Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

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.I’m going to make my case for Baltimore’s Pat Hentgen once again.

After his start on June 28th against the Phillies, Hentgen had given up 38 runs in 44.6 innings putting 82 runners on base.

Since then he has faced Oakland, Texas, Toronto, Boston, Minnesota, Tampa, and New York twice. He has gone 4-1, throwing 55 innings, allowing 14 runs, and has put 55 runners on base.

Also, Jason Johnson, tonight’s starter for Baltimore, since July 8th has given up 19 runs in 52 innings, allowing 79 runners to reach base, going 3-1 over 8 starts. He would be fine, too.

John Halama should get Thursday’s start vs. the O’s, simply because he pitched five innings of six hit, one earned run ball, beating the Orioles 5-3 on July 12th. The A’s like past history.

Boston faces a Toronto team that looks like it has lost interest after being wiped out by the A’s three of four this weekend.

The motto for the rest of the season is: knock the also rans from the game early, don’t let them hang around, get into their middle relief early, and all will work out.

Seattle with Jamie Moyer sees Tampa Bay and Victor Zambrano. The Orioles and Devil Rays can jump up and bite you if you aren’t careful. The key to beating them is make it close in the late innings if you have to, their bullpens will give it up.

This time of year you have to play great defense, get someone hot in the lineup, keep your closer healthy, and stay on the course that has brought you this far.

Esteban Loiaza, Bartolo Colon, and Mark Buehrle should see NY this week. Big series for the Sox who need to show the world they can win away from home and in pressure packed games. No better place to start than Yankee Stadium and against Roger Clemens tonight.

The Yankees now have Felix Heredia as a lefty reliever. Say good bye to Jesse Orosco and when they get Felix Rodriguez, Jeff Weaver or Antonio Osuna will take a seat also.

Any questions as to what the Yankee brass perceives as the weakness on the pitching staff? Can you say late inning relief.

KC just won’t give up. They hit in the clutch although Mike Sweeney still hasn’t gotten untracked. The new bullpen is terrific. Jeremy Affeldt is a dream coming in in the seventh inning or later.

Newly acquired Brian Anderson goes today against the all of a sudden hot pitcher for Texas, RA Dickey, but the game is in KC, not Texas which is a huge plus for the Royals.

In the past Brad Radke has pitched well in Anaheim. He gets his chance again when he faces the Angels and John Lackey. Last time the Twins were in Anaheim they got swept and almost cost Ron Gardenhire his job.

Hey, Livan Hernadez can help a contender. How about Livan back here in the Bay Area with the A’s? I wonder if he has cleared waivers?

The Phillies are still searching for the right lineup. The Marlins have the lineup, they just have to become a grinding team down the stretch, something new to just about everyone on their team.

The Diamondbacks aren’t out of this thing by a long shot, either.

The Cubs open with their best (Mark Prior) in St. Louis against on again off again Garrett Stephenson. Can the Cubs hit with the Cards? Tonight they can.

Ron Villone hasn’t gotten the credit he deserves for the job he has done in Houston. He starts a big series against LA and Odalis Perez tonight in Houston. The Astros bullpen, a strength all season will be fun to watch all month to see if they hold up until the end.

The A’s should leave Rich Harden alone. Who cares if he tips his pitches, when he came up before they tinkered with his delivery, no one was hitting him, even if they knew what was coming. Just let the kid pitch and stand back.

Not to compare him with Sandy Koufax, but Wes Westrum old Giants first base coach, called every one of Koufax’s pitches when he no hit the Giants in the mid sixties.

This is the time all baseball fans wait for. The season unfolds slowly, the road winds around and around, finally straightening out in September as everyone heads into the stretch.

We will be there very shortly.

September baseball is what it is all about.


1 Ed { 08.26.03 at 11:50 am }

Marty- Do you have some inside information which leads you to believe the Yankees are in the market for Rodriguez? If they want him, as far as I am concerned, they can have him. The chances of the A’s getting Hernandez, who has apparently learned how to pitch inside, are next to none. He may end up with the best record in the league. As for Arizona’s chances to make the playoffs, they seem remote as long as Johnson continues to have the problems he is experiencing since his return from the DL.

2 marty { 08.26.03 at 12:10 pm }

Ed, The Yankees, Giants and Mets tried to work out a three team deal in July with Rodriguez going to the Yanks, Benitez to the Giants, and prospects to the Mets. The Giants backed out according to national sources. Rodriguez is still a player the Yanks would take in a heartbeat. I agree, Johnson’s struggles are somewhat of a concern, but the rest of their staff can carry them over the last thirty games or so. Arizona has as good a chance as anyone to win the wild card. They haven’t folded yet.

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