

Schilling takes a five-game winning streak into the game. In his last start, he allowed eight hits in his seventh complete game, a 4-2 win over Baltimore on Friday. He is tied with Johnson for the major league lead in complete games and second in the NL to Johnson in strikeouts.

"Is Curt the starter?" AL backup catcher Brad Ausmus of Detroit said. "That's a full concentration at bat right there."

Martinez has been even tougher.

"He's somebody I've always watched with a little bit of admiration," Schilling said. "Watching him this year, for me, has been like a Triple-A player watching the big leagues. He's on another level."

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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