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BASEBALL PLAYOFFS : American League Notebook : Morgan Contemplates Changing Boston Lineup

Times Staff Writer

Wade Boggs is batting .143. Mike Greenwell is hitless. Ellis Burks is at .125. Boston is at .164, and the Red Sox’s Joe Morgan is as perplexed as any 0-2 playoff manager has a right to be.

“I can’t believe we’re not hitting at least better than we are,” said Morgan, whose club led the American League with a regular-season average of .283. “To me, they don’t seem to be pressing, but then, I can’t get inside their very souls.”

Morgan can, however, re-arrange a few souls in his lineup. And that, he says, is the plan--a plan that includes moving Boggs out of the leadoff spot.

“There will be some changes in the lineup (for Game 3), not in personnel but in movement of players in the batting order,” Morgan said Friday. “I haven’t talked to the fellas yet, so we’ll leave it at that right now. But as Tony Armas used to say, if you don’t hit, you’ve got to try something.”

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Later, Morgan indicated he would move Boggs down in the batting order--shortstop Jody Reed is the probable leadoff replacement--and might tinker with everybody except the No. 4 and No. 6 hitters, meaning Greenwell and Burks.

Boggs batted just .158 (3-for-19) this season in 6 games at Oakland, a statistic Morgan believes goes hand-in-hand with the Red Sox’s 0-6 record this season in Oakland.

“Boggs hasn’t been a lucky hitter here,” Morgan said. “When Wade is hot, we’re a winning ballclub. He’s the catalyst. Right now, we need someone to be the catalyst.”

Game 4 Starters: Sweep was on the minds of both managers when they discussed their probable starting Sunday pitchers.

Morgan, hoping to avoid the sweep, will pitch Bruce Hurst, a 2-1 loser in Game 1, on 3 days’ rest and Oakland’s Tony La Russa, hoping to end it quickly, is contemplating using his Game 1 starter, Dave Stewart, on 3 days’ rest as well.

Stewart threw in the bullpen Friday, and La Russa said he will decided today whether or not Stewart is ready. La Russa’s other option is Curt Young, who went 11-8 with a 4.14 ERA during the regular season.

Bay Area baseball crowds can be brutal--just ask the Angels’ Chili Davis, who played in San Francisco--and Morgan admitted he expects some fan retaliation tonight for the “STER-OID " chants directed at Jose Canseco during Games 1 and 2 in Fenway Park.

“I would think so,” Morgan said, “but I’d also like to say that I thought Canseco handled all that real well. He just put his hands up, like he was saying, ‘Me?’ The crowd kind of got a little joke out of it.

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“You’ve just got to ignore those people. Ignore them and they’ll get so frustrated, they’ll eat nails. You’ve got to realize when they say stuff like that, there’s a lot of cerveza involved.”

Bob Welch isn’t the only starting pitcher tonight with playoff and World Series experience. Boston starter Mike Boddicker is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in the postseason, helping Baltimore win the 1983 World Series title with a playoff victory over the Chicago White Sox and a series victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Boddicker was asked if playoff experience was over-rated.

“I don’t think so, or you wouldn’t see the same guys in it all the time,” he replied. “Certain guys are needed for this, especially as a series goes on.”

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What has Boddicker learned from his playoff experience?

“That you can be beaten the first game and come back.”

And about the wide-open spaces of the Coliseum, supposedly a pitcher’s ballpark?

“I don’t change anything according to the park,” Boddicker said. “I just try to be consistent. Oakland has big guys in the lineup and they could hit a ball out of Yellowstone.”

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Bad News For Boston: Since the inception of the current playoff format in 1969, no team has ever lost the first 2 games of a league championship series at home and then gone on to win the series.

Good News For Boston: However, 2 of the last 3 World Series have seen clubs lose the first 2 games at home before coming back to win the title. The Kansas City Royals did it against St. Louis in 1985 and the New York Mets did in 1986 against--yes, they remember--the Red Sox.


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