The Great American Baseball Trip

Game 6

Cleveland Indians vs. New York Yankees

Friday, June 27, 1997 - 7:35pm

Yankee Stadium

The Bronx, New York

Pre-Game Report
 The Yankees are the defending World Champions and still in contention for winning the American League East. The Indians are the defending Central Division champions and are poised for a championship run. Both pitching staffs are wonderful, both lineups are potent, and both managers get everything out of their ballclubs. I give advantage to the Yankees because of the venue but otherwise this will be a close game.

Stadium Stats - Stadium Name

Surface: Grass
Capacity: 57,545
Dimensions: Left Field: 318 feet, Center Field: 408 feet, Right Field: 314 feet

baseball diamond image

Team Profiles
Indians' Logo

Cleveland Indians

 The defending Central Division champions are not the same team that went to the World Series two years ago, or even the same team that lost to the Orioles in the first round of the playoffs last season. Albert Belle, the power center of the Indians lineup now resides in Chicago, Carlos Baerga, the Indians former designated hitter was traded last July, and Eddie Murray was traded to Anaheim. Still, the Cleveland Indians are expected to challenge for the American League pennant.

 For the past two years, the Indians starting rotation held opposing batters to the lowest ERA in the league. This year, Charles Nagy will lead a staff that includes Jack McDowell, Orel Hershiser and Chad Ogea, who has turned into a strong fourth starter. Nagy led the team last season with 17 wins, his best production in three season, and appears to be regaining much of his previous dominance. And, while both Hershiser and McDowell have struggled in previous years, they can consistently dominate late into games. As for the bullpen, Eric Plunk, Mike Jackson, Paul Assenmacher, and Alan Embree give manager Jim Hargrove dozens of combinations for middle relief, and Jose Mesa has come away from his legal troubles unscathed and is ready to lead the Indians to the playoffs.

 As for the offense, the Indians have a new power leader in David Justice, who was traded early in the season for Kenny Lofton. Along with Matt Williams, and a core of strong hitters including Jim Thome, Chad Curtis and Julio Franco, this team will produce offensive stats that make up for the off-season departures. Finally, the combination of free-agent Tony Fernandez and three time gold glove winner Omar Vizquel in the infield will keep hitters from advancing past first and produce scores of double plays.

Yankees' Logo

New York Yankees

 The defending World Series champion New York Yankees, who captured the hearts of baseball fans everywhere last season, experienced some profound changes during the winter. When the Yankees took the field this season, Manager Joe Torre, had lost his closer John Wetteland, and backup catcher Jim Leyritz and starting ace Jimmy Key to division rival Baltimore. It looks like the Yankees will be in for a fight if they look to repeat as division champions, let alone challenge for the World Series title.

 The starting rotation of the Yankees is still one of the best in the league. David Cone and Cy-Young runner-up Andy Petitte will lead the Yankees and can easily win twenty game a piece. David Wells, the former Yankee killer, will assume the number three spot and Doc Gooden and former Texas Rangers starter Kenny Rogers, both accomplished veterans, round out the strong rotation. In the bullpen, Mariano Rivera will move from set-up man to closer in hopes of repeating Wetteland's domination of opponents. Looking to fill Rivera's spot as middle reliever will be Jeff Nelson and left-handers Graeme Lloyd and Mike Stanton.

 Offensively, the Yankees made few changes, and are realizing the benefit of world series experience on their young stars. First baseman Tino Martinez is battling for the league lead in RBI's and challenging for the hitting title. Shortstop Derek Jeter is the offensive and defensive anchor, looking to build on his .314 average and 104 runs scored last season. And, Wade Boggs, who still has pop in his swing, brings veteran experience to the infield. In the outfield, Bernie Williams and Paul O'Neill have blossomed into bonafied power hitters, with the third spot being shared by Darryl Strawberry and Tim Raines.

Post-Game Report
 The Yankees topped the Indians in an error filled game on a beautiful night at Yankee Stadium. Click here to get all the details. . .

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