GIANTS vs. ANGELS

World Series Scouting Report

October 19, 2002|By Joe Christensen

(Giants listed first)

1B

J.T. Snow vs. Scott Spiezio: Both players are excellent defenders, helping to solidify the infield defense of their both clubs. Snow was a switch-hitting first baseman for the Angels from 1993 to 1996, but now he plays up the coast and hits exclusively from the left side. Spiezio, a switch-hitter himself, is more of an offensive threat, though neither player has the power numbers typically associated with first basemen. Spiezio has hit .375 in this postseason. He had a game-tying home run for the Angels during the fifth inning of their Game 5 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Key matchup stat: Snow has won six Gold Gloves, but Spiezio has better defensive numbers. Over the past three seasons, Snow has committed 14 errors in 399 games, and Spiezio has committed eight errors in 405 games.

EDGE: ANGELS

2B

Jeff Kent vs. Adam Kennedy: Kennedy is the Angels' No. 9 hitter, but he sneaked up on teams all season and won American League Championship Series MVP honors after becoming the fifth player in major-league history to hit three home runs in the same postseason game. But Kennedy, a left-handed hitter, didn't start Game 3 of the ALCS against Twins left-hander Eric Milton, and the Giants are starting left-hander Kirk Rueter in Game 4. Kent earned National League MVP honors in 2000 and will be a free agent after this series, meaning many teams will be watching closely, deciding just how many millions to offer him.

Key matchup stat: Hitting behind Barry Bonds in the cleanup spot, Kent batted .297 with 15 home runs and 53 RBIs this season. When the Giants moved him to No. 3, in front of Bonds, he hit .333 with 22 home runs and 55 RBIs.

EDGE: GIANTS

SS

Rich Aurilia vs. David Eckstein: Both players have critical offensive roles as table-setters for the heart of their orders. Aurilia made the All-Star team in 2001, when he hit .324 with 37 home runs and 97 RBIs. His numbers dipped considerably this season (.257, 15, 61). But Aurilia entered a groove late in the season, and he hit two home runs in each of the first two series. Aurilia has the power edge, but he stole just one base this season, compared with 21 for Eckstein.

Key matchup stat: After posting a .363 on-base percentage during the regular season, Eckstein hasn't been quite as big of a catalyst in the playoffs. He has yet to draw a walk, and his on-base percentage during the ALCS was .318.

EDGE: GIANTS

3B

David Bell vs. Troy Glaus: Glaus is Anaheim's most dangerous hitter, and opposing teams grimace each time he swings. He had three home runs against the New York Yankees in the Division Series and another against the Twins in the ALCS. But he showed this year he can be pitched to, and his home run totals the past three seasons have dipped from 47 to 41 to 30. Bell had 20 home runs after signing with the Giants as a free agent last offseason. Bell advanced to the ALCS with the Seattle Mariners twice, but this is his first appearance in the World Series.

Key matchup stat: Bell has struggled more than any of the other Giants for his career against Angels starter Kevin Appier. In 21 career at-bats against Appier, Bell has three hits for a .143 average.

EDGE: ANGELS

C

Benito Santiago vs. Bengie Molina: Santiago won NLCS MVP honors, hitting the decisive home run in the Giants' Game 4 victory. Most importantly, he gave San Francisco somewhat of an intimidating presence behind Barry Bonds, making the St. Louis Cardinals at least think before walking Bonds. Santiago did have two passed balls on strikeouts, however, giving St. Louis two runners who eventually scored. Molina's offensive numbers have dropped progressively each of the past three seasons, but he has a rocket arm, which could bring the Giants' running game to an absolute halt if he can contain Kenny Lofton.

Key matchup stat: Including the postseason, Santiago has 18 home runs this year. Molina has five.

EDGE: GIANTS

LF

Barry Bonds vs. Garret Anderson: Anderson will finish higher than any of his teammates in the American League MVP voting, but his presence in this series pales in comparison to Bonds'. Anderson hit .306 with 29 home runs and 123 RBIs this season, and he has been equally potent in the postseason. But in his 17th season, Bonds has finally reached the World Series, and he has dispelled talk that he isn't a good postseason player by posting a .500 on-base percentage and a .786 slugging percentage through the first two rounds.

Key matchup stat: In 10 games so far this postseason, Bonds has walked 14 times, two fewer than the entire Angels team.

EDGE: GIANTS

CF

Kenny Lofton vs. Darin Erstad: Lofton put San Francisco in the World Series with his ninth-inning single in Game 5 of the NLCS, and this is exactly what the Giants had in mind when they acquired him from the Chicago White Sox before the trade deadline. This is Lofton's seventh postseason and second World Series. Erstad is less streaky, and he has shined in his first postseason, batting .390 with 16 hits in nine games.

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