- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 16, 2001

PHOENIX (AP) Get ready for more big-time pitching in the National League Championship Series.
In Game 1 today, two of baseball's best will provide a stark contrast in styles powerful Randy Johnson against the master of control, Greg Maddux.
"My old broadcast buddy, Tim McCarver, how did he put it: With Randy, you dread the intimidation, and with Maddux, you dread the inevitable," Arizona manager Bob Brenly said.
Despite their impressive career statistics, neither Johnson nor Maddux has had great success in the postseason.
Johnson has lost a major league record seven playoff games in a row and is 2-7 overall. Maddux is 10-11, 4-6 in the NLCS.
Asked why Maddux has a losing postseason record, Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said, "I couldn't answer that no more than I could answer why Randy Johnson hasn't won every game in the playoffs that he pitches."
With Tom Glavine and John Burkett waiting to start and John Smoltz anchoring what Cox calls "the best bullpen we've had," the Braves, as usual, are going as far as their arms will take them.
"There's no secret why they're here for the 10th straight year," Arizona's Matt Williams said after the team worked out at Bank One Ballpark on Monday. "That's been the strength of their team for years and years and years."
At first glance, this looks like playoff perennials against newcomers. Atlanta has won 10 consecutive division titles. Arizona is in the NLCS in just its fourth season of existence. The characterization couldn't be more misleading.
The Diamondbacks are among baseball's oldest teams with a roster full of 30-somethings.
"Both teams are old," Arizona's Mark Grace said. "Both teams have plenty of experience. They've got more experience as far as championships, but I'll take this team."
Atlanta has its rotation set up just the way Cox wants it.
Glavine will go against Miguel Batista in Game 2, then Curt Schilling, composer of two masterpieces in the NL division series against St. Louis, will go against John Burkett in Game 3. Four of baseball's best on display, with Smoltz coming in as a closer to top it off.
"You couldn't ask to watch a better pitching series, because you've got great caliber pitching on both sides," Johnson said.Once again, pitchers take spotlight in NLCS
Cox added right-hander Kevin Millwood to the roster and removed Ken Caminiti, but indicated he would still go with just three starters and let his bullpen pick up the rest.
The reputation as a postseason flop persists no matter how well Johnson has pitched in most of his losses. In Game 2 against St. Louis, he allowed three runs in eight innings and was outpitched by Woody Williams in the Cardinals' 4-1 victory.
"If people really do their homework and look at the numbers, he's certainly pitched well enough to win the overwhelming majority of those ball games," Brenly said. "This is a team game. It involves offense, defense, pitching. No matter how well you pitch, if your teammates don't score runs for you, you get hung with the loss and answering all the questions."
Johnson has a tough act to follow. Schilling threw a three-hitter in a 1-0 victory in Game 1 against St. Louis, then followed with another gem in a 2-1 Diamondbacks thriller in Sunday night's deciding Game 5.
Injured Atlanta catcher Javy Lopez is with the team but was unlikely to make the roster, Cox said. Lopez's replacement, Paul Bako, remained in Atlanta for the birth of his son on Monday following his wife's difficult pregnancy. Cox said Bako would be in Phoenix in time for today's game.
The Diamondbacks won five of seven against the Braves in the regular season, including a three-game sweep in Atlanta Aug. 10-12 to start a season-best nine-game winning streak.
Maddux hasn't pitched since allowing three runs on four hits and getting no decision in Atlanta's 7-4 victory over the Astros in Game 1 last Tuesday.
Johnson and Maddux have gone against each other once before, in 1998 when Johnson was with Houston. Johnson allowed one run on four hits in eight innings in a 4-2 Astros victory.
"Did I get him or did he get me? I don't even remember," Maddux said. "I think what I remember most was hitting against him and thinking if he wanted to slap me in the head, he probably could."
The Braves are rested. They haven't played in three days. The Diamondbacks are riding the emotion of their 2-1 thriller over St. Louis in Tuesday night's deciding Game 5 against St. Louis.
"You think at some point in the season we'll all be able to take a deep breath and have a couple of laughs, but it hasn't happened yet," Brenly said. "I don't think it's going to happen any time soon."

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