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1 Cincinnati (Browning 14-13) at San Diego (Melendez 7-5), 10:35 p.m. West Standings Chicago 3-13 Minnesota 2-12 Player Thursday AB R H Pet. w Pet. GB New York 9 Baltimore Terry Pendleton No game 580 93 185 .3189 ESS Atlanta 92 67 .579 Detroit 10 Boston Los Angeles 92 67 .579 Hal Morris No game 465 71 148 .3182 Milwaukee San Diego 81 78 .509 9 Cleveland 11 Tony Gwynn No game 530 69 168 .3169 Willie McGee No game 489 65 153 .3128 Astros at Braves, ESPN, 7:30 p.m. Dodgers at Giants, ESPN, 10:30 p.m. Cincinnati 74 85 .465 If San Francisco 73 86 .459 19 Houston 64 95 .403 28 EDITOR: GREGNnOBLE, 369-1917 THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4, 1991 SECTION B TC NBA camps openingB-3 Bowman back at helmB-3 BaseballB n MSU dearedB-5 newel y iiismiu ita -4 "!iifirj3 Decision time in West The fax: Braves fans implore Giants to win 1 8iBfi!6 j. f , 1 if. Braves, Dodgers down to final three BY MIKE LOPRESTI Gannett News Service It has been a race of grit and glory in the National League West. Atlanta has won 19 of its last 26 games, Los Angeles 23 of its last 32. And now, with both tied for first with three games to go after an off-day Thursday, time has run out. It is the weekend of decision. "There is no breathing room," Los Angeles pitcher Bob Ojeda said. "Whoever wins this division," Atlanta's David Justice added, "will be able to say they earned it." "This," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said, "is (Please see WEST, Page B-3) The Giants would be happy to oblige. "We hate the Dodgers," Burkett said. Will Clark recalled the end of the 1989 season, when the Giants lost three in a row at Dodger Stadium and had to sit around the clubhouse waiting for the Reds to beat the Padres so the Giants could clinch the National League West. "I'll remember this quote until I die," Clark said. "Tommy Lasorda said, 'I don't want to watch anyone celebrate on this field.' That's how I feel." THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SAN FRANCISCO Atlanta fans have sent hundreds of faxes to the San Francisco Giants, encouraging them to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers this weekend and help the Braves' pennant chances. "Knock Lasorda oh his butt," read one message. "Destroy the Dodgers. The Braves need Ya'all's help," said another. Pitcher John Burkett reached into the stack on a clubhouse table and pulled dtt one fax that said: "Sweep those L.A. Slimfast wimps." Astros at Braves TODAY: Astros' Jeff Juden (0-1) vs. Braves' Steve Avery (17-8). SATURDAY: Mark Portugual (10-11) vs. John Smoltz (13-13). SUNDAY: Pete Harnisch (11-9) vs. Charlie Leibrandt (15-12). Dodgers at Giants TODAY: Dodgers' Ramon Martinez (17-12) vs. Giants' Bud Black (11-16). SATURDAY: Mike Morgan (14-9) vs. Trevor Wilson (12-11). SUNDAY: Undecided vs. Bryan Hickerson(2-1). Ramon Martinez: Dodgers' ace opposes Giants' Bud Black. Steve Avery: Braves' No. 2 man faces rookie Jeff Juden. eahawks - ' i Charlton accepts bullpen role in '92 if club gets new look 7r BY JOHN ERARDI The Cincinnati Enquirer Need somebody to run over a catcher? Somebody to send a message pitch to an opposing hitter who's stealing signals? Somebody to show that one should play hard, hurt and with chutzpah? Then Norm Charlton's your man. It is why the Reds' brass and his teammates love him. He's every bit as much the soul of the Reds as Jose Rijo, Tom Browning and Barry Larkin.' It's why you never hear Charlton's name mentioned in trade rumors. But you also never hear his like to grind it out And against Bengals, that's winning formula BY JACK BRENNAN The Cincinnati Enquirer Look out, world. The Bengals' rushing defense is making a statistical bid for mediocrity. Cincinnati has scaled the giddy heights of 19th place in the NFL in average yards allowed per game (127.8). In average yards allowed per rush (4.1), Che Bengals are tied for 15th. That's nosebleed level for this club. Linebackers Kevin Walker, Carl Zander and Alfred Williams all got good marks for their run play against Washington. The Redskins, with the top rush offense in the league, gained but 79 yards on their first 26 carries. That's playoff-quality run defense for any club. But yes, there's a big catch. Washington had 32 carries, not just 26, and used the last six to march 53 yards for the winning touchdown. '' That melt-away should insure Cincinnati's reputation as one of the league's worst run-stoppers. And Seattle, though ranked fourth in NFL passing offense, has the Bengals preparing to stop the run first in Sunday's game at Riverfront Stadium. Seattle went to the run in a big way in stomping Indianapolis last week, 31-3. Boomer Esiason, Bengals quarterback, is asking his defense to save him some clock time against the Seahawks. "I think the key will be how long (Seattle) can hold "onto the ball," Esiason said. "If they're effective (Please see BENGALS, Page B-5) V. j if lv "" rrn; Me. I'd been a starter my whole life until just two years ago." Yes, he knows he got the chance to start at the beginning of this season, and that his arm came up lame. But that's nothing new for a starting pitcher. "I got hurt because I strained something (early in the season) in a start against St. Louis," he said. "I made two more starts. If I had shut it down, missed a start or. two, I might still be in the rotation. I continued to pitch because we didn't have anybody else. In retrospect, I'd have done it the same way. It's my job . . . Not everybody here looks at it that way." Charlton accepted Piniella's rec-' ommendation about pitching in the bullpen in 1992. With one if. "If we do some things in the off-season to make this a better club," said Charlton. "If we're going to be a fourth- or fifth-place club, if we're not going to make any trades to get out of this rut we're in, then I don't want to pitch in the bullpen because, frankly, there's no money there." Charlton has no illusions. He knows he won't ascend to the closer's role while Rob Dibble's here. There'll be no ascensions like Dibble's this year. The '91 bullpen was set up for Dibble to emerge: Right-hander Ted Power had been acquired in the off-season. When Randy Myers sneezed, Piniella said Gesundheit and "Get me Dibble" in the same breath. Myers became name mentioned as being half of the solution to the Reds' dilemma of acquiring a third and fourth starter for the '92 rotation. This rankles Charlton. But you only know it if you ask. He hasn't capsized any canoes, hasn't stunk up the pen. He'll prepare this off-season to do the job that awaits him next season: left-handed set-up man and (very) , part-time closer. But Charlton wants you to know . something, Mr. Lou Piniella. He wants you to know something Reds fans, Bob Quinn and all you savants who don't think Norm Charlton has the arm of a starting pitcher. . He's not buying the company fine even though he's heard it from the manager, doctor, trainer and pitching coach. Says Charlton: "I've been told, -'We're putting you in the bullpen because we think it's best for you because we don't think your arm can handle starting.' " Propaganda, says Charlton. , "They put me in the bullpen because they know I can pitch there. They know I'll pitch and not (fuss). I got hurt and it gave 'em an easy out and they took it and I told 'em that. I haven't been hurt any more than most of our starters. "How many of our starters who were hurt wound up in the bullpen? . , The Associated PressAI Behrman ANOTHER GREAT PLAY FAKE: Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason jokingly tucks the ball under his shirt on a play at Spinney Field Thursday. Bengals fans gobble up tickets, ensure local TV the left-handed set-up man, Powers the right and surprise, surprise Dibble the closer. The tickets became available when the city erected 3,639 de Next year, Dibble's himself or the Reds are warmed-over gruel. mountable seats following the Why? Myers wilL likely be trad ed, and Charlton cant envision them sell that fast," said general manager Mike Brown. "It says something about the depth of interest in this team, given the fact we're going through a tough time. "I can remember back to-' the '70s, it wasn't this way;: When we'd have a bad stretch; particularly late in the season! you'd see a lot of empty seats The Bengals had feared the tickets wouldn't sell by 1 p.m. today the extended deadline by which all seats had to be sold to avoid a local TV blackout. The quick sales ensured that the Bengals will be televised locally (Channel 5) on Sunday for the 30th straight home game. "I was very pleased to see The Bengals aren't a hot team, but they're still a hot ticket. The club reported Thursday that approximately 1,500 remaining tickets for Sunday's Seattle game were sold within two hours after the 9 a.m. start of business. "Believe me," said business manager Bill Connelly, "that's a lot of tickets in two hours." himself getting a shot at closing Reds' home finale Wednesday. More than 2,000 of them had been sold conditionally as part of season ticket packages covering the last six home games. JACK BRENNAN Are we going to nave a left-handed closer with Rob and Ted as right-handed set-up men? No. It s not going to happen." r Elder tackles Moeller with strong defense l TENNIS: Girls sectorial resultsB-2. I FOOTBALL: Davrf Schutte's picksB-5. I GOLF: FairfielciurprisesB-5. . The Panther linebackers, who specialize in big plays, are seniors Matt Rauen and Keith Witsken, junior David Ginn and sophomore Kit Hoffman. Dave Becker, Josh Voss, Tom Ludwig and Matt Deters all seniors form an experienced and proficient secondary. "The key to their defense is how they're extremely good getting off the ball," Louder said. "When they come at you, it's a sellout. That's the way it should be done." The 4-1 Crusaders, also 1-0 in Greater Catholic League play, try to solve the Panther defense in a game that's special in rivalry and crucial in league and playoff outcomes. Elder will play at Moeller Oct. 25 in a non-league game, too. "It should be a big step forward to winning the league and, down the road, who gets in the playoffs," Klonne said. "This is probably the wrong year to play them twice." A few hundred tickets are available today at Moeller only, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. BY KEN ROBINSON Enquirer Contributor By now, the film of last Friday's Elder-La Salle game has entered circulation. . If you're affiliated with the Panther program and enjoy some serious defense, the performance gets two thumbs up. If you're a future Elder opponent, you're probably worried. Moeller coach Steve Klonne, whose No. 3 Crusaders encounter No. 2 Elder tonight at 8 p.m. at Elder Stadium (a.k.a. The Pit), viewed the grim footage and offered this review. "I think their defense is as good as we'll face all season. Massillon was strong, but Elder has better balance," Klonne said. La Salle coach Jim Louder added this critique on the Lancers' 38-3 loss. "Elder's defense is the best I've seen in the city," Louder said. "They're intense, united and have a lot of fun playing. We took an old-fashioned puss-pounding. " Elder's unit is characterized by major college-type size, speed, athleticism, a willingness v. .V to gamble anda high rate of success. The statistics are also intimidating. The 5-0 Panthers, with shutouts over Lakota and Withro, have spared their opponents just 21 total points. Yardage allowed averages out to 137 a game. "Some of the kids we knew would be starters, but they made the jump in ability on the field," Elder coach Tom Grippa explained. , Elder's three enormous junior linemen Nate Fecke, Tom, Rosenberger and Craig James have simply owned the line scrimmage. The trio averagesdimensions of 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds. "They'll all be Division I players," Grippa said. "They've been just destroying blocks." i 7ar5Jj.--r-, J IL. - The Cincinnati EnquirerJoanne Rim Elder defensive linemen Nate Fecke, Tom Rosenberger and Craig James are formidable, averaging 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds. 1. . l S 1 .A. r.