Myers' O's future up for speculation, but not by closer Team's Game 6 loss only pressing issue, he says

ALCS notebook

October 16, 1997|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Joe Strauss contributed to this article.

The last pitch from Randy Myers in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series induced Cleveland's Brian Giles to fly out to center field, finishing the 10th inning.

Was it the last pitch Myers had thrown as an Oriole?

He'll be a free agent, sure to attract a lot of interest and some tantalizing offers after converting 45 of 46 save opportunities during the season. But it was much too soon for Myers to begin speculating about his future immediately after the Orioles' season had ended with a 1-0, 11-inning loss to the Indians.

"I don't think that's a fair question to ask me," he said. "I've got this game on my mind. I don't know what's going to happen in a month or two months or three or four months. I'm not out there thinking about what's going to go on at the end of the year. We just had a tough game and that's what I'm thinking about."

Myers pitched two scoreless, but not uneventful, innings yesterday -- only the fourth time this season he had gone so long. In the ninth, he allowed a one-out single to Tony Fernandez and walked Manny Ramirez before striking out the next two hitters.

"I don't think this was any different than any other game this year," said Myers, who was 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA in the ALCS. "It's a tie game and I'm just trying to hold their guys down and give our team an opportunity to score.

"I can go home and know I gave my all, day in and day out. I couldn't have given any more than I did. As a team, you regroup and you go on from there."

O's fans 'more civilized'

Orioles manager Davey Johnson rushed to the defense of the Camden Yards crowd, which didn't generate as much noise or enthusiasm as the Indians' fans at Jacobs Field, according to players and coaches on both teams.

"Our fans are the greatest," Johnson said.

He didn't stop there, and what came next surely will cause a stir in Ohio.

"I thought I was in an arena football game in Cleveland," he said. "They started whooping it up and saying, 'Let's rumble.' I don't know what 'Let's rumble' has to do with playing baseball.

"They did get to a fever pitch there. Maybe it's because they don't have a football team. I don't know. Here, we're a little more civilized. We don't try to get to a rabid pitch early in the game. We save it for a little bit later. But I would imagine we might try to stir it up since we want to be like Cleveland."

Season still a success

Even without reaching the World Series, Johnson said he considers this season a success. Too much happened, including getting past Seattle in the Division Series, to label it a disappointment.

"Most definitely, it's been a great year," he said. "We lead from Day One and we lose a couple of key players early on. We win 98 games and beat a great Mariners ballclub. These games here [against the Indians] could have gone either way. To me, it's been a great year, win, lose or draw."

Indians shuffle lineup

The Indians had a couple of significant changes in their lineup yesterday, and the only one that hadn't been planned proved to be the most significant.

Bip Roberts was written in as the leadoff hitter, then scratched from the lineup because of a bruised thumb. Omar Vizquel, who ended the ALCS 1-for-25 with 10 strikeouts, replaced Roberts atop the order, and Fernandez filled in at second base.

And it was Fernandez, of course, who produced the biggest hit, a home run off Armando Benitez in the top of the 11th that gave the Indians a 1-0 victory.

Manager Mike Hargrove also took first baseman Jim Thome out of the cleanup spot and dropped him to sixth. Thome began yesterday 1-for-10 with five walks in the ALCS and had a .160 average and one RBI in the postseason.

Thome went 0-for-4, striking out twice, and is 0-for-23 at Camden Yards.

"Here's a guy [Thome] who has been a very important part of our ballclub all year, but he hasn't swung the bat all postseason the way he's capable of," Hargrove said. "We need Jimmy to be productive, and he knows that. And Jimmy deserves it because he's one of the good guys."

Designated hitter David Justice moved into the No. 4 slot and collected the Indians' first hit, a leadoff double in the fifth inning.

Povich hospitalized

Columnist Shirley Povich, 92, a member of the Washington Post sports staff for 75 years, passed out in the lobby at Home Plate Plaza due to an irregular heartbeat while entering Camden Yards. He was attended to by stadium paramedics and taken to University of Maryland Medical Center. Orioles officials said Povich was resting comfortably and would be kept overnight for observation.

Postseason pressure same

Hargrove said managing in the postseason this year hasn't been any easier than his first experience in 1995.

"I have the same feelings now as I had then -- the same pressures, the same dreams, the same aspirations, the same fears. I've learned to keep the antacid close and say a lot of prayers," he said.

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