Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Houston Bull Pen Best in the Game? KC Rules the Central

The Houston Astro bull pen continues to amaze me as they get the ball virtually every night as manager Jimy Williams tries to nail down a victory.

Williams burnt out the Red Sox bull pen numerous times during his stay in Boston. He can’t seem to wear these guys in Houston down.

Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel, and Billy Wagner rarely fail to hold the lead, thus bringing home the win.

In contrast, the Cardinals have trouble getting the ball to their closer and the Cubs disappeared as serious contenders when its bull pen went south in June.

The Giants continue to use all the pitchers on their staff effectively, similar to what Houston does and what St. Louis tries to do.

In today’s game the bull pen is critical to a teams success, but what I am realizing now is it is just not the three relievers who are used to nail the win down from the eighth inning on, but the good teams use the entire pen to hold a game in check from the sixth inning forward.

Check how many times Ken Macha uses Chad Bradford in the sixth inning, if he feels the game will turn in that inning. The problem for the A’s pen is other than Bradford and Keith Foulke you can’t rely on anyone else in the pen if a critical moment should arise. I mean RELY not just hope they have it that night.

Click below for more!Boston has added to its pen with Byung Hyun Kim and Scott Sauerbeck. The Boston pen which was a sieve in April is now nailing down the game on a regular basis. The Sox are twenty games over .500 and are looking for another starter.

If Pedro stays healthy, and Derek Lowe is consistent, then Boston becomes a very dangerous team in the playoffs because they now have virtually a whole pitching staff to go with their usual dynamite offense.

I have said it on my show, the A’s would be better off winning the wild card and hope the Yankees win the East, so Boston can spend October watching the playoffs. Oakland matches up well with NY, and I think anyone in the Central, even though Minnesota has cleaned Oakland’s clock this year. Boston will be a problem for anyone in a five game series with Pedro, if healthy, leading the way.

Remember 1988 when the Mets had beaten the Dodgers 9 of 11 during the regular season, then saw LA knock them ( the New Yorkers) out of the playoffs behind Orel Hershiser. This could be the Oakland Minnesota story this year, if they meet again.

What goes around comes around. The A’s take pitch after pitch praying for walks, they beat KC on Monday night with five walks in the ninth inning.

Last night The A’s pitchers walked ten Seattle batters leading to most of the Mariners runs.

Barry Zito unbelievably loses it from time to time in a game. This season it is a more common occurence than any time during his brief major league career, but to start crying over umpires calls when your batters beg for calls all season, is not cool.

The only thing that stops Barry Zito is Barry Zito. His concentration level must be wavering this season because he just hasn’t been able to stop the bleeding once he falters during a game.

With 100 games to go, Oakland needs to go 40-22 to get to 96 wins, the magic number I have set to ensure a playoff berth. They have 29 home games and 33 road games to go, so we will see what happens during the stretch drive because they don’t seem to be able to crank it up on a nightly basis on the road for some reason.

When you look at the starting lineup and Erubiel Durazo is your top hitter at .271 I think the question answers itself as to why this team struggles in other peoples ball parks where you have to bring your game to a higher level.

It’s tough to win on the road, you have to have a solid lineup to get it done, and the A’s don’t have a consistent lineup right now.

I’ll say it again, you can add any hitter to this mix, but if Miguel Tejada, Eric Chavez and Durazo don’t turn it up, the offense will fall flat.

So the A’s turn to Mark Mulder tonight to salvage a much desired split with the Mariners before moving on to Anaheim to face the tough Angels.

Gil Meche has not been able to go deep into a game for about three weeks now without running into trouble. The Seattle bull pen is rested after last night’s game, so Bob Melvin will grab Meche at the first sign of trouble if he has the lead in the sixth inning.

If Mulder can throw strikes the Seattle offense will be easier to deal with tonight.

The White Sox came back on the Toronto bull pen big time, erasing a 6-4 deficit in the ninth inning. Toronto should unload Kelvim Escobar and Cory Lidle now because they are not deep enough at the end of the game to make it through August and September.

Today it’s Jon Garland and Escobar, if he isn’t traded before the game.

Darrel May takes his turn for the Royals tonight in Minnesota against home run prone Brad Radke. Radke has not had a good season and after watching him throw pitch after pitch up in the strike zone last week against the A’s I can see why he is struggling.

Kansas City is 30-9 in the division, hitting homers, hitting with men on base, and barely surviving with a closer who has lost it (Mike MacDougal) and they are still in first place. May is their best pitcher and he goes tonight.

What a story this is for KC and baseball in general.

Sidney Ponson looks like he won’t be an Oriole next season. Someone is going to get him next week and he will be a force for the rest of the year. Tonight he goes against Roger Clemens. Advantage Ponson if the Orioles bring their bats.

The Phillies lead the NL Wild Card by three over Arizona and four over the Marlins. This is one terrific race.

Brandon Webb can add to his legend by winning for Arizona today against the red hot Giants. The Diamondbacks sent 1B Lyle Overbay to the minors yesterday, perhaps Richie Sexson will be in Arizona soon.

The Phillies send Vincente Padilla to the hill in a day game at Wrigley against Kerry Wood, if the wind is blowing in watch Wood shut out the Phillies, if the wind is blowing out, all bets are off.

The Marlins nearly let the game get away last night against the Braves almost spoiling the game Mark Redman threw against Atlanta. Tonight it is Brad Penny and Russ Ortiz. My heart says the Marlins, but Ortiz seems to have just enough to get the ball to the Braves pen with a whisker to spare.

It sure would make Bobby Cox feel better if Ortiz threw less than 100 pitches in five innings.

Somehow I feel San Diego will be moving players this week too. Kevin Jarvis can help somebody, Mark Kotsay would be OK, and Rondell White can rake, if healthy.

Sixty two games to go. Keep your eye on the goal, get as many games as you can over .500 and see who plays the best over the last six weeks of the year.

One game or series doesn’t sink anyone right now or win a pennant either, but how you play the game and why you win or lose is what you want to watch.


1 Anonymous { 07.24.03 at 12:20 pm }

You are still optimistic about the A’s chances.They

are now 4 games back of boston and are 2 and 5

on this road trip and are not playing well. They must make a move or they will drop too far back.

The Red Sox are now at the .600 mark and heading into a big series with the Yanks . If the

Sox take 2 it will be a big boost for their playoff

hopes. Meanwhile the A’s play in Anaheim and can not afford to lose the series with the Angels and

they cannot afford to lose tonight against the Mariners. They play the Indians next week

but the evil one (yankees) arrive and these next

10 or 12 days may determine tha A’s fate for

the 2003 season.

Jerry F

2 marty { 07.24.03 at 12:31 pm }

No one wants to fall so far behind that it would take a miracle to catch up, but with 62 games to go one good week will make everyone optimistic again. The Red Sox haven’t been out to play Oakland or Seattle yet, let’s wait until those games are over before assessing Boston’s chances. Pedro is the key for the Sox and they do need another starting pitcher in my opinion to catch New York, Mendoza, Burkett, and Wakefield don’t seem to be the long range answer. The Yankee bullpen is much improved with Benitez and they are hitting again. Next week here in Oakland should be one heckuva series since the A’s pitchers seem to hold NY in check, but that was then and now is now which makes baseball unique because the season lasts six months a lot can change in two months ( Aug and Sept).



3 Anonymous { 07.24.03 at 1:33 pm }

The A’s need to stop waiting for the Savior that Billy will get them who will make everything right. If it happens, it will only be 1 or 2 new members to the team. The 25 players there now need to step up. The batters look dead out there. Someone needs to get hot NOW and get the momentum going. Once that starts, they can really go far.

Zito seems to be going through a growing stage–remember he is only 25. He will get the concentration back–hopefully very soon. I think he has been struggling with trying to be perfect because of no run support. He knows in his 8 defeats, the A’s have scored 12 runs. So he is over concious of his failures (walks) and loses his focus and gives up more walks. He will overcome this because he is too good not to. Look at what a mature pitcher Hudson has become at age 28.

I am hoping that the 5 pitchers are ready to lock in like the last 2 years. Remember August of 2002. 40 wins can be there.

4 Anonymous { 07.24.03 at 1:44 pm }


Good article about the bullpens.

I agree with Jerry F. that the A’s need to make a move now that Boston is surging and yet I agree with you that all is not lost yet and we’ve got plenty of head to head meetings with all our rivals.

What makes it hard for me to be patient is seeing our boys make every starting pitcher in the league look like Cy Young!! Another whopping two hits last night does not inspire confidence.

You are right also that even if the A’s get a Giles- type hitter it would be too much to ask him to carry the middle of our order.

Is it too bizarre to think BB might unload both Chavez and Miggy and risk writing off this year?

Reno Bill

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