Experience, success keys in AL Game 2 Chicago's Fernandez faces Toronto's Stewart


CHICAGO -- It will be experience vs. youth in the pitching matchup for Game 2 of the American League Championship Series today, when Dave Stewart duels Alex Fernandez.

But Fernandez, a 24-year-old right-hander for the Chicago White Sox, said last night that Stewart isn't the only one in the pairing who has learned from experience. "That has been the key factor for me this year," said Fernandez, who was 18-9 during the regular season. "What I learned in the last two years has made me a much better pitcher. The biggest thing I've learned is how to hold a team to one or two runs rather than give up four or five in an inning."

Of the pitchers working in the ALCS, Fernandez has had the most success against his opponent. He was 3-1 with a 1.72 ERA against the Toronto Blue Jays this year and is 4-2 with a 1.58 ERA in his career.

"I stay with my game, which is basically power, but I change every time I see them," Fernandez said. "I've pitched them different every game this year."

Fernandez said he will not be intimidated by Stewart's 6-0 record in postseason play. "No, not at all," he said. "He is a great pitcher, but I never worry about who I'm facing.

Stewart, who was 12-8 with a 4.44 ERA this year, finished strong. His aura of invincibility in the postseason is considered a plus for the Blue Jays.

"I maximize everything I have and put it into one game," Stewart said. "I approach it as if it's the last game you're ever going to see me pitch, and I don't want to leave a bad impression."

Part of Stewart's makeup is his famous stare, which is an extension of his approach. "I like the atmosphere of the playoffs," he said.

"Sometimes during the postseason, players think you have to do something different. With me, my attitude is -- when in doubt, be aggressive."

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