Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Early Baseball Season Like The Weather: Unpredictable

Batter Up April 29th, 2007
Watching the 2007 baseball season unfold can be compared to watching the weather across the country: inconsistent and unpredictable.
The A’s starting pitching has been phenomenal. The injury bug has pulled the team down just when it appeared the club would build on its best start in years.

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It’s a wonderful baseball story when young players are given the opportunity to play in the major leagues. The feel good story is being put to the test as the A’s are asking their rookies not only to play in the majors, but also to play every day. Over the long haul, it just won’t work.
It will be tough to get a read on this club until Rich Harden, Esteban Loaiza, Milton Bradley, and Nick Swisher get back on the field. In the meantime unless Eric Chavez, Bobby Crosby, and Mike Piazza get hot, the offense will continue to be one that has trouble scoring runs.
Minnesota’s Cy Young lefty Johan Santana has lost two starts at home, an unheard of occurrence in the Twin Cities. The real problem for the Twins is their lack of dependable hitting. It would help if the Twins moved 2007 AL MVP Justin Morneau up one spot in the order, to clean up, giving the slugger more chances to drive in runs. Joe Mauer and Morneau hitting back- to- back will do some damage.
Even though Gary Sheffield hasn’t started to hit with any authority in Detroit don’t worry about the Tigers offense. The Tigers strike out a ton, but Magglio Ordonez, Pudge Rodriguez, and Carlos Guillen can carry the load.
The bigger concern in the Motor City are the melt downs of closer Todd Jones and set up men Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney during the past week.
Texas is still waiting for Mark Teixeira and Michael Young to get hot. Starter Brandon McCarthy has struggled so badly that Ron Washington should put him in the’pen to work out his problems.
It’s clear to me that a closer who relies on his fastball like Seattle’s JJ Putz, Los Angeles’s Frankie Rodriguez or Boston’s Jonathan Papelbon shouldn’t be asked to get a five out save. If a power guy struggles in the eighth inning, he’s in trouble if asked to throw another 20 pitches in the ninth. Mariano Rivera was successful in his younger days because he could get out of the eighth with a minimum of trouble. Keith Foulke could do it because he relied on a low stress change up for his out pitch.
Strange but true: The Commissioner of baseball not wanting to undermine the integrity of the game refuses to acknowledge the obvious: the biggest stars of the game used illegal supplements during the 90’s. Yet when Minnesota’s Torii Hunter sent a case of champagne to the Kansas City Royals to satisfy a humorous promise made last Fall when KC beat Detroit the last weekend of the ’06 season sending the Twins to the Division title, baseball threatened Hunter with a three year suspension for violating the rule against rewarding another team with an incentive for a helpful victory.
You’d think frustrated Cubs manager Lou Piniella would understand the flow of a baseball season after spending over 40 years in the game. Once Alfonso Soriano and Derek Lee start hitting homers the team will be right in the mix in the NL Central. The ‘pen is another story. Trouble is brewing if set up men Scott Eyre and Bobby Howry don’t come around.

A trade that should be made: The Cards Chris Duncan who can’t play the field to the Orioles to replace DH Jay Gibbons who can’t hit a lick.


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