Wow, it was another exciting, one-run ball game with lots of chances for second-guessing and lots of heroes. First, I found myself thinking of the horrifically exciting-for me as a Phillies fan-game four of the 1993 World Series, which was more like a prize fight than a baseball game. The Phillies had starter Todd Stottlemyre and the rest of the Blue Jays bruised and bloody, literally in Stottlemyre's case, but allowed them to keep getting up, until they won 15-14. But more on that another time. McCarver and Buck cited both that 1993 game and a 1956 World Series game in which Don Larsen was knocked out in the second inning en route to a 13-8 loss (Don Larsen's next appearance was the only perfect game in World Series history). It was that kind of ballgame, one that begs for comparisons to the historical record, at least offensively.
Anyway, here are the notes that I scribbled down as I watched the game. Editorial comments in square brackets:
Bottom of 1st: Erstad shows bunt on first pitch-Ball. [Man on first, no outs. The Angels score 5 runs in the inning. Think they are happy that Erstad's first pitch was a ball?]
McCarver non-sequitur "Skip to My Lou" to describe bunt.
Anderson-fourth straight hit. This is the Angels offense that we've been waiting for.
Spiezio stole second and Fullmer home on a double steal on 5th pitch to Molina. Next pitch is a fly ball to the warning track-he would've scored anyway.
Kennedy-2-2 pitch, ducked under ball, and the ball hit the bat. It dribbled to Ortiz to end the inning. Weird!
Top of 2nd: Bonds-walks after falling behind 1-2. Buck and McCarver claim that Appier should just go after him, that walk to lead off an inning is the worst possible scenario. Would a HR to lead it off be better though?
Sanders and Bell-13th back-to-back HRs in World Series history. Long balls for San Fran again. Maybe Buck and McCarver are right about lead-off walks.
Dunston-DH? Interesting choice: a washed up shortstop who can't play short and can't hit any longer.
Lofton is up and Shoeneweiss is up (only lefty, if they use him could be big later in the game). Game-4 pitcher John Lackey is also up-could just be throwing between starts?
Bottom of 2nd: Eckstein bunt single. He is a pest.
Salmon-home run: why do they pitch him low balls?
Glaus-after double Baker is delaying at mound to get left-hander (Zerbe) time in the pen. Why wasn't he up after the first? The ump comes out to break it up and Baker points to his left arm to call for Zerbe-classic.
Top of 3rd: Kent HR. Finally. He needs to come around for the Giants to win.
Bonds shows bunt on ball one. Four straight balls-are they really pitching to him? Appier is gone. They are bringing in game-4 starter Lackey. How long does he go? Scioscia really screwed up not having another lefty in the pen. Now, he has no long reliever since Schoeneweiss is exclusively on Barry Bonds duty.
Bonds doubled off of first on a bad play. He knows it. You can tell by the look on his face.
Bottom of 4th: Eckstein-Bell makes a great play playing up for bunt [Eckstein bunted for a hit last time up]. His defense has been very good throughout playoffs.
Lycos Mark McGwire commercial-this is the funniest baseball commercial since "Bull's ear, Cat Nip." The milk through the nose cracks me up every time. [I love high-brow humor.]
Top of 5th: Bonds intentionally walked and Lackey is gone. Can he pitch game 4 still? He just said in the dugout that he's finally loose-does that bode well for his arm?
Ben Weber is in. He always reminds me of that pitcher goofing around in Little Big League that syas something like, "Put me in coach. I'm ready," while wearing weird glasses.
Sanders-did he get a piece of the 1-2 pitch? It looked like a tip, but the replay doesn't show it.
Bell-third really good at-bat (6, 8, 6 pitches). Single and RBI.
Dunston-got a hit? Wow. San Fran is playing the Angels' game, 9-7 Giants.
Bottom of 5th-#41 Zerbe reminds me of a left-handed Jim Lonborg (#41 for Phils year ago). Same up and down lead-foot delivery. Lonborg didn't have those sliders though.
Michael Eisner [in crowd wearing Mickey shirt and Angels' jacket]-biggest dork in the world. Michael show us your monkey!
Glaus-[hurt in slide into third] rolled over ball. Right in THE area. Good call McCarver.
Witasick-up for fourth time [in bullpen]. He's pitched a ballgame over there.
Zerbe-seemed to tire while Giants scored. Shot of Weber in dugout-looks beat.
Error by Lofton is costly-unearned run.
Top of 6th: Aurilia-nasty slider to K.
Rodriguez looks real good.
Bonds-I'm surprised he went on 1st pitch he has ever seen from F-Rod.
Bottom of 6th: Zerbe-surprised he's still in. Must be to pitch to lefty.
Eckstein-ball two called looked pretty good.
Zerbe-kept in to face Erstad, and he hits a rope on first offering.
Rally Monkey-lip-syching We Will Rock You [on jumbo screen]. Poor Freddie Mercury is rolling over in his grave.
Comeback Kids [Fox graphic]-Angels tied for 3rd in AL in come-from-behind wins. How are they the Comeback Kids then?
Witasick-finally in, walks Salmon, and he's gone. Ball 4 way outside, in dirt.
Salmon-does Ginats favor by getting caught in a rundown to end the inning.
Top of 7th: Santiago just missed second pitch-straight back. Then ugly on slider.
Snow-swung at slider about a foot inside.
Sanders-First strike is a rising fastball-unhittable.
Sanders-second strike is right down the pike. Sanders is frozen. Rodriguez has them completely off-balance.
Bottom of 7th: Dueling Rodriguezes [Felix in for Giants]-fifth pitcher for SF, only 7th, and it's tied.
Gheorge Brett-caught Fullmer's fly ball. Replay shows that he didn't even stand up. It just fell in his lap as he ate a hot dog. He does look cool.
Fullmer-tough at-bat. Draws 9-pitch walk.
Top of 8th: Dunston is still in vs. F-Rod. Why not use [lefty] Goodwin-save for Percival? But top of the order will be up then. Wasted chance. Foul fly on first pitch.
Bottom of 8th: Kennedy-best AB tonight. Foul ball on 6th pitch-long. Flies out.
Eckstein-McCarver: "The guy with the Minny Me strike zone and the heart of Simba." Lordy Mama!
Erstad-why isn't Eyre ready and in, with lefty up and baserunner at first? Tough AB [8 pitches and three throws to first]-flied out.
Salmon-big homer! Rodriguez looked tanked after Erstad AB, grooves one to Salmon. Rattled by runner-threw over again before HR pitch.
Top of 9th: Aurilia-why is he swinging 1-0? Flies out to left.
Kent-another fly out to left. Kent had a tough AB but seems back in slump [2 K's and fly out since HR].
Bonds-Monster HR. Why didn't Aurlia work Percival a bit? Tim Salmon says [you can read his lips in dugout], "That is the longest ball I've ever seen hit here." I disagree with the announcers' assessment that you don't walk Bonds-preferable to grooving a pitch. [Percival admitted later that he just threw it up there and dared Bonds to hit it.]
Santiago-pop up. End of ballgame.
The Angels can feel good for a number of reasons:
1) They won their first World Series game to get that monkey off their back.
2) They evened the Series.
3) Rodriguez pitched tremendously. His last inning was his worst-no K's-, but it was still one-two-three. Now everyone in the Giants lineup has faced Rodriguez and they may make some adjustments the next time-we'll have to see. My prediction that F-Rod could get wild did not hold true [4 balls in 26 pitches], but this is only game 2 and he had a week off [he did throw three straight balls to Snow after going ahead 0-2]. We'll see what happens the next time out.
4) They finally got their small-ball offense going. Though they did win with a HR.
It wasn't all positive for the Angels: Appier had a very bad outing and may have to pitch again. Lackey now may not be available in game 4. Weber looked very hittable. Kennedy is now struggling at the plate.
The Giants had some positives: Zerbe pitched well before tiring. The bottom of the order continues to produce (even Dunston). They are making the Angels pay for walking Bonds (2 runs for him after a walk). Kent may have started to break out of his slump with the HR.
The negatives for the Giants: With all of the scoring the top of order still was not productive: Lofton 1-for-5 with a K, Aurila 1-for-5 with a run and 2 K's, and Kent 1-for-5 with a HR and 2 K's. Ortiz looked very bad and may be needed for game 6. Rodriguez grooved a HR pitch to Salmon and didn't have an encouraging outing all-around. Rodriguez and Percival were very effective shutting down the Giants for the last four (except the Bonds HR). Lofton had another problem with a ball in his glove (3rd of the postseason), which cost them a run.
Game 3, as it always is in these series, appears to be of monolithic importance in this series. Tuesday will be fun.