Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Sunday Morning Thoughts

I don’t concede the NL West to any team right now. The Dodgers are no picnic at the plate. The Padres still don’t have the kind of rotation that will run away and hide from the rest of the pack.

Similar to last season, the also rans in the division are truly horrible as the season cruises into the quarter pole.

The Giants, Diamondbacks, and the Rockies are not showing any ability to win on the road. All three of the also rans have problems with their pitching. From time to time the Rockies hit at home. So do the Arizonans. The Giants are not doing much anywhere.

Here’s the point. LA and San Diego are the most balanced teams in the division. Unless the Giants suddenly turn it on, offensively and on the mound, the two SoCal teams will fight it out this summer. But, the others will be tantalizingly close all season, within ten games or so, giving hope that one great winning streak will put them into contention.

Will it happen? Probably not. But neither the Padres nor the Dodgers are good enough to win the division by 15 games like SF did last year.

So, it’s never over until it’s over in the West and that’s good for Giant fans who can hope that one long winning streak is out there putting the team back into the race.

It’s not impossible with 125 games to go.

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The Angels are one tough team. With all their injuries they are still hitting the heck out of the ball. Jarrod Washburn may have turned the corner in his season. Getting six to seven runs per game to work with doesn’t hurt. All in all, the Anaheim pitching is getting a boost from Washburn, Aaron Sele, and John Lackey, that is the best news of all.

Troy Percival is getting knocked around. This usually means a trip to the DL is around the corner. Probably his hip or something like that is bothering him.

Kelvim Escobar hasn’t shown that he is the stud pitcher the Angels thought they were getting. Sunday night baseball usually brings out the best in a pitcher so tonight maybe Escobar will get it together against the Orioles.

Sidney Ponson has gotten rocked his last three starts so this one may be another 9-8 affair in Camden Yards. I can’t understand why Ponson has been so bad. If he gets bombed tonight then something physical must be up with him.

The Yankees picked up Tanyon Sturtze to be their fifth starter. Sturtze simply is holding the fort until Randy Johnson gets there. With Mike Mussina and Jon Leiber not likely to go deep in to a game, and now Sturtze too, the bullpen will feel the weight. Expect more of the type of games we saw Saturday, 13-7 in 13 innings. The Yanks will wear Tom Gordon and Paul Quantrill out by July 1st. NY will be in the market for middle relief soon.

Minnesota has a better team and a better manager than the White Sox. Mark Buehrle loves to pitch against the Twins and needs to come up big today against Carlos Silva who is still riding his honeymoon phase in the AL. I say the Sox win one to avoid the sweep.

Pedro Martinez in Toronto. This one spells trouble for the Sox who look like a team that is uncomfortable on the turf. Pedro needs to get loose and with his arm not what it used to be, I wonder if he is still capable of back to back good games. We’ll see, because Roy Halladay is getting near that point in the season when he should start rolling.

So on base maven Kevin Youkilis is here. The A’s have a picture of Youkilis in their office right next to the ones of Erubiel Durazo and Scott Hatteberg. Youkilis almost came over to the A’s for Billy Beane, the on base guru himself, when Beane was a Red Sox employee for a few hours before bailing on John Henry.

Ryen Drese continues to impress everyone in Texas. Pretty quiet series in Detroit after last weekend in Texas. Jason Johnson hasn’t pitched a good game since opening day.

Brian Giles is out with a broken collarbone, just not the Braves year. Time for Ben Sheets to win one of these nice games that he has been pitching.

Keith Ginter against the Rocket. At some point Clemens will get his lunch. The Mets have to be concerned about Mike Cameron’s .218 average. James Baldwin, the experiment is over, see you in Norfolk next start.

The Cards are winning. I noticed it about ten days ago. This team is slowly coming together. Chris Carpenter dominated the Marlins Saturday. Houston and Chicago better not lose sight of St. Louis especially if Woody Williams duplicates his last performance today againt the Marlins hottest pitcher Brad Penny. All you want to do is get into the Marlins middle relief, then good things happen.

When the Reds play the A’s in Oakland in June how about Todd Van Poppel, Aaron Harang, and Cory Lidle, all former A’s, against the big three. Some matchups. It will be interesting to say the least.

The Reds win when they get the ball to Danny Graves.

How about Jason Grabowski leading off for the Dodgers? Think this is one of Jim Tracy’s ideas? No way. Paul DePodesta is all over this one, similar to his brainstorm of having Jeremy Giambi leadoff for the A’s a few springs ago. Let Grabowski take his walks and hope he scores some runs with his patient approach. Too bad he hasn’t ever hit in the majors.

Glendon Rusch and David Wells in San Diego. No need for a radar gun today. Seems like LaTroy Hawkins has claimed the closer spot for the Cubs.

The Expos are getting ready to head to Puerto Rico again this week. The players should be paid double for what they go through for this team.

Nice Sunday for baseball.

If the season ended today your playoff teams would be:
NL Phillies, Astros, Dodgers, and Cubs.
AL Red Sox, Twins, Angels, and Rangers.

Not impossible in the NL, but the AL might change with the Yanks and A’s likely knocking somebody out of the wild card at least.


1 Anonymous { 05.16.04 at 12:51 pm }

Beane must be loving Hatteberg’s production right now, especially his OBP. Hatteberg is doing well, though, cause he is being more aggressive and swinging the bat. He isn’t taking as many pitches. The A’s in general seem to be more aggressive and their offense is better because of it. Good to see they stopped taking Beane’s advice.
-Mike E.

2 Anonymous { 05.17.04 at 7:48 pm }

Marty- Heart-warming for Giants fans that you can contemplate the possibility of a Giants long winning streak bringing them into contention. I believe it is far fetched. Long winning streaks need consistent winning pitchers and, with the exception of Schmidt, the Giants have no one who meets that description. Williams may ultimately get there but even if he did that leaves them remarkably short.

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