Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Phillies-Indians It Could Happen in October

As the 2005 baseball season enters its final two weeks, six teams are in contention for playoff spots in the American league. Only four will continue to play past October 2nd.

In the National league only the Cardinals have clinched a playoff berth, leaving the remaining three postseason spots still up for grabs.

The White Sox are struggling. All of a sudden their starting pitching has gone in the tank. Here’s a scary thought: righthander Jose Contreras is the steadiest pitcher on Ozzie Guillen’s staff. No wonder the Cleveland Indians are licking their chops as they get ready to face the Sox next week in Chicago in a crucial three game series.

Can Cleveland catch Chicago?

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The Indians are playing the best ball in the league right now. They have a dynamite starting rotation which is peaking at the right time. They are hitting home runs nightly. Closer Bob Wickman does a high wire act as he dodges disaster in the ninth inning, but he gets the job done.

Even if the Tribe falls short of winning the Central, they are my dark horse to win the AL pennant.

The Angels are toast. Bull pen stalwarts Frankie Rodriguez and Scott Shields are gassed. Vladimir Guerrero and Bartolo Colon are hurting. There were just too many injuries to key players and huge disappointments on the field for this Angel team to survive.

It’s not the Angels year.

If you are Ken Macha and you have one game to win who do you choose as that day’s starting pitcher?

Without a doubt Joe Blanton.

Don’t be fooled by Blanton’s deer in headlights look on the mound, his pin point control has vaulted him to the top of the rotation in my book. Blanton is lights out every time he takes the ball. I’d start him in game one of the playoffs.

Here’s a thought. With the A’s struggling to find a power hitter why not bring Erubiel Durazo back next season? I know his elbow injury and subsequent disappearance from the team is troubling, but he knows the A’s offensive system, will be reasonably priced because he won’t command much in the free agent market this winter, and he is a .300 hitter.

Another player who could fit on the 2006 A’s is Padres infielder Sean Burroughs. He’s not a power threat, but he knows the strike zone, has a high upside as an average hitter, and would be an excellent utility infielder.

Burroughs, banished to the minors in mid season has worn out his welcome in San Diego.

The Red Sox are limping down the stretch. No doubt Curt Schilling is not the same pitcher he was in 2004. Johnny Damon can’ throw anyone out from center field because he has a very sore shoulder. Shortstop Edgar Renteria is closing in on 30 errors. Keith Foulke has lost it. Captain Jason Varitek hasn’t hit all month.

The Yankees will knock the Sox out the last weekend when the two teams meet in Boston.

Damon’s agent Scott Boras insisted that Damon rest his injured shoulder even though the team’s medical staff diagnosed the injury as a bruise. How the game has changed. Now agents dictate to the team when their clients should or should not play.

Here’s a prediction: Damon, a rock star wannabe, will sign with the Angels this winter as a free agent, so he can be closer to the Hollywood scene.

The Twins can’t be serious about trading all star center fielder Torii Hunter this winter. Hunter would be a super star with the Yankees, Cubs, Giants or Angels.

Now let’s see, Twins owner Carl Pohlad is worth about a billion bucks, he just turned 90 yrs old, and he doesn’t want to pay his best player 10 million dollars next season.

It’s time for Carl to find a new hobby before he destroys the heart of the Minnesota team.

Not surprising that Yankee GM Brian Cashman might be looking for a new job in 2006. You wonder what he was thinking when the front office allowed pitcher Andy Pettitte to walk two years ago.

Pettitte is all the way back.

With ten wins since the all star break, Pettitte is the main reason the offensively challenged Astros are still alive in the NL Wild Card race.

Florida’s right-hander AJ Burnett is the key to the Marlins up and down playoff chances. Burnett has gotten torched over the last month. With free agency ahead this winter, Burnett is losing future millions each time he takes the mound.

The Braves have Tim Hudson, John Smoltz and NL MVP favorite Andruw “50 homers the honest way” Jones leading them, but if I’m Bobby Cox I’m worried heading into the playoffs with former Cub and Tiger project Kyle Farnsworth as my closer.

Looks like Ken Macha, Art Howe, and Jim Leyland have new competition for the Pirates managerial job. Dodger manager Jim Tracy has an out clause in his 2006 contract and is well respected by the Pittsburgh front office. If the Dodgers are foolish enough to let Tracy walk without a fight he will be managing somewhere in the big leagues next season.

The Phillies are hitting again. Relievers Ryan Madson, Ugueth Urbina, and Billy Wagner can close the game. With two weeks to go, if the Phils get any starting pitching, which is a huge question, they have the best chance to win the NL card.

How about a Phillies- Indians World Series.

It could happen.


1 pachyderm { 09.17.05 at 12:39 pm }

Hey Marty,

Phillies-Indians in the Fall Classic, you’re right it could happen since this season is so unpredictable. The Sun-Times and Trib in Chicago will rip the ChiSox for choking away their lead, if the Tribe take the AL Central. Cleveland playing the Royals while South Siders at Minnesota really gives the Indians advantage. Yankees and Red Sox don’t seem to be beast of east of last season, New York’s post season hopes are being lead by Robinson Cano while Boston is being help from others such as Yabu hitting Manny. Back home in the West, the Halos snapped a four game losing last night against Tigers in extra innings. Guest the Angels don’t read your article about “Don’t overlook the Mariners and Rangers” during this streak. For the Athletics, don’t need to worry about who’s on DL but just worry about the game at hand. Blanton and Haren are doing good job of easying the pain of missing Harden. In the NL, Braves’ bullpen is the eye-popping weakness so much that all the teams in NL worst wants play Atlanta in first round. The fighting Phils having Madson, Urbina, and Wagner in the ‘pen, Houston may have a problem plus the Fish could fried. In the worst, Padres need to get their act together while Bonds will help SF a little in this race.

Apparently the football has started but baseball chase for the flag still more fun, Edgar Martinez, A’s Fan

2 Anonymous { 09.19.05 at 1:43 am }

Hey Marty
Can Big Bob really hold it together another few weeks to get the team deep in the playoffs? I don’t think so but it makes for great late inning drama. He must have some competitive drive in him because I swear I saw him down at the bowling alley picking up spares, not the black of the plate. However they are the most healthy right now and my uncle in Chicago said the temperature in the Windy City is rising due to the exhaust of Cleveland Indian baseball machine.
As for that Pittsburg job, I would love to see Art Howe manage again some where but this has Ken Macha written all over it. The A’s havn’t so much as whispered new contract and the office isn’t going to offer the type of numbers that will cloud the dreams of managing back home.
Ron Washington’s big break isn’t coming in Tampa Bay, he is staying right here in Oakland. One of the two is leaving and losing Ron Washington would be far more detrimental to this group and future groups of young players. Ken Macha’s laid back fatherly way of managing is under-rated however Washington is the type of leader that a team bursting with youth and swagger will get up and play for.
As for Philly, if the starting pitching you mentioned shows up and Abreu, Burrell, and Utley continue to shine there’s nothing holding these horses back from the fall classic…well except maybe that first round match up the 100+ game winner St. Louis Cardinals.

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