Abbott nonchalant on playoff start

  • KIRBY ARNOLD / Herald Writer
  • Tuesday, October 3, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports


Herald Writer

CHICAGO – Paul Abbott has heard for three weeks about his next game being the biggest of his life.

That’ll happen when a man pitches in a pennant race, and now the playoffs, for the first time.

Abbott just wishes that people would remember the games that really meant the most to him.

Like the one on Sept. 9, 1998, when he made his first major league appearance in five years after a series of shoulder and elbow injuries. Or the 25 appearances he made last year, when he went out to prove he could still cut it in the bigs after undergoing major knee surgery.

Game 2 of the American League Division Series?

“This is a chance to have fun,” the 33-year-old veteran of one complete major league season said Tuesday.

Abbott (9-7 with a 4.22 earned run average) will get the ball today against the Chicago White Sox, knowing he must throw first-pitch strikes, change speeds and dominate the inside half of the plate against one of baseball’s most dangerous offensive teams.

He’ll also step onto his biggest stage knowing he has persevered through his greatest challenges.

“I had my biggest games two years ago when I was just trying to put myself in a position to be here,” Abbott said. “The start I had in 1998, that was for my career.”

Today it’s for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.

Against a White Sox team that hit .286 in the regular season with 216 home runs, Abbott knows how careful he must be.

“You’ve just got to get ahead and make sure that you’re in pitcher’s counts instead of putting them in hitter’s counts,” he said. “That’s the whole key to pitching anyway, but a lot of teams are overly aggressive and you can get away with getting behind every once in a while.”

The Sox aren’t one of those teams. Unlike the jump-at-the-first-pitch Oakland A’s, Chicago is willing to wait for a mistake deep in the count.

“That’s kind of a Catch 22 with this team,” Abbott said. “They’re a patient team with a lot of sock.”

To nullify that sock, Abbott knows he must mix his fastball with a changeup that he has struggled with all season.

“It’s there somewhere,” he said. “The change will show up, but he hasn’t shown up lately. I’ve gotten some outs with it, but it hasn’t been a go-to pitch. You can tell by my numbers if I’ve got my good changeup. When my strikeouts are up, I’ve got the good change.”

Abbott has the repertoire to quiet the Sox. That’s one reason the Mariners chose him to start instead of left-hander Jamie Moyer, who has struggled in his past two starts.

“They’re all great hitters, one through nine, and it’s more of a right-handed lineup,” Mariners pitching coach Bryan Price said. “I like to go with right-handed starters against this team in this park. Balls that get up in the air can get out of here. It’s not that way at Safeco.”

So Abbott got the call, and he’ll go out to have fun today knowing he already has played high-stakes games.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Everett Community College has hired longtime assistant coach Daniel Thompson (middle) as its new head men's basketball coach. (EvCC Athletics photo)
EvCC names Thompson new men’s basketball head coach

Thompson, 35, has been an assistant with the Trojans for 9 seasons and takes over for Mike Trautman, who stepped down in April.

Spring 2023 All-Wesco teams

Note: All-Wesco teams are chosen by the league’s coaches. For any misspellings… Continue reading

Hammer throw.
Local trio shines in high school hammer throw finals

Adrianna Coleman and Kimberly Beard place 1-2 in the women’s portion, and Calvin Gutierrez takes 2nd in the men’s championship.

Washington celebrates a home run by Rylee Holtorf (3) at home plate during the second inning of an NCAA softball Women's College World Series game against Utah Friday, June 2, 2023, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Nate Billings)
UW opens Women’s College World Series with key win over Utah

After being rained out on Thursday, Washington beats Utah 4-1 to advance into the winner’s bracket.

Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for May 22-28

The Athlete of the Week nominees for May 22-28 Voting closes at… Continue reading

Hops rally in 9th inning to sink AquaSox

Reid VanScoter turns in an impressive outing, but Everett’s bullpen falters late in a 4-3 defeat.

Rangers shortstop Corey Seager (left) reaches down to tag out the Mariners’ Teoscar Hernande, who was trying to stretch a single into a double during the third inning of a game Friday in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Mariners’ bats silent in shutout by Rangers

Seattle’s offense musters just three hits in the 2-0 defeat.

AquaSox can’t make huge rally hold, lose to Hops

Everett takes the lead with six runs in the eighth, but allows two runs back in the ninth and falls 13-12 to Hillsboro.

The Everett Elite Flag Football 14-under team practices Sunday morning at Harbour Pointe Middle School in Mukilteo, Washington on January 16, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Community roundup: 3 Jackson grads to D-I baseball tournament

Plus, Jayden White is headed back to the NCAA track and field nationals, the Silvertips sign their first-round picks and more.

The Mariners’ Cal Raleigh smiles as a teammate throws bubblegum at him during an interview after Raleigh hit a single to drive in the winning run against the Yankees during the 10th inning of a game Wednesday in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
Raleigh’s RBI single in 10th gives M’s 1-0 win over Yankees

George Kirby pitches one of the best games of his young career with eight shutout innings in Seattle’s 1-0 win.

AquaSox top Hops on wild pitch in 11th inning

Everett edges Hillsboro 3-2 in a game with strong pitching on both sides.

Cooper Cummings from the United States celebrates after winning a men's downhill during the Cheese Rolling contest at Cooper's Hill in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, Monday May 29, 2023. The Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake is an annual event where participants race down the 200-yard (180 m) long hill chasing a wheel of double gloucester cheese. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Arlington High School grad is the big cheese after winning UK race

Cooper Cummings, who grew up in Lake Stevens, defeated a world record-holder in Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake.