Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Pitching Key to Summer Surge

As major league teams hit the quarter poll of the 2005 baseball season some things are becoming quite clear.

The A’s need to get to the .500 mark before they can be considered serious contenders in the AL West.

The A’s have to be careful not to fall double digits behind the Angels.

In years past, the team could count on a strong second half surge relying on the “Big Three” to carry them through the dog days of summer.

Not so now.

Click below for more!Rich Harden could be out for another month. Joe Blanton seems to have lost his command of the strike zone after pitching well in the early season.

One never knows if Dan Haren will make it three times through the opposing teams batting order. Seth Etherton and Kirk Saarloos have filled in adequately, but are clearly a gamble each time out.

Barry Zito must step up and regain his Cy Young form. So far it hasn’t happened.

You can’t win 15 out of 20 and get back in the race without dominating starting pitching and right now the A’s don’t have it.

Bobby Kielty has finally justified the Ted Lilly trade by becoming Oakland’s hottest hitter. He is the right fielder, you can forget the platoon.

When you trace all the players who changed teams in order for the A’s to land Kielty, a list that includes Carlos Pena, Jeff Weaver, and Lilly, the A’s right fielder might be the best player in the deal after all.

Now what happens to Nick Swisher once he returns from the DL?

Swisher could move over to left field. If manager Ken Macha chooses that route, then the Eric Byrnes trade rumors heat up again.

The Giants should make the A’s an offer they can’t refuse and grab Byrnes. Byrnes loves to play in SBC Park. Giant fans unabashedly cheer his all out style. With Barry Bonds’s season in serious doubt, the Giants need some excitement. Byrnes is a perfect fit.

The A’s must be very careful with rookie Huston Street.

Big time closers are asked to take the ball two and three games in a row. Not only does Street lose velocity when asked to pitch in back to back games, but the A’s have to be careful that Street doesn’t injure his arm through over use.

The A’s should resist promoting reliever Jairo Garcia from AAA Sacramento. Garcia is smoking minor league hitters once again with his over powering speed.

Garcia might be the A’s best trade chip come July.

If Garcia came up to the majors now and struggled as he did last year, then he would certainly lose his potential high trade value.

The Yankees and the Mets have always cornered the market on the marquee players from Japan. However, the best player from Japan in the big leagues this year is White Sox second baseman Tadahito Iguchi.

Iguchi can handle the bat and knows how to take a pitch allowing Scott Podsednik to run wild on the bases for the AL Central leading White Sox.

Don’t overlook the excellent pitching from lesser known Japanese imports Keiichi Yabu and Padres set up man Akinori Otsuka either.

Who will start the all star game for the NL? I’ll take San Diego’s Jake Peavy.

In the AL, I’ll go with Jon Garland.

Rickey Henderson and Pete Rose were agile enough to slide head first without getting hurt. Going into home plate that way was not a good idea for the Angel’s Vladimir Guerrero who injured his shoulder against the Dodgers Friday night.

Vlad’s injury comes at a bad time for the Angels who face the Dodgers, Red Sox, White Sox, and Braves over the next few weeks.

If the Rangers get any pitching whatsoever they could find themselves in first place in the West by June 10th.

The Phillies have come up with a gem in starting pitcher Brett Myers. His stuff is electric.

After seeing the Yankees and the Red Sox first hand, I’ll take New York in the East. NY plays every game as if it’s the seventh game of the world series. Simply amazing.

If closer Keith Foulke continues to get hammered every time he takes the ball, it could be a long summer for the Beantown boys.

If all the financial items could be resolved what’s wrong with Jason Giambi coming back to Oakland?

The Giants brought hated Dodgers Reggie Smith and Orel Hershiser to the Bay Area and the fans accepted them without regard for past deeds.

If Giambi regains his stroke, he could be one of the best hitters in the league. Plus he’s a proven veteran hitter, something Oakland needs.

He’s worth the gamble if a deal could be worked out.

I’d trade the Yankees Erubiel Durazo for Giambi right now.


1 Anonymous { 05.22.05 at 3:58 pm }

trade thoughts: you suggested a trade that might help the Giants (Byrnes) but did not suggest who the Giants might consider giving who might help the A’s. Making a suggestion that would also help the A’s would show more balance in this article.

If you are serious about Giambi then I really wonder if you’re at all an A’s fan. Giambi is done – his best hitting days are behind him. He will likely continue to suffer the effects of steroid and human growth hormone use (and who knows what else). The last thing the A’s need is another aging defensive liability at 1st base and/or a left-handed DH whose power is going, going gone.

2 marty { 05.22.05 at 10:33 pm }

Perhaps you are right about Giambi, but I’m of the opinion that Durazo won’t be back and I’d take my chances with Giambi. How about Brad Hennesey or Accardo for Byrnes?

3 marty { 05.22.05 at 11:14 pm }

Hi Marty:

I saw your comments about Iguchi and Otsuka.

But watch out this offseason, when Seibu Lions ace Daisuke Matsuzaka ends up with the Yankees after he is posted and Softbank catcher Kenji Johjima qualifies for free agency. Johjima is like the Japanese Gary Carter. He doesn’t strikeout, has a rifle for an arm and possesses some pop as well as being a club leader. That is why he is making $5 million this season. If he stays in Japan, he is a surefire first ballot hall of famer if he keeps doing what he has so far. And he has destroyed in his Japan Series appearances.

Matsuzaka is the first Japanese ever clocked at 100mph. This season, his record isn’t so great because they aren’t scoring any runs for him despite an ERA under 2.00. The Mariners are also hot for him, but it is unlikely that they will be able to afford him given the team’s lower attendance this season and Chuck Armstrong’s obsession with profitability. Matsuzaka has said that he wants to play for the Yankees. This guy is no Hideki Irabu. He is a great, determined kid who only gets better with each passing season. He features a fastball that is most often between 91-96, an effective cutter, a slider and, if his fastball is off, he will bring out his forkball. He is the third or fourth most popular Japanse player behind Ichiro, Godzilla Matsui and, perhaps, Yomiuri first baseman Kazuhiro Kiyohara. Whoever signs him will hit a bonanza with their merchandising.

Take care,

Gary Garland
Japan Baseball Daily

4 Anonymous { 05.23.05 at 10:01 am }

Hi again, Marty.

thanks for responding to my criticisms. Much as I’ve hoped that Durazo would repeat (or come close to) his 2004 performance, I realize there’s a good chance that 2004 was his career year. I still would rather take a chance with 1-2 of the AAA sluggers than with Giambi. is there any indication that the A’s even consider Giambi? (My impression is that they’re not interested.)

Brad Hennesey looks interesting, and might not be a bad trade for Byrnes. While some A’s fans salivate over Matt Cain I would be shocked if the Giants were willing to part with him.

5 marty { 05.23.05 at 11:17 am }

No way Giants part with Matt Cain under any circumstances. He will need a full year of AAA but will be in the majors next season.
I don’t think the A’s have much interest in Giambi nor do I think the Yanks will eat his whole contract. The Yankees probably have interest in Durazo, but don’t have much to offer back to Oakland. Again I think Giambi would help Chavez in the clubhouse and in the lineup, but the money is just too much to workout unless George gets completely disenchanted with Giambi.

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