PHILADELPHIA -- For Danny Jackson, three extra days of rest were too much. But for Pat Hentgen, the equivalent of missing a start was the key to his success in Game 3 of the World Series here last night.
Jackson, who had seven days of rest after pitching the Phillies to a pivotal win in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, attributed his ineffectiveness to being too strong. "That's all it was," the left-hander said. "When I'm strong like that it usually takes me awhile to get good location."
By the time that happened last night, the Blue Jays had a 4-0 lead en route to a 10-3 victory that gave them a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. "I was just too strong out there," Jackson said. "When that happens I tend to overpower the fastball, and I don't get it where I want it. That's what happened in the first inning [when the first three Blue Jays hitters scored]."
When it was suggested that the 1-hour, 12-minute rain delay might have been a factor, Jackson denied it. "You guys [media members] are making too much out of the delay," he said after being asked a third time. "I just sat in here [the clubhouse] and waited for the game to start.
"The delay had nothing to do with it. I've been through delays before. I don't want to hear any excuses. The delay had absolutely nothing to do with what happened."
What happened was a two-run triple by Paul Molitor in the first inning and a bases-empty home run by the Blue Jays designated first baseman for a day. "The triple was on a fastball out over the plate, the same pitch he hit for the home run," Jackson said. "I just didn't get those pitches where I wanted them."
In the Blue Jays' clubhouse, Hentgen said he felt he redeemed himself in last night's game. That he pitched with nine days of rest was a positive factor. Hentgen struggled at the end of the regular season and appeared to be laboring with a tired arm. He was knocked out early by the White Sox in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, a week ago last Friday.
"I had an extra five days [of rest], and it definitely helped me," the rookie right-hander said. "I had more zip to my fastball.
"A lot of time when you have extra rest, your command might not be there. But I had something extra on my fastball, and I threw a lot of good 'cutters.'
"I felt coming into this game I needed to redeem myself," Hentgen said. "We were leading the White Sox 2-0, and I could have taken the air out of them, but I didn't.
"I felt after that game that I had let my teammates down. Tonight [last night] I feel like I picked myself up a little bit."
The win was the 20th of the year for Hentgen, who gave up one run and five hits in six innings. It was also his 13th win in 15 decisions away from home, where he is 7-7. He feels the imbalance is coincidental.
"I guess sometimes, I do think, 'Geez, you're much better on the road,' but mainly I just think it has to do with the schedule and the way things happened," Hentgen said. "I just feel that I've had better stuff and better command on the road, and I just think it's a coincidence."
Hentgen said the big moment for him in last night's game came in the first inning. "What was it, first and third or second and third, and one out, I can't even remember," he said.
"I said to myself, 'I've got to strike this guy [Dave Hollins] out.' I couldn't let him put the ball in play and give up a run. I got two strikes on him and made a good pitch, up and in, and struck him out. That was the key to the game right there."
The first inning was also the key for Jackson, but in a different way. "It takes a lot out of you when you give up three runs right away," he said. "It takes the home crowd out of it."
Jackson insisted the lopsided loss won't adversely affect the Phillies, who were beaten handily by the Braves in games 2 and 3 of the NLCS. "We take every day as a new day," he said. "We've got Tommy Greene [pitching tonight], and he'll give us a chance to win.
"If it goes to Game 7, and I get another chance, that will be great," Jackson said.