Orel Hershiser trashed the Bash Brothers and didn’t stop there.
Dave Parker collected the Oakland A’s only 3 hits as Hershiser pitched the Dodgers to a 6-0 victory in Game 2 of the World Series Sunday night and a 2-0 lead in the Series.
The foghorns on San Francisco Bay are suddenly providing a louder beat than the dreaded bats of the A’s. Consider:
--In the 18 innings of the 2 games, the A’s have scored in just one, the second inning of Game 1, when Jose Canseco slugged a grand slam off Tim Belcher.
--The A’s scoreless streak is now 16 innings. In the last 14, they’ve had 4 hits and pushed only 4 runners as far as second base.
--At the top of the Oakland batting order, Carney Lansford is 0 for 7, and at the bottom, Walt Weiss is 0 for 7. As for the Bash Brothers, Canseco is hitless in the 7 at-bats since his slam, while Mark McGwire is 0 for 6 in the two games and twice grounded into double plays against Hershiser.
The A’s are batting .159 against the Dodgers after finishing fourth in the American League with a team average of .263 and second in both runs and home runs.
Are the A’s pressing, trying to live up to their billing, or is their weakness at the plate due to the combined effectiveness of Hershiser and the Game 1 relief pitchers?
There seemed to be no definitive answers in the A’s clubhouse, though Parker sat at his locker and said: “We have to get our offense back on track or we won’t have to worry about it until spring training.”
Said Jim Lefebvre, the A’s third-base coach and associate hitting instructor: “Suddenly everybody is worried about the Oakland A’s. It’s a big story when we get shut out. What about all those other clubs Hershiser has shut out?
“We had chances to blow the first game open early and came up a beat short. That could be the result of not having played for 5 days or the fact their relief pitchers kept us off balance.
“Tonight? Hell, we faced a great pitcher on the same roll he’s been on for 2 months.”
Said Dave Henderson, who is 2 for 9 in the Series and struck out twice in an 0 for 4 night gainst Hershiser:
“It isn’t like he blows you away. It isn’t like he has Roger Clemens’ stuff. He’s simply a pitcher. That’s what he is, a pitcher.”
Said McGwire: “He doesn’t intimidate you, he doesn’t overpower you. He throws you that hard sinker and you end up hitting it in the ground when you think you can drive it, or you pop it up when you think you’ve taken a good swing. That’s what happens with a sinker-slider pitcher who has great control.”
McGwire said he wasn’t worried about his 0 for 6 and wouldn’t let it bother him. The games here represent a homecoming for the former USC star who lives in Costa Mesa, but he said:
“I’m not experiencing any pressure at all. I’ve played in front of my family and friends before and enjoy it.”
Canseco said: “We’re a good hitting club that’s now showing its potential. With the punch we have we should be scoring 5 or 6 runs a game.
“I don’t mean that regardless of who’s pitching or that we should do it every game, but we averaged it over the season.”
Fed only fastballs, Canseco flied out twice, struck out and grounded out against Hershiser.
“I was seeing the ball well, I just couldn’t center it on the bat,” he said. “Maybe my bat speed was a little slow, I don’t know.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever had a guy throw me only fastballs, and I still can’t believe I didn’t hit even one hard.
“He definitely had me mumbling to myself, which proves he’s pretty smart. I didn’t show him I could hit the fastball, so he kept throwing it.”
The A’s stranded 8 runners in the first 4 innings of Game 1 and haven’t threatened since.
Manager Tony LaRussa credited Dodger pitchers, and he also said Canseco may have been trying to do too much since the slam and that McGwire often has spells when he swings poorly for a game or two.
“Then you look around and he pops one,” LaRussa said. “He’s very tough mentally, and if the Dodgers slip up Tuesday night (in Game 3), he’ll get them.”
Coach Bob Watson, who works with Lefebvre, said: “We’ve been an aggressive club all year, and I don’t see any reason to change.”
Lefebvre smiled and said: “I don’t see any problem with our approach. The only thing I’d change in these two games would be the score.”