After an exhausting weekend, the Series gasps for airPosted: Monday October 21, 2002 12:57 PM
Updated: Tuesday October 22, 2002 3:07 AM
By John Donovan, CNNSI.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The truth is, the Giants and Angels don't really need a travel day between games in this World Series. You can get between San Francisco International Airport and the greater Los Angeles airport of your choice in an hour or so. That's, like, the length of a single inning in this Series.
But if ever there were a couple of teams that needed a breather, this Series has them. After two games that lasted nearly four hours each, after the draining buildup to Game 1 and the tenseness of that Giants' win, after the pitcher-draining batter-fest in Game 2 that ended in an Angels' win, these teams are plainly tuckered out.
The truth is, Monday's off day could not have come at a better time.
"You got to find some energy somewhere," Giants manager Dusty Baker said. "Everybody's running on adrenaline right now."
Especially, it would seem, the two bullpens. Especially after Sunday's game.
"Obviously, in the postseason, you're going to go to your bullpen a lot quicker," Kevin Appier, Anaheim's Game 2 starter, said after Sunday night's slugfest. "I'd say we'll be going to the bullpen a significant amount [in the rest of the series]. Hopefully not like today."
Sunday, the Giants and Angels were forced to go to the bullpen way earlier than even they expected. Appier lasted just two innings and two batters, while San Francisco's starter, Russ Ortiz, lasted less than that. It was the first time since 1957 that both World Series starters couldn't get out more than six batters apiece.
By the time Game 2 mercifully ended Sunday night, Baker and his Anaheim counterpart, Mike Scioscia, had burned their way through nine relievers (Baker won -- or lost -- 5-4). One of those relievers, San Francisco's Chad Zerbe, threw more pitches than the team's starter in the longest outing for a Series reliever (four innings) in 16 years. Another, Anaheim's John Lackey, was used even though he's scheduled to start Game 4. He threw 32 pitches.
"I would have thrown today anyway," Lackey said after the game.
It was an exhausting outing all around, and you could see it on the face of just about everyone in either clubhouse after the game. It's difficult, evidently, throwing that many pitches and having to run around the bases that much.
The teams combined for 28 hits, including 10 extra-base hits (six home runs and four doubles) in the 11-10 Anaheim win.
Pass the oxygen, please.
Both Baker and Scioscia played Game 2 knowing that they'd have a chance to recharge on Monday. Scioscia's choice of Appier for Game 2, in fact, was made with the full knowledge that the team was off the next day. Appier is known for his short starts.
Still, going that deep into the bullpen that quickly is not something either manager wanted to do.
"We had a little more freedom tonight because of a day off tomorrow," Scioscia said Sunday night. "As you go into three games at Pac Bell, we're probably going to have to be a little bit more prudent of the way we can use guys and set it up. Obviously, we'll need more length from our starter."
The switch to Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco for Games 3, 4 and 5 (Tuesday-Thursday) will throw a completely different light on this Series. Pac Bell has huge outfield gaps that make it one of the more pitcher friendly parks in the game. Pitchers will get another break because the designated hitter is not used in games in the National League park in the World Series.
The way things have gone so far in this Series, pitchers will need every break they can get. The Angels hit .342 in the first two games with four homers. The Giants hit .257 with seven home runs. The ERAs? Anaheim checks in at an even 7.00. San Francisco's is 6.88.
"We've been used a lot in the last month and a half, but that's all right" Anaheim reliever Ben Weber said of the Angels' bullpen. "Plus, it's the playoffs. At this point, you throw everything out the window."
The question now is whether anyone has enough left to actually make it out the window.