Friday, October 18, 2002

Giants announce pitching rotation

The Associated Press

        ANAHEIM, Calif. — After flying down the coast Thursday, Dusty Baker announced his big decision: Jason Schmidt will be followed by Russ Ortiz, Livan Hernandez and Kirk Rueter in the Giants' World Series pitching rotation.

        On Wednesday, Baker picked Schmidt to face Anaheim's Jarrod Washburn in Saturday's opener. But the San Francisco manager held off announcing the rest of his rotation until his team arrived for its first workout at Edison Field.

        “We had two or three different orders. We thought this was the best one for a seven-game series,” Baker said Thursday.

        Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia hasn't announced any starters except for Washburn. Ramon Ortiz, John Lackey and Kevin Appier also will be in the rotation, but no order has been set.

        Baker had simple reasons for making his choices.

        “Our two hottest pitchers are Jason Schmidt and Russ Ortiz,” he said, standing behind the batting cage. “Also, if there's a Game 7, Livan can handle it as well as anybody. He's the only guy who's been there before.”

        Hernandez was the MVP of the 1997 NL championship series and World Series for Florida. He started Games 1 and 5 of the Marlins' seven-game victory over Cleveland in the World Series.

        “Game 3 is very important,” Hernandez said. “If it's 2-0 or 1-1, it can turn the series around.”

        Schmidt is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA in two postseason starts, while Ortiz is 2-0 with a 3.71 ERA in three starts. Hernandez is 1-0 with a 3.07 ERA in two starts, and Rueter is 1-1 with a 7.07 ERA in three starts.

        Pitching coach Dave Righetti, Baker and general manager Brian Sabean spent time examining their options.

        “You can go hard-soft. lefty-righty,” Righetti said, adding that if you spend too much time analyzing the decisions, all the choices start looking bad.

        Ortiz was 9-6 on the road during the regular season, but just 5-4 at home.

        “The last couple of years, I've been able to get over any outside distractions,” he said.

        In the first-round series, Russ Ortiz opened for the Giants at Atlanta's Turner Field, and was followed by Rueter, Schmidt and Hernandez. Ortiz also pitched Game 5.

        In the league championship series, Rueter pitched the opener at St. Louis, followed by Schmidt, Ortiz and Hernandez, then pitched six shutout innings in Game 5 Monday as the Giants won 2-1 to finish off the Cardinals.

        Rueter said pitching at home on the road made no difference to him.

        “You pitch half and half during the year, anyway,” he said.

        Baker still hasn't decided if he will make any roster changes before Saturday's 10 a.m. deadline and said he hasn't decided on his designated hitter in the AL ballpark.

        He opted to hold a workout Thursday starting at 5 p.m., roughly the same time the World Series games will start this weekend.

        “You try to get acclimated to the ballpark, the situation, the visuals, how you see the ball at this time,” he said.

        NLCS MVP Benito Santiago didn't mind the late practice on the off-day. He's just excited to be in the World Series.

        “If they put this at 4 in the morning, it would be exciting,” he said.


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