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Lackey is accustomed to postseason pressure

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Despite Bartolo Colon's Cy Young-level numbers (21-8, 3.48 ERA), tonight's Angels starter, John Lackey, has the rotation's best record against New York this season (2-0, 2.53, with 12 strikeouts).

Though Lackey wasn't used in last year's series against the Red Sox, he has big-game experience. Three years ago, when he won Game 7 of the World Series, Lackey became the first rookie to do it in 93 years.

''I've done this kind of thing before," said Lackey, who was 14-5 with a 3.44 ERA this year. ''I've done the flyovers and all of that kind of stuff. Your routine gets messed with just a little bit. But if you've been through it before, it's not as big of a deal."

New York starter Chien-Ming Wang (8-5, 4.02), who'll make his postseason debut tonight, will be the first Taiwanese pitcher to do it. No pressure, insists Wang, who'll be facing the Angels for the first time. ''Behind me, there's a lot of good players," he said, ''so I don't notice."

Though Colon had been 21-8 with a 3.48 ERA during the regular season, the Yankees have owned him. After last night's game, in which he gave up four runs and eight hits in seven innings, he's 1-2 against New York with an 7.13 ERA. He's also given up seven homers, four of them to Alex Rodriguez, who hit three in one game.

Rough starts

Since they won the 2002 World Series, the Angels have lost four straight postseason games, beginning with last season's sweep by the Red Sox. Last night was the fifth straight time that they've dropped a series opener. ''Obviously, it wasn't by design then and it's not by design now," said manager Mike Scioscia. ''We're going to do what we need to do. We have to keep playing our game." . . . Even though Aaron Small (10-0) has been their magic man on the hill since July, the Yankees will go with veteran Mike Mussina if there's a Game 5 here Sunday. ''Mike has the experience that I really want to hang my hat on," said Yankees manager Joe Torre . . . If the Yankees are obsessed with getting quality starts, it's because their early forays into the bullpen have been disasters recently. On Sunday at Fenway, Scott Proctor, Shawn Chacon, and Wayne Franklin gave up six earned runs in two innings after Jaret Wright left in the fourth. And in last week's 17-9 fiasco at Baltimore, New York went through seven relievers after Mussina departed in the second. ''We can talk about [Tom] Gordon and [Mariano] Rivera until we're blue in the face," said Torre, ''but we need to establish a game before we get there." . . . Torre went with 11 pitchers on his series roster, leaving off outfielder Matt Lawton. Also dropped was Wright, who lost his last three outings.

Jeter up to 21

Turns out that Derek Jeter's bruised knee was no more than that. The Yankees captain started at shortstop and led off as usual last night. His single in the second inning ran his hitting streak to 21 games in Division Series play. He finished 2 for 3 with a walk . . . Though most rival clubs chose to pitch around Vladimir Guerrero, the Yankees won't. ''You're playing into their hands where you're putting men on base," said Torre, ''and you certainly don't want to do that." They didn't last night. Guerrero was 1 for 3 with a walk and a stolen base, but was caught stealing by Jorge Posada to end the sixth . . . Though Torre clearly has an interest in what the Red Sox are up to, he wasn't hunkered down in front of the TV set yesterday. ''I'm in my office," he said. ''If you decide on Day 1 what team you want to play, it usually bites you in the rear end."

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