10/19/2002 7:44 pm ET
Appier to take it slow in Game 2
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Kevin Appier does not throw smoke on the mound. Apparently, though, he isn't averse to blowing a little of it on a dais.
Anaheim's starter in Sunday's Game 2 of the World Series was asked about his approach to -- and past fortunes against -- the Giants in general and Barry Bonds in particular.
Appier is not a stranger to the G-Men, as a former member of both the cross-Bay and Interleague foe Oakland Athletics and the National League Mets.
The 34-year-old right-hander leaned forward in his chair on the interview room stage and said, "The approach is ... very carefully."
"As far as my record against Bonds and the Giants ... next question."
Don't let the wily veteran, who relies on fooling hitters with perfectly spotted off-speed pitches, fool you.
Yes, Bonds has had the best of their few meetings, with four hits in seven at-bats, including two homers. So has San Francisco shortstop Rich Aurilia, even fatter at 6-for-8 and also two homers.
However, the rest of the Giants' Game 1 lineup is batting a collective .238 against Appier.
Of course, Dusty Baker will give Appier a slightly different look, tweaking the lineup that faced -- and bested -- left-hander Jarrod Washburn in Game 1.
Seems only fair. Appier certainly will be giving the Giants a different look from Washburn. As different as possible.
"Jarrod's a guy who comes right after hitters, with good late life on his fastball," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia "He works up in the zone and gets a lot of fly balls.
"Appier is, really, the opposite. He has a couple of different breaking balls that he'll use to get hitters out."
In his last appearance, Appier wasn't himself. His pitches were rising and, of the 16 outs he got in going 5 1/3 innings against the Twins, 10 came in the air.
Still, his bottom line was beautiful: He gave Minnesota only two runs in what became the Angels' pennant-clinching 13-5 victory.
"That start wasn't what you'd call pretty. His ball-strike ratio wasn't what you'd want," Scioscia said. "But he gets it done.
"We have confidence in him to go out there and make the pitches. When you come down to the last Series, that's what you want: for your starter to stay in the game and give you an opportunity to win."
It's the least Appier can do, returning the favor to a club that has finally given him that opportunity. If he's successful, the Angels will head north to San Francisco with a split, after the Giants' Game 1 win on Saturday.
Most players in this World Series had to bide their time until their chance arrived. For Appier, it was a matter of a fortunate spin of the roulette wheel. He is with his fourth different team in four years.
He has been close, losing in the 2000 Division Series as an Athletic. He has been in perhaps more promising settings -- his 11-10 record topped the 2001 Mets, who couldn't reprise their 2000 Series appearance.
"I really liked playing in New York," Appier said. "I had a great time there. They made a number of changes, and I was one of them. Yeah, I'm definitely stoked at the way things went."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This article was not subject to the approval of Major League baseball or its clubs.