Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Hudson Strong, Livan Wrong on Thursday

On a bright sunny day in Oakland, Tim Hudson put in a claim to be the A’s number one starter in the playoffs when he beat the Angels 5-3, throwing 7.3 excellent innings.

The A’s used their pitching advantage in taking three of four from the Anaheim. When the starter gives Art Howe 6.6, 7.0 or 7.3 innings pitched, life in the bull pen becomes less hazardous.

Thursday, Mike Venafro and Jim Mecir were only needed for five pitches before turning matters over to the closer, who did his job for the 41st time.

The Angels are a tough hitting team, but there is no doubt that their lack of big time starting pitching will doom them in October. Once Kevin Appier threw 50 pitches in the first two innings, it was just a matter of time until the A’a broke through.

The big blow was struck against relief specialist Brendan Donnelly, who was summoned in the sixth (much earlier than normal for him) as it was obvious to the 25,000 in attendance that Appier was gassed.

The youth and endurance of the A’s starters cannot be overlooked when comparing these two teams.

It is the difference.

Livan Hernandez is a shadow of his former effectiveness, losing 6-3 to LA, keeping the Dodgers one game behind the Giants.

Hernandez’s record of 11-16 speaks for itself and tells you how his inconsistency has hurt his team all year. Now the Giants fly during the night to Milwaukee and the Dodgers take a leisurely bus ride this morning along the Pacifc Coast Highway to San Diego.

The view is better in California for LA, but the weaker team plays in Milwaukee and they are called the Brewers.

Advantage San Francisco.

Here’s how the weekend shapes up.The A’s will pick up ground on someone this evening. Seattle hosts Anaheim and the loser will put the A’s one step closer to the playoffs.

If Anaheim wins and the A’s win, then the A’s are in (eliminating the Mariners). If Seattle wins and the A’s win, then the A’s have a three game lead (including the tie breaker) on the Angels. If the A’s lose, they still pick up ground on the loser of Seattle – Anaheim ,and this goes on all weekend.

Oakland will have their first celebration sometime this weekend.

Ted Lilly hopes to last three good innings tonight. Texas hits lefties at a .257 clip, while hitting .274 off righthanders. Rafael Palmiero, Herbert Perry, and A Rod all are under 10 homers against lefthanded pitching.

If Lilly looks healthy and sharp, he can get on the playoff roster as a lefty out of the pen. I don’t think there is a chance in the world he will ever get a start in this year’s playoffs, no matter what he does tonight.

The A’s have nine games left and must win against Texas, a team they have looked good against in Oakland this year. Losses this weekend coupled with a few Angel victories will wipe away the two game advantage in a heart beat.

Remember, the big three don’t come back until Sunday when Mark Mulder goes against Chan Ho Park, Texas’s best pitcher.

The A’s got big hits from Terrence Long and Ramon Hernandez, two players who have not contributed much offense in the past. Miguel Tejada may break out this series as he tries to show the world he is more deserving of the MVP than A Rod, who also will be on the same field. Tejada hasn’t been swinging with his recent plate discipline and must let the game come to him. It should be a challenge for him facing A Rod head to head, maybe he’ll relax and just play his game.

If you know Miguel, he will be sky high.

Kenny Rogers loved to pitch in the Coliseum when he was here. Lefties have given the A’s trouble lately, so this game is no gimme for the A’s. Without, a legit righthanded DH/first base type player, the A’s are hurting in the power department against lefties. Every scout in the country is watching how the A’s hit lefthanders now.

The Giants throw Ryan Jensen, who hasn’t looked good in six weeks against Milwaukee. Nick Neugebauer, a hard throwing oft injured righty goes for the Brewers. Hello Milwaukee bull pen, they will be in this game by the fifth inning.

Benito Santiago starts his two game suspension tonight, it shouldn’t hurt the Giants.

Andy Ashby is capable of a good game tonight against the Padres. Ashby has a million aches and pains, but is a gamer, and I think last night’s win revitalized LA.

The make up game with Atlanta may play a part in the Giant’s chances. It is scheduled for next Monday in Atlanta, if necessaary, meaning the Giants would fly from SF to Atlanta after the game Sunday with Houston, if it matters.

It bears watching this week.

Check out Rick Reed’s start today. For some reason the experts are speculating that Minnesota will hold Brad Radke back for their home playoff game (game three), instead of starting their best pitcher in game one.

Radke is very tough and experienced, only seeing him once in a five game playoff series would be a gift to the opponent.

Next up will be determining the playoff roations, and the biggest question will be how the A’s align their three man rotation because they have never allowed the big three to pitch on three days rest.

Why not give them a chance this week?

They can handle it, and the team could use the confidence builder of seeing the three throw good games on short rest before the series begins.

With only two weekends left, it feels like October already.


1 Anonymous { 09.20.02 at 1:02 pm }

if the a’s go 6-3 the rest of the way, the angels will have to go 7-2 to tie and 8-1 to win the division. the a’s cannot let up and the rangers

hitting must be held in check. mr. lilly has to give the team some quality innings tonight. what a way

to end the season

2 marty { 09.20.02 at 1:27 pm }

I feel Lilly threw some good pitches in his last outing against Seattle. Of course, Edgar hit one nine miles, but I would expect an encouraging outing from Lilly tonight. The A’s need a second lefty and I’m not sure they trust Bowie and Venafro isn’t eligible without an injury to someone else.


3 Anonymous { 09.20.02 at 1:42 pm }

My first reaction to Ted Lilly starting tonight is: “ARRGH!!”. Still it is likely that he is getting stronger and can get in a least a few good innings. I suspect that Art Howe has observed this also and has a plan that doesn’t involve expecting seven innings out of the relievers.

Lilly has quite a bit to live up to given the pitching performance of his colleagues. The fans are likely to view anything less than an outstanding performance as weak.

Regardless, it should be a good game tonight. Even though Texas is 26 games behind the A’s, they can still be a lot of trouble. -David and Steve

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