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BASEBALL PLAYOFFS | CLEVELAND INDIANS VS. NEW YORK
YANKEES REPORT : NOTES

It's Only an Issue if Series Goes to Seventh Game

October 13, 1998|BILL PLASCHKE

The big question around Yankee Stadium is, who will the Yankees pitch if they lose tonight and the series goes to a seventh game?

Would they stick with their playoff rotation and send out Andy Pettitte, who was timidly hammered in Game 3 and has a 5.40 earned-run average in the postseason? Or would they go with Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez on three days' rest after his brilliant seven shutout innings in Game 4?

The big answer around Yankee Stadium is, there will be no seventh game.

"With David Cone going for us [in Game 6], I'm really not that worried about it," said David Wells, who earlier said he could go five innings on two days' rest if needed.

Said Manager Joe Torre: "I'm not even going to talk about the subject."

The reason, of course, is that Torre doesn't want to needlessly hurt Pettitte's feelings unless absolutely necessary. If there is a Game 7, expect Hernandez to start.

For the Indians, the decision is easy, as Bartolo Colon could bring in his 2-0 postseason record on four days' rest.

*

Cone and Torre said this past week has reminded all baseball people of one unalienable truth.

While the divisional series is something new, and the World Series is something traditional, nothing in the sport is as hard-fought as the league championship series.

"These are dogfights," Cone said. "You know the other team really well. You have played them all year. They're just dogfights."

Said Torre: "I don't think the anxiety is . . . as much in the World Series as it is now. This series [is] very tense because you are so close. We feel the pressure getting to the series as opposed to being in the series."

*

New York Yankee slugger Darryl Strawberry will have to watch Game 6 from his New York hospital room as he recovers from colon cancer surgery.

"His spirits are good, he's gaining strength, he has no fever, and his blood counts are normal," a statement from Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center said. "He is not yet able to eat normally and therefore will remain in the hospital for several more days."

TODAY'S PITCHERS

INDIANS' CHARLES NAGY

(15-10, 5.22)

vs.

YANKEES' DAVID CONE

(20-7, 3.55)

Site-Yankee Stadium

Time--5 p.m., NBC

* Update--This is a matchup worthy of the pennant clinching atmosphere that will pervade Yankee Stadium. Nagy has dominated the Yankees there twice in the last two weeks. He held them to one run in eight innings in the final week of the regular season, and one run in 6 2/3 innings in Game 2 of this series. In that same game, Cone held the Indians to one run in eight innings.

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