10/02/2002 6:15 pm ET
Appier, Pettitte on the hill in Game 2
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Following an opener to their Division Series that supported the adage that playoff baseball is a different breed from regular-season ball, the Yankees and Angels return to the field tonight with alternate views on that trend.
The Angels hope it continues, for therein rests their chances of knotting this best-of-five set at a game apiece.
The Yankees figure, one aberration is enough; let's stick to the script.
Left-hander Andy Pettitte, New York's hottest pitcher down the stretch, duels Kevin Appier, Anaheim's coldest, in frenzied Yankee Stadium. If both maintain their paces, New York is looking at a two-game edge when the series switches coasts for Friday's Game 3 in California.
"I don't ever remember having as good a second half, and having such good stuff for as many starts," said Pettitte (13-5, 3.27), who rolled into the postseason with five straight wins and only one loss in his last 11 outings. "I feel good about where I'm at now."
Appier feels good about where the regular season is now -- in his rear-view mirror. A streaky pitcher all year, Appier (14-12, 3.92) was rocked in his final three starts, in which he lasted a total of 14 2/3 innings and allowed 12 runs and 21 hits.
Appier is the lone member of the Anaheim roster with any postseason experience. While with Oakland, he made two appearances against the Yankees in the 2000 Division Series. That included a Game 2 start in which he suffered a 4-0 loss.
Conversely, again, Pettitte has been a postseason force throughout his career, as have many of his playoff-steeped teammates. He is 10-7 in 24 October outings.
This all looks good for the Yankees, if form holds.
It didn't Tuesday night.
For openers, Angels starter Jarrod Washburn allowed three home runs (something he didn't do in 32 regular-season starts) but induced four double plays -- after getting a total of only eight of them in 206 regular-season innings.
For closers, Bernie Williams, of course, stunned the Angels with his game-winning, eighth-inning three-run homer off Brendan Donnelly, who had taken over for Scott Schoeneweis with two men on.
During the regular season, Donnelly had stranded 30 of his 34 inherited runners, the best rescue percentage in the AL.
In October, stats mean nothing. Loving the spotlight means everything. Time for someone to take some more bows in the middle of the Bronx.
Tom Singer is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to Major League Baseball or its clubs.