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GIANT NOTES

Little Things Are Making a Big Difference

October 24, 2002|Jason Reid; Steve Springer | From Staff Reports

The high-powered Angel offense was supposed to slow down at Pacific Bell Park because the ball doesn't carry as well as at Edison Field.

Some figured that would be a problem for the Angels, who have hit a postseason record 22 home runs, but they don't rely on power.

Contact hitting and sound baserunning provide the foundation of the Angels' attack, and the Giants need to do more of that.

"What they do well is put the bat on the ball and run the bases, and the combinations amount to a lot of runs scored," said Giant right fielder Reggie Sanders. "We've got to start doing the same thing; not rely on waiting for the big hit. We've got to start playing 'little ball' like they're doing."

Sanders said American League teams are usually associated with homer-driven offenses, but the Angels play more like a National League team.

"We've seen a lot of tape on them, we knew what type of team they are, and that's exactly how they've come out and played," he said. "That's why we really have to bear down and do more of the little things. We've got to do more of the things that they've been doing against us."

An NL club trying to keep pace with an AL club at little ball? Talk about role reversal.

"Absolutely," Sanders said. "It's a matter of taking the extra base and trying not to let them take the extra base. We have to try to put more pressure on them and stop them from putting so much pressure on us.

"You try not to think about changing your game, you try not to look at it that way. You just try to put the ball in play more and let things happen. We need to try to create more things like they're doing."

The Giants did that Wednesday, winning without the long ball.

*

Manager Dusty Baker downplayed the elbow stiffness of right-handed closer Robb Nen, whom the Giants are reluctant to use for more than an inning.

"This is a time of the year when everybody has something," Baker said. "It's not bothering him; we've just got to give him more time to get loose."

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Jason Schmidt, who defeated the Angels in Game 1, said the Giants' pitching staff is surprised by the Angels' success.

"We underestimated them a little bit," said Schmidt, scheduled to start tonight. "They're really not doing anything special, they're just putting good wood on the ball and the balls are finding holes. They're doing their job and we're not."

-- Jason Reid

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After Tuesday's 10-4 loss to the Angels, a game preceded by Tony Bennett's singing his signature "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," Giant equipment manager Mike Murphy decided to go to the singers' bullpen.

As the last Giant drifted out of the clubhouse Tuesday night, Murphy pulled out a photograph of Frank Sinatra, flanked by fellow Rat Packers Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., and stuck it on a clubhouse wall.

Explained Murphy, "We need a fighter."

*

Barry Bonds' three walks Wednesday gave him 23 in the postseason, yet another postseason record for the man who seems to set one every night. He had been tied with Gary Sheffield, who walked 20 times in the 1997 playoffs when he was a Florida Marlin. With all of Bonds' walks Wednesday being intentional, he also has the postseason record in that category with 11.

--Steve Springer

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