Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Beware the Ides of June

Batter up June 17th, 2007
Just as the soothsayer whispered to Julius Caesar, ”Beware the ides of March” any baseball team leading its division this month best beware the ides of June.
Call it a June Swoon or merely a correction in the market, but many of the division leaders who seemed so untouchable just two weeks ago all of a sudden are coming back to the pack.
The Mets and Red Sox have seen comfortable division leads reduced due to the lack of consistent hitting.

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The Phillies behind the pitching of Adam Eaton and Cole Hamels are stalking the Mets. Philadelphia should look into acquiring starters Mark Buehrle and Steve Trachsel next month.

Atlanta is still close to the lead. Don’t discount the Braves chances especially if they can add a veteran pitcher or two in July.
What’s wrong with the Mets? Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran have stopped hitting. The bullpen stopped getting key outs late in the game. The only starting pitchers working effectively are Oliver Perez and Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez.
Will the Mets right the ship? Absolutely. David Wright and Jose Reyes are potential MVPs. Billy Wagner can close. The Mets should make a blockbuster deal for a pitching ace. Until they do, they won’t take command of the NL East.
Can the Yankees catch the Red Sox? Anytime the Yankees get within seven games of the Sox, the fans in New England have an anxiety attack. If David Ortiz has an MVP season, then Boston has few problems. If “Big Papi” falters, then the Sox offense struggles. Also, at some point Manny Ramirez needs to hit with consistent power, something Manny has yet to do this season.
On the plus side, Boston’s starting pitching is still first rate.
The Yankees are alive and well. The Bombers are getting effective starting pitching saving their overworked ‘pen. The Yanks will crush the ball all summer.
The Tigers remind me of the Yankee teams of the 1950’s. The Yanks would stumble through the first months of the season giving hope to their pursuers. In September they would turn on the jets and win the pennant in a walk.
Detroit can hit. If the Tigers get Kenny Rogers, Joel Zumaya, and Nate Robertson back, manager Jim Leyland might crack a smile. Until then, the Indians and Twins have realistic hopes of unseating last year’s champs.
The wild card race has come alive. Assuming the Red Sox and Angels hang on (it’s no lock) to their division leads, then the Yankees, A’s, Mariners, Tigers, Indians, and Twins will have a classic battle to see who gets the final playoff spots.
Milwaukee lost 19 of 30 games over the last month giving their opponents a chance to stay close to the lead.
Will the Brewers hold on and win the NL Central? Major concern: The Brew Crew has few players who have previously won a championship. Inexperienced teams are prone to slumps once the weather heats up. Milwaukee might get there, but it won’t be easy.
The Cubs struck gold with rookie outfielder Felix Pie. The Cub ‘pen has shown some signs of life the last two weeks.
The NL Wild card is wide open. Everyone in the league other than the Reds, Nationals, Marlins, and Pirates has a shot.
My dark horse team in the NL for the playoffs: The Rockies. Colorado is winning on the road. The Rockies have a better offense than anyone in the NL West. Colorado’s pitchers are underrated. After winning two of three in Boston, the Rockies face another test beginning Tuesday when the Yankees come in for three games.

This June the season suddenly got very interesting.



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