Tim Belcher, the first rookie to win two playoff games, came up well short of that performance as the starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the opening game of the World Series.
Belcher lasted just two innings, allowing three hits and four walks and left the game trailing 4-2 following a grand slam home run by Jose Canseco."Maybe I was trying too hard, trying to get too much on the ball and overstepping my capabilities," the rookie right-hander said.
"When you do that, you make bad pitches. I had no clue where the ball was going. The last time that happened was when I was in Tacoma."
Belcher had a reputation for wildness as a minor league pitcher and walked 133 batters in 163 innings a year ago in the minors. But this season, he cut that dramatically to 51 walks in 179 2-3 innings, posting a 12-6 record and 2.91 earned run average.
On Saturday noght, however, he went back in time.
Belcher threw 71 pitches, 33 balls and 38 strikes. He threw 28 pitches in the first inning and 43 in the second.
The two-inning stint matched his shortest of the regular season and was the shortest by a starter in a World Series game since Bob Forsch of the St. Louis Cardinals was knockled in the second inning of Game 5 in 1985 against Kansas City.
"I was pushing the ball, trying to throw it 900 miles an hour," he said. "I guess maybe I should have stepped off, taken a deep breath and relaxed. I was probably too keyed up. When you try to throw that way, bad things happen."
Belcher said the problenms snowballed on him.
"When it's happening, it's too quick. You've got to help yourself, but I was unable to do that."