The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 19, 1996 · Page 21
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 21

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Saturday, October 19, 1996
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THE SALINA JOURNAL SPORTS SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19, 1996 03 T COMMENT T GOLF ROUNDUP inn Seattle not measuring stick KANSAS CITY, Mo. — You could draw one of two conclusions from the Chiefs' easy 34-16 victory over Seattle's Seahawks on Thursday night. 1. Coach Marty Schotten- heimer's Chiefs, re-engerized and recommitted after a 10-day layoff, displayed the Super Bowl form that many experts predicted they'd * have this season. 2. Coach Dennis Erickson's Sea- hawks, re-energized and recommitted after a 10- day layoff, displayed the Toilet Bowl form that many experts predicted they'd have this season. If you watched *• Seahawks defenders repeatedly jump offside in crucial situations, if you watched quarterback John Friesz repeatedly overthrow open receivers and hit open defensive linemen in the hands, if you watched running back Chris Warren repeatedly tiptoe to the line of scrimmage, then you know which conclusion to draw. You definitely know what I think. Someone in the Chiefs' organization should hijack the Sea- hawks' charter plane. Don't let the Seahags get out of town. They're the perfect practice dummies. That's what Thursday night was for the Chiefs — a televised, JASON WHITLOCK Kansas City Star late-night practice in full costume. The Seahawks dressed as clowns. The Chiefs played it straight. They took advantage of their final opportunity to address the problems that — heading into Thursday — seemed to be tearing apart their team. Coming off an embarrassing Monday night loss to the Steelers, a defeat that provoked star linebacker Derrick Thomas' post- game verbal tirade at offensive coordinator Paul Hackett, the Chiefs were in desperate need of an easy victory, a triumph with plenty of offensive fireworks, a one-sided conquering that would restore faith in Schottenheimer's and Carl Peterson's Super Bowl plan. The Seahawks were happy to oblige. Chiefs quarterback Steve Bono, his starting job in jeopardy, had his best game of the season. He threw for 194 yards, one touchdown and completed 17 of 26 passes. If not for a couple of drops, including one in the end zone by tight end Keith Cash, Bono would have had an outstanding game. Hackett called his best gam.e of the season. For the first time all year, Kansas City's offense mixed the run and pass effectively and appropriately-. The Chiefs ran 39 times and threw 26 times. There wasn't one offensive play call that made you wonder whether Hackett had knocked down a 12-pack just before kickoff. Protecting a sizable lead in the fourth quarter, Hackett tried a novel approach — at least in KC Els overcomes six-hole deficit The AssociatedPress Kansas City running back Marcus Allen scores his second touchdown of the game against Seattle during their game Thursday night at Arrowhead Stadium. — and relied heavily on running backs Kimble Anders, Donnell Bennett, Marcus Allen and Kansas City's high-priced offensive line. It worked. The Chiefs racked up rushing yards (146 for the game) and ran out the clock. Some times I marvel at how simple the game of football really is. It's particularly simple when you play a team as inept as Seattle. Now the real challenge begins for the Chiefs. The 1996 season offers no more dress rehearsals, no more Seahags. When the Chiefs travel to Denver for an Oct. 27 AFC West showdown, that will start a three-game string of games against NFL elite teams. After the Broncos, 5-1, Kansas City plays at Minnesota, 52, and then plays host to Green Bay, 6-1. After that stretch, we'll know what to think of the Chiefs in general and Bono and Hackett in particular. Thursday night the Chiefs avoided disaster. But make no mistake. They haven't escaped it. Seven birdies in 13-hole stretch lifts South African into match play semis By The Associated Press VIRGINIA WATER, England — Ernie Els overcame a six-hole deficit to beat Steve Strieker 1-up Friday, keeping alive the South African's bid for a record third straight title in the World Match Play Championship. "This is a great feeling for me to come back from 6-down," said Els, only the second player to win the tournament in his first two appearances. "It's like a dream come true." Strieker, 5-0 last week in the United States' Dunhill Cup victory at St. Andrews, had six birdies in the morning round to take what appeared to be a commanding 6-up lead. But Els rallied with seven birdies in a 13-hole stretch that ended at No. 33 — twice chipping in from off the green — to pull back to all square. After both players parred the 35th hole, Strieker's tee shot on the final one landed in a fairway bunker. His 6-iron shot hit the lip of the bunker and barely got out, leaving him with 238 yards to go. But the American produced a recovery shot that Els described as one of the best he has seen, hitting a 3-wood shot with one foot on the rim of the bunker to the green. Els ended the match with a two-putt birdie. Els advanced to a semifinal today with PGA winner Mark Brooks of the United States. Brooks beat Scotland's Colin Montgomerie 1-up. WORLD SERIES MATCHUPS By BEN WALKER and TOM WITHERS Tlie Associated Press NEW YORK — The Atlanta Braves are coming into the World Series right after a big win while the New York Yankees are well rested. ,. Whether that will give either team an edge is hard to say, especially if the forecast is right and rain washes out Game 1 at Yankee Stadium on Saturday night. The only clear-cut advantage is the home-field one, which New York holds. No doubt the Yankees crowd will be even more raucous : than usual — watch out, Atlanta ' outfielders — as the Series returns to the Bronx for the first time since 1981. The Braves, behind John Smoltz, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, are in the Series for the fourth time in the last five postsea- ' sons. The defending champions earned this spot on the strength of three straight wins over St. Louis - in the NL championship series by a combined score of 32-1, capped by a 15-0 blowout Thursday night that was the biggest rout in postseason history. The Yankees made it this far with a five-game victory over Baltimore in the ALCS. Andy Pettitte pitched the clincher Sunday, Darryl Strawberry and Cecil Fielder again provided power and New York's bullpen — the best in the majors with setup man Mariano Rivera and closer John Wetteland — was strong throughout. Atlanta surely is more healthy than the Yankees. The only player . the Braves are missing this October is David Justice, whose shoulder injury in May sidelined him for the rest of the season. It was his home run that beat Cleveland 1-0 in Game 6 last year, giving the city of Atlanta its first major sports championship. Strawberry, however, has a broken toe, and Wade Boggs, Paul O'Neill and Tim Raines are banged up. Yankees manager Joe Torre, fired as Braves manager in 1984, certainly has a lot of decisions to make in his first World Series, in" eluding what to after Pettitte, David Cone and Jimmy Key pitch the first three games. There's also the annual designated hitter debate. The DH is not used in the NL park, meaning at least one of the Yankees' key hit' ters will have to sit. Braves manager Bobby Cox, a former player and coach for the Yankees, has no major worries. The DH will even allow him to get Ryan Klesko's bat in the lineup and leave 19-year rookie sensation Andruw Jones in left field. The Braves and Yankees have met in the Series before. Milwaukee beat New York in Game 7 to win in 1957, while the Yankees overcame a 3-1 deficit to win the next year. A look at the teams, position-byposition: FIRST BASE Braves Fred McGriff: Drove in career- high 107 runs, added 10 more RBIs in postseason. Has 317 career homers, known for one-handed twirl of bat over head after connecting. Good Regular season ERAs ( ) League ranking STARTERS ^ 3.45(1) WL Pitching comparisons RELIEVERS Note: AL ERAs tend to be higher due to the designated hitter rule. Source: Ellas Sports Bureau enough with glove. Began pro career as Yankees minor leaguer in 1981, traded to Toronto in 1982 in deal for Dale Murray before getting a chance to swing at Yankee Stadium's short porch in right. Yankees Tino Martinez or Cecil Fielder: Martinez replaced departed captain Don Mattingly and had solid first year in New York, batting .292 with 25 homers and 117 RBIs in regular season. Hit only .182 (4-for-22) with no RBIs in ALCS. Excellent fielder, hasn't committed error since June 21. Could sit in Atlanta if off to slow start. Fielder had team-high eight RBIs in ALCS. Above-average glove. Made 80 starts at first base this season. May start against Braves' lefties with Martinez used as pinch-hitter. Edge: Even. SECOND BASE Braves Mark Lemke: At 5-foot-9, plays big in October. Only player to hit in all seven games of NL championship series, batting .444. Hit .417 in 1991 World Series vs. Minnesota. Exceptional at turning double plays. Switch-hits, rarely strikes out. Gritty style makes the Lemmer a team favorite. Yankees Mariano Duncan: Signed in the offseason as a utility player. Became everyday starter because of injuries to Pat Kelly and Tony Fernandez. Led Yankees with .340 average during regular season, including .406 mark at Yankee Stadium. Has plenty of postseason experience. Played for Cincinnati in 1990 Series and had Phillies-record 10 hits in '93 Series. Edge: Braves. SHORTSTOP Braves Jeff Blauser: Missed half of season because of knee and hand injuries.' Taken out of Game 7 vs. Cardinals after being hit by pitch in left leg. Is .261 lifetime hitter, but dips to .197 in postseason. Made 23 errors in only 79 games in field. Yankees Derek Jeter: A lock to win AL Rookie of the Year honors. Has shown amazing poise and polish for 22-year-old. Batting .415 (17-for-41) in postseason and seems to be involved in every big offensive rally. Excellent defensively with uncanny ability to go into outfield to track down popups. Edge: Yankees. THIRD BASE Braves Chipper Jones: At 24, already a premier player. Hit .309 with 30 homers, 110 RBIs and 100 runs in sec- AP/Ed De Gasero ond full season. Shifted to shortstop without problem when manager Bobby Cox asked. Safe on 14 of 15 steal attempts. Loves big games — hitting .371 with four homers in 89 postseason at-bats. Switch-hitter. Yankees Wade Boggs or Charile Hayes: Bothered by lower back problems, Boggs has had miserable postseason, batting just .111 (3-for-27). Future Hall of Famer did close ALCS with line-drive single. Has excellent glove but limited range. Hayes spelled Boggs during ALCS and opening-round vs. Texas. Solid fundamentally. Batting only .167 in playoffs but does give Yanks some pop from the right side. Edge: Braves.. LEFT FIELD Braves Ryan Klesko or Andruw Jones: Klesko, a left-handed hitter, is pure power. Last year became first player ever to homer in three straight road games in World Series. Hit 34 this season, two more in playoffs. A clunky outfielder. Jones is a phenom at 19, beginning year in Class A and this week surpassing Mickey Mantle as youngest player to homer in a postseason game. Strong arm, excellent fielder and can run. Only fourth teen-ager to start in postseason play ever, faced Cards lefty pitchers. Yankees Darryl Strawberry or Tim Raines: Strawberry sustained hairline fracture of right big toe in Game 5 of ALCS. Batting .294 in six postseason games with three homers and five RBIs. Could be liability defensively especially with injury. Raines is better in the field but has been slowed by hamstring problems. Leadoff hitter provides needed speed and one of team's only base-stealing threats. Edge: Braves. CENTER FIELD Braves Marquis Grissom: Set career highs with 207 hits and 23 home runs, stole 28 bases and won fourth Gold Glove. Had 28-game hitting streak, longest by Braves player in 20 years. Hit .385 in last year's postseason, slowed this October. Plays extremely shallow to take away singles, will have to go back a long way at Yankee Stadium. Leadoff hitter, loves to swing at first pitch. Yankees Bernie Williams: An emerging superstar. MVP of ALCS. Switch-hitter is batting .471 with five homers and 11 RBIs in postseason. Tremendous range in center can go back to the wall to steal a home run or come in to rob a base hit with a diving catch. Has tendency for base-running blunders, but his dash home in Game 3 at Baltimore swung series to Yankees. Edge: Yankees. RIGHT FIELD Braves Jermaine Dye: At 22, promoted from Triple-A on May 16, a day after David Justice sustained season-ending shoulder injury. Became 71st major leaguer to hit home run in first at-bat. Good, strong right-field arm. Started out 0-for-ll in NLCS, then went 6-for-17. Yankees Paul O'Neill: Hobbled by a strained left hamstring during much of postseason. Batting only .192 in the playoffs, and could sit in Series if Strawberry and Raines are 100 percent healthy and hitting. Above-average arm. Limited range. Edge: Yankees. CATCHER Braves Javy Lopez: MVP of NLCS, batted .542 with seven extra-base hits and six RBIs. Knack for key hits. Joined current Yankees manager Joe Torre as only Atlanta catcher to hit 10 or more homers three straight years. Needs improvement on defense. Threw out just 25 percent of bases- tealers and had 11 passed balls. Has trouble blocking balls, but has penchant for pickoffs. Yankees Joe Girardi or Jim Leyritz: Girardi's off-season acquisition was a surprise because Yanks allowed Mike Stanley's power to leave for Boston. Excellent defensivley. Pitchers love to throw to him. Smart hitter and excellent bunter. Leyritz is ace Andy Pettitte's personal catcher. Can hit the long ball. Weak arm but does nice job keeping ball in front of him. Edge: Braves. DESIGNATED HITTER Braves Ryan Klesko: Given the chance to play Andruw Jones in left field and keep Klesko's bat in the lineup, Cox will likely go that direction. Klesko DHed in last year's Series and won't have trouble adjusting to role, unlike some NL players in past Octobers. Yankees Fielder or Strawberry: Team added both for power and they've delivered. Fielder, who has 12 RBIs in postseason, delivered big hits during playoffs and connected with Strawberry on consecutive homers in Game 4 of ALCS. Edge: Yankees. STARTERS Braves John Smoltz, Denny Neagle, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine: Atlanta again features one of best Series rotation of all time. Smoltz led NL in wins and strikeouts, and is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA in postseason. Maddux was sharper in previous four Cy Young seasons, but still second in NL ERA. Also won seventh Gold Glove. Glavine was 1995 World Series MVP, and won Game 7 against Cards. Leads majors with 106 wins in last six years, one more than Maddux. Neagle, acquired in late trade with Pittsburgh, was superb in lone playoff start. Yankees Andy Pettitte, Jimmy Key, David Cone: New York manager Joe Torre will go with three-man staff for Series, which would immediately change if Game 1 is rained out. Pet- titte led AL with 21 wins and is shoo- in for Cy Young Award. Left-hander was brilliant in Game 5 of ALCS, holding Orioles to three hits in eight innings. Key has provided best starts of postseason and contrasts Pettitte's power game with finesse. Cone's arm has appeared tired of late, but playoff experience is big plus. Kenny Rogers, brutal in two playoff starts, could be No. 4 starter. Brian Boehringer and Ramiro Mendoza also possible candidates. Edge: Braves. RELffiVERS Braves Mark Wohlers, Greg McMichael, Mike Bielecki, Brad Clontz, Steve Avery: Wohlers earned five saves in postseason, striking out eight in 61-3 innings of scoreless, one-hit relief. Features fastball in upper 90s mph. Had franchise-record 39 saves (in 44 chances) this season, striking out 100 in 771-3 innings. McMichael, a side- arming sinkerballer, is struggling in October. Avery, a former NLCS MVP, missed two months because of side injury. Clontz, a submariner, led league with 81 appearances but slumped badly in last five weeks. Yankees Mariano Rivera, John Wettland, Jeff Nelson, Graeme Lloyd, David Weathers: Best bullpen in baseball. Rivera is overpowering setup man, who usually pitches the seventh and eighth before handing the ball to Wetteland. Wetteland led AL with 43 saves in regular season and has added three more in playoffs. Yanks relievers are 5-1 with 1.56 ERA in 34 2-3 postseason innings. Nelson, Lloyd and Weathers have been solid of late and give Torre more options. Edge: Yankees. BENCH Braves Terry Pendleton, Rafael Belliard, Mike Mordecai, Luis Polonia, Eddie Perez: Pendleton, acquired by his former team in mid-August, is hitless in last 22 at-bats, including seven in playoffs. Polonia was traded by Yankees to Braves in August 1995 to make room for Strawberry. Perez often caught Maddux this year, but was benched in NLCS. Belliard and Mordecai are capable infielders. Yankees Leyritz, Luis Sojo, Hayes: All are solid clutch hitters who may all see time if injuries or slumps plague starters. Sojo is more than adequate second baseman, who made big play in ninth inning of Game 4 of ALCS. Strawberry and Fielder may also come off bench if not in lineup. Edge: Yankees. MANAGER Braves Bobby Cox: Has managed record 64 postseason games, one more than Casey Stengel. Not afraid to make changes in October, as benching of Klesko in favor of Andruw Jones showed. Played two years in majors, both with Yankees. Managed six years in Yankees' farm system and was their first base coach in 1977 championship season. Yankees Joe Torre: Finally in a World Series after more than 30 years as player and manager. Has pushed all the right buttons this season and has unending respect of his team. Sentimental favorite. Formerly managed Braves, so won't be baffled by double switches and other NL strategy when games are in Atlanta. Edge: Braves. PREDICTIONS Withers: Yankees seem to be a team of destiny and playing four games at rocking Yankee Stadium will provide huge lift. YANKEES in 7. Walker: Braves starters rule, especially if they escape the Bronx. BRAVES in 5. In the other quarterfinals, British Open winner Tom Lehman beat fellow American Mark O'Meara 6 and 5, and Fiji's Vijay Singh overwhelmed U.S. Open champion Steve Jones of the United States 9 and 8. PGA: Fehr leads Disney LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Rick Fehr has been playing well in tournaments like the Disney Classic, ones played in pleasure-packed cities on courses that yield some of the lowest scores of the year. Tiger Woods has been playing well wherever he goes. Fehr, who hasn't won on the PGA Tour since the 1994 Disney Classic, shot another 7-under-par 65 on Friday, giving him a 14-under 130 and a one-stroke lead over Payne Stewart, Jim Carter and Frank Lickliter. Woods worked himself toward the top of the leaderboard once again. He was two strokes back after shooting a 63, which included a bogey on a 105-yard hole. LPGA: Two share lead SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea's Park Se-ri shot a 5-under- par 67 to share with defending champion Annika Sorenstam the second-round lead in the World Championship of Women's Golf. Sorenstam, who won the Betsy King LPGA Classic last week at Kutztown, Pa., shot a 69 to match Park at 9-under 135 on the 6,377- yard ndong Lake Golf Course. The Swedish star birdied Nos. 16 and 17. Janes Geddes (69) and Val Skinner (71) were three back in the 16- player field and Sweden's Helen Al- freddson shot a 68 for a 139 total. T BASEBALL Labor talks resume after lengthy break Management makes new proposals; Fehr, union not impressed By The Associated Press NEW YORK — On the eve of the World Series, baseball labor talks resumed Friday after a two-month break. Management negotiator Randy Levine, contending with demands from hard-liners among the owners, made several new proposals to union head Donald Fehr dealing with matters such as service time and the players' desire that a new agreement contain an option year in 2001. "Randy made a number of suggestions that if we bought into them would be a fundamental rearrangement of the deal," Fehr said. "We said we're not prepared to do that." Fehr has said the deadline for an agreement is somewhere between the end of the World Series and the end of the free-agent filing period 15 days later. He told Levine on Friday that players had given the union's executive board the authority to conclude a deal along the parameters Fehr and Levine agreed to in August. The five-year contract, which would include 1996, would have a luxury tax in 1997, 1998 and 1999, and no tax in 2000. The hard-line owners object to the union having an option for a tax-free year in 2001, and are refusing to grant service time to all players for the 75 regular-season days wiped out by the 1994-95 strike. "It's good to be back in negotiations," said Levine, who has spent hundreds of hours on the telephone attempting to convince owners to let him finish the deal. "We're going to try to move this to conclusion as quickly as we can." The sides said they would meet again today at the union's office in New York. Fehr told Levine he had little room to maneuver. "I made clear two things," Fehr said. "We had the authority to conclude a deal along the lines of the one we outlined to players and we did not have the right to conclude a deal which varied in a material way from that." "We'll see what happens," Fehr said. "I'm glad we're finally talking again in a formal way. We've been waiting for the clubs to do that for more than nine weeks." 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