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Rested Appier Expected to Get Start in Game 1

October 06, 2002|Bill Shaikin; Helene Elliott | From Staff Reports

Kevin Appier, spared from the necessity of starting a fifth and deciding game of the division series against the New York Yankees, is expected to start the league championship series opener Tuesday at either Minnesota or Oakland. The Angel coaches will meet today to set the rotation for the rest of the seven-game series.

Ace Jarrod Washburn struggled Saturday, while working on three days' rest, and the Angels aren't sure whether to try him again on three days' rest Wednesday.

That start could go to Ramon Ortiz or rookie John Lackey. While the excitable Ortiz did not survive the third inning Friday, walking four, Manager Mike Scioscia said he did not believe Ortiz let his emotions overcome him and would not hesitate to use him in the championship series.

"I don't think he got flustered," Scioscia said. "He was a little too pumped up, and he was trying to generate more velocity than he needed."

Bill Shaikin


Under the heading of not knowing what you're missing until it's gone, Yankee Manager Joe Torre acknowledged before Saturday's game that his team could have benefited from the presence of Paul O'Neill.

A fiery competitor who often vented his frustration by beating up on the water cooler or tossing his bat in the dugout, O'Neill retired after last season.

"Now that he's gone, we miss that stuff," Torre said, smiling. "When he was here, everybody was critical of the fact he was hitting things.... We miss O'Neill, no question. You miss the passion he brings to the table."


Torre, who never hesitated to compliment the Angels for their accomplishments, lavished even more kind words upon their fans for the superb atmosphere that heightened the dramatic tension of Game 3 Friday.

"I remember being here in '86 as a broadcaster and it was exciting, but [Friday] night was deafening," he said. "I don't remember it as loud as it was [Friday].

"I know the rap Southern California fans get is that by the seventh inning, they're off to the freeway, but you didn't see that."


Torre conceded the Yankees, though well prepared by detailed scouting reports on the Angels, hadn't anticipated 20-year-old Angel reliever Francisco Rodriguez would play such a prominent role in the series. Rodriguez, a late September call-up by the Angels, was credited with the wins in Games 2 and 3 and pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings Saturday.

"He's got that big slider, and you can see he's young and confident and got that inner conceit you need, the 'I dare you to hit me,' " Torre said. "He was a surprise guy because we hadn't seen him, but he certainly hasn't been affected by what's gone on."

Scioscia said he didn't envision Rodriguez playing the role of secret, Yankee-killing weapon when he included the young right-hander on the team's division series roster.

"Francisco Rodriguez was going to come to us when he was ready to pitch," Scioscia said. "This is a guy who last year was pitching in the Cal League. There's nothing covert here. We weren't trying to spring him on the Yankees.... If he was ready in June, and some people on our club thought he was, he would have been here in June. He's certainly shown he's ready for the challenge of pitching in a major league playoff game."


The Yankees sent Roger Clemens back to New York on Friday for a possible Game 5 start.

Helene Elliott

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