Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Respecting Bonds: ''Give the Man a Chance'' by Ed Stern

Marty; The season is close to one-third over, the Giants are one and a half games out of first, looking up at the Dodgers and Padres. They have three weeks ahead of them which may remove from consideration any hope for a post-season role or, which is more likely, they will, at the end of these three weeks be in roughly the same position they are in now, namely, a team hoping to win the crown in a very weak division.

These next few weeks will see them play two strong teams, the Red Sox three times, the A’s six times. and one of their division rivals, the Dodgers, seven times. If they survive these sixteen games with a break even record, they will consider it a job well done. They will still be in the fight.

If their record in these next sixteen days is one-sided, on either the winning or losing side, a further evaluation may be in order.

With respect to the Sox. in particular, and also the A’s, when one runs down their lineups and compares them to the Giants, one is hard put to come up with a reason why the Giants should be competing evenly. The other day, admittedly with Grissom on the bench and Bonds playing the DH role, the Giants walked out on the field with an outfield of Mohr, Tucker and Linden; an infield from first to third of Minor, Perez, Cruz and Feliz.

This, together with a rotation in dire need of two starters. does not look like a team play-off bound. With the exception of Bonds, (and that is always the caveat in these discussions) there isn’t a single interesting player in that lineup. One can run down the lineups of the weakest teams in either league and somewhere, if one looks carefully, one can find a young, interesting, ball player. This is not the case with the Giants.

This may be the measure of their failed farm system. The Giants recently decided that Hammonds wasn’t going to be of much help the rest of the year and released him. They brought up Linden from Fresno. One must assume that was the best they could do even though Linden wasn’t setting the Pacific Coast League on fire. He appears to be completely overmatched in the majors. When Snow went on the DL they brought up Minor, who showed no evidence of being a hitter when he played for part of three seasons in the majors a few years back. He hasn’t hit with any more authority since playing with SF these past few weeks.

Coupled with two starting pitchers, Rueter and Tomko, who can’t get past the fifth inning, one wonders why this team is considered to be in contention. However, they are, as evidenced by their place in the standings. Whether they will be, after these next three weeks, is the open question.

A word about Jerome Williams. Alou was quoted this morning, in describing Williams, “That kid continues to grow as a pitcher and a man…”. Williams knew that he was being called upon to give the team six innings, at least, and perhaps more, irrespective of how well he was pitching. Twenty three innings the previous day had chewed up the bullpen. There was going to be no relief there on Sunday.

Williams had a rocky first three innings. However, unlike others in the rotation, he hunkered down and pitched better as he went along. ultimately pitching into the eighth inning, giving up only three runs, and winning the game. He is rapidly maturing as a pitcher. Schmidt, of course, is always counted on for a strong performance. Williams is approaching the level where one can rely on a winning effort. And now we come to Barry.

Bonds continues to be the same unbelievable story. These days, when he is playing on foreign fields, the home town fans boo their home town favorites when they walk Barry intentionally. They want to see him be given the opportunity to pursue records which are nearly in his grasp. They seem to be expressing the thought that there is something inherently unfair about walking Bonds three and four times a game. They seem to be saying, “Give the man a chance”.

Of course, when they give him a chance, there is a strong likelihood that he will break the home town’s back.

The Giants are losing two-thirds of the games they play when Bonds isn’t a starter. If Bonds wasn’t playing for them there isn’t much reason to think they would not be losing two-thirds of the 162 game season.

If nothing else, shouldn’t this persuade managment that it must make some changes in the club’s priorities? Bonds is not going to be around forever. Why not start with next year’s draft? Be willing to spend some money on high draft choices if they are available.

One last word on Barry. It is pleasurable to see him leading the league in hitting, with an average around .375. Leading the league at year’s end, would be some consolation. Hitting around .400 would be great– and not unrealistic. After all, they can’t prevent him from getting his hits on those rare occasions when they pitch to him.

It’s going to be an interesting three weeks.



1 Anonymous { 06.16.04 at 3:38 pm }

Watching last night’s game against Toronto it was apparent that Bonds was going to be walked 4 times.
I think he took exactly 2 swings all night and did not get a hit. Most of the pitches were down and away
outside the strike zone and Barry does not go for the
high fastballs. He is very selective. The Giants won last
night with Jason Schmidt’s outstanding pitching. I think he threw 128 pitches and went 7 1/3rd before alou took
him out. The Giants then use Christiansen,Walker,
Rodriguez and Herges to record the last 5 outs. 4 guys
to get 5 outs. Ouch.

Giants need help

Jerry F

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