AL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES : California vs. Boston : AL Playoff Notebook : Boone Hasn't Forgotten His Bat

Times Staff Writer

Angel catcher Bob Boone always has been a bit of a contradiction. At 38, he remains one of the game's best defensive catchers, as well as one of its most durable.

If you include the playoffs, Boone has caught 149 games this season, two more than regular-season leader Jody Davis of the Chicago Cubs. And through five playoff games, the Red Sox, not exactly speed merchants, have yet to try to steal a base.

Might this have something to do with the 40 baserunners Boone threw out in 81 attempts?

Yes, it would.

But now, as a bonus, the Angels are receiving something else from Boone: hits. Lots of hits.

This is a series with Jim Rice, Reggie Jackson, Wade Boggs, Doug DeCinces, Don Baylor--batsmen personified. Then there is Boone, who ended the regular season with a .222 average. But the playoffs seem to agree with Boone, who leads both teams' regulars with a batting average of .529.

His nine hits are two shy of the record for most in a series shared by Chris Chambliss and Fred Lynn, although they were best-of-five series in those days.

Boone is also tied with teammate Gary Pettis for most total bases at 12. And Boone leads in on-base percentage at .556, and is second in slugging percentage at .706.

Boone hit a home run in Sunday's 7-6 loss to the Red Sox in Anaheim. The memory of that won't take much of the sting out the extra-inning defeat, but it does make Boone the oldest player in league playoff history to hit a homer.

The bottom of the Angel lineup continues to confound Red Sox pitching. Get this: Boone, Pettis and Dick Schofield--normally found near the end of the batting order--are hitting a collective .428 for the series. They have accounted for 24 of the Angels' 54 hits and 11 of their 25 runs.

Meanwhile, Angel designated hitters have only 3 hits in 22 at-bats, a .136 average. Jackson is 2 for 17--.118--with 1 run batted in and no extra-base hits.

Remember, only 17 days left in October.

Baylor, Boston's designated hitter, has 8 hits and 4 RBIs in 22 at-bats.

Other numbers of note:

--Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman is batting .400 against the Angels. He has eight hits, tying him with Marty Barrett for most Red Sox hits.

Gedman's homer Sunday was his 17th of the season, 4 of them at Anaheim. In fact, he has hit 15 of his 17 on the road.

--And what of Boggs and Rice? Boggs, who has a sore ankle, has only five hits and Rice has four.

--The Angels have five stolen base attempts. Gedman has thrown out four of the runners. Only Schofield has been successful and that was in the first game.

Gedman has twice thrown out Pettis, who was safe in 19 of his previous 20 attempts, and Devon White, who led the Pacific Coast League with 42 steals.

--The hit man, Baylor, was struck by a pitch by every AL team this year except the Oakland A's. When Baylor was hit by a pitch Sunday, it marked the first time this year that he was struck by an Angel pitcher.

There's something about Anaheim Stadium that makes time stop, or at least slow to a crawl.

After two games played in less than three hours each at Boston, the Red Sox and Angels just missed the four-hour mark in two of the next three games. Sunday's extra-inning game was just one minute short of the playoff record of 3:55 set by the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies on Oct. 11, 1980.

Staff writer Mike Penner contributed to this story.

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