OAKLAND,CALIF. — OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Bash Brothers were nowhere to be found during the American League Championship Series, but they were not terribly missed. The Oakland Athletics showed that there was more to their offense than a bunch of bruised forearms.
Nevertheless, the quiet bat of right fielder Jose Canseco has become a matter of some concern, since his lack of muscle probably is the result of the nagging back and hand injuries that have bothered him throughout the playoff series.
Canseco was removed from the game yesterday after the sixth inning. He had grounded out once and struck out twice in three at-bats. His contribution in the playoffs was limited to five walks and two singles. It has been a while since he has had a really big swing, and the A's are starting to wonder how effective he will be in the World Series.
"I am really concerned," manager Tony La Russa said. "In the first three games, he did something in each game to help us win. Hopefully, we can get him physically ready for the World Series. It would be a shame if he had to go out there handicapped."
* Oakland starter Dave Stewart was named the Most Valuable Player of the series for his victories in games 1 and 4. He was the MVP of the World Series a year ago, extending to three the number of postseason MVP trophies awarded to Oakland natives.
Rickey Henderson, who also grew up here, was the MVP of last year's playoff series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
* When Rick Honeycutt came on to earn the save yesterday, he was the first Oakland pitcher other than Dennis Eckersley to record a save in the postseason since 1981.Eckersley had the previous 10 A's saves in postseason play. Honeycutt had not had a save in 19 previous postseason appearances.
* La Russa would not officially announce who would be his starting pitcher for the opening game of the World Series, but he made it fairly clear who it would be.
Stewart has been the Game 1 starter in the playoffs and World Series in each of the past two years, so it doesn't look as if La Russa will mess with a winning formula.
"I think you should let us enjoy this for a while before we think about that," he said, "but if I were a betting man, if you count six days, it's about his turn."
* The A's went the entire series without hitting a home run, making them the first team to win a postgame series without homering since the 1919 Cincinnati Reds went homerless against the Chicago White Sox. The last time a team went homerless in the playoffs was 1983, when the White Sox did so in a losing cause against the Baltimore Orioles.
* The 1990 A's became the eighth team to sweep a league championship series. They are the only franchise to sweep a best-of-seven series, doing it to the Red Sox twice.
* The Red Sox avoided tying a record when they scored a run off Stewart in the ninth inning yesterday. To that point, they had scored three runs, tying the White Sox of 1983 for fewest in a playoff series. The White Sox, however, did it in a best-of-five set.