The major league baseball playoffs are ready to take center stage.
On Tuesday, Randy Johnson will pitch the opener for the Houston Astros when Tony Gwynn and the San Diego Padres visit in an NL first-rounder.In the AL, the Boston Red Sox will try to break their streak of 13 straight postseason losses when they play at Cleveland, while the New York Yankees are home to take on Texas.
The Yankees won a league-record 114 games, breaking the mark of 111 by Cleveland in 1954. Only the 1906 Chicago Cubs (116) won more.
"We're not interested in records," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "That's not what we're all about."
"I remember the 1954 Indians. They set the record for wins in a season, but they lost the World Series to the Giants in four straight," he said. "Sure, there's pressure to win the World Series, but it isn't any more pressure than what we put on ourselves. The bottom line is that our goal every year is to win the World Series."
David Wells, who pitched a perfect game this season, will start for New York. Todd Stottlemyre, whose father, Mel, is the Yankees pitching coach, will start for the Rangers.
The Yankees were 8-3 against the Rangers this year.
"You look at what they've done over the course of a 162-game season," Texas manager Johnny Oates said. "The only thing more amazing is what Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa have done."
At Jacobs Field, the Red Sox will send Pedro Martinez against Cleveland's Jaret Wright.
Martinez, who has never pitched in the postseason, has struggled in his last five starts. And the Red Sox haven't won in the postseason since Game 5 of the 1986 World Series against the New York Mets.
"Pressure? There's pressure on my shoulders every time I take the ball," Martinez said. "I don't normally get too excited about things. So far I don't feel anything, just one more game."
Wright, a postseason hero last year as a rookie, was 12-10 with a 4.72 ERA this season.
"Jaret's a young pitcher, an up-and-coming pitcher," Boston center fielder Darren Lewis said. "We know what Pedro can do."
With Johnson, the Astros like their chances of reaching the World Series for the first time. He went 10-1 after being traded in late July by Seattle, including 5-0 at the Astrodome.