Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Batter Up July 24th….. What A Summer Ahead

The American League Central will play a big part in determining the A’s fate in their quest for a 2005 playoff spot.

Thanks to the quirks of the schedule, the A’s will play 22 games against the Indians, Tigers, Royals and Twins through the end of August. In recent years the A’s have walloped the Central during their midsummer meetings.

This year may be different.Minnesota has shown signs of life this week. Starting pitchers Carlos Silva, Brad Radke, and Johan Santana are in the top ten in the league in the fewest walks allowed.

You know what this means to the A’s offense. Just about every rally the A’s put together includes a key walk or two.

Minnesota is determined to upgrade its shaky infield. If the Twins can follow through on a proposed deal to bring Boston’s third baseman Bill Mueller and their first sacker Kevin Miller to the Twin Cities for pitchers Joe Mays and JC Romero, then Minnesota becomes a threat again to stay in the wild card race.

Detroit’s Magglio Ordonez is healthy and hitting again. Even though the Tigers struggle against righthanded pitching they can give the A’s trouble.

Former Athletic, starter Jeremy Bonderman loves beating Oakland, something he does regularly each season.

Cleveland is right behind the A’s in the wild card race. Even though the Tribe hasn’t hit consistently all year, for some reason they give the A’s pitching staff fits.

The Indians have two of the top young hiiters in the game, shortstop Jhonny Peralta and center fielder Grady Sizemore.

Kansas City doesn’t have much more than a power bull pen, but just ask the Giants how pesky the Royals can be. KC gave the Giants all they could handle during interleague play in June.

While the A’s are facing the Central trying to make up ground on the Angels, the Halos will be playing the tough AL East.

Anaheim is absolutely in the market for a lefty reliever to take some of the pressure off Scott Shields in the eighth inning. Bringing someone like Ron Villone or Jeremy Affeldt aboard is a necessity for the Angels over worked bull pen.

If things go well for the A’s over the next few weeks, September baseball will be something to see.

With the dog days of the schedule ahead, the A’s starting pitching will be tested. Barry Zito and Rich Harden are both fine. The question remains whether Dan Haren, Joe Blanton, and Kirk Saarloos will give the A’s enough quality innings.

With few off days ahead, August is not a good month to wear out the bull pen bailing out the starting pitching.

Nick Swisher is looking better at the plate each game. He is the best fielding first baseman on the team right now. At the plate, Swisher hits with power, hits in the clutch, and is a tough out.

Anyone miss Eric Byrnes? Jay Payton might not have the flair Byrnes has as Eric made thrilling diving catches in the field, but he is a more complete ball player in every aspect of the game.

The top of the A’s order still doesn’t produce with much pop. The good news is Dan Johnson, Bobby Kielty, and Swisher come through with big hits almost every night. The bad news is if the A’s are going to catch the Angels or win the wild card, Mark Kotsay and Eric Chavez are going to have to start smacking the ball again.

Marlins righthander AJ Burnett is the pitcher everyone wants. Tough year in the trade market. Burnett has never been a consistent winner even though he has the big strike out pitch.

I wouldn’t give up the ranch to get Burnett.

Teams are so desperate for pitching that San Diego is considering moving first baseman Phil Nevin for over paid Oriole starter Sidney Ponson. Texas is even thinking about offering right fielder Richard Hidalgo for Sir Sidney. I can’t see giving up an every day player for Ponson who has gone way downhill even from his days here in the Bay Area with the Giants.

Some baseball people are promoting Texas third baseman Hank Blalock for a gold glove.

After watching Hank Blalock play I’m convinced he can’t hold Eric Chavez’s glove at third. Blalock has absolutely no range at the hot corner, and he fights the ball with shaky hands.

Chavez is the best fielding third baseman in the league and is reminding me of number 5, hall of famer Brooks Robinson at third more and more each day.

Don’t count on the Nationals to lead the NL East much longer. Slugger Jose Guillen is hurting, plus he’s due for his annual summer flare up with management.

What is up with Washington starter Livan Hernandez? This week Livan said his knee hurt and he was through pitching for the season. Then he berated the media about what he perceived as unfair criticism of his desire to pitch through pain. Not a good sign for the staff ace.

All right, enough drama around Cub pitcher Kerry Wood. With all the arm trouble Wood has had recently, it’s time to consider moving the righty to the pen as the closer.

Disappointing that both the Cubs and Indians who both need power in the line up, could only swap lightweight outfielders Jason Dubois and Jody Gerut for each other.

If I’m making a deal with the Cubs I’m asking for rookie pitcher Rich Hill. Hill’s curve ball is rated more highly than Barry Zito’s. Of course Zito throws his curve in the big leagues, while Hill has only had a cup of coffee with Chicago.

Any team that gets into a close game with Milwaukee faces trouble with set up man Matt Wise and closer Derrick Turnbow. these two former Angels have become one of the top bull pen duos in th NL.

Might as well jump on the bandwagon. If Houston’s rotation holds up, the Astros will nose out the second team from the NL East for the wild card spot. Simply unbelievable to think Roger Clemens almost retired two seasons ago.

Don’t count out anyone in the NL West. San Diego wins a few, then loses a few, not a good formula for winning the division.

Arizona gets closer Brandon Lyon back soon plus recently acquired reliever Tim Worrell still has something left. With a veteran lineup, if Arizona gets its pitching straight they could pull off the upset of the sesason.

With the Padres losing more than they win, everyone in the division except the Rockies is still in the race. Must mean SF will hold on to Jason Schmidt no matter how desperate the Red Sox, Yankees, and White Sox become as the trade deadline approaches.

Once Jim Thome gets healthy in Philadelphia the Phils will try to move the slugging first baseman. If Philly will be creative with the money, Thome could end up in Anaheim, a team hearing the A’s footsteps.

The Angels have underachieved all season on offense and will make a move for a DH type hitter before the market heats up.


1 Anonymous { 07.24.05 at 11:14 am }


The A’s 25 man roster is so balanced and deep, every segment is complete and productive — for this reason this team is more solid than last year’s. Ok, April/ May were tough with Crosby and Harden out, and with many new faces, but August and September look like great times to be at the Coliseum

The Giants are trapped by the Bonds situation –when Rosen and Craig came in and committed to young players in the nucleus, they set the pattern for what is necessary now. Starting pitching and overall defense are not competitive, these are what are tearing down the team.

Would love to see the A’s and Atlanta in the WS — two incredible organizations who always seem to do things the right way

Its time for a stadium in Oakland, a home for this priceless team.

2 pachyderm { 07.24.05 at 8:16 pm }

Hey Marty,

Those broadcast from Arington were great, hope you do another one in another MLB city. Back to ball, the A’s are atop or tied for the Wild Card, there are many reasons for Oakland’s turnaround, but one interesting factor is Kotsay and Kendall. Kots enjoys last season experience of finishing over .500 now he continue this season. Kendall now smell the success and don’t want let it go. While in SoCal, the Angels need to beat on the Yankees pitching, but rest of the AL East aren’t so easy. Thome as a Halos? This could possible and scary. In the AL East, the Yankees finally got in Anaheim besides Schmidt who can New York to fix theitr rotation. The O’s still waiting for Nevin to make decision. All of Red Sox nation all waiting for what Esptein will do this season. AL Central, the Twins are similar to the Braves and A’s when comes to post season chase, nobody should count them out. Improving their infield help plus with their stuff. The Tribe coming to Oakland with 2 1/2 back of the Wild Card, the Indians fans aren’t very happy with C.C., they don’t want a Willis type performance out of him. In the NL, Atlanta Braves are being themselves again sorry Nats. Burnett hit home runs for those NL supporters, Fish fans are hoping he won’t go to the AL. While in the Central, the Astros are doing what the Cubbies should be doing, which is good starting pitching. Now, the Houston kool-aid is starting taste better. In the NL worst, all those clubs seems take one steps forward and two steps back. At least, the Padres and D’Backs are trying to improve themselves. Wondering if Sweeney could going to the Dodgers? Lastly, amongst the Oakland faithful Eric Byrnes is a polarizating figure, some really love and some really hate him. In my personal opinion, I will miss his hustle, but ultimately he need to play everyday thus I wish him luck. Jay Payton has done a great job in the platoon situation with Kielty, and fears of him being a cancer in the clubhouse maybe claim for the moment in the A’s universe.

Deadlines and dogs, its baseball in summer,
Edgar Martinez, A’s Fan

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