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Buehrle tries to lower boom on Red Sox

Buehrle tries to lower boom on Red Sox

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CHICAGO -- He's fast, quick to the kill. That's Mark Buehrle. No dawdling. Take the ball and throw it.

Buehrle will take his no-nonsense approach against the Boston Red Sox in Wednesday night's second game of the American League Division Series.

Not much can deter him, short of TV commercials.

"ESPN games, when there was 2:25 between innings -- that usually slows me down a little bit," Buehrle said. "The umpires joke around if it's an ESPN game or FOX game, I go out there quick and I'm ready, and we have to wait for TV."

Well, there's something the Red Sox will have going for them. The game is on ESPN. That and a little history. The Red Sox beat Buehrle the last time they faced him, tagging him for six runs on 12 hits in seven innings. That'll slow down even Buehrle.

That game, it should be noted, was played at Fenway Park. Buehrle, a left-hander, has been enormously successful this year on his home grounds -- 10-2 with a 2.48 ERA.

He'll be matched against a former teammate, the gregarious David Wells.

"Growing up, I watched David Wells pitch. He's a lefty, and I kind of follow what he does," Buehrle said.

They were together in 2001 when Wells made a 16-game, back injury-interrupted stop with the White Sox.

"He already had a pretty good game plan," Wells remembered. "It was like me talking with Mike Flanagan and Jimmy Key back earlier in my career. It doesn't hurt to learn and to find out what pitching is all about -- and he's proved it."

Buehrle was 16-8 overall with a 3.12 ERA this season for a club that won 99 games.

"Even though we had the best record in the American League, I think it's all thrown out once you get to the playoffs. Everything goes out the window," he said.

"It's a whole new season. We like our chances. If we come out and play like we did in the first half and late in the second, I think we'll be all right."

Buehrle had just a snippet of playoff experience in 2000, when the White Sox were swept in the first round by the Seattle Mariners.

"I don't think that really helped. I only had a third of an inning," Buehrle said.

More recent games were a bigger plus.

"The last couple of games we faced the Indians here, it was a playoff atmosphere. The last few games in Cleveland, the crowd was into it," Buehrle said.

Now he's into it and in a big way as he works the second game against the Red Sox.

"I'm sure I'll have some nerves going [Wednesday]. I'll just go out there and try to throw zeroes," he said. "I know [Wells] is going to go out there and do what Boomer does. Especially in the postseason, he's a big-game pitcher. I'll do as much as I can to give our team chance to win."

Quickly, of course.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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