Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Angels And Washburn Get it Done, Are Dodgers Done?

The Angels have the best overall lineup in the American league from leadoff slap hitters, right through the power slots.

The A’s have many holes in their lineup which are frighteningly exposed by competent major league pitchers.

Tuesday night Jarrod Washburn was cool, methodical, and displayed pin point control, the type of control needed to beat the Yankees or some similar team in October. He was very impressive, not falling behind in the count and getting stronger as the night wore on.

Mark Mulder continued on his fabulous 2002 ride, which is equaling his 2001, 21 win season. Mulder struck out 12, didn’t walk a batter, and was in total control of the best hitting team in the league.

Great baseball, the game decided by a pitch below the hands (where he must not be pitched), to Tim Salmon which he deposited 450 feet away in left field off Billy Koch to win the 1-0 game in ten tense innings.

The Giants outlasted the Dodgers and could open a two game lead today with Russ Ortiz and Kevin Beirne matching up in LA.

For the A’s and the Angels, more of the same tonight, with Barry Zito and Mickey Callaway on the hill.

The Angels have won six straight over lefties, Barry Zito is no ordinary lefty, he’s in the class of Mulder and Washburn and that is saying something.

Click below for more.Most lineups have a breather somewhere in the bottom third of the order, the Angels don’t. The closest thing to an easy out may be Bengie Molina, he comes up with clutch hits all the time.

Heck, Adam Kennedy bats ninth and is hitting over.300.

The Angels can play the game, their biggest problem is starting pitching. Today, it should be exploited, even by the A’s who have had ten hits only once in the past eight games (against Ismael Valdes on Friday night).

The Angels made Callaway’s last start against the A’s a nightmare when they threw the ball around carelessly, putting the righty into a tough fourth inning. The A’s will take pitches, driving Callaway out mid game, but the Angel bull pen got a major boost from Washburn’s game and is in good shape for tonight.

Brednen Donnelly will be back tonight as well as Ben Weber, who did a nice job retiring the A’s in the ninth, allowing Salmon to crush Koch’s pitch for the homer.

If a batter can get Koch into a seven or eight pitch at bat, he can rock the hard thrower, simply by eventually timing his pitches. The A’s wouldn’t be where they are without the amazing season Koch has had, but in big games against good teams, he really needs some sort of off speed splitter or slider to absolutely shut the door. Salmon hit a fast ball deep in the at bat last night.

The season series is now tied at 9-9 which is significant since these two teams could easily finish in a tie for the lead and the first tie breaker is head to head competition.

Paul Molitor is my guest tonight on Right Off The Bat. Molitor is scouting the Angels and the A’s for the Twins, and says with all due respect to the Angels no one wants to see the A’s in the playoffs because of their pitching.

The A’s lack of some good every day blue collar hitters puts tremendous pressure on the pitching staff. Today is a good example with Zito needed to hold the Angels to two or three runs and the A’s hoping to put four on the board against an inexperienced pitcher.

You don’t win 95 games by accident and you don’t go very far in the playoffs without bringing your game up to another level on offense and defense. The Angels are turning into a team that has the look of a successful playoff team.

Garret Anderson has a tender hamstring, last night he played excellent left field, running down at least two potential extra base hits. The last catch off the bat of Eric Chavez was in deep left center field, Anderson was helped by the fact with two outs the outfield was playing “no doubles” and he was already near the track.

Troy Percival showed a strong slide step, unusual these days for a power closer, who used to let runners steal at will. He is very decptive and doesn’t lose much off his fastball with the slide step.

The A’s have beaten every middle of the road righty in the last two months, Callaway does fall into that slot. This game tonight, with over 45,000 expected to be there, should be another close one. The A’s have their usual edge in the most important category, starting pitching.

A few runs would make Zito’s night much more enjoyable.

Tomorrow sees Tim Hudson and Kevin Appier going to the mound. This division race is far from over, no matter what happens the next two days. These two teams can play the game and both Hudson and Appier can make everyone forget tonight’s game in a heartbeat.

The Giants throw Russ Ortiz against untested Kevin Beirne. The Dodgers hope to just get a split in the series and get the Giants out of town. I think LA will take their chances with San Diego and Colorado and hope that Houston can hurt the Giants the last weekend of the season.

Amazing, but San Diego will decide who wins the Wild card in the NL.

The playoffs last year were very exciting. This year will be even better. Minnesota, New York, Oakland, and Anaheim, I think these are the best matchups in years.

St. Louis, Arizona, Atlanta, and probably the Giants can’t match the AL ,but will be close as well.

I always believed the real lure of baseball was the 162 game season and how you got to the playoffs, but this year the AL post season may be the story of 2002.

Tonight sets the stage one more time for October.

These teams are worth the price of admission.


1 Anonymous { 09.18.02 at 2:20 pm }

tip your caps to the managers of the a’s and angels. these men never let the players quit on them and they play hard for nine

at its best

2 marty { 09.18.02 at 3:23 pm }

Very very true..

3 Anonymous { 09.18.02 at 3:44 pm }

It’s so discouraging to see a starter work so hard for 9 innings and have the game given up like it was last night. A few weeks ago Buck Martinez was talking about how Koch refused to pitch inside. Don’t know if that’s true or not. It seems like he needs a little more variety to catch the hitters off guard like he did the other night striking out one of the Mariners with a curveball.

4 marty { 09.18.02 at 4:37 pm }

Message: Marty: I read your article today posted on your website and it was like you were reading my mind. The Angels are a far better team than the A’s. From top to bottom their batters are excellent. There isn’t one batter that is a sure out… opposed to the A’s who have some big, big holes from the fourth or fifth (depends on who’s batting) on down. Also, defensively, the Angels are outstanding, particularly in the outfield. The outfield continues to be a hit or miss for the A’s. The one area I will give the A’s the nod over the Angels is with starting pitching…..Mulder, Hudson, and Zito. You can even throw in Lidle. But if any one of those pitchers is having an off night, forget it. The A’s have NO bullpen. No one consistent, no one dependable. The only thing dependable about the A’s bullpen is that they are guaranteed to give up runs. I said before and I’ll say it again…..Billy Koch cannot hold a one run lead. So what is all this leading to? My vote for manager of the year goes to Art Howe. He doesn’t have the best team but he has his team winning. He has a GM who continues to give him second rate players and Art still wins. He uses his weak bullpen the best he can, and still wins. He plays hunches, makes an occasional change in the lineup (Velarde last night), maneuvers the bullpen, plays in a city with minimal support, and the guy keeps putting a winning team on the field. Go A’s……Go Art!

5 Anonymous { 09.18.02 at 4:39 pm }

First, I should say that I love Art Howe and the way he manages this team. That being said, I sure wish he would have made a little better use of the left-handed bats on the bench late in the game last night. Mabry and Hatteberg would have looked good hitting for any of the Ellis (8th inning), Dye (Percy is tough on righties), Long (overmatched by good pitching) trio. It seemed a pity to leave these weapons on the bench once the lefty starter was out of the game. The lack of a real backup center fielder hurts, too, because you simply need to be able to hit for Long from time to time.

I’ll be at the ballpark tonight. I can’t wait!

Steve B.

6 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:14 pm }

7 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:51 pm }

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