Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Marlins Can End Series Tonight

It took a few days for the story of the 2003 World Series to take shape. The Marlins, a decisive 2-1 underdog, can finish off the mighty Yankees in the stadium if things go right for them tonight.

The story of 2003? I say Jack McKeon and his cool attitude on the biggest baseball stage of his career.

McKeon has kept his sense of humor when others in his position would have been tighter than a drum (Check St. Louis for instance).

His decision to start Josh Beckett on three days rest is a good one.

Beckett is a power pitcher and power pitchers in October are special. Beckett’s fastball can carry him even if his slider or curve are not available. He only threw 108 pitches in his last start. He has impeccable control and doesn’t waste pitches.

Perhaps the biggest factor is he insists on being the pitcher tonight.

Will it be easy? No way.

Click below for more!Andy Pettitte shut the Marlins down in game two. The Marlins are a team that rakes against lefthanded starters. If Pettitte is on his game tonight and that is no guarantee, he can slow the Marlin offense down once again. If he isn’t (age is a factor on the Yanks staff), the Marlins have the righthanded power to hit Pettitte hard.

The Marlins or the Yankees for that matter need to get on the board early and establish a lead. The Yankees have always tried to do that under Joe Torre. He will bunt, hit and run, or steal a base to get the offense going in the first inning.

The Yankees get the DH back tonight which will help the offense. The teams are more likely to hit homers in Yankee Stadium, with the short right field the likely target.

There haven’t been many homers hit in this series, there will be some tonight.

I imagine Alfonso Soriano will be back in the lineup tonight, probably not in the lead off spot. Jason Giambi will DH. Beckett went with off speed stuff against Giambi in Fla, in this park he better go with the high heat or else Giambi is likely to smack one out in right center.

Mariano Rivera will be ready in the seventh inning if necessary. Who know perhaps David Wells will come out of the pen if his back feels all right, in one last attempt to please The Boss?

Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo have been very quiet since the opening game. They need to get on base in this game. They won’t run on Pettitte, but they can put him in the stretch with Pudge (when was his last hit?), Conine, Lee, Lowell, and Cabrera, all righties, coming up.

Dontrelle Willis once again will be the key pitcher late in the game. The Yankees are loaded with lefthanded hitting and Willis is the only lefty reliever the Marlins trust. For that reason alone, Beckett got the nod from McKeon to start this game over Willis.

After game one I questioned whether Ugueth Urbina could trick the Yankees four times. His team is now up 3-2 and he has two saves and one disaster. If I’m the Marlins I’d like to give him some breathing room when he comes in the game.

Jose Contreras can pitch one inning effectively, two innings, watch out. I don’t think he ever got comfortable on Thursday, coming into the game in the pinch, in relief of Wells.

The Yankees have one goal when they meet in spring training in February: Get to the World Series and win it. There is no joy in merely winning the division or the pennant, they need to win the whole enchilada or the season is a disaster. No other team in baseball plays with that single minded purpose.

The A’s and Giants both should watch the intensity that the Yankees bring to the postseason. I cannot imagine a Yankee doing the things Eric Byrnes or Miguel Tejada did on the bases against Boston, or a Yankee dropping a fly ball like Jose Cruz did against Miami in the NLDS.

Watching the Yankees play in October is a lesson in how you play the game of baseball at the highest level. To beat them in October, and no less to beat them at home in games six or seven, is a monumental feat which does not come easily.

If you play the Yankees in the playoffs you can never let them up once you have them on the ropes. A win for NY tonight will set up a classic game seven in the Bronx and if I’m the Marlins I don’t want to see that happen.

And that is why Josh Beckett gets the chance to close the Yanks out tonight instead of hoping some mix and match of Willis, Helling or Redman could get the job done.

The crowd noise will be deafening if the Yanks get the early lead. McKeon should do as Torre will, turn the rabbits loose if they get on in the first inning to get the lead.

I’ve often said careeers are defined by postseason play. Baseball fans know instantly what Lou Burdette, Sandy Koufax, Whitey Ford, Bob Gibson, Mickey Lolich, Jack Morris and John Smoltz, to name a few October heroes, have accomplished on the Fall stage.

Josh Beckett, only 23, gets a chance to put his name up there tonight.

Game seven of the World Series is the ultimate game in any baseball season.

You can’t get there without a star stepping up in game six for the team who comes in trailing 3-2. Whitey Ford did it in 1960 for the Yankees, giving Bill Mazeroski a chance for infamy in game seven. Kirby Puckett hit his homer in game six off Charlie Liebrandt, setting up Morris and Smoltz in game seven in 1991. Don Denkinger blew “The Call” against the Cards in 1985, giving the Royals a shot in game seven which they didn’t miss.

Game six should be something to see. Coming into a home team’s park up 3-2 is no guarantee you will be the champ, just ask the Angels and Diamondbacks who beat NY and SF, in the last two series, winning the last two at home. The Twins did it in ’87 and ’91 the same way.

Jack McKeon won’t be nervous, neither will his pitcher, but one thing for sure, the ghosts of Yankee Stadium will be out in full force tonight.

I’m sticking with my original prediction: Marlins will win the series.

I’m just not sure which night it will happen.


1 Anonymous { 10.25.03 at 1:22 pm }


I agree about the single objective of the Yankees is to get to the World Series and win, but they do make mistakes (so don;t be so hard on the Giants and A’s). Throwing the ball away when they had Pudge in a rundown was pretty poor playing by any team. I bet Soriano is gone from the Yankees after his performance this October. The NY press is so harsh. Remember that, Miggy.

Look forward to hearing all your reflections of the WS. Enjoyed your reports on KNBR.

I am hoping that Tejeda talks to Giambi soon so he can tell him to stay where he knows what he has and is happy. Giambi looks lost on the Yankees. Bet he really misses being the team go to guy on the A’s.

2 Ed { 10.25.03 at 1:28 pm }

Marty- Good to have you back. As for Urbina, I don’t consider his last outing a “save” irrespective of what the record books show. He faced two batters, each of whom smoked him. Fortunately for the Marlins, the Yankees hit them right at a fielder. If tonight’s game depends on Urbina, the Marlins had better get ready for the 7th game. He’s a loser. I’m happy the Giants quit on him. The most important factor giving the Yankees an advantage in these last game or games is the presence of Rivera. The Marlins can’t match that and if the game ends up with NY holding on to a slim lead by the 8th inning Florida is in trouble.

3 naturalcool { 06.16.07 at 2:24 am }

You must log in to post a comment.