Switches show Cox error of his ways

Guillen, Lockhart miscues aid romp by Yankees

Glavine is feeling better

World Series Notebook

October 25, 1999|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

ATLANTA -- Trying to pump some life into an offense that has been still for much of the postseason, Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox made three significant changes in his lineup last night for Game 2 of the World Series.

Cox started former Oriole Ozzie Guillen at shortstop, Keith Lockhart at second base and Greg Myers behind the plate, hoping the moves would activate a stagnant attack that managed only two hits in Game 1 and posted a .223 average in the National League Championship Series.

"You run into good pitching, you're not going to score no matter who you run out there," said Cox, who also lowered Andruw Jones from sixth to eighth. "But Ozzie's been swinging a nice bat. Lockhart had a good game in New York [in the NLCS] when he got in. Myers is a hitter with power."

Sounded good in theory, but the desired results weren't there. Guillen went 0-for-4 and committed an error, dropping a line drive from David Cone in the third inning that scored New York's fifth run in a 7-2 victory. Lockhart walked twice but threw wide of first base after having trouble getting the ball out of his glove on a double-play chance, allowing the sixth run to score.

Only Myers came through for Cox, collecting two of Atlanta's five hits and ending the Yankees' bid for a shutout with a run-scoring single in the ninth.

Guillen, who came off the bench to provide a clutch run-scoring single in Game 6 of the NLCS, replaced Walt Weiss. Weiss went 1-for-6 in the Division Series and 6-for-21 in the NLCS.

Lockhart replaced Bret Boone, who was 4-for-22 in the NLCS but had a ninth-inning single off Mariano Rivera on Saturday. Myers filled in for Eddie Perez, the Most Valuable Player of the NLCS who is bothered by a sore finger.

"He exploded a blood vessel in his catching hand [Saturday] night. It was black and blue. He can play, but Myers will start," Cox said.

Cox also said he'll go back to his original lineup for Game 3 tomorrow in New York. "We're just honestly trying to score some runs right now," he said.

Brian Jordan, who remained in the cleanup spot, said he was surprised by Cox's tinkering. He wasn't the only one.

"It's unusual in a World Series to change the lineup so dramatically. I know the guys who aren't playing were pretty surprised. But I guess Bobby's trying to mix it up, making things happen. We need to get something going," Jordan said.

Glavine returns

Left-hander Tom Glavine, who was scratched from his Game 1 start because of the flu, had improved enough to show up at Turner Field yesterday. He's scheduled to pitch tomorrow in New York, and it's looking more certain that will happen.

Glavine did some throwing before taking a shower and returning home. He didn't leave without offering some encouraging words to Cox.

"He felt pretty good. He thinks he can start Tuesday," Cox said.

That's a relief to the Braves. Glavine has a career 1.75 ERA in the World Series. He started one game of the '96 Series against the Yankees, taking the loss despite allowing just one earned run and striking out eight in seven innings.

Clockwork closer

Anyone who says nothing is automatic in baseball never saw Rivera.

The Yankees' closer has tossed nine scoreless innings, with five saves, in his six playoff appearances this season. But Rivera can top that. He also hasn't allowed a run in his last 22 1/3 innings covering 16 postseason outings.

His career 0.41 ERA in the playoffs is the lowest in major-league history for any pitcher with a minimum of 30 innings.

The Braves actually mounted a threat against Rivera in the ninth inning of Game 1, getting a one-out single by Boone and a walk. But Rivera struck out Jordan and got Myers to pop to third. He retired Lockhart on a bouncer to first to strand a runner in the eighth.

Asked about Rivera, Jordan shook his head and replied: "Well, he blew me away. He's a great closer. The only way to beat him is to not let him get in the ballgame.

"When he gets on the field, he's very confident and he comes right at you. I don't like to face him and I'm pretty sure my teammates don't like to face him, either."

Not many players do. Rivera has a scoreless-innings streak of 39 2/3 in 34 games.

"I think it's just his approach. He understands what a short reliever's all about," said manager Joe Torre. "I think once Mariano got over thinking about striking people out, he became a real good reliever. Now you see him go through some innings throwing six, seven pitches, which enables us to have him available more so than before."

Cold no aid to Jordan wrist

Jordan continues to play with a sore right wrist that has bothered him for much of the season.

It has no chance of getting better at this time of the year. Not with the strain of swinging a bat and temperatures better suited for football.

"It was actually feeling OK until the cold weather hit," he said.

Jordan is 0-for-7 in the Series. His first hit was almost a big one, as Ricky Ledee caught his first-inning drive at the left-field wall with a man on last night.

Rocker still rolling

Atlanta closer John Rocker was available last night despite throwing 26 pitches in Game 1. And not just on a limited basis.

"He had three days off [after the NLCS]. He could probably go two [innings] tonight if I asked him. And we have a day off tomorrow, so he's fine," said Cox, who wound up using three relievers but not Rocker.

Rocker appeared in all six games of the NLCS before getting the call in the eighth inning Saturday.

Around the horn

The Murderers' Row Yankees won a record 12 straight World Series games in 1927, 1928 and 1932. Derek Jeter has a 15-game postseason hitting streak. Kevin Millwood made the second-shortest start by a Braves pitcher in Series history. Bob Buhl retired only two batters in a 12-3 loss to the Yankees in Game 3 in 1957.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.