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Archive for Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Game won’t be same in NL ballpark

Anaheim designated hitter to be missing from lineup for next three games

October 22, 2002

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— Just mention Pacific Bell Park and what's the first image that comes to mind? Barry Bonds plopping balls into the water, of course.

Funny thing about that picture: It's out of focus.

Believe it or not, there were fewer home runs hit at Pac Bell this year than any stadium in the majors. And with the World Series shifting to San Francisco for Game 3 tonight, that's fine with the Giants and Anaheim Angels.

Particularly after they combined to connect for a record 11 homers while splitting the first two games at Edison Field.

"People who have never been to our park probably will be in for a surprise at the kind of hitter's park it is," Giants shortstop Rich Aurilia said. "It's not much of one. We'd rather see a lower-scoring game."

That's OK with the Angels, who were outhomered 7-4 by the Giants in Anaheim. Tim Salmon homered twice Sunday night as the Angels won 11-10.

"There's some outfield space in the gaps here, so we're going to have to continue to run the bases aggressively, but our offense isn't going to fall off the face of the Earth because we're in a place that's supposedly tougher to hit home runs," manager Mike Scioscia said.

Pac Bell will play host to its first Series game. The last two times the Series came to San Francisco, it was interrupted by rain in 1962 and then by an earthquake that struck a half-hour before Game 3 in 1989 at Candlestick Park.

This time, there will be boats floating in McCovey Cove beyond the right-field wall, hoping to catch splash shots by Bonds.

Bonds capped the home-run show in Anaheim with his second shot of the Series, a 485-foot drive off Troy Percival. Maybe the baseballs were partly responsible, the Angels closer said.

"The balls are definitely harder," Percival said. "As soon as I picked up the balls in this Series, I knew there would be a lot of homers. They're twice as hard as any ball I've ever played with."





When: 7:35 tonight.Where: Pac Bell Park.Television: Channel 4.Pitchers: Ramon Ortiz (15-9) vs. Livan Hernandez (12-16).Series: Tied 1-1.

No matter when it comes to Bonds, Giants reliever Chad Zerbe said.

"You could throw a potato and he'd hit it," he said.

More of a concern to the Angels is how the rules will change right after Hall of Famer Willie Mays throws out the first pitch. No more designated hitter, and the Giants like that a lot as the emphasis goes from longballs to small ball.

Minus DH Brad Fullmer, the Angels could be at a big disadvantage the same scenario AL teams face each year when they go on the road in the World Series.

San Francisco figures to enjoy an edge on the mound and at the plate when Livan Hernandez pitches against Ramon Ortiz in Game 3.

Along with being 6-0 lifetime in the postseason, Hernandez swings a pretty good bat.

Hernandez is at .242 with 99 career hits, including four home runs and 39 RBIs. Plus he's put down 34 sacrifice bunts, 10 of them this season.

Ortiz is another story. He's 0-for-14 lifetime, with five strikeouts and no successful bunts.

"If our pitcher is looking good, we can go for a lower-scoring game," Giants manager Dusty Baker said.

Many of the Angels have played at Pac Bell in interleague games, though they did not visit this year. So they won't be deceived by the seemingly short distances 309 feet to right field and 399 feet center.

Odd angles and high walls make it a tough place to hit home runs. There were only 114 at Pac Bell this year, down about 33 percent from other major league ballparks.

"It's a pretty big place, and it's given up the least amount of home runs," said John Lackey, the Angels' Game 4 starter. "But they've got some guys over there who, if you make a bad pitch and they put a good swing on it, they're going to hit it out anywhere. It doesn't matter."

The weather is factor, too. The wind blows off the Bay, and it will be much cooler than it was in Anaheim temperatures are expected to be in the 50s.

Several Angels players worked out in ski caps Monday. Anaheim relievers found new quilted parkas waiting for them when they arrived in the clubhouse.

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