MINNEAPOLIS, OCT. 8 -- As expected, Minnesota Twins Manager Tom Kelly said he'd bring Game 1 starter Frank Viola back to start Game 4 of the American League Championship Series Sunday at Tiger Stadium. Viola threw 95 pitches against the Detroit Tigers in Game 1 and said: "I feel fine. When I go seven, I usually throw 100-110 pitches. I told the coaches before the game I'd be ready to go."
Kelly said he was leaning toward such a move and made up his mind "when Frank came into the clubhouse cackling and laughing today. I knew he was okay."
Meanwhile, Sparky Anderson said he was leaning toward using left-hander Frank Tanana, although the Twins had the best record in the AL against left-handed pitching (26-17).
Anderson and Tigers PR man Dan Ewald climbed into a cab for the trip to the Metrodome and noticed they had the same cab driver for the second day in a row. "I wonder if maybe we shouldn't get another cab," Anderson said.
He said the cabbie then looked at Ewald and said: "Yeah, I recognize him. I had him yesterday."
"That just goes to show you," Anderson said. "You lose one game and everyone forgets you."
There's a good chance reliever Willie Hernandez has thrown his last pitch of this postseason, and maybe the last pitch of his Detroit career. He faced two hitters and allowed two hits in Detroit's 8-5 loss Wednesday. The last seven hitters to bat against him have reached base, and, for trivia fans, his last out was two weeks ago -- Boston's Mike Greenwell.
It has been a long, hard fall for Hernandez, who won the American League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards in 1984 when he saved 32 games for the Tigers and didn't blow a single ninth-inning lead. He was rewarded with a four-year, $4.75-million contract extension after that year, and his performances have declined each year, from 31 saves in 1985 to 24 in '86 and eight this year. The Tigers were so down on him last winter that they almost traded him to, ironically, the Twins.
"He looks like he flinches when he throws a pitch," Anderson said. "Maybe he was afraid he was going to throw a strike."
Scouts say Hernandez has lost the inclination -- if not the ability -- to throw inside, the strategy that made his forkball on the outside corner so effective. But Hernandez himself refuses to alibi or offer explanations.
"A bad season can happen to anybody," he said.
Catcher Mike Heath said: "Willie's trying to find himself. I think the end of the year is going to be good for him." . . .
He's 23-5 in September and October the last four years, but Doyle Alexander's postseason record isn't so glittery. His start Wednesday was his fifth postseason appearance, and in them he's 0-4 with a 7.57 ERA.
He allowed six earned runs in 7 1/3 innings Wednesday, and allowed Gary Gaetti two home runs. In his first 88 1/3 innings with the Tigers, he allowed three home runs.
City police in Minneapolis, who arrested about 30 people for allegedly scalping tickets to the game Wednesday, said they would be out again tonight, trying to keep a lid on the illegal sales.
Officer Gerald Moore said the undercover officers will patrol the streets around the Metrodome again because it wasn't known how much of a deterrent the first day's arrests would be.
"There are several good-sized rings working around the Metrodome," he said.
Police said one of the alleged scalpers, a 34-year-old Fair Lawn, N.J., man arrested at a downtown hotel, had tickets with a total face value of about $11,000. The hundreds of $20 tickets, which were for seats behind home plate, were being sold for $35 each.
"These were not bogus tickets," Moore said. "They were authentic Twins tickets." . . .
Before Wednesday's game, Viola talked about some of the advantages a left-handed pitcher has against the Tigers. Those advantages are substantial, including: the Tigers went 76-35 against right-handers, 22-29 against left-handers. A couple of reasons are Lou Whitaker and Darrell Evans.
Whitaker hits .295 against right-handers, .214 against lefties; Evans hits .274 against righties, .209 against lefties. Anderson platoons his catchers because Heath doesn't hit righties (.252) and Matt Nokes doesn't hit lefties (.198).
"I'd rather face Mike Heath than Matt Nokes," Viola said. "Defensively, he adds something, but offensively he doesn't have the firepower."
He thought about what he was saying and said, "This is the kiss of death. I'm asking for it."
He certainly was. Heath homered off him in the third inning and got an RBI single in the seventh . . .
Morris says this free-agent winter will be much quieter than last year's and that he expects to remain with the Tigers. "I'm going to sit back and let things happen," he said. "I think I've got the best agent in baseball, and I owe it to my wife and kids to spend some time with them. I thought last winter went too quickly."
He said last winter's experience opened his eyes about how the owners might be engaged in collusion to end free agency. He said Twins General Manager Andy MacPhail canceled an appointment abruptly, saying he had something more important to attend to.
Of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, Morris said: "George said about the same things as Andy, except that he added a couple of neat phrases like, 'I swear on my grandmother's grave.' "