Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Don't Lose Sight of the Final Three Games

No matter what happens over this weekend in the American League keep your eyes focused on the final three games of the season.

Seems like every time you turn around the Devil Rays are in the picture.

The Angels face the troublesome Rays in Anaheim this weekend before the Halos invade the Coliseum Monday.

Click below for more!What’s the biggest difference in the Angels right now? Kelvim Escobar has succeeded in his role as set up man for K Rod. Now the pressure is off over worked reliever Scott Shields. Shields has regained command of his slider making the Angel bull pen tough to beat late in the game.

If the A’s and Angels are still close in the standings after Thursday’s game it will be some weekend watching both these teams take on AL West rivals Texas and Seattle on the road to finish the season.

Pitchers who can break some hearts over the final three games: Seattle’s Felix Hernandez and Joel Pineiro and the Rangers Kenny Rogers.

Before the Indians get another shot at the White Sox next weekend they have to get by, you guessed it, Tampa Bay starting Tuesday night. No matter how shaky the Devil Rays starting pitching is they hit the ball with the best teams in the game. Not only that, but the Rays beat the Tribe three straight in Cleveland in August.

The White Sox get a break with four games against the hopeless Tigers before meeting the Indians in Cleveland to end the season. Even though the games are in Detroit, the Sox are in good shape because the Tigers have quit on manager Alan Trammell who will be fired once the season ends.

Even with Sox manager Ozzie Guillen melting down after every tough loss, I think the Sox will hold on and win the Central.

It will be survival of the fittest between the Red Sox and the Yankees. Boston has the very annoying Blue Jays (9-5 vs. Boston this year) during the week, while the Yanks face the soap opera wracked Orioles in Baltimore.

Then the scene shifts to Fenway for the last three games of the year between these bitter rivals.

Can the Sox to reverse the Curse of ’49, a year they lost the pennant to the Bombers by one game? That season Boston had a one game lead with two to play. The Sox then proceeded to lose the final two games of the year to the Yanks, adding a new chapter to the Curse of the Bambino.

Seems like more heartbreak on the way for the Red Sox Nation. You don’t win a pennant with the worst bull pen in the league and that’s what Boston has in 2005.

Anyone who thinks DH David Ortiz isn’t a legit MVP candidate is missing the boat. If somehow the Red Sox survive this week’s games, trust me Ortiz will be right in the middle of every victory.

How about the bravado of Yankee Gary Sheffield? The right fielder hasn’t missed a beat even though he has been relegated to DH with a severe muscle pull. If A Rod had Sheffield’s heart he would be the best player in the game instead of the number one choke artist around.

Jason Kendall is getting hot at the right time. It’s good news for the A’s. Kendall is hitting line drives to the outfield instead of dribblers through the right side of the infield. Kendall will be the first to tell you that his season with the bat has been a disappointment.

With the Angels penchant for the running game, Kendall will be tested nightly in this key series.

Forget all the comeback player of the year talk about Mark Ellis. Ellis has established himself as one of the premier second baseman in the game. His PR machine should be pumping him up as the American league’s all star second sacker instead of the lesser comeback award.

Somebody has to get hot with the long ball for the A’s next week. Scary thought about the A’s hitting, their top three RBI guys are Eric Chavez, Mark Kotsay, and Nick Swisher.

Where are the traditional power guys? Kotsay is the team’s number two hitter and Swisher is a rookie feeling his way through the season.

Why do I like the Cards to make it to the World Series?

If the wild card comes out of the Central, then the Redbirds face the Padres or Giants (they are still alive) in the first round.

With a win assured in the NLDS, the Cards will face Philly, Houston, or Atlanta in the NLCS.

No matter how good Houston can pitch they won’t outhit the Cards. The Braves and Phillies are too inconsistent to beat St. Louis, so it’s back to the series for Tony La Russa’s team.

The Marlins are my biggest disappointment this season. No excuse for this team not making it to the post season.

Cleveland’s Travis Hafner is squarely in the AL MVP race. Big players step up in September, Hafner gets the big hit every night for Cleveland just the way Vladimir Guerrero did for the Angels in 2004. If the east coast sportswriters will avert their attention from A Rod and Ortiz for a moment, they will see a very special hitter in Cleveland.


1 Anonymous { 09.24.05 at 11:47 pm }


Just wanted to express my appreciation for your welcome and very needed words supporting major league baseball in Oakland, and the necessity for the politicians to support a ballpark in Oakland as GOOD for the city!!

2 Anonymous { 09.26.05 at 10:57 am }

It has been a great ride for the A’s. Yes, I know they are technically still in it–but even as I moaned at their defeat last night, I know it is over.

It has been a roller coaster of a season–and the good parts far outweigh the bad. I am glad (well almost) that the A’s will just miss the playoffs. I would hate to watch them up against NY or Boston with their lack of offense. You can only ask your pitchers to be perfect for so long.

I love the fact that the team will pretty much be back next year. The nucleus is very solid and should only get better in the next few years. Rich Harden should be required to take up Pilates and Bobby Crosby needs a milkman to visit him every day to strengthen those bones. Our rookies will not be rookies anymore, but what fabulous rookies they have been.

I was encouraged when I heard that there was money at trade deadline this year to go after a bat, but that no appropriate bat was available. I like Jay Payton a lot–how about his jumping catches lately?–and hope we resign him. We still need a bat, though. I believe that Billy will find one. If Dotel is serious about wanting to stay with Oakland for a big home team discount, he would be a great addition to the bullpen as a setup guy. And there is no question that Zito must remain on this team. It is time for ownership to stepup and show the fans that a home grown symbol of the team can–and WILL–remain for many years.

2006 will be great, but the memories of 2005 will be pretty okay, too.

My one hope is that the A’s can take 3 of 4 from the Angels so we do not have to watch their celebration on our field. Two years in a row will be just too tough.

3 marty { 09.26.05 at 1:55 pm }

I agree the lack of a big offensive bat has sunk the A’s. I would seriously trade Zito and try to get Austin Kearns, Wily Mo Pena, Adam Dunn, Pat Burrell, or someone like that.
Chavez still has enough of an upside where he might produce in the clean up spot. Next year Swisher and Johnson should hit 50 home runs between them.
More than likely Saarloos will be trade bait because the A’s computer can’t tolerate walks exceeding strike outs.
Who knows what two straight losses might do to the Halos so at least we know this drama has to continue through Tuesday’s game at the least.
Phillies are peaking at the right time. Houston has to deal with the Cards and Cubs this week.
White Sox should be safe, at worst as the wild card team. They are a team to watch in the playoffs because their pitching is capable of beating anyone and they do hit even though Paul Konerko is the only real threat in the lineup.
Padres are the 64′ Phillies just on a different coast.

4 Anonymous { 09.27.05 at 1:16 am }

Right. Trade Zito and leave the A’s with no lefthander. That’s ridiculous. A’s billionare owner just needs to stop trying to blackmail the city of oakland with trying to get a new stadium and dish out some dough in order to keep Zito and get a quality hitter. Also, why trade Saarlos when he is more than good enough for a number 5 pitcher? Beane lucked out this season with the A’s being competitive. Regardless of what he says now, we all know he wasn’t expecting much from the team this year.
-Mike E.

5 marty { 09.27.05 at 9:04 am }

Mike, Zito isn’t worth the 85 million the Yankees will offer him after the 2006 season. A big hitter is a necessity, Zito can bring a hitter like that in a deal.

6 Anonymous { 09.27.05 at 10:47 am }

Marty, if the Yankees offer Zito 85 mil, then he’s worth it. That’s the way the marketplace works unfortunately.

What’s amazing to me is how quiet everyone’s been on Zito’s status. Beane insisted he wouldn’t be traded when the A’s were playing poorly in May, and when they turned around all the talking stopped. Perhaps it all comes down to how fragile Rich Harden is, but that wouldn’t be in the proactive nature of Billy Beane to base his Zito decision on something like that.

I’ve heard that the A’s have a lot of salary coming off the books(Dotel, Durazo). Would that give them the flexibility to shore up the offense while keeping Zito for one more year?

Not that the Beane will let this sway him, but after the Hudson and Mulder trades I DO think the fanbase will revolt if Zito is traded. They’ll accept him walking after ’06, but not a trade unless it’s for something significant that helps us now.

I don’t see it


7 Anonymous { 09.27.05 at 7:32 pm }

I too am already looking forward to ’06.
Realistically, the A’s are done this year. But yes, I see next year full of opportunity.
Infact I don’t think we’ll see all the same players back. As it was last year, it will be due to trades, not free agents walking away.

The offense was punchless this year. But not heartless, which got them as far as they went.

With the combination of a proactive GM, a loaded farm system, and an ’05 anemic offense. Look for a number of trades this off season.

Street, Chavez, Swisher, Ellis, Crosby and the young starters are safe. Don’t be surprsied to see anyone else traded. Yes, even Dan Johnson (though it would be a shame) with Daric Barton in the wings.

We need a big bat or two. And Billy Beane has the means to get them, by trading solid major and minor league talent.

Look for a much improved Oakland A’s in 2006.


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