Hargrove looking for a Wright repeat Slumping Williams not in postseason form for N.Y.

AL notebook

October 06, 1997|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,SUN STAFF

CLEVELAND -- When the Cleveland Indians faced a must-win situation in Game 2 in New York last week, they turned to 21-year-old rookie Jaret Wright, who was making his first postseason appearance. Now, in the biggest game of the season in tonight's deciding Game 5 of the American League Division series, they turn to Wright again.

"You have to do it all over again with the pressure and excitement," Wright said.

"You learn little things after facing a team once before. It should be a lot easier because I have pitched here before and know the back drop here."

Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove has no apprehension at pitching the rookie, who gave up three runs and three hits in six innings of the Game 2 victory.

"I think Jaret proved in Game 2 that he can handle the pressure," Hargrove said. "I feel very good about Jaret Wright pitching in Game 5."

Asked if he would offer any advice to Wright, who is the youngest pitcher to start an American League postseason game, 39-year-old Orel Hershiser, who has an 8-1 career postseason record said, "I don't think there is anything we need to tell this guy."

Not in postseason form

The Yankees have gotten little contribution in this series from center fielder Bernie Williams who is one for 13 in the series after going hitless in four at-bats last night.

Williams had a solid season, hitting .328 with 21 home runs and 100 RBIs during the regular season. In nine previous division series games, Williams had a .444 average with five home runs and 10 RBIs.

"Last year, Bernie was it in the Division and Tino [Martinez] didn't help, so I think Tino's picking up the slack and [Paul] O'Neill also," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

"Bernie's a good player. We're going to get it from him. Hopefully, we're going to get to go on and give him a chance to do that."

Road warriors

The loss last night ended New York's incredible string of nine straight road wins in the postseason. That tied a major-league record set by the Yankees in the World Series from 1937 through 1942.

New York had the third-best road record in baseball this season (49-33, behind the Orioles, 52-29; and Atlanta Braves, 51-30).

"It's nice to have a quiet stadium, especially when you're the visiting team," said New York pitcher David Wells, on silencing the crowd in Game 3 on Saturday.

"We play together; we know what we have to do out there," he added. "We don't like to go and get beat in other ballparks. We stay as a team."

Big-game pitcher

Hershiser, who got a no-decision in making his second start of the series last night, is the only pitcher to win the League Championship Series MVP in both the American and National League.

Hershiser won the NL award in 1988 when he pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cy Young Award winner that season, he also was the MVP of the World Series.

Hershiser won the AL award in 1995 with Cleveland, when he had a 2-0 record and a 1.29 ERA. Hershiser has an 8-2 career postseason record going into last night.

Thome left out

Hargrove was criticized for sitting Jim Thome on Saturday. Thome hit 40 home runs and drove in 102 runs this season, but Hargrove didn't want the left-handed hitter swinging against Wells, a left-hander.

"I keep him out of the lineup against left-handers that have a sweeping breaking pitch, and I think David Wells is one of those guys," Hargrove said.

Pub Date: 10/06/97

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