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ANGEL NOTES

Lackey's Start Icing on Cake

October 22, 2002|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

SAN FRANCISCO--As memorable birthdays go, this one ranks way above getting your driver's license. On his 24th birthday Wednesday, rookie John Lackey will start Game 4 of the World Series.

"That's pretty cool," Lackey said. "It's a big day regardless of whether it's my birthday, but that makes it that much more exciting, and my family will be here to share it with me.

"My birthday always comes during the World Series, but this is different. I'll be here playing in it instead of watching it at home."

Although he threw 32 pitches in relief Sunday, Angel Manager Mike Scioscia said Monday that Lackey would start Game 4. And, although Kevin Appier lasted only two innings Sunday and has pitched 17 1/3 innings in four postseason starts, Scioscia said Appier would start in Game 6.

"We feel Appier has enough gas in his tank," Scioscia said.

Ace Jarrod Washburn is scheduled to start Game 5. If a decisive seventh game is necessary, the Angels will choose between Lackey on three days' rest or Ramon Ortiz on regular rest.

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If Ortiz struggles tonight, the Angels could use Scot Shields for the first time in the playoffs. The Angels bypassed Shields for Lackey in the two previous postseason games in which they needed a long reliever, but Lackey is unavailable tonight. Shields has not pitched in 25 days, the longest he has ever gone between appearances.

In his last 12 innings of relief during the regular season, he did not give up a hit.

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The Angels are expected to start Benji Gil ahead of Adam Kennedy at second base in Game 4 Wednesday, when the Giants start left-hander Kirk Rueter.

In the last game of the league championship series, Kennedy hit three home runs, including one off Minnesota left-hander Johan Santana. Kennedy said Monday that he did not expect that success to figure into Scioscia's decision.

"Not now," he said. "If it were a day later, it might have. I'm sure he'll try not to let that influence him."

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