Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Marathon Season Still Has Plenty To Go

With seven weeks to go in the baseball season it’s easy to get giddy if your team is in first place or crestfallen if your favorite nine is trailing the leaders.

The baseball season is a marathon race with many twists and turns ahead.

Take a look at the A’s schedule in September and you quickly see why “the stretch” drive will be a real test for Oakland.

Road trips to Tampa Bay (they actually win at home), Minnesota (one of the best home records in the majors), Seattle and Anaheim pose a serious challenge.

At home the A’s face the White Sox, Texas, and Angels along with the Orioles and Indians.

Click below for more!Fortunately for the A’s, Los Angeles has to face the Yankees (5 times), Texas, Seattle, and Boston this month.

The A’s should play every game in August like it’s the seventh game of the World Series and try to open up some ground on the Angels. They are going to need every win once the race gets tighter in September.

Even though Jim Leyland has a lock on the AL manager of the year award, Ken Macha and Mike Scioscia should get serious consideration. Macha’s team has a winning record despite having the worst offense in the American League. Scoiscia’s team is in the thick of the race with a defense that ranks last in the junior circuit.

What about the Angels?

With two rookie starting pitchers Jered Weaver and Joe Saunders being counted on heavily in September, the Angel bull pen will be tested.

Halo middle reliever Brenden Donnelly has rediscovered his fastball. Still if you get to the Los Angeles pen before the seventh inning you’ve got a great chance to beat them.

Trouble is brewing in Boston. Not only are the Yankees playing better baseball, but the Sox are having trouble getting a win from any starting pitcher other than Curt Schilling.

Matters are further complicated because new Bosox backstop Javy Lopez, who is filling in for Jason Varitek, can’t catch Josh Beckett’s nasty pitches. With back up Doug Mirabelli the only other option behind the plate Boston’s young pitchers are starting to suffer.

One bright spot for the Red Sox: Just as the A’s are feasting on the Mariners this season, Boston simply crushes the Orioles every time the two teams meet.

Will the Rangers wilt in the hot Texas heat? The team has 22 of its next 44 games at home. With 13 of those contests against the AL West, the ability to win at home will determine whether or not the Rangers stay in the race.

The Texas rotation is starting to look more formidable with the return of Adam Eaton from the DL. Vincente Padilla is throwing well, Kevin Millwood can usually be counted on for a decent start, and rookie Edinson Volquez is the real deal.

With Minnesota, Boston, Chicago, and Detroit fighting for playoff spots this year, thoughts of the greatest race in AL history come to mind. In 1967, the Red Sox “Impossible Dream” team won the flag on the last day of the season nosing out the Twins, White Sox, and Tigers for the pennant.

Friday night Tiger rookie Justin Verlander gave up 13 hits in 5 innings against the White Sox after missing a start with a tired arm. If Verlander isn’t right, don’t buy your playoff tickets just yet in the Motor City.

After seeing Verlander and Minnesota’s phenom Francisco Liriano struggle while trying to comeback from arm miseries, the A’s should proceed cautiously before sending Rich Harden back out to the mound.

The White Sox play with the heart of a champion. They will not go away. If they somehow straighten out their starting pitching woes, they still have all the ingredients to make it back to the Series.

The Twins suffered a potential knock out blow when they lost Francisco Liriano to an elbow injury. The Twins can hit. Justin Morneau has been raking, Joe Mauer still leads the league in hitting, and infielders Jason Bartlett and Nick Punto are batting over .300.

Even though they are starting to slide, with Juan Rincon and Joe Nathan in the pen, this club is still very much alive in the wild card race.

Best evidence that National League pitchers are not as tough to hit as their counterparts in the American League. Cincy’s Scott Hatteberg hitting .330 in the NL.

Best signing by the Dodgers: Kenny Lofton. If you want a clutch hitter during the stretch drive, Lofton’s your man.

Houston is on a roll. The Astros found a needed hitter in outfielder Luke Scott. With vets Roger Clemens, Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettitte, and Brendan Backe on the hill, Houston will take charge of the NL Wild card race. One dark cloud hovering over the Astros: closer Brad Lidge is still struggling.

Paul Lo Duca meet Barry Bonds. With allegations of excessive gambling and a messy divorce swirling around the Met catcher on a daily basis, Lo Duca should clam up and not say anything substantive unless it’s under oath. Once Lo Duca said he didn’t have a gambling problem, the NY tabloids went to work and proved that the receiver not only has a betting problem, but that the bookies were after him for not paying up.

True to form: MLB’s reaction is “no comment.”


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