Posts from — June 2004
New York Yankee pitcher
Jose Contreras has a $32 million
contract with the team, a $5
million dollar home in Tampa
and all the cars he wants. But
last week he got the most
important thing of all,
By Amaury Pi-Gonzalez
Seattle [Read more →]
June 28, 2004 No Comments
He can sell refrigerators in the Arctic. He can peddle igloos at the equator. Billy Beane has done it again.
The Aâ€™s needed a closer to quell the unrest among the pitching staff. The team needed a top flight reliever to stop their free fall through the standings.
Bingo! The Aâ€™s ship two prospects who had no foreseeable future with the organization to Kansas City for the plum of the trade market, Carlos Beltran.
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June 26, 2004 No Comments
Marty: In the face of those of us who have spent much time already during this baseball season decrying the tendency to predict the ultimate outcome of the 162 game season, here goes another rash prediction. It is being done without being even slightly embarrassed by earlier sentiments which described the Giants as a “bad ball club”. That’s one of the delights in being a fan. In the early going the team fit the description. That judgment gradually changed over the past weeks. It culminates in today’s opinion. All it takes is courage and the willingness to be seen, at the end, as a misguided enthusiast and somewhat foolish, to boot.
The sixteen game schedule, commencing with the Toronto series and concluding on July fourth with the A’s series was described here as a test, the result of which might call for further evaluation of the club’s prospects. Having won nine of the first ten games, which included taking two of three from the Red Sox and sweeping the Dodgers in four games, we are emboldened to demonstrate a lack of concern over the outcome of the remaining nine games, six against the A’s and three against LA.
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June 26, 2004 No Comments
In baseball today, when you put a pitching staff together, you must build from the bullpen forward. No matter who starts, the bullpen decides who wins the game 95 % of the time.
The most successful teams are the teams with four or five reliable arms in the pen. Take a look at the Cards, the Dodgers, the Red Sox, or even the Devil Rays as examples of teams with balanced bullpens that close tight games.
This brings us to the Aâ€™s and Giants.
Ken Macha has a problem. Right now, only Chad Bradford is giving the manager a clean inning. Machaâ€™s body language tells the story when he needs to bring a new pitcher into the game. Looks like heâ€™d rather have a tooth pulled, then raise his arm signaling for a reliever.
The lack of a quality closer and a hard throwing set up man is costing the Aâ€™s critical games in the standings. How about Ugueth Urbina? Would the Tigers pick up some of his salary to move him?
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June 22, 2004 No Comments
Dennis Eckersley will go into
Coopertown next month and
he is only 50 ! I mean Julio
Franco is presently playing
getting regular paychecks from
the Atlanta Braves and is
receiving his Major League
pension and Rickey Henderson
is coming back (he is at Newark,NJ)
By Amaury Pi-GonzÃ¡lez [Read more →]
June 22, 2004 No Comments
Marty; An astute baseball fan, namely, my wife, told me yesterday, in no uncertain terms, that it was past time that I discontinue referring to the Giants as “a bad baseball team”, as I have been doing since the start of the season. In the first place, she points out, it is simply bad form to constantly bad-mouth the team whose success we most wish for, and, more to the point, the expressed opinion is incorrect.
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June 17, 2004 No Comments
This is not brain surgery. Baseball
was invented so that everybody
had a chance to hit the ball and
field the ball and for
that reason alone the National
League still the better league.
By Amaury Pi-GonzÃ¡lez
San Francisco [Read more →]
June 17, 2004 No Comments
Marty; The season is close to one-third over, the Giants are one and a half games out of first, looking up at the Dodgers and Padres. They have three weeks ahead of them which may remove from consideration any hope for a post-season role or, which is more likely, they will, at the end of these three weeks be in roughly the same position they are in now, namely, a team hoping to win the crown in a very weak division.
These next few weeks will see them play two strong teams, the Red Sox three times, the A’s six times. and one of their division rivals, the Dodgers, seven times. If they survive these sixteen games with a break even record, they will consider it a job well done. They will still be in the fight.
If their record in these next sixteen days is one-sided, on either the winning or losing side, a further evaluation may be in order.
With respect to the Sox. in particular, and also the A’s, when one runs down their lineups and compares them to the Giants, one is hard put to come up with a reason why the Giants should be competing evenly. The other day, admittedly with Grissom on the bench and Bonds playing the DH role, the Giants walked out on the field with an outfield of Mohr, Tucker and Linden; an infield from first to third of Minor, Perez, Cruz and Feliz.
This, together with a rotation in dire need of two starters. does not look like a team play-off bound. With the exception of Bonds, (and that is always the caveat in these discussions) there isn’t a single interesting player in that lineup. One can run down the lineups of the weakest teams in either league and somewhere, if one looks carefully, one can find a young, interesting, ball player. This is not the case with the Giants.
This may be the measure of their failed farm system. The Giants recently decided that Hammonds wasn’t going to be of much help the rest of the year and released him. They brought up Linden from Fresno. One must assume that was the best they could do even though Linden wasn’t setting the Pacific Coast League on fire. He appears to be completely overmatched in the majors. When Snow went on the DL they brought up Minor, who showed no evidence of being a hitter when he played for part of three seasons in the majors a few years back. He hasn’t hit with any more authority since playing with SF these past few weeks.
Coupled with two starting pitchers, Rueter and Tomko, who can’t get past the fifth inning, one wonders why this team is considered to be in contention. However, they are, as evidenced by their place in the standings. Whether they will be, after these next three weeks, is the open question.
A word about Jerome Williams. Alou was quoted this morning, in describing Williams, “That kid continues to grow as a pitcher and a man…”. Williams knew that he was being called upon to give the team six innings, at least, and perhaps more, irrespective of how well he was pitching. Twenty three innings the previous day had chewed up the bullpen. There was going to be no relief there on Sunday.
Williams had a rocky first three innings. However, unlike others in the rotation, he hunkered down and pitched better as he went along. ultimately pitching into the eighth inning, giving up only three runs, and winning the game. He is rapidly maturing as a pitcher. Schmidt, of course, is always counted on for a strong performance. Williams is approaching the level where one can rely on a winning effort. And now we come to Barry.
Bonds continues to be the same unbelievable story. These days, when he is playing on foreign fields, the home town fans boo their home town favorites when they walk Barry intentionally. They want to see him be given the opportunity to pursue records which are nearly in his grasp. They seem to be expressing the thought that there is something inherently unfair about walking Bonds three and four times a game. They seem to be saying, “Give the man a chance”.
Of course, when they give him a chance, there is a strong likelihood that he will break the home town’s back.
The Giants are losing two-thirds of the games they play when Bonds isn’t a starter. If Bonds wasn’t playing for them there isn’t much reason to think they would not be losing two-thirds of the 162 game season.
If nothing else, shouldn’t this persuade managment that it must make some changes in the club’s priorities? Bonds is not going to be around forever. Why not start with next year’s draft? Be willing to spend some money on high draft choices if they are available.
One last word on Barry. It is pleasurable to see him leading the league in hitting, with an average around .375. Leading the league at year’s end, would be some consolation. Hitting around .400 would be great– and not unrealistic. After all, they can’t prevent him from getting his hits on those rare occasions when they pitch to him.
It’s going to be an interesting three weeks.
June 15, 2004 No Comments
Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon personally let Saturday’s game slip back to the ever grateful Oakland Athletics. See, McClendon has been smarting for weeks about pitchers on opposing teams who have pitched too close to his batters. He is of the philosophy that payback is in order every time one of his boys gets buzzed.
Problem on Saturday he chose his best set up man to drill Damian Miller in the eighth inning with a nice 10-6 lead. Salomon Torres was kicked out of the game after throwing behind Miller twice without even hitting him. McClendon was gone too. Enter a totally unprepared Jose Mesa and the A’s were back in business. Mesa couldn’t stop Oakland and was gone after 48 excruciating pitches. So was the lead.
Pittsburgh tied it up against Arthur “all Rhodes lead to trouble” and it took another double by Marco Scutaro, the doubles machine, to win the game for Oakland in the ninth against an overmatched Mark Corey, the Pirates last pitcher.
Was it worth it Lloyd to drill Miller? Absolutely not and I think you have lost control of the game and whatever is left of your managerial career. I can’t see any other successful manager in the big leagues behaving the way you have this series.
Before trading the players, I’d trade the manager.
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June 13, 2004 No Comments
After the Athletics finish with the Pirates this weekend, the team faces a twenty five game stretch against the Cards, Cubs, Angels, Giants, Red Sox, and Indians taking the team right up to the All Star break on July 12th.
By that time, general manager Billy Beane will know just where he has to tinker to strengthen the team for its annual second half run. From here it looks like a dependable hard throwing righthander will be needed in the pen.
So far, Justin Duchscherer has been terrific in spot outings in close games. Not an overpowering pitcher, the Aâ€™s run the risk of the league catching up with Duchschererâ€™s curves if they continue to use him every other day.
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June 12, 2004 No Comments