Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Don't Overlook the Rangers and the Mariners

The A’s and the Angels showed the baseball world this week that they are evenly matched when they face each other on the diamond.

The winner of the AL West will be the team that handles the remaining teams on the schedule most effectively.

Both contenders get a steady diet of the top teams in the league over the next couple of weeks. The A’s see Boston, Cleveland, and Minnesota. The Angels meet the White Sox, Red Sox, and the pesky Devil Rays.

Click below for more!The A’s for the 6th year in succession have made a furious second half rush based on their ability to hammer mediocre pitching (see Al Leiter) in addition to pitching exceedingly well themselves.

Good pitching, (see the Angels), can silence the A’s bats. Pitchers with control still give the Oakland hitters fits.

Minnesota and Cleveland both have the starting staffs that will test the A’s patient offense on the road.

The Angels on the other hand have an advantage against the top teams because they use team speed and timely hitting as their means to score runs.

Now all of sudden the Mariners and the Rangers enter the equation. Both teams are getting quality starts from their pitchers.

In Seattle, starter Joel Piniero is healthy again, while 19 year old Felix Hernandez is dominating opposing hitters with his 97 mph fast ball.

Texas starting pitchers Chris Young, Juan Dominguez, and Kenny Rogers are going deep into the game. The Rangers over worked bullpen is finally getting the ball in the late innings with the game on the line.

Everyone points to the final four game series, beginning September 26th between the A’s and the Angels in Oakland as the defining series for this season’s division race.

Not so fast.

I say don’t overlook the last three games of the year when the A’s travel to Seattle to face the Mariners, while the Angels are meeting the Rangers for three in Texas.

Seattle and Texas will have a say as to who wins the West during the final weekend of the year. You can count on it.

Not only will the division races be decided during the stretch drive, but the individual season awards will be as well.

If the Red Sox hold off the Yankees, which will likely happen, based on the fact that Boston very rarely loses at home, then David Ortiz is this year’s AL MVP. If NY somehow upends the Sox, Alex Rodriguez will finally shed his tag as baseball’s most valuable loser and garner the MVP award.

In the NL, Atlanta’s Andruw Jones seems to hit a home run in every Brave victory. Notwithstanding the tremendous season’s posted by the Cards Albert Pujols and the Cubs Derrick Lee, Jones has the look of this year’s MVP.

Chris Carpenter, Dontrelle Willis, and Roger Clemens will finish one, two, and three in the NL Cy Young race.

In the AL Cy Young battle, Bartolo Colon has the lead right now, but Johan Santana is closing fast. Only a complete collapse by Colon will allow Santana to repeat as the top pitcher in the league.

No matter how the A’s finish, Ken Macha, in the tradition of former A’s manager Art Howe, runs a close second to Chicago’s Ozzie Guillen for manager of the year.

In the NL, Atlanta’s Bobby Cox, on the verge of his 14th straight NL East title, should have the manager of the year award renamed in his honor.

If A’s closer Huston Street continues to shine down the stretch, I like him to win a tight battle with White Sox second baseman Tadahito Iguchi for AL Rookie of the year.

In the NL, Houston center fielder Willy Taveras noses out “The Natural” Atlanta’s Jeff Francouer as the loop’s top rookie.

If I’m the Giants I want to see what Barry Bonds can do this season on the playing field in order to properly plan for the 2006 season. Even though the Giants would love to trade the injured slugger to an American League team, don’t count on the seven time MVP changing leagues.

Bonds has the option to reject any trade and more than likely will complicate any attempt to trade him by invoking his rights to approve the move due to his length of service with the Giants.

Without a doubt Bonds will ask any new employer that an additional year be guaranteed on his contract before he will agree to change teams for the 2006 season.

No GM in his right mind will guarantee Bonds another $18 million for 2007. Barry Bonds will be a Giant in 2006, buy your tickets now.

The NL Wild Card winner will have to win at least 20 games in September to clinch a spot in the playoffs. Pitching will be the key to the race. With all the NL East teams playing each other this month, if Houston gets any hitting whatsoever, the Astro’s pitching trio of Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and Roy Oswalt can beat the Marlins, with the race going down to the final games of the season.

The top free agent starting pitchers on the market this winter will be: Jeff Weaver, Jarrod Washburn, Kevin Millwood, AJ Burnett, Paul Byrd, Roger Clemens, Steve Trachsel, Matt Morris, Ted Lilly and Kenny Rogers.

The Yankees will go after Millwood and Washburn. Toronto, Boston, and Baltimore will fight over Burnett, Weaver, and Morris.

Too bad for the Padres, San Diego’s free agent out fielder Brian Giles is high on the Cardinals wish list for 2006.

More bad news for San Diego, the Mets will go after Pads catcher Ramon Hernandez, reuniting the receiver with former A’s pitching coach Rick Peterson.


1 pachyderm { 09.05.05 at 1:03 pm }

Hey Marty,

You’re right, the Rangers and Mariners shouldn’t overlook. Seattle with Moyer and King Felix can shut down any offense at any time, and Texas offense is always scary. Plus, Zito and Colon both may be hurt according to most news sources. The A’s and Halos have hand full, which it makes fun for us fans of the game. In the rest of the AL, offensives are carrying both Yankees and Red Sox, but Boston has a slight edge with pitching. In the AL Central, the Twins prove that they’re afraid of the Tribe. In the NL, San Francisco is in second place in NL worst not surprising since the Padres radio post game hosts (when I got the radio signal) are afraid of this veteran Giant ballclub. In the wild card in NL is truly wild, on the paper Florida seems to be logical winner for talent, but the Fighting Phils can surprise. Lastly, the Iguchi issue in my opinion MLB should define a “rookie” as first year Major League with minor league experience or/and selected in amatuer draft. Since in Japan, first year foreign player aren’t consider “rookies” plus Jackie Robinson did play in minors.

Labor Day afternoon baseball always good for ball,
Edgar Martinez, A’s Fan

2 Anonymous { 09.08.05 at 5:43 am }

Hi Marty,

Oakland Sí here. I was just thinking that the Rangers and Mariners would be playing major spoiler roles this September, and then I read your article.

3 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:13 pm }

4 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:50 pm }

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