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WORLD SERIES | BETWEEN THE LINES / DEAN CHANCE

Smart Hitting, Shaky Pitching

October 21, 2002|DEAN CHANCE

Right-hander Dean Chance was an Angel for the team's first six seasons, then pitched five more seasons with the Twins, Indians, Mets and Tigers. His finest year was 1964 when, at age 23, he won the Cy Young Award by going 20-9 with a 1.65 earned-run average, 11 shutouts and 15 complete games. He was also a 20-game winner with Minnesota in 1967. His career record was 128-115. Chance, now a boxing promoter, is guest analyst for The Times for this World Series.

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You know, I watched this game and the first thing that came to mind was Billy Martin. Remember the way he managed, the way he had guys playing aggressively, the way he would have a guy try to steal home when the pitcher was in the stretch position. Billy Martin forced the action.

Mike Scioscia is managing the same way with these Angels. He has them playing so aggressively. He has all his players using good judgment at the plate. He's stressing advancing the runners. He's getting them to hit to the opposite field. When a right-handed hitter hits to right, he has so much more space to work with, so much more than when he pulls the ball.

Here's Scioscia in the first inning, he already has four runs in and he calls for the double steal and [Brad] Fullmer steals home.

When was the last time you saw the Dodgers play that aggressively?

Now some of that -- moving runners over and hitting the opposite way -- may get lost with all the big hits, but if you have it all, the big stuff and the small stuff, you get an offense like the one Sunday.

This was just a tremendous game, unbelievable. Tim Salmon had a great night. You couldn't ask more of the offense, you couldn't ask more of the defense.

But I have to tell you, the pitching early in the game was, at times, terrible. You can't give up a home run on an 0-2 pitch like Kevin Appier did with Reggie Sanders. I know pitchers have bad days, but what a time to have a bad day.

I'm not trying to second-guess anybody, but I would have brought the kid (Francisco Rodriguez) in earlier. In a game like this, when you get up by a few runs, the most important thing is the next inning for the other side. If you can shut them down in that inning, it takes the heart right out of them.

Rodriguez has a great live arm. This kid is amazing. He threw a slider to J.T. Snow that I think Snow missed by two feet. It was perfect, low and inside.

Anybody who has ever been connected to the Angels, and I'm not just talking about former players, but batboys, equipment men, even newspaper guys, have to feel a tremendous amount of pride.

You know, I'm in boxing, but everybody's a baseball fan now and it seems like everybody I talk to is an Angel fan.

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