CINCINNATI, OCT. 14 -- The Cincinnati Reds, who have surpassed expectations all year long, aren't too rattled by their underdog status in the World Series that will start here Tuesday night.

"Ain't nobody intimidated by Oakland," outfielder Eric Davis said today. "We know they're world champs. But we don't fear anybody."

Manager Lou Piniella strolled into Riverfront Stadium for an informal workout today wearing loafers and no socks, a comfortable shirt and stubble on his chin. The World Series was just two days away, but it seemed like just another day at the office.

"I haven't even given this any thought," he said. "I'm going to look at the scouting reports right now."

He didn't sound overly concerned about them. Listen to him talk about his bullpen matchup with the Oakland Athletics:

"They've got great set-up men and one closer. We have three closers, basically. I think we match up very favorably with them, is what I'm trying to say. If it comes down to that, we're in good shape."

The Reds have done some scouting on their own -- in front of their TV sets. They may not fear the A's, but they talk about them respectfully. They know this is going to be a lot tougher than the NL playoffs against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"They're a great team," said Jose Rijo, who will start Game 1 against Dave Stewart. "I don't think we'll can get away with making the mistakes we made against Pittsburgh. We got away with them a couple of times against Pittsburgh. It'll be different with the A's."Better as He Goes

Stewart, a 20-game winner each of the last four years, has a 7-1 record with a 1.98 ERA in 10 postseason starts over the last three seasons. He was named MVP of the 1989 World Series and the 1990 American League playoffs.

"To me, in a short series, you can put it all out," he said. "It's not like you've got 36 games to start. You've got two games you hope and three at best in each series, which means six total games. So, for six games, you can just lay it all out, give it your all-out effort, your all-out concentration, your all-out best.

"For six games, that's not that difficult."

The A's are favored to win their second straight World Series because of starters Dave Stewart, Bob Welch and Mike Moore. The Reds are given a chance because of the Nasty Boys: relievers Rob Dibble, Randy Myers and Norm Charlton.

In 15 2/3 innings against the Pirates, the Nasty Boys gave up one earned run and six hits while striking out 20. Dibble pitched five hitless innings, striking out 10 to tie a playoff record for a reliever.

"It doesn't matter if a guy hits cross-handed, right-handed or he's a switch-hitter," Pirates Manager Jim Leyland said. "It doesn't matter if you have a midget at the plate. If Rob Dibble is throwing 100 miles per hour, I don't care if you're standing on your head. You're going to have a tough time."

Cincinnati's formula for victory is to grab an early lead and then turn it over to the Nasty Boys in the sixth or seventh inning. The Reds were 66-22 when they scored first and 74-6 when leading after six innings.Canseco Ready

Jose Canseco's injured finger was bad enough during the AL playoffs that he would not have played had it been earlier in the season.

He took batting practice for the first time today since coming out of Game 4 Wednesday after striking out in the fifth inning. He hit the first pitch over the left field wall. His third swing lined a ball off the wall in center field.

"That's out in Cincinnati," said Carney Lansford.

Canseco also took two turns at-bat against Gene Nelson, hitting two line drives to the warning track in left, and another at-bat against Mike Moore. "I was seeing the ball real good," Canseco said. "I was a little bit late. But my hand felt good." . . .

President Bush plans to attend Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday night.