CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians starter Chad Ogea made news before Game 4 by bluntly stating that Orel Hershiser cheats, a point Orioles manager Davey Johnson had raised on Saturday while complaining to umpires that the pitcher was moistening the ball by rubbing the back of his neck and going to his mouth.
Ogea stunned a media gathering by saying, "I've known Orel for three years. He cheats. And just about everybody else does. Why not? He showed me how to cheat but said I couldn't use it until I was 35."
Yesterday, Indians manager Mike Hargrove had the quote relayed to him by reporters -- the first time he had heard Ogea's comments. He shook his head, then attempted a little damage control.
"Do I agree with his statement that everybody cheats? No," he said. "Chad Ogea doesn't cheat any more than Orel Hershiser cheats. That's as honest as I can be with you. I honestly do not believe they cheat."
Hargrove addressed another question, then came back to the previous topic without prompting.
"Let me say something else about the remark Chad made about cheating," he said. "Chad Ogea's not stupid. So, if Chad Ogea was cheating, he sure wouldn't have said anything."
As Hargrove left the podium and headed for the door, he muttered, "I'll have to stuff a sock in his mouth."
Hammonds sits, waits
Cleveland's string of right-handed starters and Johnson's insistence on getting Geronimo Berroa's bat in the lineup conspired again to keep Jeffrey Hammonds on the bench.
Hammonds played sparingly down the stretch because of a strained left Achilles' tendon and a pronounced slump but made three starts in the Division Series because of Seattle's left-handed rotation, going 1-for-10. His only hit was a two-run double in the ninth inning of Game 3.
Hammonds, who didn't bat last night, is 0-for-2 with a walk in the ALCS. Berroa, who started again in right field, was 3-for-12 with an RBI before his two-run single in the third inning.
"I'm basically going with my best lineup," Johnson said. "I played him [Hammonds] a lot in the Division Series against left-handed pitching. I've been picking and choosing, mixing and matching. He's been a big part of our ballclub, but tough right-handers give him a problem."
Johnson said this probably is the healthiest Hammonds has been all year. "He hasn't been able to go two or three days in a row."
He has, however, been able to give the Orioles some power, hitting a career-high 21 home runs. His previous high was nine last season.
Keeping his head in game
The Indians received a brief scare before Game 5 when outfielder Brian Giles was hit in the forehead by a ball during batting practice.
It sounds worse than it actually was, considering that Giles remained in the lineup and even met with reporters. He walked in smiling, then explained that the ball had deflected off the glove of Marquis Grissom before striking him.
"I'm OK," he said. "There wasn't any blood, but the [league] president's name is on my forehead. I'll be all right."
Giles continues to start against right-handed pitching because David Justice is restricted to being the designated hitter due to a knee injury. He was hitless in the ALCS until Sunday, when he doubled twice off Scott Erickson, making him 2-for-11 (.182) with no RBIs. Including the Division Series, Giles was batting .167 (3-for-18) with no RBIs in the postseason before last night.
"A lot of it has to do with your adrenalin in the postseason," he said. "Maybe I was a little anxious up there. [Sunday] night, I did kind of relax up there and was able to swing at better pitches. I was able to narrow it down and get the fat part of the bat on the ball."
Giles was 1-for-2 last night, with a double off Roberto Alomar's glove.
Baines steadying influence
Harold Baines came into last night batting .364 (4-for-11) in the ALCS, including a two-run homer off Indians rookie Jaret Wright in Game 4. Limited to one start in the Division Series because of Seattle's left-handed rotation -- he homered off former Oriole Jamie Moyer -- Baines has been in the lineup for every game against Cleveland. He went 1-for-3 last night.
"It's always good to have a guy like Baines in your clubhouse," said Johnson, "a guy who's been around and knows how to rise to the occasion when things aren't going your way."
Bip Roberts tested his strained left knee yesterday, said it felt good enough to play and was put atop the Indians' batting order.
Roberts, acquired in a trade with Kansas City for the September stretch drive, left Game 4 after five innings because of the injury. He showed no signs of being slowed last night, lining a double to left field in the first inning.
"Once we talked to the trainers and talked to Bip himself, he said he was ready to go," Hargrove said.
Last but not least
Hargrove had a hunch he'd need an 11th pitcher in this series, so he added left-hander Brian Anderson, a move that barely caused a ripple on the transaction wire. Since then, Anderson has been making waves, allowing only one earned run and striking out five in 5 1/3 innings.
After throwing two shutout innings in Game 1, he replaced Wright to begin the fourth Sunday and held the Orioles to one hit -- a Brady Anderson single -- in 3 1/3 innings. Anderson stole second, and after Roberto Alomar struck out, Hargrove brought in right-hander Jeff Juden. Berroa singled off the left-field wall, the run charged to Anderson.
Asked how it feels to contribute in this series after spending most of the year at Triple-A Buffalo, Anderson said, "It's fantastic. It kind of bummed me out not to be on the Division Series roster. I remember having a conversation with [infielder] Jeff Manto. He told me to be focused and do my job every day. His words turned out to be prophetic. I hadn't seen a hitter in a long time and I think my work helped me to be ready."
Anderson, 25, lost out on the fifth starter's job in spring training, giving up 15 runs in two starts, and was shuffled off to Buffalo. He spent some time on the disabled list with a sore shoulder after being recalled, and ended the season 4-2 with a 4.69 ERA in eight starts with the Indians.
"Coming into this year, I wanted it to be a breakout-type year for me," he said. "I didn't have a good spring training and had some problems, but when I was healthy, I thought I threw the ball well. To have a chance in the postseason means a lot because it shows they have faith in me."
Hargrove said everyone in his bullpen would be available last night except Anderson.
Laying down on job
Reliever Arthur Rhodes never expected to get involved in a game of Twister with Cleveland's Justice Sunday night, but that's how it looked as the two players became tangled at the plate on a wild pitch in the fifth inning.
Rhodes couldn't free himself right away after the throw from catcher Lenny Webster ricocheted off Justice and rolled toward the backstop. By the time he got to the ball and made an awkward throw to third baseman Cal Ripken covering, Sandy Alomar was able to slide across for a 7-5 lead.
"I think he was leaning on me," Rhodes said. "When I tried to get up and pick up the ball, that was it."
Umpire Durwood Merrill was busy looking for the ball, which he pointed to, and didn't notice the pile-up.
"We had a play to get the second runner if I had gotten up quick enough and Justice had gotten off me," Rhodes said.
Asked if he was shocked that both he and Alomar scored on the play, Justice said, "I was surprised, but it was great. I still can't completely believe that I went [from third]. Looking back afterward, I wouldn't felt pretty stupid if I didn't make it."
For a player whose toughness has been questioned in the past, Justice did a pretty good job getting tangled with Rhodes and then Webster, giving Alomar time to come around from second.
Justice smiled when someone asked if he was a little slow getting up. Did he see Alomar coming?
"I felt his presence," said Justice, still smiling. "I didn't know what to do. I was just in disarray. I just fell back down."
The vocal crowds at Jacobs Field have provided an invaluable service to the Indians.
"Without a doubt, I think the crowd has been a huge factor for us," Hargrove said. "You go out there and the fans are yelling so loud you can't hear the guy standing two feet away from you."
They've been put through the emotional wringer. "We're not afraid to keep our fans on the edge of their seats," Anderson said of the Indians' three straight one-run wins.
Around the horn
The Indians haven't scored a run for Ogea in 19 1/3 postseason innings. The top two hitters in Cleveland's order were a combined 1-for-30 (.033) entering Game 5. Last night, Roberts and Vizquel went 3-for-10 with a double. Manny Ramirez reached base in his eighth consecutive plate appearance when he was hit by a pitch in the first inning. With three double plays last night, the Indians set an ALCS record with nine total. Before last night, all six Cleveland victories in the postseason were by two runs or fewer. The Indians had won three games in their final at-bat. Hargrove kept Jim Thome in the cleanup spot despite his .143 average (1-for-7) in the ALCS and .182 average (4-for-22) with one RBI in the postseason. Thome, who was 0-for-3, was lifted for pinch hitter Kevin Seitzer against Jimmy Key in the eighth. Seitzer struck out. Hargrove, when told that general manager John Hart said he had to manage more this season than in the past: "I don't know what the [heck] I've been doing the last four years." Johnson and Hargrove had complained about playing Game 3 in the afternoon, when the visibility at Jacobs Field was so poor because of the shadows. Johnson was asked what the twilight is like in Baltimore, when Game 6 will take place tomorrow. "It's not as bad as it is here, but it's bad."
Potential pitching matchups for the Orioles-Indians series:
Gm. 6, at Baltimore, 4: 15 p.m. tomorrow
O's: Mike Mussina (0-0, 1.29)
Cle.: Charles Nagy (0-0, 6.35)
Gm. 7, at Baltimore, 8: 15 p.m. Thurs.
O's: Scott Erickson (1-0, 4.26)
Cle.: Orel Hershiser (0-0, 0.00)
Note: All stats for ALCS
Pub Date: 10/14/97