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Baseball Playoffs | CLEVELAND VS. NEW YORK REPORT

Notes

October 14, 1998|BILL PLASCHKE

Mike Hargrove took the blame Tuesday for the Game 5 benching of David Justice, emphasizing that Justice did not ask to be scratched from the lineup.

"At no time did Justice beg out of the lineup, or ask to be taken out, or say he didn't want to play," said Hargrove, the Cleveland Indian manager. "It was my decision."

This, of course, gives Hargrove sole possession of a hot seat he previously shared with Justice.

How could he possibly bench one of his best pressure hitters for a rookie--Richie Sexson--who still doesn't have a career postseason hit?

"David had been struggling against left-handed pitching, and David Wells is one of the best left-handers in the game," Hargrove said. "I just felt that Sexson would have a better chance."

During the regular season, the left-handed-hitting Justice batted .232 against left-handers with three home runs and 21 runs batted in.

However, Sexson's numbers weren't that much better, as he hit .241 against lefties with three homers and seven RBIs in about one-third as many at-bats.

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