Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

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!The best part of Boston’s day was watching the scoreboard operator post Seattle’s 4-0 loss to Anaheim, lowering the Sox magic number to one.

John Burkett couldn’t get out of the first inning without the Orioles scoring seven runs, so the fans will have to wait until this evening for another chance at clinching the wild card.

Tonight it is Derek Lowe against Omar Daal so I’d say the Red sox will quiet the doubters and get it done before Pedro has to rescue the team against Tampa this weekend.

I can’t get behind the David Ortiz MVP talk because even though he has 31 homers and 100 RBI’s, he hits fifth in the Red Sox lineup and fifth place hitters are not MVP’s, too much happens before they get up.

Seattle is a mystery. Great defense, more than adequate starting pitching, but they couldn’t get the power going this season. Why they didn’t add Brian Giles at mid season is unexplainable? Seattle has prospects in its farm system, this looks like the swan song for Edgar and Olerud, this was the year to get back into the playoffs.

GM Pat Gillick stood pat for the second year in a row and watched his offense sputter to the finish line, costing the team its playoff spot.

Seattle draws over 3 million fans, has a lucrative local media contract, but they won’t spend any dough or improve the team through trades. Heck, if they didn’t trade the manager last season, they wouldn’t have gotten Randy Winn from Tampa Bay.

Something doesn’t add up in Seattle.

The Marlins knocked the Phillies around and Jeff Conine was the star again. He homered and made another nice catch in left field. He was a great pickup after Mike Lowell broke his hand last month. Lowell says he will hit this weekend, if Jose Guillen can hit a homer with a broken hamate bone in his hand, then Lowell should be able to swing the bat too, since he has already had about a month to get healed.

The Marlins need to get their bullpen in order if they are going to make any noise in the playoffs.

Chad Fox is the eighth inning man now. Fox started the season with Boston and is coming off arm trouble which has stalled his career the last few years. Jack McKeon has been forced to use him almost daily down the stretch and Fox won’t last much longer. Braden Looper is gassed. He can’t get anyone out right now. Micael Tejera, the lone lefty in the pen, is inconsistent at best. Ugueth Urbina can close with the best, but he isn’t automatic either.

The Phillies lost the first two games of this crucial series because neither Kevin Millwood nor Brett Myers could get it done on the mound.

Today, Randy Wolf, actually the best starter on the staff, tries to salvage one game for the Phils against Brad Penny, one tough cookie.

The Marlins have 70 losses, the Phils, Astros, and the Dodgers 73. One more misstep by any of the three coupled with a Marlin victory, sends Miami in to the playoffs.

Incredible turn around for the Fish under McKeon, one stubborn old goat who got it done his way. Pudge Rodriguez showed me something with his leadership down the stretch. He should get some MVP votes.

I’m glad to say I was on the Marlins once Dontrelle Willis pitched his first big league game. What attracted me was the pitching which was going to be very tough as soon as Josh Beckett and Mark Redman returned from the DL. At least, that is why I picked them as the dark horse in June.

The SF writers are all crowing about Sidney Ponson and how he recovered his form yesterday against the Astros.

Ponson did pitch well into the seventh inning and then completely lost it. One of the toughest things a manager has to learn is when to pull a pitcher. So far, Felipe Alou has allowed Ponson to work out of late inning trouble. He can’t. Once Ponson gets into trouble after the sixth inning, if the game is on the line, my advice is get him out and go to the bullepn.

Sir Sidney may have the reputation of going nine in the AL, but this is late September and after watching the pitch he threw Jose Vizcaino with the bases loaded and two out, I’d say he was through before he faced him.

The A’s have to be somewhat concerned about Ted Lilly’s arm. He came through big time last Sunday, but don’t forget he was pushed back from his original start because of discomfort in his shoulder. It is a situation worth watching.

Looks like a three man rotation for the A’s. Doesn’t matter because this series will hinge on getting to the Red Sox bullpen, driving Pedro’s pitch count up, and letting the A’s bullpen do its thing for series. The bullpens are the key and the A’s is excellent at shutting down any potential damage. When was the last time they allowed an inherited runner to score?

Zito has never pitched on three days rest, I’m interested on how he does. Remember he is a creature of incredible habit. The A’s didn’t want to start him in Yankee Stadium because the team didn’t know how long the pregame would take in 2001, and they were afraid Zito would freak out if he couldn’t stick to his tight pregame routine.

I’ll bet he does just fine, better than most people think he will, because the guy is such a perfectionist that he will adjust to working early, plus game five, if necessary, will be at home where the A’s control the environment.

Anyone notice the A’s have a better winning record right now at home than the Giants. We all make such a big deal about the Giants in Pac Bell, but Oakland has done the same thing at the Coliseum for some reason. My own personal opinion is they are just better than the opposition that comes into Oakland and it’s not the park.

Mike Mussina got hit hard by the White Sox yesterday. Moose will open up against Johann Santana in NY next week. Again I will caution everyone, the Yankees rotation is old and the Angels crushed them last year. The Twins need to win one in NY, then you know what can happen in Minnesota.

The Marlins play the Mets at home this weekend. The Mets can pitch, but they just don’t hit. Unfortunately for Art Howe this series against Miami is his 2003 playoff if the games matter (Miami can clinch tonight).

Last weekend coming up. Much anticipation in Wrigley, but I’m just not popping the cork on the champagne just yet.


1 Ed { 09.25.03 at 12:49 pm }

Marty: The Giants playoff prospect rests. to a great extent, on how well Ponzon does. I wouldn’t bet the homestead on him.

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