Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

The Giants and the Integrity of the Game by Ed Stern

Last night’s game, with the Giants winning against Houston’s supposedly invincible bullpen, provided a few meaningful reflections. This was the opening game of the penultimate series of the season. It was more important for the Astros than the Giants. The Astros are fighting for a division win. The wild card being out of reach. The Giants are fighting only for home field advantage. Nevertheless, the Giants were not about to roll over. What immediately comes to mind is the Giants respect for the integrity of the game. The Giants would rather face the Astros than the Cubs in the playoffs, for good reason. Yet the Giants are throwing Schmidt and then Ponzon against the Astros in the remaining two games. Dusty certainly appreciates this. The Giants may very well be providing the margin for the Cubs entry into the post-season despite their preference for facing a team other than the Cubs.

The game itself provoked some thoughts, in general, about both the team and Williams, their young pitcher. It was noteworthy that the winning pitcher was Nathan, in yet another sterling performance. Nathan has now won eleven games, more than any other relief pitcher. Nathan’s role is to pitch in the seventh or, more often, in the eighth inning. The only way in which he gets to win eleven games is if the Giants are frequently coming from behind in the late innings. This is reinforced by noting the number of games in which the team has won by one or two runs.

Yesterday they were behind by one run going into the seventh, tied it in that inning and won it in the ninth, against what has been heralded as the best late inning bullpen in the league. This, in a game that Houston needed to win desperately, and the Giants, with a lesser need, still having to fight off the Braves for home field advantage.

The Giants have now won twelve out of their last thirteen games from Houston on Houston’s home field. Houston isn’t the Tigers or the Brewers. The Astros are firmly in the running for the post-season. The Giants beat good teams. They beat up LA and Arizona all year and when they played the Braves they won two out of every three games. This is the mark of a very good ball club.

A word about Jerome Williams. This is an exceedingly promising young pitcher. He can only get better. Next year should be an interesting year for him and those watching him. He is a young man who simply doesn’t melt down in moments of adversity. He wasn’t at his best last night. He gave up ten hits and three earned runs in the six innings he pitched. (One of the earned runs came about as the result of a ball hit to Grissom which should have been caught but was called a triple) He was in trouble most of the time but continued to throw hard and, most important, was, for the most part, around the plate. In addition to a varied assortment of pitches, Williams has very good control. He throws the ball where it is called for by his catcher. When unfortunate things happen to him, such as a center fielder dropping a ball which should have been caught, Williams hunkers down and makes the pitches which enable him to limit the damage.

It will be very interesting to watch Williams in the post-season. There is a maturity about him which augers well for the future. Alou should have no concern about his role based on William’s limited time in the majors. Williams seems impervious to pressure. During the regular season some of his most impressive wins came against strong opposition, the A’s and Arizona.

Finally, Alou’s attitude about the possibility of having to play a game back in NY in order to break a tie between Atlanta and the Giants in their fight for the home field is another sign of the managerial strength he has shown all year. With no apparent fear of being second guessed, he has said that if the team has to go back to NY he will bring his second team and let the chips fall where they may. He is going to rest his starters for the games to come. This is also an indication of how much stronger this year’s team is on the bench. The team which will be brought to face the Mets will be a team which intends to win and such intention will not be frivolous.


There are no comments yet...

Kick things off by filling out the form below.

You must log in to post a comment.