Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Posts from — September 2003

Cubs Get Even, Willis vs. Millwood, Astro Bullpen Collapse

The Chicago Cubs got the lift they needed Monday as the Giants knocked the vaunted Houston bullpen around enroute to a 6-3 win.

First, Brad Lidge couldn’t find the plate walking two on eleven pitches, then after Octavio Dotel settled things down, Billy Wagner came in and Pedro Feliz took him out for the game winner. Feliz who killed the A’s in June is a valuable player for the Giants. He hits homers and doesn’t seem to be fazed coming off the bench. He will hurt some lefthanders in the playoffs, just watch because Wagner is one of the best around and Feliz wasn’t fazed one iota.

The A’s and Barry Zito (12-0 lifetime) continued their dominance of the Texas Rangers. It got so bad for Texas that they even pulled their superstar A Rod after he jogged to first on a ground ball out late in the game.

Of course, with the game no longer an issue Rafael Palmiero homered in the ninth to reduce the Rangers deficit to 7-2. Up to that point, the dynamic two were 0-5 and not a factor against Zito.

Looks like the A’s are going to go with a three man rotation in the playoffs. Tim Hudson, Barry Zito and then Ted Lilly. The A’s braintrust had been reluctant to bring Zito back on three days rest in the past because of the high stress he puts on his arm (something about torque on the curveball), but with the prospect of facing Pedro Martinez twice, the now get tough A’s may ask Zito to do what Lilly did Sunday and that is extend himself at the most critical time of the year.

Well, I guess you have to grow up sometime as a player and this may be the time for Barry Zito to step up and pitch like the greats of the past Octobers.

Tonight the A’s can nail the West with a little help from Anaheim and Scott Shields who will be facing Freddy Garcia. The scouts all agree that Garcia has the best arm on the Seattle staff, it’s just the rest of his game that continuously befuddles them.

The A’s bring Rich Harden out of his chiropractor’s office to face Ryan Drese. Drese is notorious for giving runs up early and tonight should be no exception. I think the toughest game is tomorrow when Hudson faces Joaquin Benoit, so the A’s would like to take care of business tonight, then they can rest the staff for the playoffs.

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September 23, 2003   No Comments

A's Get The Win They Need, Cubs Get Closer to Houston, Marlins and Phils Up

Ted Lilly needed some prodding from Tim Hudson before he went into the managers office and asked for the ball Sunday as he replaced Rich “My back is tight ” Harden prior to one of the more important games in the Athletics season.

That advice from Hudson was all the help Lilly needed Sunday as he went out and threw the same game he has thrown for the last month and completely shut down the Mariners enroute to a 12-0 win.

Lilly established his fastball early, blowing away Bret Boone and his MVP chances in the first inning with a 93 MPH pitch around Boone’s eyes with Ichiro on third and one out.

Boone was so overwhelmed by the pitch that was so far out of the strike zone, he slammed his helmet to the ground as he walked slowly back to the dugout.

Lilly didn’t finesse anyone Sunday: fastball in the low 90’s, followed by curves, changeups, and sliders, but it was his fastball that was popping against a team that was 30-15 against lefties and dying for another win.

Now the Rangers come in and the goal for the A’s is to wrap this thing up before Friday and the final three games in Seattle.

Tony Mounce (has pitched well in three tries vs. Oakland) tries for the fourth time to defeat Barry Zito who has never lost to Texas. Mounce will be gone by the sixth and that horrid Ranger middle relief will be on the spot if the game is still close.

Can A Rod get the big hit his team needs when it counts early in the game? Can Rafael Palmeiro the future hall of famer do the same? Or will they pad their stats as usual when the game is no longer up for grabs?

A loss to the Rangers and a Mariner win in Anaheim where Jamie Moyer faces tough Jarrod Washburn allows Seattle to dream about sweeping the A’s at home this weekend and forcing a playoff next Monday.

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September 22, 2003   No Comments

Sunday Morning Muse

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September 21, 2003   No Comments

Playoffs Underway for Seattle and Others in the Race

Seattle won a game they absolutely had to have Friday night and now get to face the A’s two untested rookies on Saturday and Sunday.

The Mariners still cannot afford to lose a single game in this series and remain a longshot to do that, but like the playoffs you play these games one at a time.

Tim Hudson hasn’t been the same since his 127 pitch effort against the Angels. At the end of that game his arm was hanging by his side. If anyone can benefit from some rest, I think it is Hudson, a gritty, gutty competitor who is maximum effort on every pitch he throws.

Seattle’s problem is lack of consistent offense, they can pitch as Ryan Franklin showed last night. If they play some small ball and get a few clutch hits they can make today’s game interesting because Justin Duchscherer won’t have the fastball to blow the tired Mariner bats away.

The Phillies are now on top in the wild card by virtue of Randy Wolf’s six inning effort and Mike Lieberthal’s four RBI’s.

Today it is Amaury Telemaco still looking for the stuff he had in his first start against St. Louis this year against Todd Van Poppel and his straight as a string fastball.

Marlins better hope they wake their bats up in Atlanta and have to be a little concerned about the health of pitcher Brad Penny who left his last start with a sore elbow.

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September 20, 2003   No Comments

Twins Look Like Winners, Mariners Not Sure Who They Are, Cubs Play Two in Pitt

Two weekends to go and things are much clearer in the AL Central where the Twins will have to collapse against the Detroit Tigers over the next week to lose the title after sweeping the White Sox at home.

Close to 40,000 fans created another playoff night atmosphere as Minnesota starter Kyle Lohse turned the game over to JC Romero from the left side in the seventh, who yielded to LaTroy Hawkins and his 98 MPH heat in the eighth, who then gave the ball to “Everyday Eddie ” Guardado for his 38th save.

Bartolo Colon pitched gamely, but Jacques Jones smacked two homers and all of a sudden with a rotation of Brad Radke, Eric Milton, Kyle Lohse, Johann Santana, and Kenny Rogers plus a hot bullpen, this team looks like it can make some noise again in the playoffs.

Let’s put it this way, the Twins won’t sneak up on their opponent like last year, this team will be well known by the time the playoffs start in twelve days.

Jack McKeon stubbornly went after Jim Thome with the game on the line and the big firstbaseman burned him with a game winning homer. Poor managing in one of the Marlins key games of the season. Late in the game, Chad Fox a righty on the hill and on a 3-2 count a hanging slider to one of the best power hitters in the game.

Jack, if you would have read the Daily Dish on Tuesday I warned you to stay away from this very confrontation.

Oh well, on to Atlanta tonight where Russ Ortiz, stuck on 19 wins forever, goes against power pitcher Josh Beckett in a game both teams need.

The Marlins are trying to hang onto their lead until the Phillies come into Miami on Tuesday for another showdown series, while Atlanta tries to stay ahead of the Giants for homefield, if the two should meet in the NLCS.

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September 19, 2003   No Comments

The Innocent World of Baseball by Ed Stern

Marty: I started to write a comment to your article today but it became too lengthy and began to look more like an article. However, I am thinking of doing an article addressing the entire season before the playoffs begin.

Here are my initial thoughts on the postseason.

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September 18, 2003   No Comments

Giants Go Wire to Wire, Twins Fans Are Back, Marlins Vet Steps Up

The heavy lifting is over for the SF Giants as they won the NL West last night. Not an unexpected event, they have had the West sewn up ever since they knocked the Diamondbacks around in August to open a double digit lead.

Now the party starts for Felipe Alou’s team, “a party” that is exactly what the postseason is. MLB takes over the show, they plan the event. Your team plays a short series with other champs to figure out who will be the survivor of the cutthroat tournament.

A postseason series can change like the weather, daily or hourly. One bad inning can doom a game, two bad games can doom a series.

The real test is getting there over the course of 162 games, the best team most often prevails, even if by only one game because you have to play them all, and the winner after 162 games in a division or a wild card race is the best in my book.

So, the Giants are in, the best in the West, the Braves will follow any minute, but the remaining two spots are still up for grabs in the NL.

Houston lost in Colorado last night, while the Cubs moved to 1/2 game in the Central as Kerry Wood served notice that he can do what Mark Prior has done recently, and that is throw a power game in the heat of the pennant race.

Jeff Conine, one of the original Miami Marlins led his team with a clutch first inning single driving in two important runs, made a great catch in the field, and then threw out Jimmy Rollins who was foolishly trying to score from third with none out on a short fly to Conine in left.

The result was a big win for the Marlins over the Phillies. The Marlins are now in position to take the series today with Dontrelle Willis facing Kevin Millwood in a game being played earlier than scheduled in an attempt to avoid the possible effects of Hurricane Isabel.

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September 18, 2003   No Comments

Phils Wallop Marlins, Radke Mr. September, Pedro Still The Best

As expected Tuesday’s baseball results shed some light on how this 2003 story will end for the playoff contenders.

Esteban Loiaza was outpitched by Brad Radke in Minnesota last night. Radke carried the Twins last season all the way to the ALCS with his excellent work against the A’s in the ALDS.

Radke has been on the top of his game now for about one month (13-10 overall with a 4.67 ERA doesn’t tell the story of how he is pitching today). The White Sox are now one back in the loss column, with 12 to play. No big deal, but seeing your ace get trumped by your biggest rival now puts the pressure on Jon Garland to pitch effectively for at least six innings today. Minnesota comes back with Kenny Rogers, a notorious choker in big games. If Minnesota wins today, it will be because its bullpen rescues Rogers around the fifth inning.

The White Sox held Shannon Stewart in check at 0-3, but walked him twice in five at bats. In fact, Loiaza’s five walks in 2 1/3 innings really led to his downfall. Sayanora to Loiaza’s Cy Young award chances, the spotlight now goes onto Roy Halladay who is looking for victory number 21 today against Detroit.

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September 17, 2003   No Comments

Felipe Alou has not Changed: He is on Top Once Again.

I remember when I first
talked to Alou, when he was
a player and now
as a manager. The man has
not changed (aside from his age)
-and we all do there-.
Felipe is the same
astute baseball man presently
running the Giants on the field.
as he was as a young player
with the Giants in 1958, with
much more knowledge, of

By Amaury Pi-González
San Francisco [

September 16, 2003   No Comments

White Sox Chase Twins, Marlins Meet Phillies

With less than two weeks to go in the baseball season some things seem certain to happen.

The Yankees, Athletics, Braves, and the Giants will fill four of the playoff spots in this year’s tournament.

The Red Sox look stronger than the Mariners and should hold on to win the wild card in the AL.

The Twins face the Tigers seven more times, while the White Sox have to pound their way through a tough finishing schedule. KC just has to keep winning to stay in contention. The Royals are now a longshot, but Tony Pena is AL Manager of the Year and Carlos Beltran should get some serious votes for MVP.

The Cubs can’t slip up against the Mets or any of the other patsies they will face to end the season. Dusty Baker has proven he is a pro going down the stretch.

Houston will face a mine field in Colorado this week. Pitchers have told me that it is the series after leaving the thin air of Colorado that is the problem for them. The next series (at St. Louis) is where the wear and tear on their arms will show up.

Today the Phils and Marlins square off in a series that may determine the fate of the Phillies and the Dodgers.

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September 16, 2003   No Comments