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10/04/05 3:52 PM ET
Jarrod Washburn: No margin for error
There's not much margin for error when you're facing the Yankees' lineup.They have a very potent and patient order from top to bottom, so I think one of the things we have to do is limit the number of free passes they get. We need to keep down the walks and make them earn their way on base. If you put guys on base, that's when their power can really hurt you. It sounds simpler than it really is, but we have to make pitches and keep guys off base. We pitched well during the regular season and now we have to keep making pitches in the postseason. Pitching becomes even more important in October. In a playoff situation, there's a premium on pitchers who have such good stuff that they can reach back and get a strikeout or a ground ball when needed. Those are the kind of guys who can work out of a jam in a tight game. The Yankees, of course, have a few of those guys -- Randy Johnson, Mike Mussina and Mariano Rivera. But we had two starters among the league's Top 10 in strikeouts -- John Lackey and Bartolo Colon -- along with Francisco Rodriguez, who is one of the top strikeout pitchers in the game. It's not only those guys, either. Scot Shields, Kelvim Escobar and Brendan Donnelly are all capable of getting a strikeout when needed, too. Putting Escobar in the bullpen when he returned from his injury was a big boost to the club. If you want to talk about stuff, he's got some of the best stuff in the game. One of the few similarities between the 2002 club that won the World Series and this club is a deep, outstanding bullpen. We still play the same offensive style of ball that we did when we won the World Series back in 2002. We run the bases aggressively and try to put pressure on the other club by bunting, playing hit-and-run and stealing some bases. We try to push the envelope a little bit. But that's about where the comparisons end. This year, we pitched a lot better than we did in '02. We probably don't have quite as much power as we did that year but I think we're better on the defensive side. This club is pretty different overall. One advantage we might have going into the series is that we wrapped up our division a little early and we were able to get the rotation lined up the way Mike Scioscia saw fit. We were also able to give some key guys some rest and limit the innings of some pitchers so guys could be fresh. I think we should be a strong team for the postseason. Lefty Jarrod Washburn, who has been with the Angels' organization since signing as a second-round draft pick in 1995, placed fourth in the AL with a 3.20 ERA this season.
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