10/02/2003 5:20 PM ET
Schmidt may have to act as savior
MIAMI -- Game 4 of the National League Division Series between the Giants and Marlins on Saturday will find one team trying to fight off elimination. Though the Giants hope to be the ones looking to clinch a spot in the National League Championship Series, manager Felipe Alou has admitted that if the game is "do or die" for the Giants, he might bump rookie Jerome Williams from his scheduled start in favor of ace Jason Schmidt.
In Game 1 of the Division Series, Schmidt led the Giants to victory over the Marlins by pitching a complete-game, three-hit shutout, 2-0.
By Chris Shuttlesworth / MLB.com
"That is a possibility I have been thinking [about]," said Alou during a Thursday press conference. But he indicated that the Giants were leaning against the idea unless they were sure Schmidt wouldn't be harmed by going on three days' rest.
"We're not going to jeopardize or hurt Schmitty's career if he's not 100 percent ready to pitch Saturday," said Alou, while reiterating his confidence in Willliams.
"Williams [is a] pretty good hot weather guy, pretty good daytime pitcher, who always gets off to a good start in the game," said Alou. "It's not like the young guy's going to give it up in the first inning or second. He's always given us at least five great innings, a shot to winning the ballgame."
Schmidt would normally have thrown a side session on Thursday, but only did light tossing instead, just in case.
"It's too early to tell," said Schmidt. "We don't know yet. I'm up for anything, really."
Schmidt has only pitched on three days' rest once in his career -- when he was the National League's starting pitcher for this year's All-Star Game. He missed two starts shortly after that outing with tendinitis in his right forearm and elbow.
The right-hander doesn't anticipate any problems with his arm, but he agreed with Alou's reasoning that he would only start if completely healthy.
"Obviously, if your arm's really sore, you're probably not going to go out there and pitch, because you're not going to give the team a good chance to win," said Schmidt. "If I feel good, why not? I wouldn't go out there if I thought somebody else would have just as good a chance as I did, or even better [to win]. I'm not going to go out there and try to hurt the team."
That "somebody else" would be Williams. Williams is eager to make his postseason debut, but he said he'd be fine with being bumped from the start if that's what the Giants decided to do in the event they lose Game 3.
"If they want to go for experience, hey, I'm all for it," said Williams, who could possibly face fellow rookie Dontrelle Willis in that contest. "I'm new, I'm young and I never had this kind of chance to even play in a playoff game. If they decide to use Schmidt, hey, I'm happy.
"I know for a fact that we'll win if Schmidt pitches. Not to disparage myself -- I want to go out there and try to win, too, but I know for a fact Schmidt would go out there and do the job if he has the chance."
Chris Shuttlesworth is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.