Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Baseball Predictions; A Fool's Errand by Ed Stern

Marty- Amaury, in his latest words of wisdom on this page, asserted that any serious observer of the baseball scene who predicted what was going to happen over the course of 162 games was starting out on a fool’s errand. As usual, he was unquestionably right.

More and more players seem to be ending up on the DL these days. The loss, for the season, of a player such as Sexson will bedevil Arizona throughout the year and may cause Brenly to lose his job and persuade Arizona to dump Johnson on the Yankees, come July. Players perform well below expectations and some do far better than anticipated. Some teams come together, unexpectedly, the Reds, for instance. Others fall by the wayside. It’s an uncertain world and the baseball world is as uncertain as the rest of it.

Click below for more of Ed’s commentary.In fairness, I must plead mea culpa. At spring training I predicted that the Giants would win the division. At the same time, I pointed out some of the team’s glaring weaknesses.
The uncertainties respecting right field, a first baseman long over the hill, a shortstop who couldn’t hit, a second baseman whose health was suspect, and to complete the ominous dissection, a pitching staff without a closer and a rotation with only one proven winner.

The season began and it didn’t take very long for the Giants to fall eight losing games behind the Dodgers and Padres. It became very difficult to reconcile my prediction that the team would win the division and my repeated assertion that this was a bad ball club.

This morning sees the Giants one and a half games out of first place, the winners of fifteen of their last nineteen games. A few positive things have happened. Tucker has been a surprisingly pleasant development in right. He has taken over the leadoff role, in Durham’s absence, and may remain there after Durham returns. He shows signs of hitting with power, and despite striking out too often, has been a frequent catalyst. Bonds, about whom too much admiration cannot be displayed, and Grissom, along with Barry, belying their aging bodies.

Herges has done what was asked of him. (Nen is apparently through for the year and possibly longer.) Schmidt is a likely Cy Young winner. Williams may win his fifteen games. Hermanson has pitched well enough as a third starter.

None of the above turns a bad ball club into a good ball club.
The performances of Tomko and Rueter have been abysmal. It is remarkable how similar their records are. Rueter’s record is 2 and 5; Tomko’s 1 and 4. They each have pitched 66 innings. Rueter has given up 7 home runs; Tomko 8. Rueter has suffered 23 walks; Tomko 25. Rueter has put 110 men on base through hits and walks; Tomko 112. Rueter’s ERA is 5.29; Tomko’s 5.86. Neither one can pitch into the 6th inning. The Giants need two starting pitchers.

Do I still believe the Giants will win the division? The answer is “yes, probably”. This is as ambivalent as the predictions have been in the past. Are there any good reasons for the prediction? Well, there is the undeniable fact that the other teams in the division aren’t very good. And there are a few other reasons. Alou is one of them. He is a very good manager. He has few outstanding players but he manages with great confidence. There must have been moments already, this year, when he would have liked to walk back into the locker room, packed his bags and gone home. He sticks around and turns a group of somewhat less than talented individuals into a team which might just win more games than any other team in the division. He has bunch of disparate players and has managed to turn them into a team which for, some strange reason seems to believe in itself. He has turned Feliz into a distinct asset, playing at either first or shortstop.

And, of course, there is always Barry. It is not possible to exaggerate his contribution to the winning effort. It has been said, over and over again, these past three or four years, he changes the dynamic in every game he plays. The other teams cannot figure out how to play him. Walk him every time up? He manages to score even though the team is yet to come up with a fifth place hitter with which to punish the opposition. If the game is on the line and he is pitched to, what you hear the opposing manager say as he walks off the field, “I’ll never do that again”.

As has been said, predictions are foolish. However, here is one I’m willing to make. At the end of this season. Bonds will be the first batter since Ted Williams to hit over four hundred.

A few words which require more consideration at a later date. In this recent draft, the first player chosen by the Giants was the 70th pick. Before the Giants managed to make this choice, their cousins across the Bay had stockpiled their farm system with four early selections. It looks as though each team is going to continue along the path they have been traveling for some time. The A’s will come up with some outstanding players through their farm clubs. The Giants will come up with very little or nothing.

Managment will continue to pay for veterans rather than develop young, interesting players themselves. They will pay the Alfonzos thirty two million dollars for four year’s mediocre performance rather than see the likes of Tejada and Chavez playing for them.

Somehow, one would think that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out. Maybe they need a rocket scientist in the front office. Unfortunately, they don’t show up in the draft.



1 Anonymous { 06.10.04 at 12:20 pm }

looks like sabean didn’t read “moneyball”

Jerry F

2 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:14 pm }

3 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:51 pm }

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