The Indians will put 49 years of failure into the hands of a 21-year-old.
Seeking its first World Series title since 1948, Cleveland will start rookie Jaret Wright against Florida's Al Leiter in Game Seven tonight.
Wright, who beat the Marlins in Game Four and who has been the Indians' pitching star this October, was chosen by manager Mike Hargrove over scheduled starter Charles Nagy. Wright, who will go on three days' rest, will be just the sixth rookie to start a World Series Game Seven and the first since Joe Magrane of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1987.
"When you dream, you don't dream of pitching in the playoffs," Wright said. "You dream to pitch in Game Seven of the World Series."
Hargrove's decision to use Wright instead of Nagy isn't much of a surprise, considering the postseason performances by the two.
"The outing he gave us in Game Four led me to believe that he can still be effective," said Hargrove, who was concerned that Wright's arm was tired before his previous start.
The Indians used starter Chad Ogea and three relievers in Game Six, although Nagy was up in the bullpen twice, including in the ninth inning.
Hargrove was asked when exactly he chose Wright. Was it in the sixth inning when Nagy got up the first time or before the game?
"Both," Hargrove said. ". . . I really made the decision some time yesterday."
Wright allowed the Marlins just five hits in six innings as the Indians won Game Four, 10-3. He threw on the side Saturday and could have pitched in relief if needed.
Now, he'll start the Indians' first Game Seven since the 1920 World Series.
Marlins ace Kevin Brown took his lumps for the second time in as many Series starts Saturday night.
"I'm going to be living with this one for a while," Brown said. "It's disappointing to pitch so hard and work so hard all year, and not be sharp."
Brown lost for the second time since July 27, and for the second time in six days. In Game Two, he allowed Cleveland 10 hits and six runs in six innings. He finished with a World Series ERA of 8.18, compared with 2.69 during the regular season.
The National Football League game between the Miami Dolphins and the Chicago Bears will now be delayed until Monday because of the World Series.
Because Game Seven of the Marlins-Indians series will be played at Pro Player Stadium today, the Dolphins game, also scheduled there, will be pushed back to 9 p.m. Monday.
The Bears-Dolphins game will be shown in the Chicago and Miami areas as part of ABC's Monday Night Football coverage. The rest of the country will see a Super Bowl rematch between the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots.
This is the second time the World Series has forced ABC to broadcast two football games on a Monday night. In 1987, a Broncos-Vikings game was postponed one day for Game Seven of the Twins-Cardinals series.
Some Indians fans kept their hopes going in an unconventional fashion.
At Field of Dreams at Nautica, in Cleveland near the Cuyahoga River, about 2,000 people simulated a baseball crowd, watching the game together on three big screens as it was televised from Miami.
Indians second baseman Bip Roberts left Saturday night's Game Six in the fifth inning because of flu-like symptoms. He was replaced by Tony Fernandez. . . . Cleveland's Kevin Seitzer grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the first Series at-bat of his career. At 35, he is retiring after 12 years in the majors. . . . The last player to hit two sacrifice flies in a Series game was Wes Westrum for the New York Giants in 1954. Manny Ramirez of the Indians did it Saturday.