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Wells Could Be Making Final Yankees Start

October 23, 2003

MIAMI (AP) _ David Wells could be closing a chapter of his own on Thursday, the night after Roger Clemens made the final scheduled start of his career.

Wells may be making his final appearance with the Yankees, when he gets the start in Game 5. He said it’s a chance to redeem himself for a disappointing Game 1 showing in which he took the loss, but also knows it’s his final audition to remain in The Bronx in 2004.

``It’s out of my hands,″ the left-hander said. ``It’s up to George Steinbrenner if they want to exercise my option. If they don’t, then I move on. It’s been great. It’s been fun. It’s a great organization.″

Wells is 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA in his four appearances this postseason, allowing opponents to hit only .229 in 22 1-3 innings.


CRITICAL WIN: Although the Marlins have rallied from 3-1 down in best-of-seven already once this postseason _ they had to win three straight to stave off the Cubs in the NL championship series _ repeating that feat against the Yankees might have been unlikely.

Of the 41 teams which have held a 3-1 lead in a World Series, 35 of them have won. Florida would have been in that deep hole had it not been for Alex Gonzalez. His home run Wednesday night in Game 4, gave the Marlins a 4-3 win.

Gonzalez’s shot was the 13th game-ending homer in World Series history. The last was two years ago, when Derek Jeter’s 10th-inning blast off Byung-Hyun Kim gave the Yankees a 4-3 win over Arizona in Game 4 of that series.


PENNY’S THOUGHTS: Marlins right-hander Brad Penny knows he’ll have to be sharper than he was in Game 1 when he faces the Yankees Thursday night in Game 5.

Penny beat the Yankees despite allowing 10 of the 23 batters he faced to reach base. Dontrelle Willis and Ugueth Urbina combined for 3 2-3 innings of shutout relief, allowing Penny to hang on for the win.

``I feel like I got away with a few pitches the other night,″ Penny said. ``They saw me. They know exactly how I pitched them. I mean, they’re great hitters. You’ve definitely got to make an adjustment, mix it up a little bit.″

Bernie Williams homered off Penny in Game 1, and Karim Garcia and Hideki Matsui each singled twice.


HAMMERIN’ HANK: Alex Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers won his third straight AL Hank Aaron award on Wednesday and Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals won the NL honor for the first time.

The awards, given by the commissioner’s office, are based on hits, home runs and RBIs, as well as votes by team broadcasters and online fan balloting.

Aaron threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game.


RARE COMPANY: Roger Clemens became the first 300-game winner to start a World Series game since Steve Carlton for Philadelphia in 1983.

Clemens won his 300th game on June 13 and finished the season with 310 victories. He became only the sixth 300-game winner to start a Series game; the others are Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Grover Alexander and Carlton.

If Clemens’ career actually does end after this series, and he earns induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, he’d be only the second enshrined pitcher whose final pitch came in the Fall Classic. Sandy Koufax is the other; he lost Game 2 of the 1966 Series to Baltimore and never pitched again.


THIS IS OUR HOUSE: Florida Marlins executives estimated that 86 percent of tickets sold for the three games in Miami were purchased online by South Floridians. That’s a significant increase from the NL championship series against the Chicago Cubs, when nearly one-quarter of Internet sales went to Chicago-area fans.

``We expected it to be a situation similar to the one with Chicago,″ said Sean Flynn, the Marlins’ director of marketing. ``This just shows the true colors of the real South Florida sports fan. And it shows that this is our house.″

Hundreds of new season ticket packages have already been sold for 2004, said Flynn, noting that the team won’t be rolling out its sales scheme until November. Marlins officials are hopeful for a 2004 attendance average that dwarfs this year’s 16,000 per-game benchmark.

``No matter what we do, it won’t be anything as good as this postseason has been for sales,″ Flynn said.


BBWAA LEADERS: Drew Olson of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was elected president of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Wednesday.

Ken Daley of The Dallas Morning News was elected vice president and Jack O’Connell of the Hartford Courant remained secretary-treasurer in voting conducted at a BBWAA meeting before Game 4 of the World Series.

The organization’s board of directors will be chosen at a later date.


COMFORTS OF HOME: For the first time this season, the league that won the All-Star game got home-field advantage in the World Series.

Commissioner Bud Selig is pleased with how the plan has worked out.

``I didn’t hear any complaints from the Yankees,″ Selig said. ``I know there was some controversy, it’s amazing to me how quickly it went away. The ratings were good, which is important for all the players. I liked it, the fans liked it.″


EXTRA BASES: The Marlins used scenes from the basketball classic ``Hoosiers″ on their scoreboard screens to inspire the crowd before the game. ... Marlins 1B Derrek Lee was dropped to seventh in the order and LF Jeff Conine batted fifth. The Yankees made no lineup changes. ... Singer Nick Lachey of 98 Degrees sang the national anthem; country star Shelby Lynne sang ``God Bless America″ during the seventh-inning stretch.

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