10/25/2002 02:11 am ET
MLBeat: Bullpen melts down
Appier will get the start in critical Game 6 at Edison
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Angels bullpen was the best in the American League all year and was one of the big reasons for Anaheim's surge into the World Series.
It also played a big part in putting the Angels one loss from elimination Thursday night.
Reliever Ben Weber entered the game after the Angels had cut the Giants' 6-0 lead to 6-4, and he got a quick strikeout and groundout. But Rich Aurilia singled and Jeff Kent homered to make it 8-4, and the rout was on.
Before Weber and Scot Shields had left the game, the Giants had poured on 10 runs to seal a 16-4 win, the Angels' worst defeat all year.
Shields, who hadn't pitched in a game since a spot start in the Angels' final regular season game Sept. 27, said it was just one of those nights.
"I felt fine and I got ahead in counts, but I just couldn't put them away," Shields said. "They hit good pitches, they hit bad pitches. They just hit everything. Sometimes you have to tip your cap."
Shields, a rookie who hadn't pitched in any previous playoff game, gave up five runs, but only one was earned because an error by third baseman Troy Glaus led to Aurilia's three-run bomb off Shields in the eighth.
Shields said that even though he wasn't happy with Thursday night's result, he'd eventually remember the experience as a constructive one.
"I'm upset that we lost, and that's not going to go away soon," Shields said. "But sure, someday I'll look back on this and say, 'Hey, I pitched in the World Series.' But right now we need to win two ballgames and that's all anybody here is thinking about."
Arms race: Right-hander Ramon Ortiz was slated to start a possible Game 7 but is suffering from extensor tendinitis in his wrist. His Wednesday night X-rays came back negative, but Scioscia said Thursday that they'd evaluate a bullpen session and take it from there.
Kevin Appier has been largely ineffective in the postseason and didn't make it out of the third inning in Game 2 of the World Series, but Scioscia said he would start Game 6 at Edison Field.
"Kevin Appier is going to start Game 6, unless anything happens like we have some kind of game that would go an incredible amount of innings where we have to use Kevin Appier tonight," Scioscia said.
Scioscia said he didn't think his starters were "running on fumes," as one media member suggested.
"I think this time of year, any rotation in the game obviously is not going to be as crisp as they were in August or any time during the season," Scioscia said. "I think we have enough gas in our tank. Our starters have enough gas in their tank to do what we need to do."
AL West shakeup? If Art Howe leaves the managerial helm of the Oakland A's to take a job with the New York Mets, which is being reported by several New York papers, Scioscia would be the only manager in the American League West who would not be beginning his first season with his club next year.
Scioscia will be starting his fourth season when Spring Training rolls around in 2003. Lou Piniella recently left the Seattle Mariners and reportedly has been offered the job with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The Texas Rangers fired Jerry Narron after their last-place season and replaced him with former Yankees and Diamondbacks skipper Buck Showalter.
Doug Miller 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.