Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Posts from — October 2003

McKeon Trusts Pen, Cubs Don't, Boston Pen Shines, Yanks Doesn't

When this postseason started I wrote that it would be the most exciting we had seen since this three tiered fromat started.

Guess what? It has been the best.

Every team had an arguable chance to make it to the world series. Every team had flaws which could sink it at any time.

The Cubs flaw was its bullpen. Dusty Baker crafted a pitching staff led by top of the rotation starters who threw in the mid to high 90’s. The plan was simple. Let the big boys take the ball into the eighth inning, then and only then trust Kyle Farnsworth and Mike Remlinger to get the ball to season hero Joe Borowski to close the game.

Everything was peachy until game six on Tuesday night. Mark Prior limped through the seventh giving up three hard outs. It was clear in the eighth that he didn’t have the stuff to end the game against the Marlins, a good hitting team. Prior gave up the lead, the bullpen added fuel to the fire. Marlins come back to win game six, a tough loss for the Cubs.

Marlins even the series 3-3 and they look very relaxed heading into game seven.

Kerry Wood tried to go as far as he could Wednesday night in the deciding game. When a big pitcher loses his stuff, the game can get ugly. This one did as it turned nasty after the Cubs took the lead 5-3. The Marlins were on Wood quickly like white on rice.

Wood couldn’t muster the strength to hold the lead. Dusty left him in, as he did Prior, hoping that somehow the Marlins would hit the ball at one of his fielders for the needed outs. They didn’t and routed Wood and his bullpen mates, taking control of the game and the pennant.

When the Marlins starter, Mark Redman, faltered, McKeon went to his starters for relief. Brad Penny and Josh Beckett (the Marlins played 66 innings in the playoffs, Beckett pitched 19.6 of them), held the Cubs totally in check while their bats added more insurance.

Baker wouldn’t go to Carlos Zambrano or Matt Clement for some reason when Wood faltered, McKeon rolled the dice with his frontliners and that, my friends, is why the Marlins won the NL pennant and the Cubs didn’t.

The Cubs big pitchers weren’t used in game seven after Wood gave up the lead, the Marlins were and they held the line turning the game in their favor.

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October 16, 2003   No Comments

Champions in trouble: Florida Marlins

The Florida Marlins beat the Giants
and then beat the Cubs to make it
to their second World Series since
their birth in 1993. But in Miami
they have a very small fan base
and no new stadium is in the
making and yes, this is a franchise
in serious trouble.

By Amaury Pi-González [

October 16, 2003   No Comments

Life, and Baseball, Isn't a Seven Inning Game by Ed Stern

For a few hours yesterday the joy reigned supreme. It appeared that all of Chicago was caught up in the wonder of it all. The Cubs, who hadn’t been in a World Series since 1945 and who hadn’t won one since 1908 were slowly and steadily pulling in front of the Marlins. By the time the seventh inning ended they had six outs remaining and the celebrations could commence, although 40,000 fans at the park and who knows how many thousands who couldn’t get in, had been celebrating since the first run was scored in the first inning.

Click below for another fine essay by Ed Stern [Read more →]

October 15, 2003   No Comments

Cubs Face Lefty In game Seven

The Cubs lost game six last night and now play for the National League pennant tonight against the Florida Marlins in game seven. Whoever wins tonight’s game will be the unlikely winner of the 2003 NL flag. Who did you think would be going to the World Series when spring training started in March?

Did Dusty leave Mark Prior in too long last night? The question for any manager is will the next pitcher give me a better chance to win, then the one I currently have out there.

Prior was clearly not the same pitcher as the inning unfolded. Still his stuff was good, not great, but better than what Kyle Farnsworth could bring on his best day.

Mike Mordecai finished the evening for Chicago with his ringing bases clearing double off Farnsworth, giving the Fish a 7-3 lead.

Tonight, the Marlins throw Mark Redman, a lefty, against Kerry Wood. The Cubs can hit lefties up and down the lineup. You remember games three and four? Can Kerry Wood slow the Marlins down? Certainly, if he has his control, but this is game seven and one mistake can cost you the game. Some of the best pitchers in the game have never faced the pressure of a game seven, and trust me, this game is different tonight.

The Gibsons, Morrises, Koufaxs, and Burdettes have been there and succeeded, cementing their place in baseball history, tonight is Kerry Wood’s chance to put his name with the greats of the game.

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October 15, 2003   No Comments

Yanks Go Up 3-2 in Fenway Tuesday

The Red Sox still are not hitting the ball, but that is no revelation if you have been following the ALCS.

Home runs and power shots don’t make it in the postseason because good pitchers can shut you down.

The Yankees are handling the bat better than Boston and they are picking up hits after walks, which have led to runs, and that was the story of Tuesday’s game.

Karim Garcia, who has a striking resemblance to Jeremy Giambi, came through with a clutch two out bases loaded single driving in the first two NY runs.

Click below for more on Grady Little. [

October 14, 2003   No Comments

Bullpen and Long Ball Pace Sox, Prior Up Today in Chicago

What really puzzles me about the Curse of the Bambino and the curse of the Billy Goat in Chicago, is the fact that the managers of the Cubs and Red Sox actually respond to questions as to whether the respective curses effect their teams.

Last time I checked curses don’t have any basis in reality, so it amazes me that responsible journalists actually are asking Dusty Baker to comment on the curse and he is answering, albeit denying that such a curse exists.

The drama of postseason baseball, I suppose having nothing to write about on an offday brings out this type of journalism as opposed to analyzing the game and the actual pitching matchup of Mark Prior and Carl Pavano tonight in game six.

The difference for the Red Sox is clearly in the bullpen. When this postseason began, most baseball analysts rightly underplayed the Boston chances of making it to the world series because of Boston’s ineffective bullpen.

No more!

Mike Timlin has been every bit as good as Mariano Rivera was when Rivera set up John Wettlend in the mid 90’s for NY.

If only Grady Little would go to Timlin before trouble starts, he would bypass the nailbiting the Red Sox Nation experienced last night.

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October 14, 2003   No Comments

Headhunters and the Designated Hitter Rule by Ed Stern

Before getting into a discussion of just how much testosterone is displayed by American League pitchers when throwing at the heads of batters, a brief word or two about the present state of the playoffs this Monday morning.

Click below for an excellent analysis, thanks for the contribution Ed,
Marty [

October 13, 2003   No Comments

Sunday Morning Muse

So, what was the most bizarre part of Saturday’s game in Boston?

No surprise in the way Pedro Martinez pitched, basically the same game he threw at the A’s in games one and five of the ALDS. Struggling to keep his head above water every inning.

Pedro is a very frustrated pitcher, knowing that he no longer can just go to the hill and blow the opposition away with 95 MPH fastballs followed by 78 MPH changeups.

It leads him to do strange things like throwing behind the back of Karim Garcia with first base open and a righthanded swinger (Soriano) on deck. What is amazing about Pedro is when he decides to hit someone it is so obvious. He has impeccacble control, probably ranking with the best pitchers over the last fifty years. So, when he goes up and in, it isn’t with a pitch that suddenly got away, but with a toss that is intended to knock someone down or hit them and he doesn’t miss with the knockdown either.

Funny, but Roger Clemens, one of the all time hot heads, turned out to be the calm one in the whole fiasco Saturday.

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October 12, 2003   No Comments

Red Sox-Yanks, Where's the Hitting?

Is it just me or are you wondering when the Red Sox are going to start mashing the ball in this postseason? Billed as the greatest hitting team since the 1927 Yankees, and yes, they did break that team’s season slugging record, this bunch has not shown the firepower at the bat to make me believe that they will bust loose this October.

Granted they faced the best starting pitching when the locked up with the A’s in the ALDS, but do you get the feeling that they are still groping at the plate against the Yankees.

David Ortiz crushed one off of Mike Mussina. Nomar has yet to deliver the big bomb. Trot Nixon hit one against Rich Harden, Manny had his big hit facing Barry Zito, etc. etc. Still no consistent hitting from Bill Mueller or Kevin Millar. Jason Varitek is one bright light for the Sox offense, that’s the kind of hitting I’m looking for. The Yankees hit the ball in gaps, they are having tougher at bats right now than the Red Sox, and that doesn’t bode well for a Boston victory in the ALCS.

A long way to go, but it will be Roger Clemens Saturday hooking up with Pedro Martinez in Fenway and the Sox nation better hope the bats come alive at home or this one will not turn out well for the Olde Towne team.

The A’s made two minor moves Thursday, click below for more! [Read more →]

October 10, 2003   No Comments

Marlins Needed That One, Red Sox Will Hit NY

The Marlins needed to win game one knowing that they will face Mark Prior tonight in Chicago. With the wind blowing out, the game tonight is a tough one to figure. Usually pitchers like Prior and Brad Penny can be counted on to hold the opposition down, but you saw what happened last night as the teams continuously blasted the ball over the short fences in Wrigley.

Carlos Zambrano again struggled. At some point he has to learn how to sink the ball and change speeds. Major league hitters can turn around a jet plane if they know it is coming. The key to pitching is changing speeds, throwing something with a wrinkle in it, and keeping hitters off balance.

Prior does that even though he relies on a 96 MPH hard fastball. Kerry Wood is a Nolan Ryan clone, and his curve buckles hitters too.

Jason Schmidt blew the ball past the Marlins with little other than his fastball, perhaps at this time of the year the bats have slowed down a tad allowing a dominant power pitcher to survive with the heater. We’ll see tonight. The script for the Cubs is simple: Wood plus Prior, four starts, four wins.

I’m not so sure it will be that easy.

Click below for more on the AL! [

October 8, 2003   No Comments