Wednesday, October 30 2002 @ 05:57 AM EST

Contributed by: Coach

(transferred; posted Oct. 26 7:01 pm)

The difference between Jarrod Washburn winning two games (as I thought he might) and losing two (as it turns out) is the difference between winning the series in five games and not winning at all. It's not that Jason Schmidt was brilliant, but in both their matchups, Washburn didn't have the control or the confidence he displayed against the Yankees and the Twins. This is written in anticipation of a must-win game for the Angels; as long as the season goes that extra day, I'll be happy.

I thought that Anaheim "deserved" to win because they are a more harmonious team, all of whom seem content to sacrifice individual notoriety for the common cause. Now, I've realized that the Giants have, despite some volatile elements, pretty good chemistry. I am in awe of Barry's talent, but decidedly out of awe in regard to his character; he's still more likeable than Kenny Lofton or Jeff Kent. The manager suits his team perfectly, nothing upsets him. Kids in uniform suggest a "family" resemblance to the Stargell-era Pirates.

J.T. Snow should get a Gold Glove for his running scoop of a 3-year-old at home plate. His father should be ashamed. At Christie Pits in downtown Toronto, my Miniature Schnauzer is a familiar and popular visitor during Toronto Maple Leaf games. (Not the hockey team, the champions of Canada's best "semi-pro" circuit, the Intercounty League.) With the city high school semi-finals at our home park, I was asked if my energetic -- OK, insane -- dog would be in the dugout. No way, said I. It's challenging enough to manage a ballclub without saying, "Ketzel, sit," a thousand times, or assigning an assistant coach to prevent a terrier from chasing a ball in play.

Tonight, a shell-shocked Russ Ortiz has nothing to lose and shouldn't be as bad as he was in Game Two; Kevin Appier, with little to show for some decent playoff outings, but horrible with a five run lead in his latest, is under all of the pressure. Remember, two of Frankie Rodriguez' record five postseason wins were "vultured" after he blew saves for Ape. I admire Kevin for reinventing himself as an unpredictable slop artist, after multiple shoulder surgeries erased ten feet from his heater. If he gets through five innings, there will be baseball on Sunday. "K-Rod" (a nickname I loathe, but accept as inevitable now) is well rested and can go two or three; the Caracas slum kid is unafraid, and close to unhittable. You could compare his dominance as a rookie in the playoffs only to Ken Dryden winning a Stanley Cup by himself while the ink dried on his Cornell diploma.

If tonight's the final game, I salute San Francisco and the incredible Bonds, but I'll never forgive Washburn for letting everyone down; he's the scapegoat. If my Angels do extend it to the limit, tomorrow should be seventh heaven.