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Rolen Swinging More Effectively

October 20, 2006|Tim Brown | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — Scott Rolen, who has a sore left shoulder and was four for 27 in the postseason before his ninth-inning double in Game 6, started at third base in Game 7, on a Tony La Russa hunch.

After watching tape of Rolen's final swing, the St. Louis manager chose him over Scott Spiezio, who was in the Cardinals' lineup in Oliver Perez's previous start.

"That swing showed me, in my opinion, that it's more an adjustment he needs to make in his approach than it is with his shoulder," he said. "If I thought it was his shoulder, he wouldn't play today."

Rolen nearly homered in the sixth inning; he hit the ball Endy Chavez brought back. In the ninth, he singled against Mets reliever Aaron Heilman ahead of Yadier Molina's home run.

La Russa's other decision: Preston Wilson over So Taguchi in left field.

Taguchi has had a remarkable, if limited, postseason. In four at-bats, three as a pinch-hitter, he had four hits -- a single, a double and two home runs.

Wilson, heckled by chants of "Mookie's better!" by fans in left field, struck out in all three of his at-bats, then was removed for pinch-hitter Spiezio in the eighth.


The baseball season concluded in early October for the Dodgers and late September for the Angels, but the L.A. franchises were represented at the NLCS in spirit, if not banners or parades.

In fact, as the local clubs built toward this season's washouts, they left behind the Ex-L.A. (of Anaheim) NLCS All-Stars:

C: Paul Lo Duca, Mets (Dodgers, 1998-2004)

1B: Spiezio, Cardinals (Angels, 2000-03)

2B: Willie Randolph, Mets (Dodgers, 1989-90)

SS: David Eckstein, Cardinals (Angels, 2001-04)

3B: Jose Valentin, Mets (Dodgers, 2005)

LF: Juan Encarnacion, Cardinals (Dodgers, 2004)

CF: Jim Edmonds, Cardinals (Angels, 1993-99)

RF: Shawn Green, Mets (Dodgers, 2000-04)

SP: Jeff Weaver, Cardinals (Dodgers, 2004-05; Angels, 2006)

RP: Guillermo Mota, Mets (Dodgers, 2002-04)

Honorable mention: Duaner Sanchez, Mets (Dodgers, 2004-05); Pedro Feliciano, Mets (Dodgers draft pick, 1995); Roberto Hernandez, Mets (Angels draft pick, 1986); Ricky Ledee, Mets (Dodgers, 2005-06); Pedro Martinez, Mets (Dodgers, 1992-93); Jose Vizcaino, Cardinals (Dodgers, 1989-90, 1998-2000).


Mets third base coach Manny Acta was scheduled to fly this morning to Dallas, where he will interview to become manager of the Texas Rangers. "And from there," he said, smiling, two hours before the start of Game 7, "I'm going to Detroit. How's that for optimism?" The Rangers already have interviewed Ron Washington and John Russell. Trey Hillman and Don Wakamatsu also will meet with Rangers officials.... Orlando Hernandez ran through fielding drills and pitched in the bullpen before Thursday night's game. He tore his calf on the eve of Game 1 of the division series and has been unable to pitch since.... The 14 Game 7's played by the Cardinals in their history is the most in baseball. The Yankees have played 13. The Cardinals have now won 10.... Actress Glenn Close, who sang the national anthem at Shea Stadium on opening day in 1986, the last year the Mets won the World Series, sang it again Thursday night and got most of the words right.

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