Indians go down, but remain upbeat Ogea finds positives in series-opening defeat

October 09, 1997|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

Like George Bush, the Cleveland Indians have been here and done this.

Now, after losing Game 1 of the American League Championship Series to the Orioles, 3-0, last night at Camden Yards, they will try to do what they did last week against the New York Yankees in the Division Series, rather than what they did last year against the Orioles.

In other words, come back and win the series.

"This team will be fine," said Chad Ogea, who started for the Indians last night, giving up the three Orioles runs in the first three innings of the six he pitched. "This team has been through adversity and under pressure all year. It's nothing new."

The Indians tried to put a positive spin on what was a decidedly one-sided defeat.

Ogea, a 26-year-old right-hander making his first postseason start, said he settled down after giving up a home run to Brady Anderson leading off the game and a two-run homer to Roberto Alomar in the third after Anderson doubled.

He liked the way he got out of a jam in the fourth, not allowing the Orioles to score after walking B. J. Surhoff leading off and then giving up a double to Cal Ripken. He liked the way he held the Orioles in check until being replaced by Brian Anderson in the seventh.

Even the two home runs he surrendered were no big deal, he said.

"I thought I threw two good pitches," he said. "They were both breaking balls for strikes. The pitch to Anderson, he didn't seem to hit it that well, but with the short porch here it went out. The home run by Alomar wasn't hit that far either."

Then there was Jim Thome. As with most of the Indians, who managed only four singles off Orioles starter Scott Erickson, Thome took an 0-for last night. "But it was a very comfortable 0-for," Thome said with a smile.

That the Indians have managed only eight runs in their last four postseason games is a bit of a concern, but the Central Division champions are hoping to find better luck tonight against left-hander Jimmy Key than they did against Erickson and Randy Myers.

Asked whether he would make any changes in the middle of his lineup, Indians manager Mike Hargrove said: "I don't know if it does any good to sit down people who hit .330 or hit 40 home runs during the regular season. It will be different against Jimmy Key. They're good players. Manny [Ramirez] hit the ball well."

Said Ramirez, "[Being down 0-1] doesn't mean anything. We lost the first one in New York and we came back. We'll come back tomorrow."

The Indians chose to praise Erickson for his dominating performance rather them bury themselves in self-doubt.

"I just thought Scott Erickson pitched a great game," Thome said. "Our goal coming in was to get to their bullpen, and he didn't give us a chance to do that. You've got to tip your hat to him. This is my third postseason, and I've learned it's all about pitching."

There was some speculation after the game that not seeing Erickson during the regular season was to the Indians' disadvantage. Hargrove wouldn't buy it.

"The way he threw the ball tonight, I don't think it would have made a difference," Hargrove said. "He didn't break out any surprise pitches. He didn't throw with his left hand. Good pitching will beat good hitting."

Roberts, who got one of the Cleveland hits, believes that the resilience of this team will be demonstrated tonight, just as it was last week against the Yankees. The Indians lost the first game in that series and came back to win it in five games. In last year's Division Series, the Orioles took a 2-0 lead over the Indians and won it in four games.

"Each game is a big game and we're down 0-1, but there's always tomorrow," Roberts said.

One source of motivation for the Indians will not be the crowd at Camden Yards.

"There aren't a lot of four-letter words," he said. "It's a very classy crowd. Anytime you play in front of a crowd like that, you want to put on a good show."

Pub Date: 10/09/97

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