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in the Box
Stephen Cannella
July 26, 1999
July 18,1999 Astros 2, Indians 0
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July 26, 1999

In The Box

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July 18,1999
Astros 2, Indians 0

Potential Playoff opponents take note: It turns out that the Indians, who through Sunday led the majors with a .295 team batting average, are human. Of course, the way he pitched this game, Houston lefthander Mike Hampton would have made Murderers' Row look feeble. He held Cleveland to four hits in handing the Indians just their second shutout this year and provided a blueprint for other staffs that will be charged with stopping the Tribe in October.

The plan? First, start a lefthander: At week's end Cleveland had hit .278 against southpaws, compared to .301 against righthanders. Second, keep the ball low: Two of the Indians' four hits were infield singles, and Hampton allowed only five balls hit to the outfield. He got 15 outs on ground balls. Cleveland, like all power teams, looks far less fearsome when it's beating the ball into the dirt.