Indians notebook: Hafner staying in for Game 6
Indians Manager Eric Wedge said he won’t consider moving DH Travis Hafner down in the batting order, or removing him completely.
Hafner is batting .212 (7-for-33) in the postseason and is 0-for-11 with seven strikeouts over the last three games.
“We need him to get it going,” Wedge said. “Sometimes he’ll out-think himself from time to time. He just needs to go up there and hit. I think, right now, he’s getting in his own way a little bit.”
LHP Rafael Perez has given up six runs (four earned) in 6 2/3 postseason innings.
“He’s been in some tough situations,” Wedge said. “You don’t want to force-feed anything, but I think he’s still going to come into play here before it’s all said and done.”
Both Wedge and Boston Manager Terry Francona downplayed the significance of the Game 5 confrontation between Boston RHP Josh Beckett and Cleveland OF Kenny Lofton.
“Everybody ran out and got some exercise and everybody ran back, which is usually the way it works,” Wedge said.
“If you saw my gait out to the field, there wasn’t a whole heck of a lot of urgency,” Francona said. “Nobody was going to fight.”
Indians first base coach Luis Rivera confirmed that Beckett spoke to him while coming off the field following the bottom of the second inning.
“He threw a high-and-inside pitch to (Franklin) Gutierrez and, when he was walking off the mound, he stopped by and said, ‘Make sure he knows that I wasn’t trying to throw at him,’” Rivera said.
Roll the dice
Francona was asked Friday if he would hesitate to start RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka in Game 7 because of his rough outing in Game 3.
“Do you have somebody else you’d start?” Francona asked. “It’s not like we’re going to go pull somebody off the Dodgers. This is our team. We set it up the way we set it up, and now we need to go win.”
Tribe time now
Boston RHP Curt Schilling said was impressed by the enthusiasm of fans at Jacobs Field.
“I thought they had a tremendous home-field advantage in that their fans could do some special things,” Schilling said. “The other night was a great example. (Tim Wakefield) kept them quiet for 4 2/3 (innings), and they didn’t say a thing. They get a hit and a goofy play here and there, and all of a sudden, 50,000 people are on their feet and the energy is electric. I think the home crowds have played a huge, huge factor in this series, for better or worse, for both teams.”
-- The Repository