Davey Johnson considers Orel Hershiser a friend--they both live in Orlando in the off-season and belong to the same golf club--but that didn't stop the Oriole manager from accusing the Indian right-hander of cheating, sparking a mini-controversy at Jacobs Field on Sunday.
"I know from my experience that Orel likes to put water on the back of his neck," Johnson said. "He prefers to have the ball moist as opposed to dry, and he will get water wherever he can get it."
Hershiser, who threw seven shutout innings in Cleveland's 2-1 Game 3 victory Saturday, wiped his pitching hand on the back of his neck often in the early innings, and Johnson complained to umpire John Hirschbeck.
"He was also putting his fingers in his mouth and going right to the ball, and that's illegal," Johnson said. "I wanted to point it out to them, so at least they were thinking about it."
Hershiser's sinker can be nasty, but is it really a spitball? Indian Manager Mike Hargrove says no, but teammate Chad Ogea, Cleveland's Game 5 starter, didn't exactly douse the flames of intrigue.
"He cheats, and everybody else does," Ogea said. "Why not? He showed me how to cheat, but he said I can't do it until I'm about 35. So if I stay around that long, I get the privilege to cheat."
Ogea later told a team official his comments were tongue-in-cheek, but Hargrove didn't seem to mind the speculation, either way.
"If they're thinking he [throws a spitball], then they obviously aren't thinking very hard about hitting him," Hargrove said. "Don't forget, I played with [renowned spitball artist] Gaylord Perry."
BALTIMORE'S SCOTT KAMIENIECKI (10-6, 4.01 ERA) vs. CLEVELAND'S CHAD OGEA (8-9, 4.99 ERA)
Site--Jacobs Field, Cleveland, 5 p.m.
* Update--Kamieniecki, the Orioles' No. 4 starter, did not pitch in the division series against the Seattle Mariners, but when left-hander Jimmy Key struggled in Game 2 of the AL championship series, Manager Davey Johnson decided to replace Key in the rotation with Kamieniecki. The right-hander has not started since Sept. 24, a span covering 19 days, but Kamieniecki's three hitless innings of relief in Game 2 Thursday served as a tuneup. "That helped take some of the rust off," Kamieniecki said. Ogea struggled early in his Game 1 start, giving up a leadoff homer to Brady Anderson and a two-run homer to Roberto Alomar in the third inning of a 3-0 loss, but he wound up going six innings, giving up only six hits. "I think the bigger the game, the better I pitch because you become more focused," Ogea said. "I like pitching these games better than the regular season."
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SERIES AT A GLANCE
(Indians lead series, 3-1)
* Game 1: Baltimore 3, Cleveland 0
* Game 2: Cleveland 5, Baltimore 4
* Game 3: Cleveland 2, Baltimore 1 (12)
* Game 4: Cleveland 8, Baltimore 7
* Game 5: Today at Cleveland, 5 p.m.
* Game 6: Wednesday at Baltimore, 1:15 p.m.*
* Game 7: Thursday at Baltimore, 5:15 p.m.*