The spotless, starched uniform, No. 53, is hanging neatly in the empty closet in the Angel manager's office. The desktop is clean. The walls are bare, and the bathroom is clean.
Marcel Lachemann, the new occupant, moves in today for his first full-time managerial job.
It's too bad he didn't arrive a day earlier.
There's nothing Lachemann enjoys more than a good old-fashioned pitchers' duel, and seeing his prodigy, Chuck Finley, pitch the Angels to a 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox in front of 21,230 fans at Anaheim Stadium on Wednesday night would have delighted him.
Finley, who failed to win during the first month of the season, struck out 12 batters en route to his third consecutive victory. It was his highest strikeout total in five years and the most by an Angel pitcher since Mark Langston struck out 12 against Kansas City last May.
"They came in swinging the bat real well and scoring a lot of runs," said Finley, who yielded five hits in eight innings, "so I tried to stay aggressive. I feel like I'm more of a power pitcher now. I'm able to get behind the ball and pretty much drive it where I want it to go."
It was vintage Finley. He was down, 2-0, in the fourth inning, having allowed seven baserunners, but then he retired 13 consecutive batters until the eighth inning.
Finley (3-3) stepped aside for Joe Grahe in the ninth. Grahe ended the game by striking out pinch-hitter Tim Raines with Darrin Jackson on second base, recording his fifth save and first since April 14.
It also was the first time this season that the Angels (17-24) won a game in which they scored fewer than four runs. It enabled them to snap their four-game losing streak and remain three games behind the division-leading Texas Rangers.
There was a time when it appeared that Finley's performance might go for naught. White Sox starter Jack McDowell finally looked like the guy who won the 1993 Cy Young Award. He yielded only three hits and kept the Angels from reaching third base until Smith's homer. It was the first time this season that McDowell has pitched more than seven innings.
McDowell, however, was left with just another loss when No. 9 hitter Gary DiSarcina ruined his night. DiSarcina, who had only three hits off McDowell before this season, went three for three and sparked the game-winning rally.
DiSarcina, who has a career-high 10-game hitting streak, hit a one-out single in the eighth off second baseman Joey Cora's glove. Harold Reynolds, on a hit-and-run, slapped a single to center, advancing DiSarcina to third base.
White Sox Manager Gene Lamont summoned left-hander Paul Assenmacher to face Smith. Interim Manager Bobby Knoop, after talking in the dugout with hitting coach Rod Carew and third-base coach Ken Macha, decided to employ pinch-hitter Bo Jackson. He struck out.
No problem. Kirk McCaskill entered the game to face Salmon, who hit an 0-and-1 pitch into center field.
It was a nice welcoming present for Lachemann, but Salmon wanted everyone to know that Buck Rodgers, who was fired Tuesday, will be missed.
"They made the commitment to go with youth," Salmon said, "and I felt that Buck showed the temperament to go with young players. The manager takes the blame for everything, and it takes a lot of patience to deal with the inconsistencies that go along with playing young players. . . . I owe a lot to him."
The Angel pitching staff is elated being reunited with Lachemann, their pitching coach for nine years.
"I'm very excited about Marcel," Langston said. "I really enjoyed working with him. He was the kind of guy who felt bad if we didn't perform well because then he'd believe he didn't prepare us properly.
"As far as I'm concerned, you couldn't prepare us any better than he did. He gave us absolute maximum effort. I have the utmost respect for Buck, but I think we've very fortunate to get somebody like Marcel to step in."