Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Posts from — August 2003

Mulder Loss Not the End of The Story

The baseball season is a marathon race with many twists and turns before reaching the finishing line in late September.

The A’s will run the last 34 games of the race without arguably their best pitcher.

Is the season over?

Not by a long shot.

Click below and I’ll tell you why not.

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August 23, 2003   No Comments

Bonds and Giants' Pitching May Be Enough by Ed Stern

Marty- After that road trip from hell, the Giants come back and sweep Atlanta. It says something about the character of the team. The heart of this club is Barry, a very strong bullpen, despite Worrell’s recent struggles, and two starters, Schmidt and Ponson, who are better than any other duo in the league. They remain ten losing games in front of the opposition with the season rapidly coming to a close. The team has problems, as do most teams at this stage of the season. Their injury list doesn’t seem to be diminishing.

Click below for more of Ed’s analysis. [

August 22, 2003   No Comments

A's Drift Into Uncharted Waters, Braves Play With Fire

Not since May 2002 have the A’s faced such uncertainty with their pitching staff. With Mark Mulder shut down for at least two weeks on the DL and Rich Harden showing growing pains, all of a sudden what looked like a big four starting pitching rotation has been reduced to Tim Hudson, Barry Zito and hope for the best.

The A’s do have the benefit of the schedule in their favor over the next two and one half weeks since they face Toronto this weekend (won’t be a cakewalk by any means), then come home for Baltimore and Tampa Bay before duplicating those two series right away on the East Coast the next week.

The offense will need to pick up the slack. The bullpen will have to be managed very carefully. The season has many twists and turns, no one can predict injuries, the A’s just got hit hard where they can least afford it.

Rich Harden presents another dilemma. What to do? As good as he looked earlier, that is how bad he looks now. He threw over two hundred pitches in his last nine innings coming into last night’s start, Thursday night he threw 78 more in 2 2/3 innings. He probably would benefit from bullpen work until he finds his mechanical groove once again.

The A’s probably will give him one more start against Baltimore next week, a low rent outfit, to see if he can dominate the Orioles. If he doesn’t do well in that start, it’s anyones guess what the next step will be.

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August 22, 2003   No Comments

A's Relief Stands Tall, Prior Best in NL

As the season turns into the home stretch the good teams are putting their best players on the field and they are responding.

The A’s bullpen, a hearty three man bunch all season has come alive in Boston as all the relievers, save Jim Mecir, have gotten into the act.

You just can’t say enough about quality pitches in crucial situations. Chad Bradford, now Ricardo Rincon, and as always Keith Foulke, teeter on the brink of disaster almost every time on the hill. Yet when the chips are on the line, they throw pitches which turn into routine outs, ending rallies.

How much longer they can do this without being effected from daily use is anyone’s guess. If Chad Harville and Michael Neu come through more often, then the big three can continue to get the big outs.

The A’s rallied last night with only one walk in the entire game. A good sign for the hitters. When Byung Hyun Kim needed to make big pitches he didn’t, grooving an 0-2 pitch to Scott Hatteberg who hit a laser to right putting the A’s in front to stay.

Previous night, Scott Sauerbeck needed to throw strikes to Erubiel Durazo and Eric Chavez and couldn’t, two walks resulted, then Scott Williamson grooved an 0-2 pitch to Ramon Hernandez, three run homer, end of game.

When the Sox needed big hits, they weren’t there. The A’s pitchers consistently made quality, in your face type of pitches which ended the scoring chances.

That my friends is the difference in this series. The A’s get the job done with a minimum of flair. The Sox look good on paper, but when the game is on the line, they don’t produce.

Baseball has turned into a game of bullpens because starters rarely go more than seven innings, the A’s bull pen is clutch right now, Boston’s isn’t and that is the way the ball is bouncing with 34 games to go.

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August 21, 2003   No Comments

Mulder Pain In The Hip, Bonds Does Unbeliveable Again

What a night for Bay Area baseball fans. First the A’s snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, then the Giants tie the Braves on a wild pitch and then have an emotionally drained Barry Bonds hit one into the bay off of lefty specialist Raymond King to win the game.

Ramon Hernandez hit a game winning homer the impact of which on the A’s season could be as big as Terrence Long’s catch on a ball hit by Manny Ramirez last season robbing Ramirez of a game winning home run.

The A’s used that catch and win in Boston last August to propel themselves to the division title.

This homer by Hernandez came at the right time as the A’s were reeling from the injury to Mark Mulder and the two hit pitching of Derek Lowe.

Mulder has not been himself for the last week or so. Now he reveals that his hip tendinitis has been an issue since July 19th.

When injuries like this occur in baseball one of two things may happen.

Either the team deflates and goes into a tailspin or they pull together and some aspect of the team steps up to take up the slack.

Now, if Mulder is out for any prolonged period, the offense will have to shoulder more of a burden if the A’s are going to keep pace with Seattle and Boston.

Hits like Hernandez had last night go a long way.

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August 20, 2003   No Comments

A's Face Boston, Mariners See Oh, Canada

The last time the Mariners’ Ryan Franklin faced the Blue Jays, they knocked him all over the yard in Safeco Field. Tonight Kelvim Escobar, who won’t miss the A’s this weekend like he did last week in Oakland, pitches for the Blue Jays.

Ichiro is getting some play for AL MVP as scribes are finally noticing that no one on the so called winning teams is having a big season.

Carlos Delgado will end the year with 130 plus RBI and forty homers or more, and he stands to be the MVP unless Bret Boone or Ichiro go crazy and the Mariners hang on. Two big “ifs”.

This series could go a long way to settling the issues if one of the MVP candidadtes carries his club.

In Boston, the Sox will face Mark Mulder, coming off his worst outing in a while. Mulder couldn’t get the feel of the baseball in Oakland last week and must not get behind because the Red Sox are a totally different team in Fenway as is Oakland on the road.

If I was the A’s, I wouldn’t want to play catch up in Boston.

Derek Lowe pitched his best game, dominating the A’s and Erubiel Durazo in critical game turning moments. The A’s have been in big games over the past few seasons in August. Art Howe always had this team ready to play, tonight will go a long way in determining how this seven game trip turns out since Perdo Martinez, Roy Halladay, and Escobar are ahead in coming games.

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August 20, 2003   No Comments

And down the strech they come….

Around 38 games left for all
teams including the Mariners
and the Athletics and I have
a feeling this is going to
be decided the last three
games of the season here
at Safeco Field.

By Amaury Pi-Gonzalez
Seattle [

August 18, 2003   No Comments

Giants Find No Relief From Losing Ways in Montreal

Marty; You call it the road trip from hell and that says it all. The only bright spot is the quote from Schmidt to the effect that there is nothing wrong with his arm, just the eleven day inactivity thet resulted in the poor performance. One can only hope he is not whistling in the dark.

Writing about the Giants today is not the easy task it has been all year long.

Ed Stern has been analyzing the Giants chances all season long, today he explains the current state of the team.

Thanks, Ed,

Marty Lurie [

August 17, 2003   No Comments

Sunday Morning Muse

The one player the A’s can least afford to lose, Tim Hudson, got smacked on the back of his pitching hand Saturday by a line drive off the bat of Dave Berg and now must hope that the team doctor has read the x rays of his valuable right hand correctly.

According to Hudson, the doctor said he has a deep bruise and no break in his pitching hand. Sounds similar to the original diagnosis that Curt Schilling received before further tests revealed his broken hand.

Only time will tell the extent of Hudson’s injury, but the pressure now is on Barry Zito to put the one bad inning that has plagued his latest starts behind him and step up in the A’s rotation.

Zito faces Roy Halladay today, a talented, yet understated righthander who wants the baseball every fourth day. Toronto probably will make an effort to resign Kelvim Escobar, then try a four man rotation next season.

In today’s world it is easier to come up with four starters than five, so JP Ricciardi, Toronto GM, wants to add another power pitcher and try to imitate the teams of yesterday who got by with only a four man starting rotation.

Halladay is the cornerstone of that plan.

Jose Guillen crushes mediocre pitchers, he doesn’t wait for a walk, and he has added life to the A’s lineup. I still think he would be better off hitting further down in the order where his homers can do some real damage.

Click below for more on this Sunday morning! [Read more →]

August 17, 2003   No Comments

Cubs Take the Lead, Pujols Hits in 29 Straight

Last Sunday Mark Prior shut the Dodgers down in LA, which didn’t seem unusual because the Dodgers are known for their lack of offense.

Prior came back Friday and threw another complete game against the Dodgers beating them 2-1, to put the Cubs into the NL Central lead. Prior was even better on Friday.

Prior faced a tough situation in the eighth inning. Was the big righty tiring as LA had runners on first and third with one out and a run in already?

Pitching coach Larry Rothschild went to the hill to talk to his best pitcher (yes, better than Kerry Wood) with Shawn Green coming up.

Would the Cubs go to lefty Mike Remlinger since Jeromy Burnitz was on deck, another lefthanded hitter?

No chance. Prior stayed in and got Green on a harmless pop to short, then fanned Burnitz on a succession of 95 MPH fastballs, which were unhittable.

End of inning, end of Dodgers for the day.

Two things: One, Dusty Baker has complete confidence in this young man and two, Prior wants the ball late in the game, a trait I love to see in any young pitcher.

Houston lost to Cincinnati as its bullpen gave up six runs on seven hits in three innings. Guess who was in the game? Octavio Dotel, Billy Wagner, and Brad Lidge. Manager Jimy Williams has ridden this trio hard all year long, as I have pointed out many times, and they must be watched carefully down the stretch for signs of wear and tear (especially Lidge).

With a power rotation of Prior, Wood, Zambrano, and Clement maybe the Cubs will exorcise the ghosts of ’69 and wipe the memory of their fold up to the Mets and their strong armed guys Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, and Gary Gentry, this summer.

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August 16, 2003   No Comments