Schilling to view strengths, not videos Phillies starter shelves Jays films after poor Game 1


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.

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 over-prepared," 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 think I went out there with too many ideas, too many plans. I think I was over-prepared," 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 setup man for [Gregg] Olson. But when I went to Houston I got a chance to be a closer and LTC 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.

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

Schilling said how Guzman fares won't affect him, "because it's out of my control."

Which was Schilling's problem in the Phillies' crushing 15-14 loss last night. He could only sit there and watch the nightmare pass before him. And that was the worst form of torture.

"It was bad," he said. "Miserable. Terrible. But what can you do? Sitting on the bench, you can't do anything about it."

But tonight, he can. And Schilling understood exactly what was involved. It was hard not to.

"It's real simple now," he said. "Either we win tomorrow or we go home."

And Schilling looked like a man who was in no mood to go home.

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