CINCINNATI — CINCINNATI -- Bob Welch does not need to be reminded about what he was doing on this night a year ago. And he doesn't want to dwell on the subject.
It is a strange irony that Welch should be Oakland's starting pitcher on the first anniversary of the earthquake that devastated the Bay Area and stopped the World Series. It was a year ago tonight that the Richter scale hit 7.1 and Game 3 of the World Series was postponed for 12 days.
Welch had been the A's scheduled pitcher that night -- and he lost a lot more than a World Series start. The house he had just moved into in the Marina district of San Francisco was virtually destroyed.
Tonight Welch will get the start he missed a year ago, when he faces Cincinnati as the A's try to even the Series against the Reds. He will be doing his best not to recall the events of a year ago.
"I don't want to talk about the 'quake," said Welch, who was in the clubhouse when Candlestick Park rocked and rolled on a sultry fall evening. After watching last night's 7-0 loss, Welch will have little trouble staying focused on the Reds.
"You have to respect them for what they've accomplished," he said. "They're a competitive team that can beat you from both sides of the plate. You always have to have an idea for what you want to do with the next pitch."
When he was in the National League with the Dodgers, Welch (27-6, 2.95 during the regular season) had a lot of success against the Reds, winning 16 of 23 decisions. But he downplays the importance of those numbers.
"It helps that I've pitched here before and am familiar with the surroundings," he said, "but don't forget this is not the same team that I faced before."
Welch's opponent tonight is lefthander Danny Jackson (6-6, 3.61), who missed much of the season due to injuries. Until last night he was the only player on the Reds' team with World Series experience, having made two starts for Kansas City in 1985.
Jackson thinks the experience factor is as unimportant as last night's outcome would indicate. "I don't think it's that important to this team, or any team as long as there is someone with a little experience to relay what to expect," said Jackson. "You don't have to change anything, you don't have to do anything spectacular, just be the same pitcher you were before."