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BASEBALL PLAYOFFS | ALCS NOTES

Neagle to Deal With Cold Facts

October 10, 2000|MIKE DiGIOVANNA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NEW YORK — Though Mariner right-hander Freddy Garcia is a second-year player and Yankee left-hander Denny Neagle is a 10-year veteran, tonight's Game 1 pitching matchup would appear to favor Seattle.

Garcia went 5-1 with a 3.20 earned-run average in six September starts and pitched very well against the Yankees in 1999, giving up only four earned runs and eight hits in 14 2/3 innings of two starts.

Neagle lost his last three starts of 2000, giving up 18 earned runs in 10 1/3 innings, and in his only start against Seattle, he was bombed for seven runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings of an 8-5 loss on Aug. 7. Neagle, who didn't appear in the division series, hasn't pitched since Sept. 27.

"The only thing I'm a little cautious about is the fact that sinker-ball pitchers, when they're a little strong, tend to lose their sinker," Yankee Manager Joe Torre said. "Denny needs to stay in a rhythm, and he can't try to rush or overthrow."

The weather cooled considerably in New York Monday, and temperatures are expected to be in the mid-40s for tonight's game. That won't bother Neagle, who grew up in Maryland and played college ball at Minnesota.

"I think we used snowballs instead of baseballs sometimes in college," Neagle said. "I would prefer to pitch in cold weather because I think pitchers have the advantage as far as hitters getting jammed and the vibration of the bat."

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Four victories by the Yankees and New York Mets, who play St. Louis in the National League championship series, would set up New York's first Subway Series since the Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1956 World Series.

"First, we have to get through two tough teams, but that would be unbelievable," Torre said. "It would be something you'd need a month's vacation to recover from."

If the Yankees advance to the World Series, Torre would have plenty of incentive against the Mets or the Cardinals.

"I've managed both teams," Torre said, "and I've been fired by both."

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With a rested bullpen after sweeping the division series over Chicago, Seattle Manager Lou Piniella will adjust his roster slightly for this round, going with 10 instead of 11 pitchers. Left-hander Jamie Moyer, who suffered a hairline fracture in his left kneecap when he was struck by a ball in a simulated game Saturday, was dropped, and Piniella will replace right-handed reliever Joel Pineiro with lefty Rob Ramsay to better combat New York's predominantly left-handed lineup. Speedy utility player Charles Gipson will also be added to the roster. . . . Torre might add right-handed reliever Jason Grimsley to the roster. . . . The umpiring crew for this series will include brothers John and Mark Hirschbeck.

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