10/02/2002 03:13 am ET
Appier brings Angels experience
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Kevin Appier possesses something that nobody else on the Angels' Division Series roster has. And it is no small thing. He has postseason experience
The veteran right-hander made two appearances for the A's in the 2000 Division Series against the Yankees, going 0-1 with a 3.48 ERA.
He will take that experience with him to the mound for his Game 2 start at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night.
Appier's one start in those 2000 playoffs was a 4-0 loss to the Yankees in Game 2. Is there anything he processed from that experience that will be beneficial this time?
"Just controlling all the emotions and keeping the anxiety under control and making sure the adrenaline doesn't work against you and just making it a positive thing," said Appier, who went 14-12 with a 3.92 ERA this season. "I had to concentrate on reminding myself that it's the same game we've been playing all season. The games mean more, but it is the same game. Just focus on what you have to do. Keep things focused and keep things under control."
Lefty reliever Dennis Cook and righty starter Aaron Sele have also pitched for playoff teams in the past, but both of those players were left off the Anaheim roster for this round. Appier's teammates have been eager for advice.
"We've been talking over the last month or so," said Appier. "They've just been asking various questions."
It was a no-brainer for Angels manager Mike Scioscia to go with ace Jarrod Washburn in Game 1. But he had to wrestle a little more with Appier or red-hot Ramon Ortiz for Game 2.
Appier's experience was one of the determining factors.
"I think that Kevin will pitch well here in Yankee Stadium," said Scioscia. "I think that did go somewhat into our determination but it wasn't the sole reason. Ape might have had a little edge just because of the experience."
Appier's addition turned out to be a key reason the Angels are here. He was acquired last winter from the Mets for slugging first baseman Mo Vaughn.
"I was surprised to be traded. I really liked playing in New York, so I was bummed from that standpoint," said Appier. "But if I was going to be traded, I felt OK going to the Angels. I knew the talent core was there. (Last year) they had a bad season, but it wasn't because the talent wasn't there."
Appier has given the Angels the innings, composure and quality starts they expected from a proven 34-year-old pitcher.
"Kevin has been an incredible addition," said Scioscia. "He's pitched very consistent baseball through the whole season. With his experience, and the way he goes about his business, that has definitely affected some of the younger pitchers on our staff to understand the professionalism needed to reach a level right now that we've reached."
His best month was August, when he went 4-1 with a 2.13 ERA. Appier tailed off a bit in September, going 1-3 with a 5.08 ERA. But the ERA was tainted a little by one particularly rough loss against the Rangers, when he gave up six runs in 3 1/3 innings.
Scioscia has complete confidence Appier will, at the very least, give the Angels a chance to win Game 2.
"He pitched a ton of games for us, a lot of key games down the stretch. That was something that our staff desperately needed."
What was Appier's most simplistic message to his teammates about the postseason?
"I told them not to stress about it."
He hopes to alleviate the stress even more with the type of performance he's given his teammates reason to expect.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. He can be reached at Ian.Browne@mlb.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its