Whether you're a player, a fan or a member of the media, the World Series is always an exciting place to be. The vibe at Pac Bell is unreal -- although I'm missing those performance-inspiring thunder sticks and those adorable little rally monkeys. (Did you buy that one? I didn't think so.) But Pac Bell is a great stadium. It's a lot bigger than you would imagine and not the home-run hitters' ballpark that people think. Which obviously suits the Angels just fine.
Kirk Rueter takes the mound for the Giants in Game 4. I think he may have a better chance against these Angels than Livan Hernandez did. Very good hitters hate guys who change speeds. And Reuter changes speeds because he doesn't throw overwhelming stuff.
The Angels have a combined regular season batting average of .282 and they had 400 less strikeouts than the New York Yankees. During the World Series they've been pounding the ball, putting the ball in play, running and staying out of double plays. They love Pac Bell because they don't hit a lot of home runs anyway. The Angels have also been very patient at the plate so it's been tough to strike them out.
In Game 3, Hernandez was behind most of the night -- constantly 3-2. I think he threw nearly 50 pitches in one inning. Because he was so dominant in the championship series, it was tough to watch. Hernandez was working from behind and throwing off-speed pitches, which is everything Reuter could have done. So I'm not sure why they sent Hernandez out there.
The Giants are in a must-win situation. They can't go down 3-1 against these hard-hitting Angels and put themselves in a position to have to win three straight. If Reuter can win Game 4, Jason Schmidt will get the start in Game 5.
What to watch for in Game 4:
The Angels' pitching staff may retaliate following Barry Bonds' grandstanding after his fifth-inning home run in Game 3. Down by seven runs, Bonds hit a home run dead center, stood there for a couple of seconds to admire his handiwork and then leisurely strolled around the bases. If any other player did that, he would have gotten popped in his next at bat. But in Bonds' next at bat, he was walked. I'm surprised Mike Scioscia, a former catcher -- and a nasty one at that -- would stand for that. The Angels knew Bonds wouldn't charge the mound in the World Series and risk potential injury. I'm confused why they wasted four pitches to walk him. Why not dust him back? As a former pitcher, that had my skin crawling.