Hours before game time, outfielder Eric Davis' weekly chemotherapy appointment was moved up from today to immediately after Game 2 of the American League Championship Series last night.
Orioles spokesman John Maroon said the team, Davis and the doctor supervising the treatment agreed to the schedule change "so hopefully [Davis] can go with us to Cleveland" this morning. Davis "can spend the day resting" in Cleveland once the team arrives early this afternoon, Maroon said.
"We're just trying to make things fit," manager Davey Johnson said of Davis, who started in right field last night, played the whole game and singled in five at-bats. "It's a 4: 07 [start] on Saturday, so we'll have to see how he feels."
Johnson wants Davis available for Game 3 because he likes the matchup with Indians pitcher Orel Hershiser, as opposed to Game 4 starter Jaret Wright. And he prefers the stronger defensive skills of Davis or Jeffrey Hammonds in the spacious right field of Jacobs Field.
Davis has said the two-hour, 10-minute treatments sap his energy and sometimes leave him feeling nauseated. Last week, he received a treatment on Friday afternoon hours after a flight back from Seattle. The next morning he felt too exhausted to start Game 3 of the AL Division Series against the Seattle Mariners.
Johnson said he became concerned about Davis during Tuesday's workout at Camden Yards.
"Either it's all the interviews he's doing or whatever. He was some kind of exhausted. He's been on 'Nightline,' byline and every line," Johnson said.
"I just want him to be relaxed. I hope he'll have enough time to relax to be able to perform at his level. That's why I didn't play him [Wednesday]. With chemo, the operation and losing weight and everything else he's had to deal with, it's been absolutely amazing."
Davis was scheduled to go directly from Camden Yards after last night's game to the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center on North Broadway to receive the 11th of 18 treatments. The treatments began in early July, a month after doctors at Hopkins removed a malignant tumor and about a third of Davis' colon.
Hargrove pulls Thome
Seemingly taking a page from Johnson's book, Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove started right-handed-hitting Kevin Seitzer at first base against Orioles left-hander Jimmy Key. That put left-handed-hitting Jim Thome on the bench, removing his career-high 40 home runs from the lineup.
Seitzer appeared in 64 games during the regular season, batting .268 with two homers. He was 1-for-3 against Key this year, and 14-for-57 (.246) lifetime. Thome was 0-for-1 with a walk and an RBI against Key this year, and 1-for-4 (.250) in his career.
"I've said all along, even during the New York series when Jim didn't play against David Wells but did against [Andy] Pettitte, that there are certain left-handed pitchers who I don't feel Jim matches up well with. Jimmy Key is one of those guys," Hargrove said.
"This isn't something that's brand-new for us to do. Kevin's a lifetime .300 hitter. He's a professional hitter and I think he has a better chance to be effective against Key than Thome does."
Seitzer was 0-for-2 with a strikeout against Key and walked in one appearance against Scott Kamieniecki. Thome pinch hit for Seitzer in the eighth and walked, setting up Marquis Grissom's game-winning, three-run homer off Armando Benitez.
Rhodes another Koufax?
One of the most interesting subjects for the out-of-town media is Arthur Rhodes, who continues to flourish as a reliever after never finding his niche in the rotation.
"I think sometimes a young pitcher takes awhile to come into his own," Johnson said.
The Orioles manager has found that to be true especially of hard-throwing left-headers.
"Look at Sandy Koufax. He didn't come into his own until he was about 28 years old," Johnson said. "Arthur Rhodes is a hard thrower, kind of like Sandy, with a hard breaking ball and a changeup. He's learned how to pitch a little bit.
"His command is much better than it was when I first saw him two springs ago. He's much more confident. I just think it's the maturation process along with success out on the field," Johnson said of Rhodes, who continues to receive treatment for a strained muscle near his elbow. "Now, I think he could possibly start as well as relieve, although he's too valuable to me out of the 'pen to think about starting him."
Then there's setup man Benitez, whose willingness to use his slider at any time in the count has enabled him to turn the corner, as well.
"Armando, last year, hurt himself trying to overthrow his slider," Johnson said. "He worked a lot over the winter with [scout] Carlos Bernhardt down in the Dominican and learned not to overthrow the slider, and to throw it early or late in the count. I think that's important. He's throwing a lot of strikes for a power pitcher. He's gotten better and better."
Hammonds, who has been bothered for most of the second half of the season by a strained left Achilles', wasn't in the lineup again last night, but Johnson said he wouldn't hesitate to use him.
"He's healthier. He's running better," Johnson said.
Johnson had Hammonds pinch hit for Mike Bordick in the ninth inning last night. Hammonds drew a walk, then was forced out at second base on Brady Anderson's weak grounder to short.
Hammonds' time is limited more because the Indians are starting four right-handers in this series.
"It's a chance for him to rest up," Johnson said.
Show me the money
Initial projections that the postseason could bring the club an additional $9 million in revenues have been tempered given the brevity of the Division Series and the redistribution of some of the money to revenue-sharing.
Under the current formula for distribution of playoff revenues, clubs benefit from a protracted series since the players' pool is drawn from the first three games of the Division Series and the first four games of the League Championship Series and the World Series.
When the Division Series against the Mariners lasted only four games, the Orioles took a hit.
Still to be determined is whether the Executive Council will allow some revenues to be offset by expenses incurred during the postseason. During the regular season no such allowance is made because all teams theoretically share the same burden. However, no dispensation has yet been made for teams with additional expenses.
Joe Foss, the Orioles' vice chairman for business and finance, said revenue projections for the postseason already have been scaled back by $1.8 million.
The $9 million projection was based upon the Orioles playing the maximum 19 postseason games.
A Vizquel booster
His name may not be the first to jump out at you in the Cleveland lineup, but shortstop Omar Vizquel brought a scorching bat into the ALCS. Hitting second, he went 9-for-18 with a Division Series-record nine steals against New York.
Hargrove already was an avid booster of Vizquel's even before the ALCS heroics.
"Omar is one of the leaders of our ballclub," he said. "For the most part, he's a very quiet leader. He's not very vocal. Omar's style of play is probably what spurs guys on as much as anything, the way he does what he does.
"He bare-hands ground balls, and his daring on the bases scares the heck out of me."
Keeping him off the bases was a big key to the Orioles' Game 1 win. Vizquel went 0-for-4 and struck out twice. Closer Randy Myers got him looking to end the game.
Vizquel was hit by a pitch last night -- one of three by Key in the first inning -- and Manny Ramirez followed with a home run. He was robbed of a hit in the second inning on a diving catch by left fielder B. J. Surhoff, walked in the fourth and was stranded, and struck out in the seventh and ninth.
Orioles general manager Pat Gillick says second baseman Roberto Alomar may be recovered more from his various physical ailments than the psychological scars left by last year's September confrontation with umpire John Hirschbeck and the residual resentment he experiences around the league.
"He might be 100 percent physically; he's not 100 percent mentally," Gillick said.
Gillick acknowledged that Alomar is among those most aware of what goes on around him and that he is still sensitive to the hostile reception he receives in many cities. Interestingly, Hirschbeck is part of the six-man crew assigned to the ALCS. Alomar and Hirschbeck, who made a public peace shaking hands at the beginning of a game in April, spoke behind second base before Game 1.
Alomar has endured the first significant stretch of injuries in his career this season and also had a dispute with Johnson over his failure to appear at an exhibition game in Rochester. Alomar was fined $10,500 then missed most of August and September with a right groin pull.
"Robbie came into the season with an ankle problem, then hurt his shoulder and had a groin [pull]," Gillick said. "For the time he's played, he's actually had a pretty good year."
Catching some praise
After Wednesday's game, Cleveland's David Justice referred to Orioles catcher Lenny Webster as "the best game-caller in the majors."
Said Johnson: "Lenny's done an absolute great job from Day One. He's got the confidence of everybody he catches. And not to take away from Chris Hoiles, he's done an outstanding job also. I think we've got a pretty good tandem."
Hargrove keeps faith
Hargrove said yesterday that he wasn't overly concerned about Orioles pitchers being "locked in," after Scott Erickson continued a postseason trend of strong performances by suffocating his offense over eight innings in Game 1.
"For that to be a major concern, it's going to have to be more than just the first game," he said.
He wasn't given a reason to fret early last night. Key threw 33 pitches in the first inning, set a postseason record by hitting three batters and allowed two runs.
Around the horn
Sports broadcaster and Orioles investor Jim McKay threw out the first ball. The Orioles haven't had much success at Jacobs Field, posting a 6-15 record there. Key's one-inning effort tied the record for hit batsmen in an entire championship series set by Detroit's Frank Tanana in 1987. Orioles Hall of Fame broadcaster Chuck Thompson will appear at the Babe Ruth Museum at noon tomorrow. The Indians' loss Wednesday night was their fifth straight in a Game 1, all five of them on the road.
Potential pitching matchups for the Orioles-Indians series:
Game 3, at Cle., 4: 15 p.m. tomorrow
O's: Mike Mussina (15-8, 3.20)
Cle.: Orel Hershiser (14-6, 4.47)
Game 4, at Cleveland, 7: 30 p.m. Sunday
O's: Scott Erickson (*1-0, .000)
Cle.: Jaret Wright (8-3, 4.38)
Game 5, at Cleveland, 8: 11 p.m. Monday
O's: S. Kamieniecki (10-6, 4.01)
Cle.: Chad Ogea (*0-1, 4.50)
Game 6, at Baltimore, 4: 15 p.m. Wed.
O's: Jimmy Key (*0-0, 4.50)
Cle.: Charles Nagy (*0-0, 6.35)
Game 7, at Baltimore, 8: 15 p.m. Thurs.
O's: Mussina; Cle.: Hershiser
* ALCS stats
O's postseason shutouts
Wednesday's Game 1 shutout by Scott Erickson and Randy Myers was the 10th by the Orioles in postseason play:
Year, Series, Gm., Opponent, Score, O's pitchers
1966, WS, 2, L.A., 6-0, Palmer
1966, WS, 3, L.A., 1-0, Bunker
1966, WS, 4, L.A., 1-0, McNally
1969, ALCS, 2, Minn., 1-0 (11 inn.), McNally
1973, ALCS, 1, Oak., 6-0, Palmer
1979, ALCS, 4, Calif., 8-0, McGregor
1983, ALCS, 2, Chi., 4-0, Boddicker
1983, ALCS, 4, Chi., 3-0 (10 inn.), Davis, T. Martinez
1983, WS, 5, Phil., 5-0, McGregor
1997, ALCS, 1, Cle., 3-0, Erickson, Myers
Pub Date: 10/10/97