Originally created 10/26/02

Appier looks to rebound from Game 2 struggles



ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Kevin Appier doesn't plan to change much for the biggest game of his career.

The Anaheim Angels are counting on some different results.

Appier will try to extend Anaheim's season another game when he starts Game 6 of the World Series against Russ Ortiz and the San Francisco Giants with Anaheim trailing the Series 3-2.

Appier said except for some slight mechanical adjustments, he won't alter too much else from his last start when he couldn't make it out of the third inning.

"You don't change your approach," Appier said Friday. "You know the situation is do or die. Hopefully, everything works out for us."

After watching his starting pitchers get battered around in the first five games of the Series, Angels manager Mike Scioscia hopes Appier learned something from his poor start in Game 2.

Given a 5-0 lead after the first inning, Appier left after allowing five runs in two-plus innings. He gave up homers to Jeff Kent, David Bell and Reggie Sanders.

"It gives us a little bit of confidence," Sanders said. "But we try not to focus on what happened last time, because he could be a totally different pitcher."

Scioscia thought Appier was too worried about what Barry Bonds and the Giants could do instead of pitching to his own strengths.

"Kevin has an uncanny knack of being able to move the ball around, change speeds, use his breaking ball at any count. I think he got away from that a little bit," Scioscia said. "I think he needs to go out and pitch his ballgame and not worry as much about what the Giants' scouting report is."

The Angels didn't lose that game only because San Francisco's Russ Ortiz was even worse.He couldn't even make it out of the second inning, allowing seven runs and nine hits in 1 2-3 innings.

"Whatever pitch I threw, I just didn't execute it where I wanted to," Ortiz said. "This is a very good hitting team. They're going to jump all over pitches that are down the middle, that are up. To me that was the biggest thing."

Now he gets a chance to clinch World Series after starting the Giants on their postseason ride. Ortiz won the first game of the postseason for San Francisco against Atlanta and the decisive Game 5 against the Braves.

This start is even bigger.

"I don't think I've ever really measured significance until after the fact," Ortiz said. "Because knowing myself, thinking about it too much would allow me to deter my thought process as far as getting ready for the game."

Appier might have spent too much time thinking about his first start. Because Appier had little experience against the Giants, he spent more time than usual watching video and going over scouting reports before his start.

What he saw on tape was backed up in person: The Giants are a tough team to pitch to.

"The depth of their lineup has been really confirmed the most," Appier said. "They're disciplined, but at the same time, they're hacking if you leave the ball over the plate. They're tough to face."

Appier hasn't been the only Angels' starter to struggle against the Giants. In the five Series games, Anaheim's starters have pitched 21 2-3 innings and allowed 31 hits and 22 runs for a 9.14 ERA.

After shutting down Minnesota in the ALCS, the Angels' rotation is a big reason why the team is facing elimination in the World Series.

"Our starters have been terrific all year," Scioscia said. "They haven't pitched deep enough into a game. If they don't do that, your bullpen is taxed a little more. Things can get thin."

The depth could be even more taxed because of a wrist injury that could keep Ramon Ortiz from starting Game 7 if the Angels make it that far.