OAKLAND,CALIFORNIA — OAKLAND, Calif. -- The outcome of Game 3 answered the most-asked question about Game 4. Roger Clemens will start for the Boston Red Sox today in what might be the final game of the American League Championship Series.
The decision whether to pitch was left up to Clemens, and he told manager Joe Morgan that he would pitch the fourth game only if the Red Sox were down three games to none.
Morgan would have had to go with Greg Harris against Oakland Athletics ace Dave Stewart if the Sox had won yesterday, but they didn't, so he won't.
"Roger told me he'd prefer to pitch tomorrow [today] if we lose," Morgan said. "He would prefer waiting if we won."
The Red Sox are tiptoeing around Clemens for a number of reasons, one of them the shoulder soreness that held him to only one start in September. But team physician Dr. Arthur Pappas has been quoted as saying that Clemens is fine.
* A's reliever Dennis Eckersley ran into Dwight Evans again i the ninth inning yesterday and struck him out again, this time punctuating the strikeout by pointing at Evans.
Evans had complained in Boston that Eckersley -- a longtime friend -- had showed him up by pumping his fist after a strikeout. This time, he didn't say much of anything, but Eckersley did.
"It's all in fun," Eckersley said. "Of course, I'm having more fu than Dewey because I keep striking him out."
* Harold Baines of the Athletics continues to do the unexpected, as if playing in the postseason has taken several years off his 31 years of age. He laid down his first sacrifice bunt in six years in Game 1 and in yesterday's 4-1 victory over the Red Sox he stole a base for the first time since 1986.
* The A's Rickey Henderson had a playoff first. He was thrown out stealing in the seventh inning, breaking a string of 15 straight stolen bases in postseason competition.
* The Red Sox have set a dubious record during this playoff series, extending to seven games a League Championship Series-record losing streak that stretches back to their victory in Game 7 of the 1986 playoffs against the California Angels.
* Boston's starting rotation has done nothing to justify the club's 0-3 disadvantage in the series. Red Sox starters have a combined 1.37 ERA, giving up three earned runs in 19 2/3 innings. By contrast, however, the A's starters have a 1.27 ERA and the Oakland pitching staff has a 1.00 ERA.
* Rap star M.C. Hammer, a former A's bat boy, took part in the first-ball ceremony, but his pitch sailed wide to the right of catcher Terry Steinbach. It seemed appropriate, since his big hit is called "U Can't Touch This."
* Red Sox outfielder Mike Marshall told the Los Angeles Times that he might spend next season playing in Japan.
Marshall undoubtedly could find someplace to play in the major leagues -- he'd still be under contract to the Red Sox -- but he's looking for a chance to rebuild his reputation as an everyday player.
It worked for Cecil Fielder, who wasn't even an everyday player to begin with, and the money is excellent.
* The Red Sox are hitting .198 through the first three games of the playoffs and are 0-for-17 with runners in scoring position.