10/13/2002 6:15 pm ET
MLBeat: Hot, cold by the Bay
By Josh Rawitch / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- In his postseason career, Cy Young posted a 2-3 record. Walter Johnson was 3-3, Grover Cleveland Alexander was 3-2
and Christy Mathewson was 5-5. And then there's Livan Hernandez, who has outdone each of the four winningest pitchers in baseball
history by posting a 6-0 record and 2.84 ERA.
Add that to the fact that the Giants haven't lost consecutive home games since Sept. 4-5 and the team feels confident sending Hernandez to
the hill tonight in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series.
"What people have to realize is that his game preparation came from when he was a kid in Cuba," said manager Dusty Baker before the
game. "You're pitching for your country at a very young age when you can be a hero or the scorn of your country. That's huge. Guys that pitch
for our USA team, most people aren't going to remember what they did in those games.
"But you tell me where he came from in Cuba, they don't remember? That's not only a sporting event it's a political event as well."
With Hernandez on the hill, Baker will send his everyday lineup against Andy Benes, including the slumping Reggie Sanders. The Giants'
right fielder is 0-for-13 in the first three games of the series and is 4-for-31 (.129) in the postseason this year. Baker hinted that Tom
Goodwin might start in Game 5 Monday against Matt Morris.
"I'd like to not necessarily dwell on it as much," said Baker, "because when you do, it builds."
First baseman J.T. Snow, one of the team's hottest hitters, had a few words of wisdom following San Francisco's loss in Game 3.
"Just keep swinging the bats. That's all you can do," he said. "He's been there all year for us so he's going to get some key hits here before
it's all said and done."
San Francisco will have another good luck charm on its side. Baker's 3-year-old son, Darren, is undefeated when he serves as the Giants'
bat boy/crowd entertainer. After the Giants lost Game 3 of the NLDS to the Braves at Pacific Bell Park, the younger Baker cried.
"My son told me, 'I'll help you beat the Braves, Daddy,'" said the Giants' skipper. "He says he's got to go to work."
After that conversation, the Giants won four straight games.
Breath of fresh Eyre: After posting the league's second-best bullpen ERA during the regular season, the seven relievers currently
active on the Giants have registered a 2.19 mark in the first eight playoff games.
That includes Scott Eyre, who was claimed off waivers from Toronto Aug. 8 and has turned into the team's top lefty out of the bullpen. He has
appeared in five of the first eight playoff games, pitching 2 1/3 scoreless innings overall.
"The two months I was here in the regular season, it was a pretty good bullpen from what I saw," said Eyre. "It's nice to be thought of as a
part of it."
Eyre knew coming into the NLCS that he would pitch often, even with the club adding a third southpaw, Chad Zerbe.
"They have a lot of lefties that can swing the bat over there and they're not going to pinch hit for them because they're all good left-handed
hitters off left-handed pitchers," said Eyre. "It's just nice to know that if you leave someone out there, you've got Timmy [Worrell] and Robb
[Nen] coming in behind you and you know you've got a pretty good shot to get out of that inning still."
More managerial musings: With Lou Piniella having reportedly asked for permission to speak to the Mets and Devil Rays about
their managerial openings, the Seattle job could be open before long. Many people in the baseball world believe that it would be an
intriguing position for Baker, but the manager was not taking the bait Sunday morning.
"I don't know, man," he said. "Again, I ain't talking about this until it's over."
Baker did say, though, that if he were to win a championship with the Giants that would not necessarily make it harder to leave.
"I ain't thought about it," he repeated before citing some NFL examples. "Other guys have left after a championship. ... Didn't Bill Parcells
leave after a championship? Didn't [Mike] Holmgren leave after a championship? There's a lot of guys that have left after a championship."
Now all Baker needs is "that championship."
Josh Rawitch is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.