Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Who said Arthur Rhodes was a closer ?

I watched Arthur Rhodes in Seattle
during the 2003 season and he
is no closer. At best he is
a good lefty to pitch after
the 7th inning in a game
“situation strategy” against
one dangerous lefty hitter.

By Amaury Pi-González
SeattleYou might think I am saying
this because of what
happened this weekend
in Cleveland, but at the
start of the season on
my predictions I clearly
mentioned that using
Arthur Rhodes as a
closer was going to
be a risky business
for the Oakland A’S.

This season left handed
hitter against Athletics
relieve Arthur Rhodes
are hitting him at a .370
clip. So even when
facing lefties Rhodes is
having serious problems.

I remember last season
here in Seattle when
Manager Bob Melvin used
Arthur Rhodes in
back-to-back games
his ERA went up like
a helium balloon in
the Napa Valley.

A’S fans last season remember
that Keith Foulke was also
very erratic during the
first half of the season
blowing up leads and
then staying to pick up
the win, sometimes in
extra innings. But with
all respect to Arthur Rhodes
he is NOT a proven closer,
Foulke IS a proven closer.
And there is the difference
between 2003 and 2004
for the A’S bullpen.

Rhodes failed in two of
the three chances this
past weekend in Cleveland,
but there is enough blame
to go around. The A’S
left 1,000 runners on
base in Cleveland and
aside from Mark Kotsay
nobody (including Chávez)
is delivering with runners
in scoring position.

The A’S have an abundance
of pitching and they might
need that surplus to make
a trade for another bat
to go in the middle of
that lineup. Or they might
go the other way and
relegate Rhodes to
middle relief(most what
he did the past few seasons
in Seattle)and use a guy
like Rich Harden to
close and see what
happens, sometimes
experimienting is how
you find who is who
in your team.

Baseball is a weird game.
I remember when Dennis
Eckersley arrived in
Oakland, he wanted to
be a started. Why not ?
he has been a very good
starter for many years
every place else,
even throwing a no hitter.
Under LaRussa-Duncan
they made Eck a closer and
this next July he is going
into the Hall of Fame in
Cooperstown, as one of
the grreatest closers.

Option: The Athletics could
keep Harden as their
fifth starter and try
curveballer specialist
Deuscherer as a closer.
Or they could wait
until the middle of
the season and see If
there is a closer available
from a team out of

Closers are a different
breed. I remember when
the Mets unloaded Armando
Benítez on Seattle towards
the end of the season, he
could not fit in the
Mariners bullpen.
Look at Benítez today
with an almost perfect
season with the Florida
Marlins !

The A’S have been lucky
past few years basically
with different closers:
Foulke, but this year
with Rhodes they might
have ran out of luck

The Angels are still the
team to beat in the
Western Division because
they have a much balanced
team than anybody else
here and they became
favorites right after
owner Arturo Moreno
signed free agents
and Colón. Who says
money can’t improve
your team ?

I was at the Oakland
airport listening to
Bill King when Rhodes
threw the wild pitch
at Cleveland that
allowed the Indians
to complete the
3-game sweep.
“A disaster”! Bill
noted after that
wild pitch.

Another thing I have
noticed is that Manager
Ken Maca subscribes to
the theory of giving days
off to hot hitters. This
doesn’t work with the
A’S so far. How in the
world can you bench
Mark Kotsay these days
and leave his bat in the
bench !

The A’S are going to
Oakland for the longest
homestand at the Net
this season. The Mariners
are coming to Seattle
and open this Monday
the 31st their longest
homestand of the
season against Toronto,
Chicago White Sox,
Houston(first time ever
an Astros teams will visit
Seattle)and then Montreal.
Amaury Pi-González is on his second
season as the Spanish Voice for the
Seattle Mariners Spanish Radio
covering Washington and Oregon during
all 81 home games from Safeco Field.
And also in his 10th season with
the SF Giants during weekend selected
home games over KZSF 1370 AM
La Caliente Radio. Amaury was
recently inducted into the
CSHOF (Cuban Sports Hall of Fame(
and is Vice President of the Hispanic
Heritage Baseball Museum, a non profit
organization founded in San Francisco
in 1999.


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