Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Batter Up September 4th, 2004

That hissing noise you heard coming from the East was the air coming out of the pennant balloons of the Angels and the Twins.

Both teams were swept in three game series, while Oakland took two of three from the fading, dispirited White Sox.

All is not over in the AL West, but it could be by the time division play starts on Monday Sept. 13th.

The A’s play Toronto this weekend, while Anaheim meets heavy hitting Cleveland for three. Texas takes its slacking offense and questionable pitching into Fenway Park for a challenging three game series.

The results of next week’s action will tell the story of whether or not September’s division games will have drama.

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The A’s play Boston and Cleveland in Oakland, three each. While at home, the Angels and Rangers try to make up the lost ground against the Blue Jays and White Sox.

Unless the Angels close the gap to three or less behind the A’s by the end of next week’s action, they are cooked in the West. The Rangers are done no matter what happens.

Anaheim’s Bartolo Colon, their 55 million dollar out of shape pitcher, lost the Angels biggest game of the year Thursday night. Colon didn’t get out of the fifth inning giving up 10 hits and four runs while throwing 112 pitches as the Red Sox swept the series.

Colon’s performance is what separates the A’s pitchers from Anaheim’s. A’s pitchers come through in big regular season games like clockwork, the Angels don’t.

The Rangers have tired of Alfonso Soriano. The Ranger second baseman has reached the point where he needs constant reminders from the coaches to maintain his focus during the game. His fielding has become so erratic that he would have to drive in 115 runs to off set the runs he gives up with his glove. He will have a new home next season, probably with Arizona, a team desperate for a name player.

Going against conventional wisdom the Yankees are trying to hold off the Red Sox with hitting and not pitching. Unbelievably, the ancient one, El Duque, has been the ace of the NY staff while expected star Javier Vasquez has been lit up at an alarming rate, causing much angst in the Big Apple.

The fans and press in NY are all over A Rod, who once again is disappearing in big games. Gary Sheffield is the team MVP.

If the Red Sox catch the Yankees, and it’s not impossible, making the Yankees the wild card team, guess who the Bombers play in the first round? The A’s, if they hold on and win the West.

If I’m the A’s I’d rather see the Yankees because the A’s can hit the NY pitching, that is other than closer Mariano Rivera, while the Red Sox big three ( Schilling, Pdedro, and Lowe) are nothing but trouble for Oakland.

Houston’s recent surge has probably saved Houston manager Phil Garner’s job for next season. Getting back into the wild card race also cost the A’s any chance of obtaining Jeff Kent from the Astros for the pennant push.

Second baseman Mark McLemore, a gamer, has been terrific, but his knee is one hit away from causing the veteran to watch the playoffs from his couch. Kent would have helped the A’s lefty dominated lineup, no matter how much of a gamble he would have been in the clubhouse.

The World Champion Marlins aren’t going quietly. Like last season, they are back in the playoff picture being led by a dominant starting staff. Carl Pavano, perhaps the premier free agent pitcher this winter, is numero uno on the hill for the Fish.

Every time you count San Francisco out, they come roaring back. If the Giants don’t take advantage of their upcoming schedule against Arizona, Colorado, and Milwaukee, then they can wave good bye to the Dodgers and the wild card.

Dave Burba gives the Giants another arm in the pen, but is that it? In what could be Barry Bonds’s last big productive season, I expected more reinforcements for the pitching staff.

Baseball history speaks volumes and the truth is that is very hard to keep putting up MVP numbers loke Bonds has, after the age of 40. Maybe Bonds is different, but he deserved a better chance this year to win the flag.


1 Anonymous { 09.04.04 at 10:59 am }

I agree that playing the Yankees in the first round would be the best scenario for the A’s. Wish there was some way to have the Yanks fall out of the post season, but don’t see that happening unless the Angels pick it up–and that hurts the A’s. The Yanks are certainly self destructing–Kevin Brown is so immature. And, A-Rod is no clutch player. Their pitching is a disaster and there is nothing that George can do about it now. Sheffield can not win it all for them.

The A’s are playing the game “Who will be the hero tonight?” It is fun to watch the guys come through. Kielty and Billy Mac have had awful years, and yet I believe they will continue to be big in September. And Nick Swisher may be just what the doctor ordered to give Dye some rest. An outfield of Byrnes and Swisher is one made for the movies. It will certainly keep the clubhouse loose and the fans entertained.

And MacLemore is so valuable on this club right now. I hope the knee lasts so he can savor one last postseason. He deserves it–one terrific guy.

2 Anonymous { 09.05.04 at 8:40 pm }

Byrnes and Swisher will keep the clubhouse loose? I guess they are tolerable as long as you don’t have to live with them.
-Mike E.

3 marty { 09.06.04 at 12:29 am }

The Angels regrouped this weekend. The A’s did not play very good ball in Toronto. They better get their act together or they will have a real fight on their hands with Anaheim. The A’s miss a true clean up hitter more than ever with Jermaine Dye out. LA got swept in St. Louis, while San Diego still can’t win at home. The Dodgers will be better once they get back to Chavez Ravine.The Giants made up three games against the Diamondbacks. Has anyone noticed that Arizona proably will lose 110 games? Watch the faces of the Yankees this week, very serious. The Cubs and Marlins both have the pitching to handle the schedule crunch caused by the hurricane. The Cubs bullpen problems might be their undoing when it is all said and done. The Marlins have a better pen. Carlos Beltran might get the Astros into the playoffs. What a ball player and he’ll nail a 40-40 season over the next ten days too.
This week will be the beginning of the real playoff push. Starting Monday game by game, inning by inning baseball and it will go right through to the end of October. Things will appear to change on a day to day basis (keep your eye on the how many games are left, don’t get too excited until its around 10 games to go), so get ready for the real ups and downs of a pennant race. You play for five months to see who can survive the final 25 games. Leonard Koppett was right as usual when he told me a few years ago that this is the way a baseball season works. So true.

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