Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

A's Drift Into Uncharted Waters, Braves Play With Fire

Not since May 2002 have the A’s faced such uncertainty with their pitching staff. With Mark Mulder shut down for at least two weeks on the DL and Rich Harden showing growing pains, all of a sudden what looked like a big four starting pitching rotation has been reduced to Tim Hudson, Barry Zito and hope for the best.

The A’s do have the benefit of the schedule in their favor over the next two and one half weeks since they face Toronto this weekend (won’t be a cakewalk by any means), then come home for Baltimore and Tampa Bay before duplicating those two series right away on the East Coast the next week.

The offense will need to pick up the slack. The bullpen will have to be managed very carefully. The season has many twists and turns, no one can predict injuries, the A’s just got hit hard where they can least afford it.

Rich Harden presents another dilemma. What to do? As good as he looked earlier, that is how bad he looks now. He threw over two hundred pitches in his last nine innings coming into last night’s start, Thursday night he threw 78 more in 2 2/3 innings. He probably would benefit from bullpen work until he finds his mechanical groove once again.

The A’s probably will give him one more start against Baltimore next week, a low rent outfit, to see if he can dominate the Orioles. If he doesn’t do well in that start, it’s anyones guess what the next step will be.

Click below for more!Toronto did Oakland a favor by taking two of three from Seattle. Toronto has done well against lefties this season and knocked Jamie Moyer around Thursday night. Mark Hendrickson beat the Mariners with his slow stuff which should be noted by Seattle’s future opponents.

The A’s come in with three lefites this weekend starting with Zito, then Halama on Saturday, and Lilly on Monday.

Even though Oakland got smoked on Thursday at least the key pitchers in the pen got the night off. Look for big innings from Bradford, Harville, Rincon, and Foulke all weekend long.

Jeff Suppan has given up 20 hits as a member of the Red Sox, 16 have been for extra bases. The atmosphere is still charged in Boston despite the win last night and tonight the circus with the fans and the media will continue. The only thing that will quiet the natives will be some wins and they are tough to come by for the Sox right now.

Minnesota picked the plum of the mid season trade market when they obtained Shannon Stewart from Toronto. Stewart now has his average up to .310 and drove in all the runs in the Twins 4-3 win over KC.

Kenny Rogers pitched well, but the bullpen again came through for Minnesota which is becoming a nightly occurence.

Tonight Kyle Lohse who seems to have regained his early season form throws against Darrell May the steadiest pitcher KC has. Paul Abbott pitched well last night and KC has a potent three through five in the batting order with Mike Sweeney, Carlos Beltran, and Raul Ibanez, so all is not lost in KC just yet.

The White Sox got the game they were loking for from Bartolo Colon last night and then went out and obtained reliever Scott Sullivan from Cincinnati. If Sullivan is healthy he will be an important addition to their pen, replacing Billy Koch down the stretch.

Tonight Neal Cotts goes against the Rangers, so you know the relievers will decide this game. Cotts didn’t pitch badly against Texas last Sunday, but don’t expect him to go seven tonight.

How many times have I written that you don’t pitch to Barry Bonds when he can decide the game?

Art Howe never would, Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, and Larry Bowa pitch to Bonds consistently in big situations.

Bonds is doing things that other players do perhaps for one week or a couple of games. He has been hot for four years and doesn’t miss his pitch when he gets his chance. Some major league hitters see their pitch and foul it off, some hit line drive outs, some get hits in the gap, this guy hits it 450 feet and the game ends.

Simply unbelievable.

Jason Schmidt threw very well last night hitting 95 MPH regularly on the gun. Tim Worrell looks tired, not an unpredictable situation since he became the Giants full time closer this season. It is a mental grind as well as physical for Worrell who needs help in the closers role.

Is Jose Cruz, Jr. the best fielding rightfielder the Giants have ever had in SF? Name another candidate, please.

Great expectation tonight with Dontrelle Willis coming home with Miami to face the Giants and Sidney Ponson in Pac Bell.

The Marlins and the Phillies both got swept this week moving Arizona to within 2 1/2 and LA 3 of the NL Wild Card lead.

The Dodgers get the Mets and Al Leiter who is throwing very well. Arizona gets the Cubs and Carlos Zambrano, who is the second best starter for Dusty Baker (I wonder more and more about Kerry Wood’s ability every start). The Phillies throw Brett Myers against the Cards, and the Expos get well in San Diego.

Quite a weeknd coming up in the NL.

The Padres think so much of lefty Oliver Perez that their hesitation to include him in the deal for Brian Giles is what is holding up the trade.

Perez gave up five runs early to the Mets, then settled down to yield four hits and strike out nine in seven innings. I hear he is the real deal.

Frank Thomas is regaining stature in my eyes during the White Sox run in the Central. He hits big homers, is a presence in the lineup and I think his teammates are looking to him once again to be the man and he is responding.

Who is that person on the A’s as we head down the stretch?

Who is that player on the Red Sox?

Who is that player on the Mariners?

When they do stand up and show themselves it will go along way in determining who gets to play in October.

Thirty five games to go and counting.


1 Anonymous { 08.22.03 at 2:29 pm }


With all the recent injuries and dearth of talent available via waiver trades, I think more than ever before, the A’s are going to need contributions from their September callups. Guys like Fikac, in particular, and to a lesser extent, Crosby and maybe Koonce.

Hopefully someone steps up.

Reno Bill

2 marty { 08.22.03 at 3:12 pm }

Absolutely, this stretch drive will be different from the others. The schedule helps right now. Also, the Red Sox play some tough teams while the A’s get lesser rans, this will help too. Someone needs to carry the team, perhaps Miguel will do it.

3 Anonymous { 08.22.03 at 3:30 pm }

good analysis as usual. Had the Red Sox lost night, I thought the season eas over for them.
The loss Wednesday night was unreal. How can you get 17 hits and leave 17 men on base?Teams
have to take advantage of the opportunities to
score and the bullpen must shut down the opponents. Scott Williamson,Matt Sauerback and
B.y.Kim have not done the job. The Red Sox are
too far back top catch the Yankees unless they have a total melt down,whicj I don’t think will
happen and the A’s have an easier road.
But, Baltimore and Tampa cannot be taken lightly. The Orioles played the Sox tough while
the Yanks rolled over them. Tampa is a young team with a great manager and they will not
quit. They would love to be spoilers.

The A’s cannot afford to accept the wild card spot as their goal. They must win the division.
As of the moment the wild card team would face
the yankees in the 1st round. I don’t think the A’s want to do that.They would be better off
playing the winner of the central but that
happened last year and they lost to the twinkies. I still feel that they would be better
off winning the division.

Jerry F

4 Anonymous { 08.22.03 at 4:03 pm }

The Twins have the A’s number which is very obvious. The A’s would be much better off playing the Yankees in the first round of the play-offs. Susan

5 Anonymous { 08.22.03 at 11:25 pm }

Hey Marty,
What’s wrong with Zito? He looks like he has zero confidence out there on the mound and doesn’t throw his curveball nearly enough. I know that he has been somewhat inconsistent with it, but that’s his money pitch. He needs to throw it to be effective. He looks lost. In a pitching duel like tonight, Zito needs to execute. I seriously think it has to a lot to do with his mentality. He isn’t the competitor Hudson and Mulder are. Plus, his stuff isn’t as good. If the A’s ever end up having to trade one of their Big 3, I hope it’s him.

6 Anonymous { 08.23.03 at 12:41 am }

I think the A’s will have a tough time making the palyoffs now with the loss of Mulder. Mark is a solid guy on the mound and eats up a lot of innings. I don’t see how they will replace him. Zito melted down once again tonight. He is really struggling mentally. Started out strong and then just loses focus and lets it all unravel. Maybe Mulder’s loss was on his mind and the fact that he really needs to step up. So instead he stepped back.

This could be a long 5 weeks unless the offense comes alive and takes over for the pitching. They have a chance in that the team plays below 500 teams in the coming weeks. I think Seattle is the only winning team they play.

Baseball is a strange game that can easily break your heart. Let’s hope Mulder heals and returns next year as the pitcher he has been.

7 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:14 pm }

8 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:51 pm }

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