10/25/2002 01:15 am ET
The Big Picture: It's not over yet
By Jim Molony / MLB.com
The Giants are one victory away from the franchise's first World Series championship since 1954 and the first since the club moved west from New York.
After shellacking Anaheim 16-4 in Game 5 Thursday night, it would seem a stretch to suggest the Giants won't nail down the crown this weekend in Anaheim. Obviously the Giants have the upper hand -- the Game 5 winner has won 26 of the 39 best-of-seven World Series that have gone the distance -- but the Angels still have a pulse, if not much momentum, in a series that from their perspective is heading south in more ways than one.
The Angels couldn't hold a 3-0 lead in Game 4 and couldn't overcome a 6-0 Giant lead in Game 5. The most surprising thing about the turnaround after the Angels led two games to one has been the performance of the offenses and the relievers. Both teams' starting pitchers have been wracked (combined ERA of 8.93) but the Giant bullpen has been better than Anaheim's and the San Francisco bats have picked it up with the finish line in sight, while the Angel offense has cooled off considerably the last two games.
The Angels have been a comeback team all year, and now they are facing the biggest comeback task of the season and in franchise history while the Giants know better than to celebrate prematurely.
"I won't feel anything until it's over," Giants left fielder Barry Bonds said. "They're draining us and I'm pretty sure we're draining them."
"We haven't accomplished anything yet," teammate J.T. Snow said. "I'm sure they're confident they can win two games in their ballpark."
The Angels are confident, but they are also facing a 3-2 deficit and lately haven't looked like the same team that steamrolled the Yankees and Twins to get this far. The Giants, after struggling offensively earlier in the Series, are starting to get production up and down the lineup.
"We've had different guys come through at different times; I think that's the sign of a great team," Snow said. "Barry's done a great job but we've got a lot of guys who contribute night in and night out and that's what happened [Thursday night]."
Maybe a day off and a trip home will help the Angels find their form again. Then again if the Giants hit like they did Thursday night it might not matter.
The Giants will give the ball to Russ Ortiz (2-0 with a 6.75 ERA in the postseason) to start Game 6 Saturday night while the Angels will go once more with veteran Kevin Appier (0-1, 6.23).
"It's been a concern all during the playoffs our starters not going deep enough or effectively enough into the game," Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia said. "We'll need two solid starts to get to where we need to be."
They'll need a lot more than that to prevent the Giants from winning their first World Series championship in 48 years.
Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.