Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Posts from — September 2003

Giants vs. Marlins, How it Shapes Up by Ed Stern

Is the “real season” beginning today as so many writers have been saying? If the “real season” can end for a team with a loss in a five game setup I suppose one can justifiably so contend. Perhaps I am more of a purist than one should be, but as far as I am concerned the real season ended this past Sunday. The best teams were established by their records over the 161/162 games played. What we have now is an intriguing aftermath to the real season. The best team doesn’t necessarily prevail.

Click Below as Ed Stern who has covered the Giants all season long for, gives us his analysis of round one and more!
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September 30, 2003   No Comments

Playoffs The Best In Years, But Who Will Get to the Series

The playoffs begin Tuesday and for the first time in years any of the eight teams can get to the world series.

Pitching (the whole staff) will determine who advances to the LCS and eventually the series.

As baseball is played today, I don’t care who the starting pitchers are, they don’t go nine innings, but instead turn the ball over to the bullpen for the final six outs or more. Who will close the deal, that is the question?

The Yankees open with Mike Mussina at home against the Twins. Mussina has a 20-2 record against Minnesota since coming into the league. The Twins are 33-12 against righthanded starters in their last 45 games.

The big question for me is whether Minnesota can outhit the Yankees. When Anaheim knocked the Yanks out of the playoffs in 2002, they did it with big time slugging and excellent long relief.

The Twins counter with Johann Santana, who has had a fantastic second half, in fact the whole Twins team has too, going 46-23 since the break.

The Yankees are hitting the ball much better than Minnesota. Alfonso Soriano is hot, Derek Jeter and Jason Giambi get on base, Jorge Posada is hitting so well that the press is pushing him for MVP, Nick Johnson, Bernie Williams, Aaron Boone, and Hideki Matsui are capable hitters also. I don’t think Minnesota can hold the Yankees down over a five game series.

To me, it all adds up to a Yankee series win, even with Jeff Nelson, a struggling set up man, the Yanks should have enough of a cushion to get the ball to Mariano Rivera to close the deal. Gabe White and Jose Contreras should fill the set up void.

Brad Radke has to be perfect, Kyle Lohse doesn’t appear ready to shut the Yankee attack down, and it appears that Ron Gardenhire doesn’t trust Eric Milton to start game four, if there is one, so Kenny Rogers may start that game and if he does, it will be the last game Minnesota plays in 2003.

Click below for the other matchups!

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September 29, 2003   No Comments

Bay Area's Bruce Magowan's Playoff Predictions

Bruce Magowan, a valued contributor to was the Giants play by play announcer for six games this past season. Bruce hosts “The Insiders”, KNBR 680’s Giants pregame show on Saturday and Sunday as well as the post game radio show on the weekend, too. Bruce also writes for the San Francisco Examiner and is one of the most knowledgeable baseball people around.

Click below for Bruce’s analysis of the 2003 playoffs and check out which two teams Bruce thinks will meet in the World Series.

Thanks Bruce! [

September 29, 2003   No Comments

Who Gets This Year's First Greenwald Awards? by Doug Greenwald

Doug Greenwald has been a minor league baseball broadcaster for eight years.
He just finished his first season with the Fresno Grizzlies, the AAA affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. He has experience with both the Giants and A’s in the minor leagues. For two seasons, Doug was the voice of the former AA Giants affiliate in Shreveport, Louisiana and then spent the 2002 campaign with the Modesto Athletics of the California League.

Despite calling 144 Pacific Coast League games, Doug found plenty of time to
follow the Major League game. Now that 162 games are through, it’s time to cast his votes for the year-end individual awards.

Click Below to read the recipients of the first Annual Greenwald Awards exclusively on! Thanks, Doug.

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September 29, 2003   No Comments

Sunday Morning Muse

Cubs win! Cubs win! Two of the most exciting games in Cubs history played out yesterday in Wrigley putting the Cubs into the playoffs as the NL Central champions.

It was the best scenario for the Cubs because now Kerry Wood opens against Russ Ortiz in game one in Atlanta. Carlos Zambrano in game two, then Mark Prior In Wrigley.

The Braves are still the best team I’ve seen all year, but John Smoltz has to be on his game or else the Braves will struggle getting to the NLCS.

Remember very good pitching, stops very good hitting, both the Cubs bullpen and the Braves bullpen minus a healthy John Smoltz won’t stop anybody, so this series will be up for grabs. Both managers will avoid their bullpens until absolutely necessary (no quick hooks) in this short series.

What happened to Houston? Their starting pitching disappeared the final week as they lost two of three to the Giants and then two of three to Milwaukee to finish their season. Funny, I always thought their bullpen would collapse first not Wade Miller, Jeriome Robertson, and Ron Villone. The hitting also went south as the Giants and the Brewers shut down this talented group of hitters. It’s not good to lose the majority of your games the final week when you are tied for the lead.

The season ends today, the long journey covering six months, and 180 days is coming to an end, so let’s look at the league awards, click below for more! [Read more →]

September 28, 2003   No Comments

Cubs Play Two, One Spot Left

Ernie Banks said it many times during his hall of fame career in Chicago, “It’s a beautiful day, let’s play two”, well, today the Cubs get to live out Ernie’s wish as they meet the Pirates in an old fashioned doubleheader in Wrigley Field because yesterday’s game was washed out.

Mark Prior still gets the opening game nod against Josh Fogg. Prior pitching today means he will not pitch in game one or two of the NLDS against Atlanta if the Cubs get that far.

In fact with Kerry Wood going Sunday in a game that should matter, the Cubs rotation against the Braves could open with Carlos Zambrano and Shawn Estes.

As I pointed out yesterday if a playoff game is needed on Monday with the Astros, a distinct possibility, Shawn Estes is due for that game.

For all those reasons, if Dusty Baker can get this team to the world series, he deserves manager of the century.

Houston got pounded by Milwaukee Friday night. Richie Sexson the best kept secret in the NL, hit two more homers. As I said after Sexson hit two bombs in SF a couple of weekends ago, somebody should make Milwaukee an offer they can’t refuse for him, because the Brewers will not win while Sexson is still a young man. The Brewers will try to duplicate their efforts today against lefty Ron Villone in Houston

The Red Sox are thrilled to be coming to Oakland to play the A’s. The A’s have the best home record in the majors as of today. The Red Sox hit significantly lower on the road than at home. The A’s have a method that at least has been successful in Oakland, getting Pedro Martinez’s pitch count up by the sixth inning. So, you tell me why are the Sox so happy about facing three of five in Oakland against the best pitching staff (ERA) in the league?

Click below for more! [

September 27, 2003   No Comments

Cubs Slip, Astros Win, Marlins, Red Sox In October

The dance ticket is almost filled out as the Marlins eliminated the Phillies and now only need one more win over the Mets to be the NL Wild Card team. Meanwhile, the Red Sox knocked the Orioles all over Fenway to send the Mariners home for the winter, winning the AL Wild Card race.

So, what does it all mean?

Can the Red Sox slug their way past the A’s?

Teams that rely on one pitcher are not very successful in the postseason.

What would happen to Boston if Pedro lost game one next Wednesday? Can they rely on their hitting to beat the best pitching staff in the American League? Do they have enough secondary pitching to close out three wins? No matter how great Pedro is or Derek Lowe is for that matter, you know it, I know it, the American public knows it and even Bob Dole knows it, you can’t survive without pitchers who can close the deal from the eighth inning forward.

That one area will decide this playoff, no matter what Pedro does in his two starts, if they are necessary. Both Pedro and Lowe will need bullpen help if the Red Sox are to beat the A’s. Boston has the hitting, do they have the pitching?

The Giants will face a Marlin team that is playing very well. The Giants have a deep bullpen and as I said yesterday, the Miami pen is coming up short these days. Do the Marlins have a reliable lefty to get Barry Bonds out? Probably not, Michael Tejera has struggled lately. Jack McKeon will walk Bonds every chance he gets, no matter the score or the inning. Can the Giants hit the Marlins starters? That may be the one area that will challenge the Giants. Josh Beckett, Dontrelle Willis, and Brad Penny can take you into the seventh inning, but that is where the series will turn because the Marlins pen most likely won’t seal the deal after that inning.

Chad Fox, Braden Looper, and Ugueth Urbina are hittable if used too often. They will be in every potential win. Jack McKeon has ridden this trio hard down the stretch, he had to each game, that’s how demanding the six games with the Phillies and the six with the Braves were.

So, these two series will be very exciting to watch because what I am suggesting is the games will be decided in the late innings which makes for dramatic baseball.

A playoff series changes from moment to moment, so enjoy the shifts during the game because it ain’t over until it’s over, and especially this year.

Click below for more! [

September 26, 2003   No Comments

Cubs Living Right, Astros Not Done Yet, Mariners Are Done

When Shawn Estes comes out and throws a shutout you know things are breaking your way. Estes lowered his ERA to 5.73 with his whitewashing of the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday.

Seriously, the win was huge for Chicago because they control their own destiny and the rotation is set up with Carlos Zambrano today, Matt Clement Friday, Mark Prior (who owns the Pirates, the Cubs weekend entertainment), and finally Kerry Wood on Sunday, if necessary.

The Astros will not go away and have an excellent chance of forcing a playoff or actually overtaking the Cubs if the Bruins stall along the way because Houston gets Milwaukee at home for four beginning this evening.

Milwaukee’s Doug Davis has found a home in the NL, after limited success with the Rangers and Blue Jays in the AL. He pitches tonight against Houston’s Tim Redding (9-14) in a game Houston must simply win.

Bottom line this thing ain’t over yet Cub fans as much as we all would like to see the Cubs in the playoffs, they better keep winning this weekend (Pittsburgh is no easy team to put away).

Todd Van Poppel pitches for the Reds today against the Cubs. Somehow, Van Poppel has added an off speed pitch to his fastball and has held the opposition at bay.

Click below for more! [

September 25, 2003   No Comments

Wildest Night Of 2003 Sends A's, Twins, Yanks Into The Playoffs

The baseball season unfolds very slowly. It starts with spring training in February, moves into a six month regular season covering 162 games and then finally into the postseason in October.

As fans we have plenty of time each day to analyze the outcome of the prior night’s game and get ready for the game coming up.

Because we can think about the season daily and all its ramifications over six months, we can remember the twists and turns and key events that occurred 10, 20, or 30 years ago as if they happened yesterday.

Last night was one of those magical historical baseball night’s that unfolded right before our eyes ever so slowly, each pitch, each at bat, each key game coming down to the last at bat. Things were not easily settled, emotions ran the gamut from dejection to ultimate exhiliration depending on which side of the fence you were on.

But one thing is for sure, if you are a baseball fan, Tuesday Sept. 23rd unfolded ever so slowly allowing the indelible prints to be fixed on your baseball mind forever.

Let’s start in Oakland where the A’s won the West.

Click below for more!

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September 24, 2003   No Comments

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. [Read more →]

September 23, 2003   No Comments