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BASEBALL PLAYOFFS / AMERICAN LEAGUE | OAKLAND vs. N.Y.
YANKEES : NOTES

Yankees Hope Pettitte Is the Right Man Tonight

October 04, 2000|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

Yankee pitcher Andy Pettitte would seem to be the perfect choice to start against the Oakland Athletics tonight for the mere fact that he throws the ball with his left hand.

While Oakland was 70-44 against right-handed starters and hit .276 against right-handers this season, the A's went 21-26 against left-handed starters and hit .256 against lefties. Third baseman Eric Chavez (.197) and center fielder Terrence Long (.263) had the most trouble against left-handers.

Pettitte went 2-0 with a 1.06 earned-run average in two starts against Oakland this season and has an 8-3 career record and 3.07 in 12 starts against the A's, but he is coming off his worst start of the season, a 1 1/3-inning, nine-run, six-hit effort in a 13-2 loss to the Orioles last Friday.

Pettitte threw 11 consecutive balls at one point and walked the bases loaded in a disastrous second inning. Easing his pain was the fact the Red Sox lost to Tampa Bay that night, clinching the division title for the Yankees.

"I was overthrowing a bit, walked some guys, and then every ball they hit was where we weren't," Pettitte said. "But once we clinched, I was able to throw it all away."

*

The Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART) should use the Yankees in their next advertising campaign. One of three team buses got caught in nasty traffic on the way from San Francisco to Oakland on Tuesday and didn't arrive at Network Associates Coliseum until 3 p.m., two hours before the game and an hour late.

"We took a short cut, I guess," Pettitte said. "As soon as we crossed the [Bay] bridge, it was backed up for miles. I didn't really care. I have nothing to do today."

He will tonight. Will he consider an alternate form of transportation or leave the hotel a little earlier?

"Nah," Pettitte said. "As long as I can get here before the game starts, I'll be fine."

*

Oakland's playoff roster features eight players who are 25 or younger and aging veterans Doug Jones (43), Randy Velarde (37) and Mike Magnante (35). "I'm like the wise-old-owl guy," said Kevin Appier, the 32-year-old right-hander who will start Game 2. "There's not a lot of middle age around here. It's like a bunch of college kids and some old guys. We're like a supplemental coaching staff." . . . . Yankee left fielder David Justice made his 78th postseason appearance Tuesday night, breaking Reggie Jackson's major league record of 77 postseason appearances.

THE SERIES

Game 1: Oakland 5, New York 3

Tonight: New York (Pettitte 19-9) at Oakland (Appier 15-11), 5:15 p.m., Channel 11

Friday: Oakland (Hudson 20-6) at New York (Hernandez 12-13), 5 p.m., Channel 4

* Saturday: Oakland at New York, TBA

* Sunday: New York at Oakland, 5 p.m., Channel 11

* If necessary All times PDT

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