Under Gaston, Henke blew only one save opportunity in 19 tries. In fact, he allowed only eleven earned runs and struck out 110 batters in 81? innings, finishing the regular season with numbers that prove he is far from done: an 8-3 record, 20 saves, and a 1.92 ERA. In the two innings he worked to win Friday's game, Henke struck out four. On Saturday he saved Wills's victory with a one-two-three ninth, including two strikeouts. "I'm as hot now as I've been in my entire career," Henke said.
Gaston has a setup staff for Henke similar to the one Oakland manager Tony La Russa uses to get to stopper Dennis Eckersley. Acker had two wins and a 1.59 ERA after arriving from the Braves on Aug. 24. David Wells had seven wins, a 2.40 ERA and nearly a strikeout an inning. Duane Ward had 15 saves and nipped Henke for the club strikeout lead with 122.
"Good bullpens like Oakland are well-ordered—and so is ours," said Henke as he focused on the playoffs. "And this time we're the underdogs. We've finally beaten off all the past, and for the first time since I joined this team, in '85, we've got nothing to lose."