Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Daily Dish April 21st, 2002

The AL Central race will be a three team race all season long. But who has the early edge?The White Sox are playing the best ball out of the three contenders right now. They hit the ball all over the yard. Paul Konerko leads the AL with 21 RBI’s. Konerko, who was traded during the second inning of a game while he was playing for the LA Dodgers, is fulfilling the promise he showed as a dynamite AAA player in the Dodger chain.

After going to Cincinnati where Sean Casey beat him out of a job, he moved to the Sox for Mike Cameron. Konerko hits for power, hits doubles, and doesn’t complain. He is off to an all star start.

The Big Hurt is happy and is capable of carrying the middle of the ChiSox lineup. Frank Thomas has always been a player who has streaks, good and bad. It looks like he is on a good streak right now. Thomas is hitting .330 with 4 homers and 14 RBI.

Kenny Lofton, one of the biggest gambles the Sox made during the off season, is playing like he did for years with the Indians. Lofton is hitting .397, has scored a league leading 24 runs, and leads the AL with 10 stolen bases. He sets the tone for the offense by creating big trouble early in the game.

The Sox went into yesterday’s game leading the league with a .309 batting average. Against the Tigers on Saturday they went 15-37, raising the average even higher.

Their pitching has settled ever so slightly both in the rotation and in the pen. Today it’s 6′ 11″ Righty Jon Rauch against the Tigers home run machine Jose Lima. Watch out in the bleachers.

The Indians are coming back to earth. Lack of a consistent offense has slowed the Tribe this week. Ellis Burks is hitting well, but he is an aging veteran who will need help. Don’t expect him to carry this team from the three spot in the batting order much longer. Jim Thome is all or nothing at the plate, Travis Fryman is down to .175, and allegedly Milton Bradley (.333) was taken to a hospital, drunk a few days ago on his 24th birthday.

Chuck Finley with his own personal issues on the front pages of the papers these days, goes against Rick Reed today in Minnesota. Cleveland tries to salvage at least one game from the Twins.

The Twins are hitting .289, third in the league with 21 homers, second in slugging with .473 and fifth in on base percentage with .349. All outstanding offensive numbers and an explanation why they are maintaing a nice pace in this division.

Even with Joe Mays out for a while, the pitching hasn’t fallen off because Matt Kinney and Kyle Lohse gave the team good starts against Cleveland. Now with the rotation ready to turn over to the top, the Twins are sitting pretty good to end the week.

LaTroy Hawkins has been excellent in a set up role and Eddie Guardado hasn’t missed in the closers spot, leading the AL with seven saves.

Torri Hunter is a terrific flyhawk in centerfield and is hitting .386 out of the fifth spot in the order. I love to see a good fifth slot hitter, they keep rallies going or start ones when the fourth hitter makes the last out in an inning.

Just noticed, the Twins bull pen has been so effective, that manager Ron Gardenhire has gone to it a league leading 55 times.

Decent defense, good hitting, effective pitching, all add up to a winning recipe in baseball.

This will be a good old fashioned race all summer long.

The Rocket goes on normal rest today against Cris Carpenter back from the DL. These two teams have played great games against each other this season, with bull pens deciding the contests.

With Pudge Rodriguez out with a back injury, Seattle stole five bases on Bill Hasselman and his pitchers last night. Today, Doug Davis gets to see if he can continue his excellent early season work against Seattle. The Mariners are slightly vulnerable to lefties without Edgar Martinez in the line up and with Bret Boone hitting .231.

However, as I’ve said all season, Seattle is never out of the game and actually likes to play from behind. When they beat you late in the game, it is demoralizing. Freddy Garcia again tries to get on a roll for Seattle.

Pitchers to watch today.

Pedro Astacio for the Mets. Will he be the staff ace? Can Bud Smith be the stopper for St. Louis? Will Jose Rijo give the Reds enough innings to turn it over to the bull pen with a lead? Can Juan Cruz ever win for the Cubs? Will Andy Ashby’s arm hold up for another start? Is the Big Unit’s shoulder hurting? Is Ryan Jensen’s ankle all right? Will Cory Lidle win his first game? Will Aaron Sele be able to handle the lefty lineup of the A’s?

All these questions and more will be answered by the end of the day.



1 Anonymous { 02.19.06 at 4:48 pm }
2 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:14 pm }

3 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:51 pm }

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