PORTLAND, Maine -- Akron manager Tim Bogar said from the beginning of the Eastern League Championship Series that he would not announce a Game 5 starter until he knew there was going to be a fifth game.
Most baseball folks assumed Bogar was looking to gain a slight edge, waiting until the last minute so as not to tip his hand to Portland. But it turns out Bogar wasn't playing head games, just following orders from his bosses in Cleveland.
Although the Indians didn't officially announce it, Bogar said he was told they planned to shut down Aeros ace Adam Miller after the first game of the championship series, citing concerns over the number of innings the 21-year-old right-hander has thrown this year.
In his first full season following a right arm injury that forced him to miss more than half of the 2005 campaign, the Indians' sandwich pick (31st overall) in the 2003 draft out of McKinney High School in Texas has racked up 166 2/3 innings of work. That includes 13 innings in the playoffs after starting Game 1 of both rounds.
"They made the decision after his last start, but we were just checking to make sure that's indeed what they wanted to do," said Bogar, who took a half hour after Saturday's come-from-behind win to announce that Ronald "Bear" Bay would make Sunday's start in place of Miller.
Bay began the season in the Aeros' starting rotation, but was bumped into the bullpen when he began to struggle midway through the year. Despite having a good last month, Bay was no match for the hungry Sea Dogs on Sunday. Portland pounced on the 23-year-old right-hander for eight early runs over three innings in their title-clinching 8-5 victory.
Moss snags MVP
Moss had two homers in the Northern Division Series, including a game-winner, and he threw out a potential go-ahead run at the plate against Trenton. Against Akron, he slugged three home runs and made a memorable catch in the fourth inning of Saturday's Game 4.
With momentum firmly on the Aeros' side, Moss made a running grab on Trevor Crowe's hard liner to deep right field, crashing into the gated wall that leads to the Sea Dogs' bullpen to end the inning.
"This is so awesome," said Moss just before accepting his MVP trophy. "I've been close, but never won a championship before. [MVP] just tops it all off."
Making a name for himself
"He's the kind of guy who got overlooked and didn't get drafted, but he's certainly got all the tools," Bogar said.
In 82 games at Class A Advanced Kinston, Barton batted .308 with 16 doubles, 13 home runs, 57 RBIs and 26 stolen bases. And he didn't let up after being promoted to Akron on July 20, hitting .351 with five doubles, six homers, 26 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 42 games for the Aeros.
A win-win situation
Widespread rumors in the New England area Saturday night were that the Boston Red Sox were considering calling up Hansack to start the second game of Sunday's day/night doubleheader in the Bronx against the New York Yankees.
Instead, Hansack was needed to start Sunday's Game 5 for Portland at Hadlock Field. The 28-year-old right-hander came through, going eight strong innings for the win.
With the Sea Dogs in the midst of celebrating after the title victory, the native Nicaraguan was called aside by Boston general manager Theo Epstein and Portland manager Todd Claus and told he was being called up after all, although he won't be able to pitch for a few days.
Mulhern, who hit .268 with 26 doubles, 15 home runs and 69 RBIs in 121 games during the season, has not played in the championship series since Game 2 in Akron. He pinch-hit in the ninth inning of Game 1, but struck out.
"He's been productive, but not as much compared to last year," said John Farrell, the Indians' farm director. "His lack of aggressiveness early in the count has hurt him. He's also become a little too guess-oriented, overthinking at the plate instead of just being free of mind and reacting."
Stephanie Storm is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.