AL champs no strangers to Giants' No. 1 `spy' Baker

Ex-teammates of manager abound in Anaheim, but tell him little

Sanders sits

NLCS notebook

Baseball Playoffs

October 15, 2002|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

SAN FRANCISCO - Dusty Baker wasn't looking past the St. Louis Cardinals yesterday, but the San Francisco Giants' manager admitted he has been impressed with the postseason performance of the American League champion Anaheim Angels.

"The Angels are a team that doesn't quit," said Baker, whose Giants will meet Anaheim in the World Series after ousting St. Louis last night in the NL Championship Series. "They can score a lot of runs. They don't strike out. They can put the ball in play.

"They have a fundamentally sound team defensively and offensively, with good team speed, a good young bullpen that nobody knows much about, and young pitchers, which is to their advantage because most people don't know that much about them."

Baker has been scouting the Angels on television throughout the postseason. He also has close ties to several members of the Angels' coaching staff. Angels manager Mike Scioscia, hitting coach Mickey Hatcher and third base coach Ron Roenicke played alongside Baker with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the early 1980s. Pitching coach Bud Black played under Baker in San Francisco and Alfredo Griffin played with him in Oakland.

"They have some of my former teammates over there that really know me," he said. "They have a very good staff, and I'm sure their team is going to be well-prepared [for the Series]."

Shutting up a fan

Cardinals pitcher Garrett Stephenson was involved in a shoving match with a verbally abusive fan after Sunday night's Game 4, apparently coming to the defense of Cardinals family members near the team bus after they had been heckled throughout the evening.

"It definitely is not typical of the way Giants fans have treated us, but there have been some real brutal cases in the stands," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "We've had a couple of our wives actually leave the ballpark and go back to the hotel because of the insults and the profanity. ... So, I'm very pleased that Garrett told him to give it a rest."

Lineup changes

La Russa shook up his lineup last night, dropping struggling first baseman Tino Martinez and moving Albert Pujols to first. Miguel Cairo started at third, Eli Marrero started in left field and Eduardo Perez got his first postseason start in right.

"I just think Tino's had a tough time getting hits," La Russa said, "even though a lot of time he hits the ball hard enough to get some. Eddie has had a couple of good at-bats against [Game 5 starter Kirk] Rueter, so it just seems like it gives us a better lineup."

Perez went 0-for-2 with a walk last night before being replaced by J.D. Drew. Marrero was 0-for-4, Cairo was 2-for-5 and Pujols 1-for-4.

Sanders benched

Baker moved reserve outfielder Tom Goodwin into the lineup in place of Reggie Sanders, but attributed the change to Goodwin's statistics (4-for-6 lifetime) against Cardinals starter Matt Morris instead of Sanders' 1-for-16 effort in the NLCS.

Goodwin went 0-for-3.

No second thoughts

La Russa did not second-guess himself for pitching around Barry Bonds in two key situations on Sunday, even thought J.T. Snow and Benito Santiago made him pay.

"We don't go out there every at-bat just to take Barry out of the game," he said. "I think we try to play the game. [Sometimes] ... you play around him.

"That's part of having an asset like Barry Bonds. We went through it with Mark [McGwire]. We won a lot of games because Ray Lankford, after they walked Mark, Ray would do something big."

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