Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Central Where The Power Lies

Batter Up May 6th, 2007
With about 30 games completed this season the AL’s Central Division looks like the strongest group of teams in baseball.
The Cleveland Indians are looking like the powerful run scoring machine that came close to winning the division title in 2005.
Jhonny Peralta, Travis Hafner, Victor Martinez, and Grady Sizemore can hit with any group in the league.

The pen, thought to be the team’s weak link, so far has been reliable. Closer Joe Borowski gave up a gut-wrenching home run to A Rod earlier in the season, since then he has been automatic saving games.Click below for more!

Hard throwing righty Fausto Carmona has stepped in joining CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Jake Westbrook (injured), Jeremy Sowers and Paul Byrd as starting pitchers.
The success of a baseball team is measured over 162 games. The Indians have a long way to go, but if their ‘pen holds up the other elements needed for a pleasant summer seem to be falling into place.
The White Sox still a dangerous squad just can’t find their offense. With Jim Thome on the DL, and Joe Crede, Tadahito Iguchi, and Jermaine Dye not hitting, the ChiSox are struggling to score runs.
The Tigers look like the most complete team in the division right now. The Twins normally solid ‘pen is struggling. Once lefty Johan Santana heats up the Twins will play much better.
What I like about the teams in this division is they win on the road. Winning away from home in the AL is a sure sign that you can pitch, catch the ball, and hit when it counts.
The NL Central is very competitive. The Brewers are winning within the division, a good indicator of long- range success.
However, until starter Ben Sheets shows he can consistently command his stuff, the Brewers must rely on Jeff Suppan to lead the staff. Suppan is a solid number three starter at best.
Coming into the season the Milwaukee defense was considered suspect. Led by the return of shortstop JJ Hardy, the defense has exceeded expectations. If relievers Matt Wise, Jason Turnbow, Brain Shouse, and Francisco Cordero continue to close winnable games, the Brewers are for real.
Chicago’s Derek Lee is the best hitter in the National League. A more serious Cub issue: Alfonso Soriano, a modern day clone of Bobby Bonds, should hit deeper in the order. Unfortunately, like the talented father of Barry, Soriano has shown he is not productive anywhere other than the lead off spot.
The Pirates have a terrific set up man in Matt Capps. If closer Salomon Torres can pitch consistently Pittsburgh will beat some teams.
Once Albert Pujols starts hitting the Cards will be tough to beat. It’s the same story for the Astros with Lance Berkman off to a slow start.
Teams should be lining up trying to pry catcher Jarrod Saltalamachia away from the Braves. Atlanta has Brian McCann at catcher, making Saltalamachia, a future star, available.
Hard to believe that the Orioles with all their pitching problems traded John Maine to the Mets for Kris Benson. Maine (5-0) throws his fastball high in the strike zone with success something that’s not easy to do in the major leagues.
There should be no rush to return injured players to the field before they are fully healed. With a rash of hamstring injuries plaguing baseball it’s time to look at the recovery time needed to heal a hamstring pull. The DL should require 21 days off not the current 15.
Also, time for the A’s to retire Campy Campaneris’s number. The Reds are retiring former shortstop Dave Concepcion’s #13 this season. Concepcion couldn’t carry Campy’s bat, glove, or spikes.


1 Anonymous { 05.06.07 at 11:11 pm }
Campy was a great one.  He is in the category of players who might not be highly regarded by those who just pay attention to stats.  As one who followed baseball in the ’70s, he was one of the best of the era, as was Dick Allen.  Dave Cash was another very good one, as was Davey Lopes, but of course they weren’t quite on the level of Campy.

2 marty { 05.07.07 at 12:25 am }

I appreciate the comment. Campy tormented Billy Martin and Earl Weaver whenever their teams played the A’s. Campy was one tough out and unfortunately has been overlooked by the organization.  Marty

3 Randy_Bell { 05.08.07 at 10:29 am }

I have been surprised that the Indians have held up with their pitching, especially with Jake Westbrook out.  When A-Rod hit that walkoff against Cleveland early this April, I thought "Oh No", looks like the Indians have the same old problem – but since then they have proved me wrong.  We’ll see ..

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