By Joe Haakenson, AngelsWin.com Contributor -
OCT. 20, 2002
SAN FRANCISCO -- Major League Baseball denied there is anything different about the baseballs being used in the World Series, but many of the Angels wanted to find out for themselves.
Angels reliever Al Levine, who is not on the playoff roster, cut open a World Series baseball and a regular-season baseball during Sunday's game. He said he used a Ginsu knife.
``Everyone kept on saying how hard they were. I had nothing else to do, so why not?'' Levine said. ``It wasn't any kind of scientific study, but the World Series ball was tougher to cut through. The regular-season ball was easier.''
Once the baseballs were cut in half, Levine and his interested teammates noticed the inner materials were the same, but the World Series ball was wound tighter.
``I wish I was wrong,'' Levine said. ``But the main thing is pitchers from both teams are using the same ball. So there's no advantage.''
Angels shortstop David Eckstein said he thought the baseball not only was harder, but also smaller than the regular-season ball.
``My hands are small, so the first time a ball was hit to me in the game I could tell it was smaller,'' he said. ``And it was hard as a rock.''
There were 11 home runs hit in the first two games, seven by the Giants.
Starting pitcher Kevin Appier gave up five runs in two-plus innings in Game 2 on Sunday and is now winless in his past eight starts, including four postseason games. But Angels manager Mike Scioscia said his plan is to go with Appier in Game 6.
``His last start was his first start where he really didn't give himself a chance,'' Scioscia said. ``He was too far out of the zone and he couldn't put guys away. I think Ape still has gas in the tank, but obviously, you're looking at a shorter leash with guys when you're in a playoff environment.''
John Lackey made 32 pitches in his 2 1/3 innings of relief of Appier on Sunday in Game 2 but will make the start for Game 4 on Wednesday.
Angels right fielder Tim Salmon didn't get much sleep Sunday night after getting four hits, including two home runs, in the Angels' Game 2 victory. But he didn't get much sleep after going 0 for 4 in Game 1.
``I can sleep next week,'' Salmon said. ``This is what it's like in the postseason. We still have to keep everything in perspective. We won (Sunday's) game but we've still got a lot of work ahead of us. Hopefully (Game 2) won't be the highlight of the series.''
Benji Gil is expected to start Wednesday Game 4 at second base when the Giants throw left-hander Kirk Reuter. The Angels already will be down one right-handed bat without the use of the designated hitter.
Because of his defense and ability to switch-hit, Scott Spiezio is expected to start all three games at first base in San Francisco. Brad Fullmer and Shawn Wooten, who platoon at DH in American League games, will play off the bench.
The Angels are prepared for the chill of Pac Bell Park. When they arrived at the ballpark for Monday's workout, each clubhouse chair had a red ski cap with the Angels' logo on it. ... The Angels have played three games in Pac Bell Park -- in 2001 in interleague play. They lost all three.