Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

ALCS Match up Better Than You Think!

Now that the annoying five game AL Division Series is out of the way the A’s can get down to the serious business of getting to the world series.

Every time the A’s needed to make a big pitch, they did. Every time the Twins had a chance to lose the game, they did.

Pure and simple the A’s played better baseball for three days.

A’s and Tigers now that’s a series.

Click below for more!Tigers are sluggers not the Punch and Judy hitters the Twins were. In the ‘pen Jim Leyland has this years “K-Rod”, Joel Zumaya, who throws the ball 100 mph.

Kenny Rogers owns the A’s. Justin Verlander and Jeremy Bonderman can bring the fastball too.

The two best pitching staffs in the league match up. There is justice. Either Ken Macha or Jim Leyland gets to the series. Both true baseball men.

My pick: Detroit is better balanced. I like the Tigers in six tight games.

Eric Chavez is fielding his position as well as anyone I have ever seen play third base. Not only does he guard the line stopping scorched line drives routinely, he turns double plays on shots that look like hits off the bat.

I’ve seen Brooks Robinson, Mike Schmidt, and Craig Nettles play the hot corner. Chavez in 2006 was better than them all.

Why is A Rod such a bust in NY? It’s not just his 4-40 postseason batting slump. It’s what he doesn’t do for the rest of the lineup. A Rod is the man, the highest paid Yankee. He is supposed to lift the whole lineup ala Barry Bonds, Vladimir Guerrero, and Albert Pujols. The Yanks should entertain offers for him as soon as the postseason ends.

Lefthanders Rogers and Tom Glavine sliced up the opposition in their first postseason starts. Both reminded me of Hall of Fame Yankee southpaw Whitey Ford, the craftiest lefty I ever saw pitch a baseball.

On the other hand, Randy Johnson’s back problems mean his days as a reliable starting pitcher are over.

The A’s offered Frank Thomas a two-year deal this week. Thomas hasn’t agreed giving one the feeling that the Big Hurt wants to see how the rest of the postseason plays out before finalizing his price tag.

If Thomas prices himself out of the market, the A’s should look elsewhere quickly. Carlos Lee would be a perfect DH.

Would Barry Bonds be on the A’s radar if the DH in waiting doesn’t return to the Giants? If the A’s don’t make it to the World Series it will be because of their offense. Bonds’s personality issues have mellowed a bit since passing Babe Ruth’s 714 home run mark. His September rush showed he still swings the bat with authority. With Bonds as a full time DH, the A’s might open the third deck in ‘07.

What about Bonds and the law? As time marches on, it is obvious the Feds have no case against the slugger without Greg Anderson’s testimony. It’s become clear Anderson is not going to cooperate with the government under any circumstances. Bonds1 Feds 0.

Everyone writes the Giants should copy the A’s approach when rebuilding their team next season. Oakland builds from within with young players who make a difference once they get to the big leagues.

Now how about a manager? Why not hire Art Howe? Howe’s A’s teams won over 100 games two years in a row, no small feat. He knows how to play A’s baseball. He has developed young players his whole career. Free agents enjoy playing for him. He knows how to run the ‘pen.

Forget Lou Piniella taking the Cubs or Giants managerial jobs. Tampa Bay soured Lou on rebuilding projects. Sweet Lou’s next job will be with the Phillies or the Yankees.

With Buck O’Neil gone wonder how the Hall of Fame feels after foolishly failing to induct the baseball icon this summer?


1 Anonymous { 10.08.06 at 11:22 am }

Hi Marty,

I hope the A’s prove you wrong and take the ALCS. But I agree that this will be one heck of a series. I can’t wait!!

I love Frank Thomas, but if his demands become unreasonable I think the A’s need to look elsewhere. I would love to see Carlos Lee on this team, but I think others may bid higher for his services.

I’m not a Bonds hater, unlike some of my fellow A’s fans. I think many if not most professional baseball players have at least dabbled (if not more) in performance-enhancing substances over the past 20 years, simply because it became expected an MLB didn’t care since it helped fill the stands. I personally hate the stuff, what it has done to the health of so many players, and the terrible example it set for our young people….but back to Bonds. I’m not sure he’d ask for a more reasonable contract than Thomas (maybe only a year, but he’s also older). He’d also face tougher pitching in the American League. Hopefully Thomas and Beane come to a reasonable agreement — or that Beane is proactive in lining up a good alternative.

2 Anonymous { 10.08.06 at 11:32 am }

Marty, since I value your baseball opinion so much, you picking the Tigers over the A’s is depressing, I didn’t think the Tigers offense was so great. At least nothing the A’s starting pitching can’t tame. I think the A’s offense will generate some runs. Look out now. Chavez is showing life. The key will be how well the A’s starting pitching is. If the A’s starters keep them in the game, A’s have a good shot. Here’s to hoping. And, yes, Chavez’s defense this year has been absolutely stellar. You saying he is having the best year you’ve ever seen makes me appreciate it even more.
-Mike E.

3 marty { 10.08.06 at 12:30 pm }

Tigers are not the Twins at the plate, but free swingers that can hit mistakes out of the park. For the A’s to win they will have to pitch exceedingly well. For the Tigers to win Kenny Rogers must beat the A’s twice.
In any case this should be an excellent series and not a piece of cake for either team.
A’s having four games at home might be the difference too.
And poetic justice: Ken Macha versus Jim Leyland they will probably bow to each other before each game.

4 Anonymous { 10.08.06 at 4:46 pm }

I’m always the first to beat Chavez up for his offense. Clearly, the man has always had the tools and potential to be an MVP…but has never reached that potential. And the reason that has always irked me so much is that no one holds him back but he himself.

It is well documented and any teammate of his will tell you that Eric Chavez puts an immense amount of pressure on himself and routinely beats himself up for failing at the plate. Thus the reason for the streakiness over the years. And thus the reason for failing in October (1 for 30 before the clincher).

He’s just too hard on himself.

However, the reason for this piece is not to berate Chavez as usual, but to offer notice that I think we can finally expect a different hitter in the ALCS.

There was a markedly different look in his presence at the plate following his home run the other day. Was it a coincedence that he finally stopped flailing at balls out of the strike zone and took two nice walks, and then lined a double the other way off the wall later on? I don’t think so.

That homerun allowed him to take a ton of pressure off himself and it allowed him to stop telling himself he wasn’t contributing offensively.

In addition, he being one of the lone hold overs from all the post season choke teams, had a lot of pressure to finally win a series as well. He admitted feeling that relief after the clincher on Friday.

What we know about Eric chavez is that when he is comfortable (confident) at the plate you can see it in his pitch selection. And when he’s not comfortable you sure can see that as well (he’ll almost always swing at a ball when he has two strikes).

I think now is a time that he might be feeling some relief of getting over both personal and team post season humps.

Look for a nice series from Eric Chavez in the ALCS.


5 Anonymous { 10.09.06 at 7:03 pm }

Since they decided on Loaiza for game 2 instead of Harden, any chance Harden will be used in game 1 if Zito struggles real early? I’m of course hoping Zito shows up with his A game, but you never know. And it’d make me feel better knowing Harden would come in.
-Mike E.

6 marty { 10.09.06 at 10:55 pm }

No chance to see Harden in game one. Harden might pitch game three or game four. If he pitches game three then the A’s are locked in with him into game seven if it goes that far. If he pitches game four then Haren would pitch game seven.
A’s will make the choice and if it is game three they must be very confident that Harden is all the way back. Temp is supposed to be in the 40’s in Detroit I don’t know if that is good for Harden’s arm. Let’s put it this way he pitched in Arizona today where it was 90 degrees.
Interesting choice coming up.

7 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:13 pm }

8 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:50 pm }

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