Martinez and Hudson will square off in the finale of a three-game series between the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics at Network Associates Coliseum in what very well could be a preview of a second straight first-round playoff series between the teams.
Schilling and Mulder are the top-two winners in the AL with 18 and 17 victories, respectively. Though neither will take the mound in this series, they’ll both be treated to a special showdown in the finale as Martinez and Hudson square off.
Martinez, a three-time Cy Young winner, has won five of his last six decisions and yielded just one run and eight hits over 14 innings in his last two starts.
Hudson, who spent more than six weeks on the disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle, has been brilliant since his return in early August. He has won each of his last four starts while surrendering two earned runs or fewer in four of his last five outings. Hudson’s 2.95 ERA is tied with Minnesota’s Johan Santana for the best in the AL.
Hudson is also unbeaten at home this year, going 6-0 with a 1.63 ERA in nine starts.
The A’s and Red Sox met in a dramatic AL division series last year, with Boston prevailing by one run in Game 5 in Oakland. Boston has taken seven of the first eight meetings from the A’s this year, including Tuesday’s 7-1 triumph.
Johnny Damon returned from a four-game absence due to a jammed pinkie and belted a leadoff homer as the wild-card leaders won for the 13th time in 14 games, remaining 2 1/2 games behind the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East.
The Red Sox lead Anaheim by four games for the wild card.
Oakland, which has lost three straight since winning 11 of 12, is just 1 1/2 -games ahead of the Angels in the West.
If the season ended now, Boston and Oakland would meet in the first round of the playoffs again.