Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Cubs Take the Lead, Pujols Hits in 29 Straight

Last Sunday Mark Prior shut the Dodgers down in LA, which didn’t seem unusual because the Dodgers are known for their lack of offense.

Prior came back Friday and threw another complete game against the Dodgers beating them 2-1, to put the Cubs into the NL Central lead. Prior was even better on Friday.

Prior faced a tough situation in the eighth inning. Was the big righty tiring as LA had runners on first and third with one out and a run in already?

Pitching coach Larry Rothschild went to the hill to talk to his best pitcher (yes, better than Kerry Wood) with Shawn Green coming up.

Would the Cubs go to lefty Mike Remlinger since Jeromy Burnitz was on deck, another lefthanded hitter?

No chance. Prior stayed in and got Green on a harmless pop to short, then fanned Burnitz on a succession of 95 MPH fastballs, which were unhittable.

End of inning, end of Dodgers for the day.

Two things: One, Dusty Baker has complete confidence in this young man and two, Prior wants the ball late in the game, a trait I love to see in any young pitcher.

Houston lost to Cincinnati as its bullpen gave up six runs on seven hits in three innings. Guess who was in the game? Octavio Dotel, Billy Wagner, and Brad Lidge. Manager Jimy Williams has ridden this trio hard all year long, as I have pointed out many times, and they must be watched carefully down the stretch for signs of wear and tear (especially Lidge).

With a power rotation of Prior, Wood, Zambrano, and Clement maybe the Cubs will exorcise the ghosts of ’69 and wipe the memory of their fold up to the Mets and their strong armed guys Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, and Gary Gentry, this summer.

Click below for more!Most teams play 29 games in 31 days during August. Fatigue sets in quickly on a team without its ducks in order.

The Orioles lost 30 of 34 games down the stretch last season putting Mike Hargrove’s job in jeopardy. The Oriole pen blew another game to the Yankees last night, pushing the Red Sox four back of NY.

If the Orioles go further into the tank this fall, I think it is time to look elsewhere in Baltimore for field leadership. First base coach Rick Dempsey is an Oriole all the way and is quietly biding his time. With former battery mate Mike Flanagan in charge in the front office (along with Jim Beattie), look for Dempsey to lead the team back doing things the Oriole way, which means playing smart baseball.

Having a bullpen would help Baltimore too.

Jeff Suppan got rocked again last night. Boston has to be concerned because Suppan has not looked good in any of his starts since coming over from Pittsburgh at the trade deadline July 31st.

Can Pedro right the ship today against Joel Pineiro? Martinez has thrown an incredible high total of pitches in his last four starts, and if those pitches take its toll on the righty, as they usually do each time Boston misuses him, then Seattle just might pull out another win today.

Armando Benitez has little idea where the ball is going right now. Shigetoshi Hasegawa bailed the Mariner reliever out of a potentially messy eighth inning last night to preserve the 10-5 win which was closer to than the final score suggests. With one out and the bags loaded Hasegawa entered in the eighth, Seattle ahead 8-5, he proceeded to overpower Gabe Kapler and pinch hitter Kevin Millar to end the threat.

Rich Harden is a kid after all. The young 21 year old pitcher came unglued at the sight of his fellow country men (Canadian Blue Jays), completely losing his release point, as he got knocked out after four innings and 96 pitches.

Today the A’s need Tim Hudson to come back strong from Monday night’s whitewashing of Boston and shut down the potent Toronto offense, too.

The A’s bull pen needs another day off because they will be needed tomorrow if the Oaklanders get to Roy Halladay for a late lead with Barry Zito, who needs relief help every start, on the hill.

Chad Harville threw terrific sliders to Vernon Wells in his last at bat Friday night, giving an indication that he could help in clutch situations if given the chance by Ken Macha.

August isn’t a great time to experiment with players, but the A’s need a power arm in the pen and it just may be Harville’s.

Don’t get too excited about Erubiel Durazo’s night since the homer and sharp single came against Josh Towers who throws about 86 MPH.

Minnesota won a big opener last night knocking Jimmy Gobble around in KC, to pull within three of the lead. The biggest surprise? Kenny Rogers going eight innings in a meaningful game. If you are looking for good signs, that is one for sure.

Can Kyle Lohse continue his resurgence today?The Royals hit the ball, they are at home, a big crowd will be there, so if Runelvys Hernandez has it, I say KC gets even this afternoon.

Texas is tough to beat in Arlington. Esteban Loaiza, who does have a history of fading down the stretch, got slammed last night for the Sox.

Mark Buehrle who pitched well into the eighth in Anaheim Monday before losing the game, goes today for Chicago.

David Wells is on the shelf with a bad back so Sterling Hitchcock comes out of mothballs tonight in Baltimore. You already know what I think of Baltimore and its bull pen and the Yankees isn’t much better, so it should be another late inning fiasco for both these teams with Mariano Rivera finally sending everyone from the Big Apple home happy.

Jason Giambi is up to .270. By the way, who is going to be AL MVP?

Albert Pujols tied Ken Boyer for the longest St. Louis hitting streak in 44 years with is three hits last night giving him 29 games in a row with a hit. Next up Rogers Hornsby and 33.

Pujols is the NL MVP in my opinion since he is having a monster year and his team is in the race.

Is the NL catching up with Dontrelle Willis? Watch tonight as he faces Brian Lawrence and San Diego.

Al Leiter can help someone during these last six weeks of the season. The Mets lefty faces all of a sudden “He can’t get batters out” Shawn Chacon in Shea today.

The Giants are tired, but their eyes will be wide open watching Jason Schmidt’s start in Montreal today. The team needs a perfectly healthy Schmidt in October and whatever it takes to get him in that shape, they should be prepared to do.

Randy Johnson got blasted by the righthanded bats of Atlanta last night as expected. Arizona just can’t get over the hump as a team and get back into the race, even though the Giants are walking in wet cement right now and giving the Diamondbacks every chance to catch them.

Kerry Wood today in Wrigley. Tim Hudson in Oakland. Pedro Martinez in Seattle. Jason Schmidt in Montreal.

Now, those are major league pitchers worth watching.


1 Anonymous { 08.16.03 at 1:30 pm }

Was it Frank Robinson or Dave Righetti who straightened out Livan Hernandez. The Giants
would really be flying with Livan at 13-7 and Russ
Ortiz at 17-5. That’s the trouble with trades. You never know how they will work out. Sidney Ponson better start winning.

Jeff Suppan was never more than a .500 pitcher
and the Red Sox were hoping for a miracle. Remember he did weill in the National League
with no DH to contend with. I don’t think he will
be much help for the Sox.

Rich Harden could not get his pitches down last
night. The 2 pitches that Hinske hit for home runs were right over the middle of the plate and Hinske crushed them. Harden will be back. Remember he is but 21 years old and will get
better. All pitchers get roughed up at some point in their careers and they have to put the bad games behind them. A pitcher must have supreme confidence that he is better than the
hitter. Harden will do just fine. The A’s still need
more pop in their bats. Too bad Byrnes faded
and Piatt washed out. Make Billy Beane can do his magic act and get another hitter off the waiver wire before the end of the season.

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