SEATTLE -- Chuck Finley wanted the ball again in Game 5. He wanted a chance to redeem himself after his ragged start in Game 2.
|Chuck Finley struckout seven, but in the second, he walked two and a hit batter.
While Finley can't really call his second performance a success, there were some positives he could take out of it.
"It was not too good, considering that we're going home," Finley said about his first playoff experience in 15 years. "But it was eye-opening. We took it all the way out to the end. I wish it could've finished differently, but I'll have it the rest of my life."
Finley went 4 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits. He struck out seven, but also walked four. The second inning was his shakiest, as he loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batter.
"I think when Finley is good, he gets all three of his pitches over the plate," Indians Manager Charlie Manuel said. "I think today the one inning where he got in trouble, he was still trying to find the command of his pitches."
Finley worked extremely hard to limit the damage when he got into trouble. And he succeeded to a certain extent, keeping the Mariners from a big inning that would have put the game away. Even in the second inning, he struck out two batters before allowing Mark McLemore's two-RBI single. He escaped the inning without allowing another run.
"It was a grind," Finley said. "I was throwing a lot of pitches every at-bat. They had a lot of runners on. I was trying to grind it out, keep us in the game."
ZONED OUT: For a team so well-known for its powerful offense, the Indians spent an awful lot of time at the plate with bats on their shoulders.
It would be surprising enough to read that Jamie Moyer struck out six Indians through six innings. But five of those were of the looking variety. Was Moyer just hitting the corner extremely well, or was home plate umpire Mark Hirschbeck's strike zone very generous?
"I don't even want to get into that," said Kenny Lofton, who was caught looking to lead off the sixth inning. "You watched the game. You should be able to answer that question instead of getting players to answer it."
The answer probably came in the fourth. Cleveland sent the meat of its order to the plate, its 4-5-6 hitters. Juan Gonzalez, Ellis Burks and Jim Thome all went to the plate knowing one swing could quickly change a 2-1 deficit. One by one, they returned to the dugout after taking a called strike three. Manuel was visibly upset from the dugout, although he and the Indians really didn't want to outwardly question the umpiring.
"I think in a lot of instances, umpires let pitchers pitch," Fryman said. "There were pitches we didn't think were good enough to swing at. Unfortunately, those pitches were called strikes."
REMEMBER THE ALOMAR: Actually, he'd probably rather forget it. At least his performance in Game 5.
Arguably the best all-around player on the Indians, Roberto Alomar managed to do a little bit of everything below his usual All-Star level of play.
Alomar batted twice in the first three innings, both times with runners on base. In the first, with Omar Vizquel on first and one out, he grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. In the third, this time with Lofton and Vizquel aboard and one out, he hit into a 5-4-3 inning-ender. Those were the first two double plays Alomar had hit into right-handed all year.
"There were still more innings to go," Alomar said. "The game's not only three innings. If you're only going to come here and play three innings, then you should stay home."
Things didn't get much better for the second baseman after those three innings. In the fifth, the usually sure-handed fielder ranged up the middle for an Ichiro Suzuki groundball. He lunged to his backhand side, hoping to begin a highlight-reel double play that has become routine for Indians fans. Instead, the ball hopped off Alomar's glove, putting runners at first and second. It was definitely a base hit, but a play Alomar would make nine times out of 10. Fortunately for him, no damage was done.
He didn't do any damage with the bat the rest of the way, either. He had one more at-bat against the soft-tossing Moyer, but even a chat with Vizquel didn't change the outcome.
"In the third at bat I tried to tell Robbie, 'Why don't you take a different approach this time? Because he got you hitting two ground balls so why don't you back up from the plate?'" Vizquel said. "That was one of the little things that we were talking about."
Alomar popped to short in that third at-bat to end the sixth. Then he struck out against Kazuhiro Sasaki for the second out in the ninth. Alomar doesn't deserve blame for the loss, but it's probably a day he'd rather forget.
"I don't put a lot of pressure on my self, I just try to go out there and do my job," Alomar said. "Sometimes you can't do what you want to do."
ODDS AND ENDS: The Indians fell to 14-12 in Division Series Games. They've advanced in three of the five Division Series in which they've played. ... Cleveland's only hit after the third inning was Einar Diaz's eighth-inning single with two outs. This was almost identical to Cleveland's Game 5 against Boston in 1999. After collecting three hits in three innings in that game, they were no-hit by Pedro Martinez the rest of the way.
Jonathan Mayo is a columnnist for MLB.com.