M’S Best Move Came Off The Playing Field
Machiavellian move? That’s how someone described the Mariners’ machinations that made Bob Wolcott eligible to start Game 1 of the ALCS, though it was something less devious than that.
One more time: Teams had to declare their postseason rosters of 25 before Sept. 1, plus players on the disabled list - which in the M’s case included pitcher Greg Hibbard and first baseman Greg Pirkl. Teams are also allowed to change their rosters between series, but only with eligible players - unless there’s an injury. Then, a pitcher can only be swapped with a pitcher.
So Seattle deleted outfielder Warren Newson, added the still-injured Hibbard and then replaced him with Wolcott, who was taken off the 25-man roster just before the Sept. 1 deadline.
“They were within the rules,” said Indians manager Mike Hargrove. “Had we been in their place, we’d have done the same thing.”
Kids, don’t try this at home
Pitching coach Bobby Cuellar had a theory why the Indians had trouble putting together a rally against Wolcott - and it had to do with him walking the bases loaded to start the game.
“When you throw a lot of balls early in the game, the hitters don’t get a chance to get a feel,” said Cuellar. “He’s up and down and all around and they can’t be looking for certain pitches because he’s not in one area all the time.”
And as for Wolcott’s case of nerves?
“We’re human beings,” Cuellar shrugged. “He’s 22 and facing the Cleveland Indians and you’d expect him to be nervous. You’d just expect him to get over it sooner than he did.”
You can’t go home, again
Cleveland leadoff hitter Kenny Lofton reached base all five times he batted - collecting three hits, including a triple, and walking twice. Amazingly, he never scored, as the Tribe stranded 12 runners - one short of an ALCS record.
The Indians’ Game 2 starter, Orel Hershiser, was both the NLCS and World Series MVP for the Dodgers in 1988. In the NLCS, he started three games and saved another - prompting someone to ask if he had a sense of deja vu watching Seattle’s Randy Johnson come on in relief in Game 5 of the Division Series. “That’s the second time I’ve heard that question,” Hershiser said drolly.
Salkeld and Bob Wells.
Wolcott was a second-round pick of Seattle’s in 1992 and was signed by former scout Cliff Pastornicky, batting coach of the 1995 Spokane Indians.
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