Leyland takes left-right title cut Marlins manager adjusts order in Game 7; Cuban mom of Hernandez arrives

THE BALTIMORE SUN

MIAMI -- Anticipating heavy use of the Cleveland Indians' bullpen last night, Florida Marlins manager Jim Leyland alternated left-handed and right-handed hitters throughout most of his lineup. And for the first time, Bobby Bonilla was dropped from the cleanup spot, batting sixth between right-handed hitters Moises Alou and Charles Johnson.

"In Game 7, everybody's going to use every pitcher they have," said Leyland, who went left-right except for Edgar Renteria and Gary Sheffield batting second and third. "I tried to stay away from a situation where you could get too right and too left for guys."

The move also was influenced by Bonilla's slump. Limited by a strained hamstring, the former Oriole was batting .167 (4-for-24) with two RBIs and three strikeouts before last night. He also had grounded into three double plays.

"I think he's trying to lift the ball a little bit too much right now, probably because of the leg," Leyland said. "He hit into a couple double plays and I think he's conscious of it. So, get him down and hopefully get him away from that."

Darren Daulton, hitting .467 (7-for-15) with a home run in the Series, batted fourth. "I finally figured it out about 3 o'clock this morning," Leyland said.

No start for Roberts

Bip Roberts, who turns 34 today, was out of the lineup after leaving Game 6 because of flu-like symptoms, depriving the Indians of a natural leadoff hitter. Shortstop Omar Vizquel, who in the fifth inning last night became the ninth player in World Series history to steal two bases in an inning, took Roberts' place atop the order.

Indians manager Mike Hargrove said Roberts was "no better, no worse" than Saturday night.

"I just didn't want to take the chance of Bip having to come out in the second or third inning and wasting a player," Hargrove said.

Sorry, Charlie

Charlie Nagy was disappointed not to start Game 7 for the Indians, losing the assignment to rookie Jaret Wright, but he arrived ready to help any way he could. That was the attitude Hargrove expected from his right-hander, who was 0-1 with a 5.16 ERA in four postseason starts. He had walked 15 in 22 2/3 innings.

"He took it well," Hargrove said. "It was a very difficult decision, and a very difficult thing to talk to anybody about who has any pride in their abilities. This is not a slap in Charlie's face or a comment that we don't have confidence in Charlie. It's just the way we decided to go, and that's the way he took it. Bottom line, I felt that Jaret Wright, on the 26th of October, 1997, gave us a better chance to win than Charlie Nagy."

Wright, at 21 years, 9 months and 27 days of age, was the second-youngest pitcher to start Game 7 in a World Series. Kansas City's Bret Saberhagen was 21 years, 6 months, 16 days when he shut out St. Louis in the 1985 Series.

Wright's start was the fifth for a rookie in this Series, a total exceeded only in the 1912 classic between the Giants and Red Sox, when seven starts were made by first-year players.

Expanded enthusiasm

First baseman Jeff Conine, the last original Marlin on the roster, said the perception of expansion teams probably has changed with Florida's World Series run in only its fifth year of existence. He also admitted his club and the Colorado Rockies aren't "the norm as far as history shows."

What does this mean for baseball's two newest teams, Tampa Bay and Arizona, which begin play next season?

"I think with both situations, with the fan interest and the ownership that they have, they're going to win quickly. They're going to want to win quickly," Conine said.

"Any player that I've talked to is excited about the prospect of playing at either of those places."

Conine said he feared baseball's future in Miami after the strike that canceled the 1994 World Series. The Marlins were less than 2 years old.

"We hadn't really given it a chance to take hold here in South Florida," he said. "We didn't have the benefits of the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs, who have been around so long and built such a great fan base. But I think they've come back well here."

A tragic memory

Reflecting on his tenure with the Indians, Hargrove admitted the spring training boating accident in 1993 that killed pitchers Steve Olin and Tim Crews "probably stunted my growth as a manager."

"I think I became too concerned with making the players feel good and feel good about themselves, trying to get us back on track. And maybe I felt that players were a lot more fragile than they are mentally, and it took me a while to get out of that," he said.

"It's an experience that I went through that was a very difficult period, and it's become a very private, personal moment now."

Anderson keeps lofty rating

Brian Anderson's success in the postseason since being added to Cleveland's roster for the American League Championship Series hasn't changed how the left-hander is viewed within the organization. Anderson, with a win and a save in the postseason, and only two earned runs allowed in 9 2/3 innings before last night, always had been held in high esteem.

"We view, and always have viewed, Brian as a starter," Hargrove said. "Any time you see a kid come in and do well, especially in a pressure situation such as the World Series, it raises your confidence level in that individual. But does it make us look at him any differently for 1998? No, not really. We've looked at Brian as one of our guys for a while."

Hernandez's mom arrives

Florida pitcher Livan Hernandez's mother, Miriam Carreras, obtained a six-month visa and arrived from Cuba for a reunion with her son before last night's game.

Dressed all in white, Carreras waved a teal Marlins cap as the crowd at Customs at Miami International Airport erupted in applause upon her arrival.

She arrived at Pro Player Stadium in a white stretch limousine and was escorted to the suite of Marlins president Don Smiley, where she was reunited with her son for about 30 minutes.

"It was just one of those incredible moments in sports and life combined," Jeb Bush, Republican candidate for governor, told the Associated Press.

"I am very happy to be here with my son and to watch this last game," Carreras said in a statement. "I want to give thanks to the Lord for making this possible."

Thome sides with umps

Don't include Indians first baseman Jim Thome among the players complaining about the inconsistent strike zones in the postseason. He has no beef, just a team-leading 16 strikeouts before last night.

"To be honest, here in the World Series, I think the strike zone has been very good. Personally, I haven't had any complaints at all," said Thome, who was batting .208 (11-for-53) in the postseason. "When Hernandez faced the Braves [in Game 6 of " the NLCS], you heard about the big strike zone with Eric Gregg. I haven't seen much of a difference all year long. I'm the guy that's seen the most pitches in baseball -- I take a lot of pitches -- and I think the umpiring has been very, very, good."

Around the horn

Cleveland reliever Paul Assenmacher increased his postseason record to 14 appearances last night. A third-inning walk gave the teams 69 for the Series, eclipsing the mark of the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Hargrove turned 48 yesterday, marking the seventh time a manager has celebrated his birthday during the World Series. Before last night, Cleveland's Matt Williams had scored eight runs, tying the record for a seven-game Series. Most recently, Lou Brock scored eight for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1967 Series. Before last night, the teams had combined for 76 runs (Cleveland 42, Florida 34), six shy of the World Series record set in 1960 by the Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates. Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda threw out the first pitch, and Mary Chapin Carpenter performed the national anthem.

Pub Date: 10/27/97

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