Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

How Good Are The Tigers, How Bad Are The A's?

Detroit has a seemingly safe two games to none lead in the ALCS, but are they home free?

In 1966, the Orioles swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series four games straight. The Dodgers didn’t score after the third inning of game one.

Yet I had the feeling in that series that if the Orioles didn’t finish LA off when they did in game four that the Dodgers could come back and win the series.

The Dodgers had Don Drysdale pitch game four, Sandy Koufax was ready for game five, Claude Osteen ready for game six, and then it was back to Drysdale or maybe Koufax on two days rest for game seven.

The O’s beat Drysdale 1-0 to wrap up the series so the prospect of facing the Dodger’s big three one more time was never faced by Baltimore.

So how does this stroll down memory lane apply to the A’s and Tigers.

Click below for more!The A’s have Rich Harden, Dan Haren, and Barry Zito lined up to pitch the next three games in Detroit against Kenny Rogers, Jeremy Bonderman, and Nate Robertson.

Now if this was the regular season you might say the A’s had their pitching lined up pretty well and would be favorites to win the three game series.

The playoffs are different and being down 2-0 puts the onus on Oakland to play perfect baseball, something they haven’t done in the first two games of the series.

The A’s do have the hottest hitter in the ALCS: Milton Bradley. He is their number three hitter, a spot in the order where a player can carry the club if he stays hot (think Carlos Beltran for Houston in ’04).

Detroit has capitalized on Oakland’s shoddy defense especially from Eric Chavez. This will not continue. The A’s do catch the ball very well, the baseball just didn’t bounce their way in games one and two.

Even though the A’s struck out 13 times in game two, six in a row late in the game, I think they are fairly loose at the plate. Kendall, Kotsay, Payton, and Thomas are still pros when they hit.

All of a sudden starting pitching has become the issue. Zito and Loaiza got rocked. The ‘pen has been solid even though lefties are still teeing off on Huston Street.

I think the A’s are going to pitch better this weekend in Detroit. Harden and Haren are shut down guys. Blanton and Saarloos are ready in the wings.

The A’s will field the ball better. Of course D’Angelo Jimenez might see the bench if he makes one more costly error. If Charlie Finley owned this club, Jimenez would be this team’s version of Mike Andrews, a second baseman Finley fired during the 73 world series when he made costly errors against the Mets.

Now can they hit Rogers? He is a lefty, the A’s hit lefties better than righties. Bonderman is a power guy, but he has been wildly inconsistent since the all star break. Robertson is five runs waiting to happen.

The Tigers ‘pen is the problem. If Zumaya is healthy, he along with Rodney are very tough to hit.
Todd Jones is a blown save waiting to happen.

Don’t give up the ship yet. The playoffs are a day to day deal. Win game three and it’s 2-1. Win game four and it’s anybody’s series.

If I’m the Tigers I don’t want this series going back to Oakland next week for games six and seven.

This series is now in Rich Harden’s hands. Then Dan Haren’s on Saturday.

Just as the O’s finished off LA before it got sticky, the Tigers better do the same thing because the A’s have the pitchers lined up like winter storms coming across the Pacific and pitching wins in October.

It just hasn’t clicked as of yet for the A’s. But it just might. This series is far from over.


1 Anonymous { 10.12.06 at 11:01 am }

Marty – Now that’s a column!! Uplifting, hopeful, fun, framed in reality. Loved your image of the winter storms being lined up across the Pacific and ready to pop. This series now has a lot of electricity, especially after the second game, and it would be a shame if we don’t get to enjoy some more of it and at least return to Oakland. There seems to be a dark cloud over Chavez. Now that he has started to smash the ball, he can’t catch. Maybe he feels he has to be too perfect in the absence of Ellis and Crosby. Weird. I have to believe Thomas is going to come to life, and suddenly the A’s will look formidable. As you said, everything now comes down to Rich Harden. Could we have a better script for game three?

2 Anonymous { 10.12.06 at 2:15 pm }

I agree, great work!

3 marty { 10.12.06 at 2:24 pm }

I appreciate the feedback. One other item of baseball history for those who think a seven game series ends after the first two games.

World Series 1972: The A’s win the first two games IN Cincinnati. The Reds come to Oakland and win games three and five sending the series back to Riverfront for games six and seven.

Reds win game six and force game seven.
A’s behind Odom, Hunter, Holtzman, and Fingers win the deciding game 3-2.

How about bringing in those guys in relief? Makes me think Blanton, Saarloos, and possibly Haren should have a bigger role in relief if a starter falters especially in the third, fourth or fifth innings.

Point of the story today being: the Reds lost the first two games at home and even with the vaunted A’s pitching staff staring them in the face, they took the series to seven games.

I wouldn’t give away next week’s tickets just yet.

4 Anonymous { 10.12.06 at 7:16 pm }

Marty, I think Macha has stuck with his starters too long the first two games. Zito was getting rocked all over the place in that four run inning. And Loaiza? 7 runs? True Loaiza had a low pitch count, but so what? We have Blanton and Saarloos ready to go. Why is he worried about a darn low pitch count. Does someone need to remind him that this is the playoffs? Its a different style game now.
If a pitcher clearly doesn’t have it, you better get him out and try your luck with someone else or you might find yourself down 7-3 against a great pitching staff.
You can’t wait until the game is out of reach and Loiaza clearly didn’t have it. He should have been out after run number 4.


5 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:13 pm }

6 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:50 pm }

7 Anonymous { 12.28.09 at 1:47 am }

Achieving consistency

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