NLCS notebook

Bautista's number up in Brenly's lineup

Ariz. manager discounts Finley's better stats vs. Glavine, makes switch

October 22, 2001|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

ATLANTA - Arizona Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly played a hunch, rather than Steve Finley, in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.

Finley was batting .375 (12-for-32) with six RBIs in the postseason. Also in his favor were head-to-head meetings with Atlanta's Tom Glavine. Finley was batting .304 (21-for-69) lifetime against the Braves' left-hander, and singled off him in Game 2.

So what was he doing on the bench? And what was Danny Bautista, 0-for-6 in the Division Series and without an at-bat in the NLCS, doing in center field as Finley's replacement?

"Danny likes that ball out over the plate where he can extend his arms," Brenly said. "Tom Glavine lives on that outside corner."

Before last night, Bautista was 2-for-13 with a home run off Glavine.

"The career numbers don't bear it out," Brenly said, "but from what I've seen of Danny in this postseason, the way he's swinging the bat, I think this is our best chance to generate some numbers against Tom Glavine."

Brenly's words proved prophetic: Bautista had a run-scoring single in the fourth inning to give Arizona a 1-0 lead.

No mistake about field

Seeking an explanation for his team's uncharacteristically sloppy play in the field, Braves manager Bobby Cox is pointing a finger at the wet grass.

"It's because of the weather, the temperature, not because we've watered it or anything," he said. "When you see one of their players throw one away, or one of ours, it's because of that."

Cox spoke with the grounds crew and was told nothing could be done about the moisture, which occurs after a sudden drop in temperature at night.

Counsell full-grown

There's nothing about Craig Counsell that would impress a manager until he slaps another ball to the opposite field, takes the extra base or drives in more runs from high up in the order. He looks like he should be playing in a father-son game - as the kid.

He was voted Most Valuable Player of the NLCS after batting .381 with three doubles, five of the team's 22 total runs and four RBIs. So far, he hasn't buckled under the weight.

"He's one of those guys who's had to work extremely hard for everything that's come his way," Brenly said. "He doesn't take anything for granted and puts the team first in every situation."

D'backs hold mighty 'pen

Arizona's Game 4 win represented more than total control of the NLCS. It also provided redemption for a bullpen that's been among the hottest topics in daily interview sessions with the media.

On paper, the Braves held a clear edge with their assortment of hard-throwing relievers. On the mound, it was no different - until left-hander Brian Anderson limited the Braves to one run in 3 1/3 innings on Saturday and closer Byung-Hyun Kim slammed the door without pinching his fingers.

Kim struck again in Game 5 last night, shutting out the Braves over the final two innings to clinch the series.

"Our bullpen has done the job all year long, and I think it was unfairly criticized the last couple of days," Anderson said. "That seemed to be a story that everybody was going for. But you're talking about guys that I think were fourth in the National League in ERA. ... They've been nails all year."

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