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World Series | BETWEEN THE LINES

Three Pitches Turned It Around

October 27, 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 23, he won the Cy Young Award by going 20-9 with a 1.65 ERA, 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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Oh, man alive, was this tremendous or what? I guess if you are a Giant fan, you didn't like it, but if you are a baseball fan, you would have to love a game like this.

It all came down to three key pitches.

No. 1, there was Scott Spiezio against Felix Rodriguez in the seventh inning. What a quality at-bat that was. Spiezio worked him for eight pitches, the eighth being the three-run homer that got the Angels back in the game. Now if Rodriguez keeps that ball high, Spiezio can't get a bat on it because he's a low-ball hitter. If Rodriguez had gotten it up and in on the fists, Spiezio might have been in trouble. But Spiezio kept fouling pitches away until Rodriguez got it in his wheelhouse, got it down where Spiezio could get the full extension, came inside with the slider knee-high. And Spiezio golfed it out.

No. 2, you've got Darin Erstad against Tim Worrell to lead off the eighth. Here the Angels caught a break because I thought the Giants were going to bring in Robb Nen to start the inning.

I was just hoping Erstad would get on base. I never dreamed of a home run. From the way he swung, it looked like he hit a changeup.

And No. 3, you've got Troy Glaus against Nen in the eighth. Here was another big break. Nen had that slider working away against Glaus, he made him look bad on it, but he didn't stay with it. I'll tell you, if I'm pitching, I stay with nothing but sliders on the outside. Or, if I go with a fastball, I make sure I get it inside enough where he can't hit it. So what does Nen do? He throws a terrible pitch, a high fastball that Nen didn't get in enough.

As far as Angel pitching, that Percival was really something in the ninth inning. What's impressive was that, not only was he throwing 99 miles an hour, but the location he gets is tremendous. I'm talking about height and inside and outside. Everything.

As for tonight, if I'm Angel Manager Mike Scioscia, I just play it inning by inning. He's going to start John Lackey. Fine, but I would make Jarrod Washburn my second pitcher, use him three innings if I had too, then the Kid, Francisco Rodriguez, and then Percival.

But before we focus on tonight, I want to savor Saturday night a little longer.

I guarantee you, anybody who ever wore the Angel uniform felt like they were out there last night.

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