10/10/2002 8:01 pm ET
MLBeat: Baker on the ALCS
Ortiz, Hernandez switch slots for Games 3, 4
By Josh Rawitch / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- Giants skipper Dusty Baker is an animated guy when it comes to pulling for his own team, but he has watched the American League Championship Series with mixed emotions.
"I don't know who to root for because I've got partners on both teams," said Baker of the series that is tied 1-1. "I've probably got more partners on the Angels, but I've got one of my former players, Mike Jackson, on Minnesota."
Among the coaches he considers friends on the Angels are former Dodgers teammates Mike Scioscia, Mickey Hatcher and Ron Roenicke. Baker also played with Alfredo Griffin on the A's at the end of his career and with Bud Black on the Giants, while outfielder Garrett Anderson and closer Troy Percival both played for Baker's Arizona Fall League team.
Still, should the Giants make it past the Cardinals, Baker knows he'd be better off facing the Angels because he's seen them in Cactus League play and, in past years, during Interleague action.
"I haven't been to Minnesota in years," he said. "That's a good town, a very good town. ... They've got a bunch of guys I know nothing about. We don't see them in Spring Training and they aren't on TV much."
Among the other Anaheim rooters on the Giants is first baseman J.T. Snow, who played for the club for four seasons.
"I would love to play the Angels in the World Series," said the Southern California native. "That's a little ways off. ... It would be neat. I'm really happy with those guys over there because back in the mid-'90s we had a pretty big letdown in '95 when we thought we were going to the playoffs and it didn't happen. So I'm pulling for them.
"I'd like to see them do well and if we could get there, I think it would be a good matchup."
Rotation switch: As expected, the Giants swapped Russ Ortiz and Livan Hernandez in their rotation so that Ortiz can pitch Game 3 Saturday at Pacific Bell Park. The move was made so that Ortiz stays on his pattern of four-days' rest; he would also be able to pitch Game 7 if necessary. Another factor was that Ortiz pitches better in the day (3.02 ERA) than he does during night games (3.87).
"I heard they didn't have an MVP in the first round (of the playoffs), but if they had it I would assume it would have been Russ," said Baker.
The skipper also feels that Hernandez might be better suited pitching out of the shadows in Sunday's late afternoon start.
If necessary, Game 5 on Monday would feature the same two pitchers as Wednesday's Game 1, Kirk Rueter and Matt Morris, though the Giants could make a slight change in their lineup. Reggie Sanders, who had been 0-for-10 in his career off Morris, was in the lineup because Baker wanted his arm to help cut down runners trying to go from first to third base on singles in the large outfield at Busch Stadium.
But Pacific Bell Park has a short porch in right field and Baker said it could be a different outfield look on Monday, with Tom Goodwin getting a start.
"I felt like I swung very well off of him," said Sanders of his at-bats against Morris in Game 1. "I wasn't able to get any hits but it was definitely something from a positive standpoint, the line drive that I hit right back to him, the ball that I hit very good to right-center field and then with the bases loaded, I hit a ground ball."
Inside pitch: Though Baker and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa were both fined for the bench-clearing incident in Game 1, general manager Brian Sabean does not think that any warnings will be issued early in Game 2.
"I find it hard to believe that they won't let guys pitch their game," said Sabean of the umpiring crew. "[Jason] Schmidt throws hard and Woody Williams hasn't been on the mound in a while and he's going to try to find the strike zone, so to be judge and jury to figure out what the guy's trying to do is probably stretching it."
The other punishment that came down was that neither team would be allowed to have their non-roster players on the bench for the duration of the series.
"I'm being punished for somebody else's crime," said Marvin Benard, who added that he and at least four other Giants did not run out onto the field while the entire Cardinals dugout was empty. "I can't sit in the dugout because guys chose to go out there and they chose to be out there on their own."
Benard pleaded his case with Bob Watson, MLB vice president of on-field personnel, but to no avail. Benard said that he and the other players not on the 25-man roster plan to watch the game from the clubhouse.
Notes: Aniciaa Bonds Hill of San Luis Obispo, Calif., cousin of Giants outfielder Barry Bonds, won $14,000 on the game show "Wheel of Fortune," in an episode that airs Wednesday night. ... Among the on-field guests at Busch Stadium for the second straight night were former Cardinal Todd Worrell, older brother of Giants' pitcher Tim, and Bob Knight, head basketball coach at Texas Tech and a good friend of La Russa.
Josh Rawitch is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at email@example.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.