TORONTO -- The Philadelphia Phillies have gotten a lot of mileage out of their image, but they will come up against a veteran pitcher tonight who has merged image and performance into an almost unbeatable postseason combination.
Right-hander Dave Stewart may not be the same pitcher who won 20 games or more four years in a row during the Oakland Athletics dynasty, but you wouldn't have known it by his performance in the American League Championship Series. He went 2-0 against the Chicago White Sox to win AL Championship Series MVP honors and embellish his reputation as the biggest of this era's big-game pitchers.
There is room to wonder whose luck will run out first, but Stewart thinks he has been able to make up for an age-related deterioration in physical talent with an age-related increase in pitching savvy.
"There's less velocity, no doubt about it," Stewart said yesterday. "I'm smarter now. It doesn't show in the statistics, but I'm smarter. I have a better idea of how to set up hitters. It's knowledge and I have a bald head now."
Borders a postseason hit
Blue Jays catcher Pat Borders singled in the seventh inning last night and has hit safely in 20 of the 21 postseason games in which he has participated. Borders' 16-game postseason hit streak was broken in Game 3 of the ALCS. It is the second longest in baseball history, one short of ex-Orioles manager Hank Bauer's record of 17 (all World Series games). Borders now has hit in seven straight World Series games.
Gillick on retirement
Blue Jays general manager Pat Gillick intends to retire at the end of the 1994 season, and he explained again yesterday why he thinks it's the right thing to do.
"Our organization is such that we really have a lot of quality people," Gillick said, "and the guy who is my assistant [Gord Ash] is ready to pop. He has interviewed various places, and he deserves a shot."
So what will Gillick do next? He doesn't know, but he said he doubts that he'll go on to some other baseball job. "It's like what Michael Jordan said," Gillick explained. "What do people do when they retire? They do what they want."
Jackson deal revisited
The Phillies had to give up two solid prospects to acquire Game 3 starter Danny Jackson last November, but manager Jim Fregosi says that deal is one of the major reasons the club is in the World Series.
"I think getting Danny Jackson was the key to getting the things done that we needed to do," said Fregosi, who named Jackson to start Game 3 in Philadelphia. "Danny Jackson was the key because we needed another left-handed starter.
"There was the perception over the off-season that we needed to sign that one big-name free agent, but we were not one free agent away from being a championship ballclub. So we made a trade. We thought he could give us 200 innings and he did. Getting him allowed us to sign [Jim] Eisenreich, Pete Incaviglia and Milt Thompson."
Phillies reliever Mitch Williams won't apologize for his unpredictable performance, even if it probably is taking years off Fregosi's life. He was asked about his penchant for prolonging the agony in a radio interview this weekend. "That three-up, three-down [stuff]is boring," he said.
Carter on Jays
Blue Jays right fielder Joe Carter says he briefly had second thoughts after he signed a multiyear contract to remain in Toronto last year.
"We lost a lot of free agents off last year's club," he said. "Important guys, too -- guys like Jimmy Key and David Cone. I was really the only one that signed, and I was looking around and starting to wonder if I had made a mistake."
Of course, he can say that now. The Blue Jays rebuilt their roster in a hurry and returned to the postseason to defend their American League pennant.
"Pat Gillick and Paul Beeston had a plan," Carter said. "They lost Jimmy Key and David Cone, but then they went out and got Dave Stewart and Paul Molitor. . . . Management here did what it had to do to keep a winner in this city. Our pitching might not be quite as strong as it was, but we've bolstered our offense with guys like Molitor and Rickey Henderson.
Down on the farm
This is the second straight time the Phillies have played in the World Series against a city that once was home for their Triple-A farm team. Toronto Maple Leafs were the Phillies top farm club from 1948-50. The affiliation shifted to the Baltimore Orioles (who faced the Phillies in the 1983 Series) for the 1951-53 seasons.