Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

White Sox Are On A Roll, NL Wild Card Showdown

Dontrelle Willis faces fellow youngster Brett Myers tonight in Miami as the Marlins seek to close the five game gap between themselves and the wild card leading Phillies.

This is the biggest start of Willises career, the first game of any series sets the tone and he gets the ball.

The Phillies hit the ball in Wrigley against Kerry Wood and a host of inadequate relievers. Interesting with all the runs the Phils scored yesterday, Pat Burrell their 50 million dollar player wasn’t in the lineup.

Arizona limps into LA behind Randy Johnson, four games behind the Phils. Barry Bonds made the throw he should have made in 1991 when Sid Bream scored from second on Francisco Cabrera’s single putting the Braves into the World Series, yesterday’s throw was from almost the identical spot on the field, but this time Bonds threw Craig Counsell out at the plate with a laser from left field cutting down the potential lead run in the ninth.

Click below for more on the A’s and the AL!Watching Mark Mulder pitch last night you realize why he is a young Andy Pettitte in the making. Mulder went to his inside cutter and fast ball to completely blow the Mariners away. Vintage Pettitte, never losing confidence in his hard stuff, Mulder stayed away from a finesse game and took it right at the Mariners.

Gil Meche threw well, but he was gassed in the seventh after Eric Chavez took him deep and should have come out of the game. Trouble is Jeff Nelson is a shadow of his former self and by the time Nelson came in with men on base the game was getting away from Seattle.

To further complicate things for Seattle Arthur Rhodes twisted his ankle and was removed. Seattle’s bull pen needs to feature Rafael Soriano and Julio Mateo because Aaron Taylor, Nelson, and Rhodes look like they are in trouble.

Seattle doesn’t hit with any authority and the hitters are frustrated, constantly throwing helmets after outs, complaining about calls, and generally in a real funk.

If the A’s could just hit the ball things would pick up in Oakland. The A’s offense features the walk. Period end of story. If these hitters didn’t walk as often as they do, they would have real trouble getting anyone on base. Any pitcher who can throw strikes consistently will give Oakland trouble (see Minn and KC games).

A’s hitting coach Dave Hudgens is the counterpart to pitching coach Rick Peterson. Meaning charts, graphs, computer print outs, pitch selection, etc form the basis of his teachings. These hitters don’t let it fly and until they become aggressive at the plate this offense will continue to struggle.

A big bat may help the A’s in one way. A legit hitter may take the pressure off Tejada, Chavez, and Durazo to the extent that the big three hitters will relax and be more effective. The loss of Jermaine Dye is a still a big loss to this offense.

Ted Lilly will be watched carefully in Anaheim tonight by the scouts looking for pitching help. John Lackey who has struggled for most of the season goes for the Angels who still can make a run at the playoffs despite their star crossed season.

Another thing about the A’s offensive philosophy. They don’t do anything to create action. They take on 3-0, they don’t steral, they don’t hit and run, they essentially don’t do anything except try to work a walk. Just ask the scouts who fill out their reports on Oakland, the page for the areas I just listed is left blank, I’ve seen it.

But the A’s pitching is sweet. Tim Hudson Mulder, and Zito can win every time out. Rich Harden pitches Saturday against Aaron Sele on Fox.

The Dodgers have a wealth of relievers, need offense, and seem to like Terrence Long. I’ll still take Paul Shuey for the A’s bull pen in a heartbeat.

The Cubs go to Houston to challenge the front running Astros this weekend. With Mark Prior on the DL and Kerry Wood not in this series, this could be the weekend the Cubs get pushed further back in the race.

Matt Stairs is quietly putting one of his best seasons in years together for Pittsburgh. Stairs is an extra player, but he can help a contender off the bench.

Mike Lincoln formerly of the Twins is lights out as closer for the Pirates who I again point out are a very pesky team even without Lofton and Ramirez who now reside in Chicago.

Two pitchers who may go in trades next week meet in Toronto tonight. Cory Lidle is rumored to be heading to St. Louis and Jason Johnson is heading somewhere if the Orioles can get a decent hitter.

David Wells versus Pedro Martinez in the Fens. Pedro has trouble beating the Yankees, Wells has difficulty winning out of New York. Somehow this game will come down to Byung Hyun Kim versus Armando Benitez and Mariano Rivera in the late innings.

Anyway, it is one heckuva game to see if you can see it.

Kansas City goes into Detroit and faces lefty Wilfredo Ledezma who has had his moments this season. Runelvys Hernandez who pitched extremely well his last time out goes for KC, the team is playing nice baseball, despite the fielding flaws of first baseman Ken Harvey.

The White Sox better be careful with Tampa Bay. The Devil Rays almost cost the manager his job the last time these two teams met in Tampa. The Devil Rays can hit and keep the pressure on the defense at all times. Getting 21 hits yesterday in Boston is not an aberration. Esteban Loiaza goes against Jorge Sosa, he of the power arm but straight fastball.

If Texas swings the bats they may be trouble for Seattle this weekend even in Seattle. Jamie Moyer needs to keep Texas down so the Mariners have time to wear down the Texas pitching staff. Robert Ellis makes his season debut for Texas tonight.

Minnesota goes to Cleveland where the Indians are in the midst of a long winning drought. At one point it looked like Cleveland was making some progress, but with a trip to Oakland starting Tuesday night, this series may be the last chance they have to win for awhile. Kenny Rogers versus Jake Westbrook, not a classic matchup, but an important one for the Twins.

The White Sox got six innings of one run ball from its bullpen last night in Toronto and guess who didn’t pitch? Billy Koch, which shows that Jerry Manuel would like to keep his job for another week.

By the way, Paul Konerko is now up to .212.

LA is only 4 1/2 behind the Phillies too, so a trade with them for a reliever is not out of the question.

There are good games to watch this weekend.

The trades are just around the corner.


1 Anonymous { 07.25.03 at 12:44 pm }

The game last night was a joy to watch.Mulder

was terrific but the A’s offense went to sleep

for 6 innings and the still had 6 hits for the game. The 2 game total was 8 hits and 3 runs for 18 innings. The good news is that the Red Sox lost to the Devil Rays and the A’s picked

up a game and are now 3 back in the wild card

and more significantly, they are 4 back of Seattle. Had they lost they would be 6 back. A very important win for the A’s. They will have an opportunity to gain ground on the Bosox this weekend. The last time the Bombers were in Fenway , they swept the series. The Angels are scuffling and if they are going to do anyting this year, they better get it going.

Hopefully,Lilly will be on his game and be consistent with his pitches and go after the


Baseball fans have to love what happened at Pac Bell yesterday. First of all it was Barry Bonds birthday. Then he makes a great play from the outfield. He doesn’t have a great arm

but he made the play and then why is it that the guy who makes a great play in the field then leads off. Then on the 1st pitch homers

for a walk off victory and put his team 11 games up over the Diamondbacks. The race is not over and you can never take anything for granted in baseball but there is no doubt that the Giants will make the playoffs. While there is 2 months to go it may be premature but

I think it will happen.

Jerry F

2 Anonymous { 07.25.03 at 1:20 pm }


Interesting comments about Hudgens. Overanalyzing the game can become paralyzing to a player. You can’t go out there and think about things too much at one time. The hitters should just work at one adjustment at a time. And the best way to work out of a slump is to hit the ball up the middle, which I don’t see any of the A’s player ever do when they are struggling. Tejada, for one, just needs to shorten his swing. That hitch of his really makes his swing too long. He looked overpowered against Meche all night. He seems to have trouble with hard throwers. It sounds like the A’s are trying to make this game too much about a “science” with their emphasis on charts and stats. What’s next? Powerpoint presentations?


3 Anonymous { 07.25.03 at 6:35 pm }


Is it really true the Dodgers like T. Long???

It would be a dream to get Shuey one for one for Long. I hope you are right and BB makes that deal!!!!

I agree with you and Mike about the A’s braintrust maybe overanalyzing the hitting approaches. Our hitters no doubt are pressing big time. B. McMillon on the post game interview alluded to this problem (in a very impressive, astute, diplomatic way, I might add).

We need a good old fashioned bean ball war, Billy Martin-esc tirade from Macha, or something to shake us up!!!

The Angels might just be what we need as there is the potential for bad blood with the Molina/Dye collision still fresh in mind.

Now if we only had someone (other than Lilly) that could start off the series festivities with a nice sound plunking to empty the benches. We could maybe stir up something inside the nonchalants on the team such as Chavy.

Reno Bill

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