Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Posts from — August 2003

Sunday Morning Muse

The A’s continue to play world championship defense in the infield with the exception of Scott Hatteberg who is trying his best to master a position that is not that easy to play.

In any case, any mistakes that the A’s pitchers make are being turned into routine outs by Mark Ellis, Miguel Tejada, and Eric Chavez who by the way is really impressing me with his particular Brooks Robinson like defense at third.

Ted Lilly looked the sharpest he has been all season last night. He had no hit stuff against the Devil Rays.

I always say the Devil Rays surprise you once per series, well, today is the only day they have left against Oakland.

To put the race between Oakland, Boston, and Seattle in perspective, the three teams vying for two spots in October are only 2 1/2 games apart with 26 left to play.

Nothing is settled yet, baseball history is full of teams blowing leads with ten games to go, and we aren’t even close to that yet.

Today, it is youth versus youth as Rich Harden throws his 95 MPH gas against the young Tampa hitters, should be fun to watch.

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August 31, 2003   No Comments

Mariners Win Game in Ninth, Red Sox Continue NY Pitching Woes

The Mariners looked like they were going down to another lifeless defeat at the hands of a tailender when their offense woke up and scored three times in the ninth inning to beat the Orioles 3-2.

Ichiro continued his slide last night, in fact, some of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays I talked with yesterday observed that the Mariners catalyst is swinging a very slow bat these days and chasing pitches all over the strike zone.

Same thing happened with Ichiro last season as he ran out of gas when the Seattle ballclub most needed his bat. Bret Boone has the weight of this team on his back and until someone else stands up and hits with authority I think you are going to see more games like last night’s for Seattle the rest of the way home.

John Olerud ripped a potential double play ball at Oriole secondbaseman Brian Roberts with one out in the ninth last night, but Roberts couldn’t stop the ball and two runs scored on the hard smash winning the game.

You could hear the sigh of relief from the Seattle ball club all the way to Oakland.

Today the Mariners send out Gil Meche who has been one good, one bad all month against the Orioles best pitcher Damian Moss. Moss walks so many batters that Seattle may put some runs on the board today, but who knows what Meche will give his team.

The Red Sox showed once again two things:

One, they can pound the ball at home, and two, the Yankees pitching, a problem all season, is still a problem the Bombers will have to deal with in September and October.

Today, things should look different in Fenway with Pedro Martinez facing lefty Andy Pettitte.

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August 30, 2003   No Comments

Yankees Meet Boston, NL Up In The Air

With things going swimmingly well in Oakland, all eyes turn back to the East where the Yankees go to Boston to renew one of the most dramatic late season rivalries in the game.

The Yankees have broken the hearts of Red Sox fans repeatedly over the years. Whether it is 1978, 1949, or 1950, the story is always the same. The Sox are on the verge of playing in October, and then the Yanks knock them out in an excruciating series.

This six game set has implications once again. Boston trails NY by 4 1/2 games. The Red Sox lead Seattle by 1/2 in the wild card.

Boston looks to Derek Lowe and his blisters to shut Cuban rookie Jose Contreras and the New Yorkers down in game one.

The Yanks ain’t what they used to be. In fact, the White Sox took two of three from NY, knocking the Bombers pitching around in the process. The Yanks can hit, but so can Boston. Who can pitch better? Both teams rely on at least three pitchers from their bullpen every night.

The difference might be Byung Hyun Kim versus Mariano Rivera and you know who will win that one.

So, if I’m Boston, just split the six games and hope Seattle continues on their yearly slide into the Pacific.

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August 29, 2003   No Comments

A's Take The Lead, Cubs Miss A Chance

The A’s are in that part of their schedule when they play teams that are vastly inferior to themselves. The Orioles don’t hit very much against Oakland and seem to be waiting for the inevitable mistake which will sink their game.

I must say that Pat Hentgen didn’t show much last night, but then again most pitchers are having trouble navigating their way through the A’s lefthanded hitting lineup and their one fabulous righty, Miguel Tejada.

Which brings me to Tejada. He is the reigning MVP. He has played like the MVP for over two months now and has carried the team on his back. He is fabulous to watch every day.

I know Bobby Crosby is the phenom of the future, but if you watch these games, Miguel is the straw that stirs the A’s drink on the field.

The A’s couldn’t have asked for better matchups, facing righthander after righthander, giving Ken Macha a set lineup every night. Eric Chavez has benefited more than anyone. He gets great hacks off of righties, hitting .324 with 16 homers as opposed to .186 with 7 homers off the lefties. Now Chavez can hit third with confidence knowing he will get a good swing virtually every time up. It also helps his concentration in the field because he isn’t worried heading to third base because he knows he will get another nice at bat very soon.

Trust me, having Chavez as your number three hitter batting .324 helps more than having your number three hitter hitting .186.

The A’s will only see Joe Kennedy Friday, Jarrod Washburn down the road, and Jamie Moyer from the left side over the last 29 games. Eric Chavez must have done something right to deserve this gift.

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August 28, 2003   No Comments

The Giants Only Remaining Objective, Win It All, By Ed Stern

Marty- It is time to draw some conclusions with respect to the Giants performance this season. This is a team which has gone wire to wire. Only good teams do that.

How good are the Giants, let Ed explain. [Read more →]

August 27, 2003   No Comments

One Difference Between A's and Red Sox

As one goes through the baseball season at times one forgets the most important rule when analyzing the current game.

Starting pitchers go seven innings at best, relievers decide the games.

The strength of a pitching staff is judged from the back end forward.

The A’s bullpen gets batters out with amazing regularity. The Red Sox bullpen is an adventure every night.

The Red Sox hit the ball with much more authority than the A’s, no doubt about it.

The A’s hit the ball when the game is on the line. The A’s work the pitchers the entire game. When Terrence Long is 1-5 which is often these days, that one hit may decide the game.

The Red Sox are a gritty bunch, my standard for postseason play, but that bullpen is going to be tough to overcome as they chase the Yankees this month.

Scott Williamson when with the Reds was a power closer. Today, as a Red Sock, he is 86-87 MPH and leaves the ball up.

If Scott Sauerbeck is only effective when tired, I suggest the Boston staff use him every day because what he is throwing out there now won’t make it. He blew the game against Oakland last week, walking two batters in a crucial situation and did the same gasoline on the fire job last night against the Blue Jays, who will hand you the game if you let them.

Today the A’s see Pat Hentgen who would welcome a trade to Oakland. The Red Sox see Roy Halladay who is vying for the Cy Young with Esteban Loiaza, Andy Pettitte, and Tim Hudson. The Mariners face a rookie with Tampa Bay.

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August 27, 2003   No Comments

Teams Just Where They Should Be With One Month To Go

My good friend Leonard Koppett, late Hall of Fame sports writer, always told me that as the teams head into September, no matter what has transpired before, whoever plays the best during the last thirty games, wins the race.

He was right as usual, as most of this year’s races will be determined over the last thirty games.

The A’s, Boston, and Seattle are all tied with 31 games to go at 76-55. I said in June when there were 100 games to go, that 96 wins would be the magic number to ensure a playoff spot. I’ll stick with it, these teams are all capable of running off 20-11 marks from today until the end of the season.

Seattle, not only has stopped hitting (Edgar Martinez and John Olerud are slowing from the physical strain of the summer too), but Joel Pineiro, Ryan Franklin, and Gil Meche have been getting blasted during their starts, fueling the Mariners slide more than anything.

The A’s are one gritty bunch down the stretch for the fourth consecutive season, mirroring the “give it your all, accept nothing less” attitude of GM Billy Beane, who keeps the team on edge, never taking a loss lightly or philosophically. I think his attitude is very helpful during the stretch run because these players refuse to lose.

However, they do need another starter.

Click below and I’ll tell you who it should be. [Read more →]

August 26, 2003   No Comments

Old teams in first place: Giants and Seattle

The Seattle Mariners and the
San Francisco Giants are two
of the oldest teams (player ages) in the Major
Leagues. For that matter
Felipe Alou of the Giants and
Jack McKeon of the Marlins
are the two oldest managers
in baseball and both have their
teams in great shape.
What does that says for the
gang over 40 ?
Good news !

By Amaury Pi-González
Seattle [

August 26, 2003   No Comments

Boston Grinding Seattle, Hernandez Slams Toronto

It’s starting to look like 2002 for the Seattle Mariners. Last year the Mariners simply ran out of fuel during the dog days of August and faded behind the A’s and the Angels.

As I said three months ago, Seattle is a catchable team. They play great defense, have decent starting pitching, and a fairly nice bullpen.

So what’s wrong?

The core of the team is made up of aging players and that isn’t a good formula for summer success.

Ken Macha told me last year on August first that the A’s, Red Sox, and the Mariners would battle it out for the playoffs, and it was time to see if the youth of the A’s would carry them past the other two teams during the summer push.

It did and the Mariners and the Sox were left at home last fall watching the playoffs on television.

Deja vu all over again in 2003, except the Red Sox made significant improvements to their team which should carry them past the Mariners and into the playoffs.

Bret Boone, Edgar Martinez, and John Olerud are the 3-4-5 hitters for Seattle. Ichiro hits .333 with a high on base percentage. The big hitters are wearing down and there is no one there to pick up the slack.

Dan Wilson, Randy Winn, and Mike Cameron are complimentary players, but if the big guns can’t carry you, there is trouble in River City.

With 32 games to go, Seattle will have to pick up the slack immeasurably to beat Oakland and Boston.

Today, Pedro, coming back from his sore throat and fever, tries to complete the sweep against Seattle and keep the Sox hot at home.

Gil Meche, another good/bad pitcher tries to figure out where he stands today, but without more offense the Mariners are hurting right now.

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August 25, 2003   No Comments

Sunday Morning Muse

The Angels have the rally monkey, now the Red Sox are inspiring the fans with a video from Kevin Millar’s high school days showing the first baseman “trying to dance” to a Bruce Springsteen song.

Another day at the park.

Jose Contreras comes off the DL for the Yankees today and will start against Eric Dubose and the Orioles.

The Yankees still hold out hope that Contreras will be their eighth inning righty in this years postseason. I think he is versatile enough to to do the job.

With two more homers (34 on the year) yesterday, Frank Thomas now is squarely in the MVP race if the White Sox win the Central.

And that’s the way it should be because it is crunch time and the big players stand up.

Scott Sullivan is a great bull pen pick up for the White Sox. He already threw two scoreless innings picking up lefty Neal Cotts, who has kept the Sox in his last two starts.

The A’s need to take some heat off the bullpen and could use another big league starter.

Click below and I’ll tell you my choice. [Read more →]

August 24, 2003   No Comments