Indians manager Mike Hargrove has decided on his Game 5 starter in the AL championship series against the New York Yankees.
Drum roll please. And the winner is ... Chad Ogea.
Hargrove decided to go with Ogea, who won two games in last year's World Series and who pitched effectively in relief in Game 1, instead of Jaret Wright on Sunday.
Wright, the Indians' star pitcher last fall when he twice beat the Yankees in the opening round, was hammered for five runs in the first inning of the series opener in New York, the 22-year-old right-hander's second poor start this postseason.
"Jaret has not been effective in his last two starts and Chad has good numbers against the Yankees," Hargrove said.
Ogea limited New York to five hits and two runs in 5 1-3 innings after replacing Wright, and is 1-2 with a 4.29 ERA in his career against New York.
Hargrove said he spoke to Wright on Friday about the possibility that he wouldn't start Game 5 and gave him the official word about two hours before Game 4.
"He wasn't happy with the news," Hargrove said, "and I didn't expect him to be. But he understood, and like the true professional he is, he will do what he can do to help the team win. ... I mean he didn't seem too upset. He wasn't happy, smiling or jumping up and down. But he wasn't kicking and throwing things at me, either."
Ogea wasn't on the Indians' postseason roster for the division series against Boston, and was added for the ALCS when reliever Doug Jones was dropped.
"It was very disappointing," Ogea said before Game 4. "But, you now, as soon as we started playing games you put that out of your mind, you work hard and hopefully something will happen for the second round."
Last October, Ogea was the surprise star of the Indians' pitching staff. The 27-year-old right-hander went 2-2, winning Games 2 and 6 of the World Series against Florida. He defeated Kevin Brown in both games and went 2-for-3 with two RBI in Game 6.
Ogea has had a knack for winning big games throughout his baseball career, pitching LSU to the NCAA championship in 1991. He traces his success to his childhood days pitching imaginary games behind his Lake Charles, La., home.
"I don't know why or how it's come about," he said. "But I've always seemed to be playing in postseason play since I was a little kid. I just try and go out and have fun and play like I'm playing in my backyard.
"It's always the scenario, it's 3-2, 3-2 on a hitter, bases loaded, seventh game of the World Series. You put that type of atmosphere in your head and you go out and you just have fun."
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