Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Pirates Show True Colors, West Still Unsettled

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.

Click below for more!The A’s are developing a nice nucleus of end of the order clutch hitters. We’ll see how the trio of Miller, Scutaro, and Bobby Crosby hits over the next 25 games, but they are no where near the automatic outs that I thought they would be when this season started.

The bullpen continues to sputter along for Oakland. It’s clear that three relievers or more are needed when Mark Redman or Rich Harden pitch. Chad Bradford is the only one the manager trusts right now. Even the curveballing Justin Duchscherer is starting to make Ken Macha nervous.

The A’s have 36 wins this morning, no matter what they do the next two days, 60-40 over the last 100 games beginning Wednesday will give them 96 wins and another chance in the the playoffs.

The way this team hits up and down the lineup against pitchers they should hit, makes me think that this team might be special when it is all said and done. There is much baseball left to be played, but I like what I see. This team is not intimidated and Mark Kotsay, Scott Hatteberg, and Erubial Durazo are far enough along in their careers where they don’t have to disappear in big games.

The Angels need Bartolo Colon to pitch like an ace. Right now he is not even looking like a fifth starter. The injured Angels are slowly working their way back into the lineup, but the Anaheim pitching may not be enough to beat Oakland in the long run. I’m not sure the hitters will remain healthy all season, if they aren’t, the remaining offense won’t be able to overcome the lack of starting depth. The Angels are in the bullpen big time every night and it is starting to wear them down and we aren’t even to June 15th.

I think Texas will pass Anaheim shortly. The Rangers look fresher right now than Anaheim.

Mark Teixeira is starting to heat up for Texas. The Rangers starters aren’t half bad, and the bullpen comes through more often than not and they do have the closer.

The Rangers need one more month of good baseball to really be a threat to stay in this race.

The Astros are just not firing on all cylindres. One day it is lack of hitting, one day the bullpen, then it’s the starters. St. Louis is hurt without Albert Pujols at full strength and Jason Marquis’s back spasms are a real concern. The Cards don’t have much room for error, but I like their bullpen especially set up man Julian Tavarez. We’ll see how they stack up against Oakland, a team that gets good swings against righties. The Cards only have Steve Kline and Ray King, lefties in the pen.

The Cubs will be OK once Kerry Wood and Sammy Sosa come back. Their pitching is first rate and I do think Dusty Baker can bring a team home down the stretch. If the Cubs get healthy they will have quite a race with the Astros and Cards in September, a National League classic for sure.

I expect the Padres to be very active trading for new players. The Padres know they can win the West, but need some help with a speedy outfielder who will take advantage of spacious Petco Park. Enter Carlos Beltran. Xavier Nady and Sean Burroughs would be great additions for KC and KC should FEDEX Beltran tomorrow to San Diego for those two.

The Dodgers are hitting a little more, it’s the starting pitching that is shakey all of a sudden. I’m not discounting LA’s chances by any means, but they will have to come together as a team instead of looking like a 25 guys, 25 cabs team during the summer. Tough job for Jim Tracy keeping this crew consistent.

When the Giants do something to shore up the pitching let me know. Until then it is .500 or so, and close to the lead.

The White Sox made Shingo Takatsu the closer. This means they will win some games. With Cliff Politte and Damaso Marte setting up Takatsu they will keep first place from the Minnesota. Chicago is desperate for a fifth starter and will find one within the month.

The Phils, Marlins, Mets, and Braves will stay within six or seven games of one another until the Marlins pitching comes together and then they will pull ahead. I’d say about August 15th or so. Until then the Phillies better win all the games they can because they will need them in September when Miami throws five aces every week.

The Red Sox won’t make any moves until they see if Nomar and Trot Nixon are back to normal. Derek Lowe is another question mark. When will he kick it in? With Keith Foulke at the end of the pen, if he isn’t overused down the stretch, the Sox should be OK for the playoffs as long as Curt Schilling and Pedro stay healthy.

Injuries to Mike Mussina and Kevin Brown should make NY nervous. Problem for everyone else is the Yankees can outhit you, and the end of the game is still in capable hands.

NY will make a trade but it will be for pitching not offense, you can count on it.

Almost 100 games to go. If you have 32 wins or more you are in decent shape heading into the final 100.

Add it up it works.

90 total wins will keep your interest until the final days of September and what more can a fan ask.


1 Anonymous { 06.14.04 at 2:34 am }

I was with you all the way to your Texas analysis .. unless this is a totally new Texas .. I expect them to faulter in July and be gone by the end of August, It’s the heat, and the baseball gods .. Anaheim, they should be interesting .. but then we’ll know in a couple of weeks .. if the A’s come out strong, they should be gone for the season ..

Marty, really enjoy your show and your script .. thanks for the showing the ‘love of the game’ ..

2 Anonymous { 06.15.04 at 8:18 pm }

Do we really see Barry Zito being traded as a realistic possibility? That just seems so odd. My goodness though, sadly, it seems doing so would be logical at this point. He hasn’t been great whatsoever all year, for the most part. And his trade value might be at the highest point that it feasibly will ever be. We’d get a ton for him.
At this point, we know BB won’t be able to sign all three pitchers when the time comes and one will have to go, at least. So why not trade him now, while he has the combination of not helping the team a whole lot and his trade value likely being at its highest?

3 Anonymous { 06.16.04 at 2:38 am }

Hey Marty,
Is Zito on the decline? He has never had good command and it seems to be getting worse. Plus, his curveball has been very mediocore this season. It seems like he can only throw it well 25% of the time. The rest of the times it hardly bites or hangs terribly. Hardly a recipe for success.
-Mike E.

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