Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

A's Back in the Hunt, Doing It Their Way

The A’s are back in the playoff picture.

What’s most encouraging about the team’s return to respectability is that A’s are doing it their way. Strong pitching, clutch hitting, and solid defense.

For the past five seasons, as June turned into July, Oakland made its move on the leaders.

As the weather gets warmer A’s fans sit back and watch the team run off four and five game winning streaks in a routine fashion.

Why does it happen like clockwork each year?

Click below for more!Simple: first, this time of year pitchers are getting tired. The Athletics take- a- pitch- approach wears down the opposing starting pitcher, then the hitters beat up on the opposing team’s weary middle relievers.

Second, the A’s young pitchers click in around June.

Third, both the A’s managers, Ken Macha and Art Howe, never panicked during the slow starts.

The veteran baseball men understand the vagaries of the 162 game season. They never let the players get down on themselves during the early season blues.

Let’s dream a little.

If the A’s can win the wild card their most likely first round opponent would be the Chicago White Sox.

The A’s just beat the Sox three times in Chicago and seven of nine overall for the year. Maybe the A’s have Ozzie Guillen’s team’s number.

Now put the A’s in a seven game series with either New York, Boston, or Anaheim.

With Barry Zito, pitching better than his Cy Young year, and Rich Harden, the most powerful pitcher in the league, starting four or five of the games, the A’s have a real shot to win the ALCS for the first time since 1990.

Wouldn’t it be ironic that after all the years of frustrating first round losses in the playoffs, that most unheralded of all the A’s playoff teams makes it to the world series.

Who can stand in the way of a possible wild card berth?

Minnesota: Lefty Johan Santana has lost the ability to put hitters away when the game is on the line. If Santana doesn’t duplicate his 2004 Koufax-like second half, the Twins are in for trouble. Bret Boone didn’t hit in Seattle, things will be the same for Boone in Minnesota.

Cleveland: The Indians are looking for a strong right handed bat to hit behind Travis Hafner. With Preston Wilson now in Washington, Florida’s Juan Encarnacion might be their only option if the Marlins will bite on lefty reliever Arthur Rhodes.

The Indians picked a bad time to go into another hitting funk. Staff ace, lefty CC Sabathia isn’t helping the Tribe with his July swoon either.

Texas: Instead of looking for more pitching the Rangers are trying to pry center fielder Vernon Wells away from Toronto. They should be trading for Blue Jays’ pitchers Ted Lilly, Miguel Batista, or Gustavo Chacin instead of another hitter. Until the Texas front office sees the light, don’t count on the Rangers making it to the post season.

Baltimore: The Orioles are close to dealing for Marlin right hander AJ Burnett. If Baltimore gets Burnett, the O’s will stay in the AL race.

The Marlins also want the Orioles to take third baseman Mike Lowell in the deal netting the Fish relievers Steve Kline and Jorge Julio plus 20 year old righty Hayden Penn.

The Oriole bull pen is solid. Wait until you see 23 year old set up man Chris Ray, he can bring it and is the Orioles next closer.

Toronto: The Blue Jays say they are in the market for Burnett. Don’t believe it. The hard throwing righty will command too much money for the Jays to jump into this mix.

Yankees: Seattle is buried in the West. The Yanks should add Jamie Moyer right now. Unbelievably, Moyer is 126-0 when he has a 4 run lead. The Yankees can quickly score 4 runs, problem is they are giving up 5 runs just as fast.

Boston: David Wells proved he is tough to beat when you give him a 16 run lead, but will he last through the summer? Boston still needs help in the pen. Kansas City’s hard throwing lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt is going somewhere. Boston should grab him before the Yankees. Marlins, or Angels make their pitch.

Eric Byrnes was a fan favorite in Oakland, but the truth is if you listed 20 things that had to go right for the A’s to have success, Byrnes would rank about 18th on the priority list.

Maybe Byrnes will hit in Colorado. The ball doesn’t break as much. Byrnes could always hit the fast ball, it’s the slider that led to his demise.

If you ignore the fact that Jason Kendall makes 10 million per year, is a catcher, and can’t throw anyone out on the bases, he’s a pretty good singles hitting lead off man.

Barry Bonds can take a deep breath now that the BALCO Three have pled guilty. Wonder if the Judge or the probation officer will ask Gregg Anderson which athletes received his steroids?

If the baseballs weren’t juiced in the home run contest in Detroit, then Bobby Abreu is one heckuva power hitter.


1 pachyderm { 07.18.05 at 2:12 pm }

Hey Marty,

A’s and White Sox in the ALDS, it would a dream as you said. Back to reality, the Los Angeles Angelinos de Anaheim should always play their A-game especially against the AL West, not get swept by the weak club of the division. Look at the ChiSox success is their record against their own division. Speak of south siders, the White Sox are killing the hopes of the Tribe, if Cleveland keeps playing this way against the leaders of the division. Even though the Indians can beat up on the Twins, Tigers and especially the Royals. In the AL East, Al Leiter maybe the solution for the moment for the Yankees but they may add another arm or bat. George doesn’t second place. Will Red Sox try to get Everyday Eddie from the M’s? A Bradford-Tomlin-Guarrdo would be great for Boston or Bradford-Affeldt won’t hurt either. Also, Affeldt was involved in the brawl in Detroit, this really hurts his value. In the Senior circuit starting in the East, the Nats are serious by getting Preston Wilson and looking for more moves. Huddy’s back with the Braves, Atlanta is getting Hampton and Chipper back, but they may do something creative if these guys from the DL don’t work out. Then there is the Marlins, underachieving for rest of year plus Willis is becoming the anti-Zito, great first half and lousy second half. Wild Card now seems likely come from the East since the Cubbies have issues, and the Astros are rising. While the Cards are Lance Armstrong. Out worst, err, West, the Padres may getting back Loretta and Nevin since both were at rehab assignments this weekend. Dodgers/Giants at least, Saturday’s game was interesting. Lastly, Shooty and Norris want a name for Rich Harden’s fastball, how about the “Crazy Canuck” or “whatwasthat”.

Hot weather with hotter pennant chases,
Edgar Martinez, A’s Fans aka look above.

2 robert7447 { 10.17.07 at 4:41 pm }

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