O's Johnson opts to keep Davis out of starting lineup dTC Outfielder enters game in 7th

Berroa starts in right field, Baines at DH

ALCS notebook

October 09, 1997|By Joe Strauss and Roch Kubatko | Joe Strauss and Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF Sun staff writers Don Markus and Peter Schmuck contributed to this article.

Orioles manager Davey Johnson began the American League Championship Series last night by again tweaking his lineup, though not as radically as he had in games 1 and 4 of last week's Division Series against Seattle.

Johnson said he agonized over his lineup for Game 1, trying to fit "three great hitters" into two spots. He settled for Geronimo Berroa in right field and Harold Baines as designated hitter against Cleveland Indians right-hander Chad Ogea, putting Eric Davis on the bench.

Johnson cited Davis' fatigue from incessant interview requests and heavier playing time while still undergoing after-care and chemotherapy for colon cancer.

Davis downplayed his health status but said he was worn out after Tuesday afternoon's workout.

"I could play," Davis said. "But that's OK."

Davis entered last night's game as a defensive replacement in the seventh inning and finished the game in right field. In his one at-bat, he was walked intentionally in the seventh.

Given his extraordinary return from June 13 surgery, Davis has become the focal point for the national media the past two weeks. On Tuesday, the Orioles received 15 interview requests for Davis. He taped a segment for ABC's "Nightline" that will air tomorrow night.

"I said [to Davis], 'What can I do? I want to use you as much as possible,' " Johnson said. "This is what I came out with: I almost have to treat him like an injured player."

Davis said, "I'd like to go out there, but I'm not a selfish player. And this isn't a team of selfish players. Harold wants to play. Chief [Berroa] wants to play. But all of us can't be out there at the same time. We understand that. I'll be ready when it's my time."

"Either way I went was going to be pretty good," said Johnson, who kept his playoff roster the same for the ALCS, with 10 pitchers and 15 position players.

"Harold's probably been the best pinch hitter I've ever had coming off the bench when we were playing the National League clubs. I've tried to get Harold in as much as possible. Geronimo Berroa likes to DH, too, so it's kind of been a little tough for me with both of them, but we've actually needed them both along the way."

Johnson expects Davis' time to come tonight with left-hander Jimmy Key pitching. Key relies more heavily on his outfielders than does Game 1 starter Scott Erickson, which allowed Johnson greater leeway in playing Berroa.

Berroa, who served as designated hitter against the Mariners' left-handed rotation, is looked upon as a dicey defensive player.

"I wasn't thinking anything," Berroa said. "I come to the park every day expecting to play."

Johnson also was playing percentages. Berroa entered as a career .556 (5-for-9) hitter against Ogea. He hit . .385 against the Indians this year and is .358 with six home runs in 123 career at-bats. Last night, he went 0-for-3.

Davis has never hurt the Indians. He was 0-for-15 with four strikeouts in five games against them this season and is a career .107 hitter (3-for-28) vs. Cleveland in parts of three AL seasons.

Berroa also flourished in the Division Series, going 5-for-13 (.385) with two home runs. Davis hit .222 (2-for-9) with five strikeouts.

Indians add lefty Anderson

Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove took a different approach from Johnson when it came to his ALCS roster, adding left-hander Brian Anderson and removing rookie infielder Enrique Wilson.

Anderson went 4-2 with a 4.69 ERA in eight starts after his call-up from Triple-A Buffalo, where he was 7-1. He didn't pitch against the Orioles.

"We felt we'd be more likely to use the 11th pitcher than the 15th player," Hargrove said. "Adding Brian Anderson gives us a guy who's a long man with Ogea going into the rotation and us going with four [starters] in this series. We felt we needed somebody to give us some length if we happened to have that need."

Anderson relieved Ogea in the seventh last night and held the Orioles hitless in two innings.

How the rotation turns

Johnson would not commit to how he will use his starting pitchers the rest of the series, but it's possible tonight will be Key's only appearance. One scheme under discussion is to bring Erickson back on three days' rest Sunday for Game 4 and again, if necessary, for Game 7.

"That would be like falling out of bed for Scotty," Johnson said of his staff workhorse, who prefers three days' rest instead of four.

Under the contingency, Johnson also would start Mike Mussina in games 3 and 6 and the seldom-seen Scott Kamieniecki in Game 5.

That scenario depends largely on whether the Orioles can at least split the first four games. Kamieniecki threw two simulated innings Monday but has not faced live hitting since pitching the Orioles' AL East clincher in Toronto on Sept. 24.

"It depends on how guys do," Johnson said. "It depends on how [Erickson] fares. It depends on how Key fares. You don't want to start penciling in guys."

Yankees, stay home

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