At best, the Stottlemyre family will get a split tonight.

On one side is Todd, who will start Game 1 of the playoffs for the Texas Rangers. On the other is his dad, Mel, the pitching coach for the New York Yankees."He probably knows me as well or better than anybody," the pitcher said Monday during a workout at Yankee Stadium. "From an emotional standpoint, he understands me better than anybody. There are no secrets."

When Todd won at New York last month, his mother, Jean - Mel's wife - felt so uncomfortable that she abandoned her usual seat in the Yankees' family section so she could cheer for her son.

"I'm hiding my feelings," Mel said. "I'm keeping them to myself. I'm keeping my family and my feelings out of this."

The best-of-5 playoffs were to begin Tuesday with three matchups.

In the other AL first-rounder, Pedro Martinez pitched for Boston against Jaret Wright and the Indians at Cleveland. In the NL, Randy Johnson and the Houston Astros faced Kevin Brown and the San Diego Padres at the Astrodome.

On Wednesday, the Chicago Cubs, coming off their 5-3 win over San Francisco in the NL wild-card tiebreaker, visit Atlanta to play John Smoltz and the Braves.

David Wells will pitch the opener for the Yankees, who set an AL record with 114 wins. The Rangers' only other playoff appearance came in 1996, when New York eliminated them in the first round.

Mel Stottlemyre had never watched Todd pitch from a major league dugout until that game in mid-August. Both later admitted it was an emotional, difficult day.

"I get chill bumps even thinking about it," said Texas manager Johnny Oates. "We always want to do well for our dads. I thought about sitting there, rooting against your son. I don't know if you can do that."

At Houston, the Astros are thinking this might be the year they reach the World Series for the first time. A lot of that confidence is because of Johnson, who went 10-1 after being acquired from Seattle.

"I'm much more at ease. I still have fun," the Big Unit said.

The Padres had trouble in September, even though they had no problem clinching the NL West. In Brown, they have a pitcher who helped the Florida Marlins win the World Series last year.

"Well, there is no question you never want to struggle coming into the playoffs. Then again, there have been teams playing great going into the playoffs and lost four straight or not fared well," Brown said. "And vice versa, a team can come in struggling and turn it around in a series. You can't read too much into it."

At Jacobs Field, two teams will try to erase the memories of painful postseasons.

The Red Sox have lost 13 straight postseason games since winning Game 5 of the 1986 World Series. The Indians have not won the World Series since 1948, coming within a double play grounder of the title last October at Miami.

"The postseason is an absolutely new ballgame, a clean slate and you approach it as such," Indians manager Mike Hargrove said.

"Records are 0-0," Red Sox manager Jimy Williams said. "You start all over."

At Atlanta, the Braves could do little Monday but wait to see who they would play. In fact, some players weren't even in a rush to find out.

"I don't think I'll even watch the game," Braves closer Kerry Ligtenberg said. "I don't know who to root for. I don't know who I want to play. I'll just take the night off and relax. I'll probably be watching `Ally McBeal.' "