Tribe's hopes rest on Finley

CLEVELAND -- The postseason fate of the Cleveland Indians rests upon the shoulders of 38-year-old Chuck Finley.
Specifically, the heat is on the left arm of the pitcher who was brought in by general manager John Hart two years ago.
In today's Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the Mariners, Finley will have to pitch a lot better than he did last Thursday in Game 2 when he surrendered four runs after facing four batters.
"I've got to make better locations with my pitch, obviously," said Finley, referring to the single, homer, walk and homer he gave up to Ichiro Suzuki, Mark McLemore, Bret Boone and Edgar Martinez, respectively, in the Indians' 5-1 loss.
Last time out: "That first inning, I made a couple of bad pitches that obviously put us in the hole real quick," Finley said of his only postseason start in a 16-year career. In 1986, he made three relief appearances for the Angels in their AL Championship Series loss to the Boston Red Sox.
Indians manager Charlie Manuel said Finley relied too much on his fastball.
"He made mistakes when he got them on the plate. His command has to be better than that."
Finley said, "I'm still going to pitch my same game, but I've got to make better pitches, [find] better spots on the plate. That's the only thing I saw when I was pitching that first inning that got me into trouble.
"I was a little bit overpumped, but that was natural," Finley said. "I knew that going in that I would probably have an overload of adrenaline flowing. This time, I've got to find a way to burn it all out before I get on the mound."
Finley, who went 8-7 in a regular season plagued by injuries, said he chose not to fly to Seattle ahead of his teammates.
"Sleep means nothing at this point right now," Finley said. "Everybody is pretty much flowing on adrenaline right now and the enthusiasm of going to play a final game. If we don't win, we'll get plenty of sleep."
Finley's opponent will be 38-year-old left-hander Jamie Moyer.
"He has been our nemesis in the regular season and now the postseason," the Indians' Ellis Burks said.
Moyer tough: Moyer, the Game 2 winner, has three wins in three starts against the Tribe this year. He pitched Seattle to a 2-1 win on Aug. 4 at Jacobs Field and a 4-1 victory at Safeco Field on Aug. 24, both against Bartolo Colon.
Moyer, who also is pitching on three days rest, said he never considered flying back to Seattle ahead of his teammates.
"I've never done it, number one. Number two, I don' see any reason why. And number three, my feeling is, I've been on a team, I feel like I'm part of the team," Moyer said.
"Number four, why fly non-charter if you don't have to. Number five, I've seen it done numerous times. And every time I've seen it done, the starter never lasts beyond the first or second inning."
Manuel said, "We're due to hit him. He can change his speeds on his ball real [well] and he keeps us off balance. He's a unique kind of left-handed pitcher as far as his stuff.
"He's very gutty. He's in a class by himself when it comes to his style."
Against Moyer, Manuel said he hopes his batters "get closer to the plate, try to hit more balls the other way, try to wait on him."
No pressure: Mariners manager Lou Piniella said the pressure to succeed in the postseason after a 116 wins in the regular season won't be a factor.
"We're not going to be tense," Piniella said. "Our club has been relaxed all year. It's a veteran ballclub. We are not going to lose because of pressure."
Piniella said that no matter the outcome, perspective is required.
"It's not do-or-die; it's a game," Piniella said. "It really is. And both teams are going to go out there and play their hearts out. But it's not a do-or-die situation."
XTom Williams covers the Indians for The Vindicator. Write him at