Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

A's Win Game They Need, Giants Edge Closer to Playoffs

Two heavyweights squared off last night in Oakalnd with the A’s delivering the knockout blow in a six run fourth inning, erasing a 4-1 deficit.

Barry Zito couldn’t control any of his pitches during his 5.3 innings on the mound, but hung around long enough to get his 22nd win in the 7-4 victory.

Ray Durham again delivered against a lefthander, crushing a game winning three run homer off of Dennis Cook, whose major league career truly looks cooked.

Mike Scoscia could have pitched around Durham to face Scott Hatteberg, who was benched the night before for poor numbers against lefties, but chose to go after Durham who had homered off lefty Scott Schoenweiss on Monday night, getting the A’s even in a game they went on to win.

The Giants are beating up on the LA pitching staff which is so injury ridden that they are pitching people I’ve never heard of in their biggest series of the year.

Odalis Perez is the last line of defense against the Dodgers falling 3 behind with nine to play.

Livan Hernandez tries to send the Giants off to Milwaukee for a much needed weekend rest against a team playing out the string.

Today in Oakland the game has major division implications.

Here’s why.The A’s need the tie breaker in their favor if the teams end the regular season with identical records, in order to avoid the trip to New York as the AL Wild Card.

The second tie breaker is intradivision records, if the A’s lose today (10- 10 season record between the two teams) they will be three games behind in the second category and Anaheim will have the tie breaker in their pocket.

Oakland leads the season series 10-9. Last night’s win put them in a position to win the series today. Tim Hudson, the A’s spiritual leader, gets the ball on an extremely warm, windy afternoon in the Coliseum.

The Angels were brought back to reality last night. These two teams play each other very well. Anaheim was getting the idea they had the A’s number, winning 4 of the 6 games played between the teams over the past ten days.

Anaheim knocked Barry Zito around and led 4-1 in the fourth with rookie Mickey Callaway on the mound. You could just feel the confidence on the Anaheim bench.

Then it happened.

Eric Chavez hit a monster shot of the centerfield stands, Jermaine Dye hit a towering homer to left, Terrence Long got a hit (big deal for him) to tie the game, and the Angels cooperated by giving Durham a chance to beat them with two runners on base.

Zito pulled it together to shut down Anaheim in the fifth and you could feel the relief from 50,000 fans.

The A’s had asserted themselves once again.

Today’s game promises to be another tight one. Kevin Appier pithces up to the competition. Hudson is competition. The Angel bull pen is still strong and rested.

The A’s have the edge in starting pitching, they will need it today. Chad Bradford pitched as well as could last night. It was about time. The righty is a key part of the A’s bull pen which has failed often, in too many games lately.

Bradford probably isn’t available today, pitching 2.6 last night, so the burden falls on Jim Mecir from the right side and Ricardo Rincon from the left to get the ball to Billy Koch.

Can Koch pitch again today? Why not? He always tells Art Howe, “I’m good to go,” music to the manager’s ears.

If Art used Jason Isringhausen this way, Izzy would have been gone by the All Star game.

The team has won 95 games (remember I said 96 would be enough to get in) and Koch has 40 saves and ten wins.

Simply awesome for Koch. You can’t say enough about what he has done this season.

Whoever wins today will have an extra game lead in the standings because of the tie breaker. This is crucial because I don’t care how the A’s or Angels spin it, there is no percentage in facing the Yankees first.

Hudson versus Appier, warm afternoon in Oakland, this is special baseball.

Is Barry Bonds the MVP? No one in baseball today changes the flow of the game like Bonds. He gets my vote.

The Giants need this one today or it is back to a one game lead.

Believe it or not, the suspension of Benito Santiago could affect the race because the catcher is still swinging a hot bat hitting behind Bonds. One game could make the difference and Santiago is clutch. I like his game. When you look back at the best catchers in baseball over the last 15 years, Benito is right there, not Hall of Fame, but damn good.

St. Louis continues to roll. Andy Benes six more good innings last night. With Arizona on the horizon, not many people are looking at the Cards as a potential World Series team, but they can hit and notwithstanding Greg Colbrunn’s cycle Wednesday, the Diamondbacks don’t scare me on offense.

One or two well placed homers against the veterans, Johnson and Schilling, and we’ve got a huge upset. It’s not impossible.

Hitting in baseball goes in cycles. The A’s haven’t hit for two weeks, that is the usual downturn teams experience over the course of the year.

After the home run barrage the bats went silent again last night. It’s unrealistic to think their pitching can dominate every day. If they don’t hit today, Appier is capable of beating Hudson.

A few doubles would be nice, a 12 hit game would even be better.

Who wants to lose to the Yankees or the Twins 2-1, 3-2, or 4-3? The bats better wake up soon or Hudson, Mulder, and Zito won’t be able to shoulder the load in the playoffs.

Today’s games are out there for both the Giants and the A’s.

Wins by both and it will be a big step towards having a busy Bay Area a week from next Tuesday.


1 Anonymous { 09.19.02 at 1:12 pm }

it seems to me that the yankees will have a battle

on their hands no matter whom they play in the 1st round. their division had soft touches and they

have a better record as a result. anaheim or oakland should beat them . i think they would rather play minnesota but the structure of the playoffs won’t allow that to happen

2 Anonymous { 09.19.02 at 2:01 pm }

With the appeals process as insane as it is, Santiago probably won’t have to serve his suspension until next year. If the Giants are ahead by 3 games with two to play, they’ll choose to have him serve the suspension at that time. These appeals basically allow teams to choose when to serve suspensions. Other than the lost salary to the player, there is rarely any real damage done to a team. (Look at Derek Lowe–suspended in late July, I believe, but his suspension was conveniently dropped when the Red Sox had six games in five days so that he would not miss a start anyway.)

The game last night was great. The Chavez homerun was just a monster shot up off the glass on one of the luxury boxes in center. I was fortunate enough to be just behind home plate, and all I could say was WOW. I saw Jason hit one out there last year, but it is pretty rare to see one hit quite that hard.

The A’s bats still worry me, though. They beat up weak pitching (twice getting Callaway in the last two series), but struggle against the type of pitching they will see in the playoffs.

Oh, and I still worry about the possibility of overworking Billy Koch. He has been shakier over the last few weeks (off the top of my head, he has blown leads or ties against the Twins, Royals and Angels twice) than most of the season despite last night’s great outing.

Oh, well. I guess I have always had this pessimistic streak. Fortunately, the A’s generally prove me wrong.

Go A’s.

Steve B.

You must log in to post a comment.