Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Are Cubs For Real, Number Five Starters Up Today

What makes the Cubs scary in the NL Central is the back end of their rotation. Today, they flip the deck and start off with their number one, Kerry Wood. The last two days Shawn Estes has returned from the missing pitchers list and young righty Carlos Zambrano continued his 2003 success with six strong innings against the Reds.

After Wood, here comes Matt Clement and Mark Prior, three very hard throwing righthanders, when you look at the group.

Starting to sound a lot like the Oakland A’s.

Can the Cubs stay in the race? Absolutely!

They will need to get big seasons from Sammy Sosa and Moises Alou. They are getting major contributions from Damian Miller, Mark Grudzilenek, Alex Gonzalez, and Hee Seop Choi, if this continues Dusty Baker will have a happy first summer in Wrigleyville.

More baseball today as those important fifth starters are on the hill as well as some of the big boys.

Click below for more info.John Halama pitches against his former team in Seattle. The bigger question is what fellow fifth starter Gil Meche will bring to the mound for Seattle. Meche is still coming back from arm surgery and truly got rocked by the A’s in spring training one afternoon in Peoria when he was the starter in a game when the A’s scored 25 runs.

Lefties seem to hold the Mariners a little better than righties. Halama will need to keep the ball in the park if he wants to give his team the lead before turning the ball over to the pen in the sixth inning.

Tim Hudson has the Mariners number, a very good thing because he undoubtedly will see them four more times this season.

Texas looked like they were on their way to a win last night when their defense and late inning game went awry. Good news for Chan Ho Park who went six strong innings only walking one, throwing 73 pitches and gave up just two runs.

Today Ryan Drese tries to get out of the first inning before giving up five runs. Drese has real trouble early in the game and for that matter later in the game too. He is opposed by Mickey Callaway a pitcher at the end of the rotation who can get the ball to the pen with his team still in the game.

John Lackey had another rough ride for Anaheim last night. The second year pitcher hasn’t thrown well in any of his four starts this season.

The Giants are in danger of losing Robb Nen for the season as he undergoes further exploratory surgery on Friday. Eventually, the closer’s role will be a problem for SF unless they get a proven end of the game guy. Todd Worell and Felix Rodriguez are OK for now, but over the long summer ahead they will need help.

Pedro on the hill for the BoSox today after his terrible outing against the Orioles in his last start. Pedro completely dominates Tampa Bay every time he sees them, but this team is playing scrappy baseball and with Joe Kennedy on the mound in Boston (great name in Boston) maybe Rocco Baldelli and his mates can stay close to Martinez.

Toronto hits the ball and knocked David Wells out of the box after five innings in the Stadium, not easy to do. Toronto’s bull pen got the job done for the win Wednesday. Toronto will not be an easy team to beat once its pitching settles down.

Esteban Loaiza and Chris George today in Comiskey Park. Two starters who will play an important role for their teams. George, a lefty is the number four man for the Royals, while Loaiza may rise to number three for Chicago. Anyway, these two teams are having a ball throwing at each other and playing tight exciting games so far.

Can it last in the AL Central, maybe, the Twins are slowly rounding into shape and if you have pitching which KC does, the race may stay closer than anyone thought when the season started.

Jeff Weaver, how would you like him to be your fifth starter? The Yankees like him a lot.

Darren Dreifort makes another start today for LA. The righty is on his way back from arm and knee trouble. Endurance will be the key for Dreifort who is working extra long bull pen sessions with pitching coach Jim Colborn to build his arm strength. Dreifort is someone to watch later in the year.

San Diego and LA play them low scoring and close. Adam Eaton, one of the youngsters on the Padres is capable of six good innings today.

Kerry Wood versus Jimmy Haynes, one would think the Cubs should have an easy time of it today. However, this is April, and baseball in April is as unpredictable as the April weather.

Number fives Tim Redding and Matt Kinney in Milwaukee today. The Brewers hit homers at home, the Astros should hit some there too.

Number five Carl Pavano matches up with Phillies ace Kevin Millwood. Advantage Phillies.

Two former teammates Russ Ortiz and Livan Hernadez pitch against each other in San Juan today. The Braves took the first two games of the series with tight pitching, good defense, and Gary Sheffield homers. Just get the ball to closer John Smoltz and all is well for Atlanta, Smoltzie is another Dennis Eckersley at the end of the game, boom, boom boom, and it’s over.

Leading the majors in hitting Brent Mayne and Mike Matheny, two catchers.

Now, I know it’s April.


1 astrogoddess { 04.18.03 at 4:50 am }

I saw Zambrano shut out the A’s in Spring Training at Ho HoKam Park and he looked like the real deal.

As for Shawn Estes, I see good things for him this year. He’s a late bloomer and an emotional Pisces, so being reunited with Dusty can only help. I thought that the Giants and Mets gave up on the lefty too soon, but Pisces needs to develop more of a backbone, especially on the mound.

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