By Joe Haakenson, AngelsWin.com Contributor -
OCT. 1, 2002
ALDS GAME 1
ANGELS AT YANKEES
NEW YORK -- The Angels have had a good year, their best ever in fact. But this is the New York Yankees' world, and the Angels are simply this season's bit player, the sidekick to the conquering hero.
If there was any doubting that, then how else to explain the Yankees' 8-5 victory over the Angels Tuesday night in Game 1 of the American League Division Series before a crowd of 56,710 at Yankee Stadium?
The Angels were a mere four outs away from a 5-4 win when the hero(s) came to the rescue. Angels manager Mike Scioscia could be second-guessed for not going to closer Troy Percival with two outs in the eighth, instead sticking with the no-name relievers that helped the Angels get this far.
But in October in Yankee Stadium, things that worked in May and June have a funny way of blowing up. Just ask Scott Schoeneweis. Or Brendan Donnelly.
Angels reliever Ben Weber replaced starter Jarrod Washburn to start the eighth and got the first two batters before walking both Alfonso Soriano and Derek Jeter.
In came Schoeneweis, who gave up a two-out, game-tying single to Jason Giambi. Then Donnelly surrendered the biggest of the Yankees' four home runs, a three-run blast by Bernie Williams that sent the Angels into the big city muttering to themselves.
``We got beat tonight,'' said Angels center fielder Darin Erstad, who had three hits, stole a base and scored a run. ``They have great players and they came through when they had to. It's just great players making great plays.''
The Angels may not have as many great players as the Yankees, but Percival is considered one of the top closers in the game, is a four-time All-Star and has been used in the eighth inning before. But instead of going to Percival with runners on first and second, two out, and Giambi coming up, Scioscia went with the lefty-lefty matchup with Schoeneweis.
Percival has faced Giambi six times in his career, striking him out five times and walking him once. Against Schoeneweis, Giambi was 5 for 20.
``I didn't mind Schoeny against Giambi, he's done a good job the times he's faced Jason,'' Scioscia explained. ``He made a good pitch. Jason's strong. He didn't get all of it, but he got enough of it.''
The ball was hit sharply to the right of first baseman Scott Spiezio, who tried to backhand the one-hopper. But it deflected off his glove and into right field, allowing Soriano to score from second and tie the game at 5.
Up next was Williams, and in came Donnelly, a rookie at the age of 31. On a 2-2 count, Williams sent the ball far and deep into the right-field bleachers, and all was right again in the Yankee Kingdom.
``It was a great feeling,'' Williams said. ``Everything happened so quick at that moment. I don't think I remember running the bases. I remember shaking Derek's (Jeter) and Giambi's hands. It really hasn't sunk in yet.''
For Giambi, a two-time playoffs loser against the Yankees while playing for the Oakland A's, it was justice.
``I was telling (first-base coach Lee Mazilli), `Thank God I'm in this dugout, not in the other one this time,' '' Giambi said. ``Because I've been there two times going, `Oh (expletive). Here we go again.'
``It's unbelievable. It's like clockwork.''
Washburn gave up four runs and six hits through seven innings. All four runs scored on home runs, one each by Jeter, Giambi and Rondell White. But the Angels rallied for a 5-4 lead, thanks to an offense that pressured Yankees starter Roger Clemens all night, then tied the game and took a lead on solo homers by Troy Glaus in the sixth and eighth innings.
The Angels played their game and had a chance to win, only to watch the game, and possibly their season, disappear.
``That's what postseason magic is all about,'' Giambi said. ``You always want to say, well, it can't be magic, it's not this, it's not that, not the mystique. But the ballclub, the pinstripes ... they find a way somehow to get the rally going. Incredible.''
NEW YORK -- Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher presided over a hitters' meeting before Game 1 of the American League Division Series Tuesday afternoon to talk about Yankees starter Roger Clemens. It's no secret that Clemens has thrown at hitters during his career as a way to gain an advantage, and Hatcher wanted his hitters to be ready.
``They sent Clemens out there for Game 1 for a reason, and that's to intimidate us,'' Hatcher said. ``He's known for that. But I told our guys to go after him aggressively. Every ball you hit you've got to be thinking two (bases). Every ball in the air, expect them to miss it. Play your game because the atmosphere is going to be incredible.''
The Angels put pressure on Clemens from the start. In the first, David Eckstein led off with an infield single and went to second on Darin Erstad's sacrifice bunt. Replays showed Erstad beat Clemens' throw to first, but first-base umpire Doug Eddings called Erstad out.
In the second inning, Scott Spiezio walked and went to third on a double by Bengie Molina with two outs. However, the Angels were unable to score in either inning.
But in the third, Erstad singled, stole second and went to third on catcher Jorge Posada's throwing error with one out. He scored on Tim Salmon's single to center, scoring the Angels' first postseason run since the eighth inning of Game 7 in the ALCS on Oct. 15, 1986.
``I told them to play the same way we've played all year,'' Hatcher said. ``Be aggressive. Want to be the guy who has the ball hit to him. Want to be the guy to come up in a key situation. Leave your hearts on the field.''
The Angels tied the game with two runs in the fifth, both scoring on Garret Anderson's two-out double. Though the Angels left the bases loaded, they made Clemens throw 37 pitches in the inning. He was out of the game after 5 2/3 innings, having made 113 pitches.
Andy Pettitte will start for the Yankees in Game 2 having become the club's hottest pitcher going into the playoffs. Pettitte finished the regular season with five wins in his last five starts and an ERA of 2.23.
``I don't remember having as good a second half and having good stuff for as many starts as I have here in the second half,'' said Pettitte, who missed two months early in the season with elbow tendinitis. ``When I first came back (from the injury) I thought I was healthy but I realized I wasn't. I was kind of in slow motion. Obviously, I feel good right now about where I'm at.''
Pettitte is known for having one of the best pickoff moves to first base in the league, which will challenge an Angels running game that boasted the most stolen bases (117) during the regular season among playoff teams.
``The Angels run,'' Yankees manager Joe Torre said. ``They don't necessarily have break-neck speed, even though they do have some people that can steal bases, but they're very aggressive. Andy, being left-handed and having one of the better moves for a left-hander, I think sort of makes them a little hesitant; at least I hope so.''
The Angels had five players in double figures in steals, led by Erstad (23) and Eckstein (21).
``I feel like everybody knows I've got a good pick-off move,'' Pettitte said. ``They kind of hang a little bit closer to the base. They may try to do a few more things as far as hitting and running. I'm going to try to pitch my same game, stay ahead in the count and don't put myself in counts where they can get some stuff moving and move baserunners.''
Pitcher Kevin Appier went into the series as the only Angel with playoff experience, pitching two games for the Oakland A's against the Yankees in the 2000 Division Series. Both were in Oakland. He starts Game 2 for the Angels.
``The main thing is controlling your emotions, keeping the anxiety under control,'' said Appier, who is 3-2 with a 3.34 ERA in nine career starts at Yankee Stadium. ``You just remind yourself it's the same game that we've been playing the whole season.''
Tuesday's game included a reminder of the incident between Clemens and Mets catcher Mike Piazza when Clemens threw the barrell end of Piazza's broken bat bactk at him in the 2000 World Series.
Adam Kennedy tried to steal second on a pitchout, and Eckstein threw hit bat at the ball, fouling it off. The bat ended up just in front of the mound, but Clemens ignored it and Eckstein went to the mound to retrieve it.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia has done it all season, so he isn't about to change now. With a lefty starting for the Yankees in Pettitte, Scioscia will replace DH Brad Fullmer with Shawn Wooten, and replace second baseman Adam Kennedy with Benji Gil.
``I feel a lot better now than I have all season,'' said Wooten, who missed the first half of the season with injuries to his thumb and mid-section. ``My confidence is high and I'm just looking at this as an extention of the season.''
Pregame ceremonies Tuesday included an American Bald Eagle, Challenger, flying from center field to the pitcher's mound and a flyover of four Navy F-18 fighter jets. The ceremonial first pitch was thrown out by Yankees Hall of Famer Yogi Berra.