Hernandez, 22, who had displayed the calm of a seasoned veteran in winning the deciding sixth game of the National League Championship Series over the Atlanta Braves, gained a victory and lost his composure last night.
Replaced by manager Jim Leyland with two outs in the sixth and two runners on base, the Cuban native removed his cap and glove and fired them against a dugout wall, showing better velocity than at any time on the mound. He thrust his leg in the general direction of a water cooler, then stormed through a set of doors leading to the clubhouse, followed by pitching coach Larrey Rothschild and leaving behind a trail of destruction.
Televisions cameras caught some of the mess, medical supplies from a trainer's kit scattered on the floor. And this guy was the winning pitcher.
The Marlins treated the largest crowd ever to watch baseball at Pro Player Stadium to a 7-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians. Hernandez supplied 5 2/3 innings, and the entertainment.
"I did get a little angry," he said, through an interpreter. "I got behind a few batters and showed emotion."
Hernandez wasn't trying to show up his manager, though. "I was angry with myself," he said.
Coming off a 15-strikeout performance against the Braves that tied Mike Mussina's LCS record, Hernandez became the youngest pitcher to start the opening game of a World Series since the Cincinnati Reds' Gary Nolan, on Oct. 10, 1970, vs. the Orioles. By the end, he had become the youngest to start and win Game 1, topping the Boston Red Sox's Smokey Joe Wood, who was four months older when he defeated the New York Giants on Oct. 8, 1912.
Apparently, that didn't mean a whole lot to Hernandez, who is in the Marlins' postseason rotation only because of a torn rotator cuff suffered by Alex Fernandez.
He allowed an RBI single to David Justice in the first inning, and bases-empty home runs to Manny Ramirez in the fifth and Jim Thome in the sixth. Cleveland's eight hits equaled the total given up by Hernandez in his three previous postseason appearances.
With the Marlins ahead 7-3 and Bip Roberts coming up with two on and two out in the sixth, Leyland emerged from the dugout and signaled for left-hander Dennis Cook. Roberts had doubled twice and grounded out sharply.
"I wasn't going to let [Hernandez] see him again," Leyland said. "I thought that would be unfair to Livan and I wasn't going to do that to him."
As for the outburst, Leyland said, "I like that. I have no problem with that as long as it's for the right reason. And I think it was."
Pub Date: 10/19/97