ATLANTA -- In the ninth inning of Game 1 of the World Series, the attention was focused on Greg Maddux as he completed a two-hit masterpiece. But something else happened on the game's final pitch that could have grave consequences for Cleveland.
Indians second baseman Carlos Baerga rolled his left ankle after he swung at the game's final pitch and caught his spikes in the dirt around home plate. The ankle swelled, and Baerga was wearing a small brace when he took the field last night.
Baerga injured the ankle in Minnesota during the regular season and has been playing most of the season less than 100 percent, Indians manager Mike Hargrove confirmed. "He aggravated it playing on the turf in Seattle," Hargrove said, referring to the American League Championship Series. "He did a little more than aggravate it."
Two hours before the game, Hargrove couldn't even say for sure that Baerga was going to play last night. But Baerga convinced him he would be OK. "I've played like this before," Baerga said.
Baerga, a switch-hitter, batted .314 during the regular season, with 15 homers and 90 RBIs.
Around the horn
The Braves' pitching has dominated since the first round, when the Colorado Rockies banged around the Atlanta staff. "You've got to take into account where we played," said Game 3 starter John Smoltz, referring to Coors Field, "and you've got to take into account who we played. That Colorado lineup is scary." . . . Smoltz grew up in Michigan and is accustomed to pitching in the cold -- which should help him when he pitches in Cleveland tomorrow night. "I think in cold weather the pitcher really has the advantage," he said. "You can really jam a guy and you know where all your pitches are going." . . . Dennis Martinez became the fourth pitcher over 40 years of age to start a World Series game last night. . . . Charles Nagy, who starts Game 3 for the Indians, said the atmosphere in the Cleveland clubhouse after the Game 1 loss to Maddux was very relaxed and loose. "This team is very resilient," he said. "Either we're very resilient or very loose."