Ramon Ortiz, who has not made a relief appearance since he pitched rookie ball in 1996, will be in the Angel bullpen for Game 6 of the World Series today. John Lackey, with two relief appearances during postseason play, will be held back for a possible Game 7 start Sunday.
"We had to hold someone back," Manager Mike Scioscia said.
Although that decision strongly indicates that Lackey is the Angels' choice to start Game 7, on three days' rest, Scioscia said he would not rule out starting Ortiz, if he were not needed today in relief of Kevin Appier. Scioscia said that he preferred not to use Lackey in relief today, three days after he threw 95 pitches in his Game 4 start.
Scioscia said that closer Troy Percival, who has worked once in the past 12 days, would be available in the eighth inning today. But Scioscia did not think much of the idea of using Percival, usually limited to the ninth inning, in the seventh.
"I think it's unrealistic to look at him to come in and throw 2 2/3 innings," Scioscia said. "I hope it wouldn't come down to that."
The Angels have not had a home game rained out in seven years, so the tarp rarely is used. When showers hit Anaheim on Friday, the Edison Field grounds crew scurried to unroll the tarp -- and out rolled a possum, very much alive.
"It scared the living daylights out of me," said crew member Mike Clark of Seal Beach. "But, when you haven't pulled the tarp out since April, you know something's probably living in there."
After the obligatory jokes about whether the grounds crew should adopt the animal as a rally possum, the crew members released the possum into the Santa Ana River bed. Possums and raccoons are no strangers to the stadium grounds, field manager Barney Lopas said.
The rain is forecast to continue this morning but stop well in advance of tonight's first pitch.
While Dusty Baker's future as the Giants' manager has been the subject of endless speculation, volumes of newspaper copy and hours of radio and television air time this month, it has not caused Baker, whose contract expires after the World Series, an ounce of worry all season.
"I'm not really concerned about my future because I've always been taken care of in some kind of way," Baker said Friday. "I have faith in God, faith in the fact that I will be taken care of."
His battle against prostate cancer last year, Baker said, gave him a perspective he might not have had otherwise.
"I'm just living," Baker said. "I'll tell you one time here: I have so much insight and so much spiritual enlightenment and faith now, especially after having cancer last year. I see my son, I see my wife, I see a lot of things to live for. Why am I going to worry about little stuff like this?
"If I hadn't gone to the doctor when I went to the doctor, I could have been dead right now. Really, I'm worrying about the wrong thing if you want me to worry about what you asked me to worry about."
Baker said Shawon Dunston would start at designated hitter against Appier tonight. Dunston had a single in three at-bats in Game 2, which Appier started, but his hit came off reliever Ben Weber.... Barry Bonds has reached base in 16 of 23 plate appearances in the Series, with six hits, 10 walks and a .696 on-base percentage.... Giant shortstop Rich Aurilia has 17 runs batted in this postseason, two shy of the major league record set by Cleveland's Sandy Alomar Jr. in 1997.
As might be expected, the Los Angeles television rating for the Angels' 16-4 loss to San Francisco in Game 5 was the lowest of the Series, a 26.3.
The game drew a 34.8 in San Francisco and a 26.0 in Sacramento.
The national Nielsen rating was a 10.0 with a 17 share of the audience.
That's 31% lower than the 14.4/24 for Game 5 last year, when the New York Yankees defeated Arizona, 3-2, in 12 innings.