Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

This Year It's The Survival of The Fittest

There’s an old saying in sports, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”.

This age old proverb normally applies to baseball teams heading down the stretch to see which squads get to play October baseball.

Not so in 2005. The real question this year is, “who’s hurting and how much will he help the team during the remainder of the season?”

Let’s look at some of the injuries that the some of the key players in the pennant race are facing right now.

Click below for more!The A’s are a different team without shortstop Bobby Crosby in the line up. As well as Marco Scutaro has filled in for Crosby, the team is lacking its best number three hitter. Why the A’s didn’t comb the waiver wire for a three week fill in for Crosby or for a DH is a question only the usually trade conscious front office can answer.

Further trouble facing the A’s.

Rich Harden’s muscle pull has sidelined the A’s young fireballer for the second time this season. Joe Kennedy has come up big in Harden’s spot, but not having the one two punch of Zito and Harden gives the opposition more options when facing the A’s rotation.

The A’s offense, a sore spot during the team’s recent slide sputters without center fielder Mark Kotsay at full strength. Bobby Kielty is also out with another oblique muscle pull. Kotsay is back (no pun intended), but who knows how he will hold up over the next few weeks?

The Angels are keeping their fingers crossed that Bartolo Colon’s back stiffness will clear up quickly. If Colon misses significant time, then the burden of being the team ace falls to John Lackey, who is no Colon when it comes to winning big games.

The Angels scratch for runs every night because outfielder Garret Anderson is a shadow of his former power hitting self. Anderson has battled injuries all season. When Anderson is 100% healthy he is a nightly threat to go deep, right now he is a singles hitter with virtually no power.

Even though Boston crushes the ball, the Red Sox are hoping for a healthy Curt Schilling down the stretch. Unfortunately, the Sox are still waiting for Schilling’s first good start of the year.

Reliever Keith Foulke has returned from the DL, but still doesn’t look like the dominating playoff closer he was last fall. The Red Sox were also hoping that pitcher Wade Miller would be back in September, but Miller’s arm is still not sound.

The Yankees are hoping Gary Sheffield’s latest hamstring injury won’t keep him sidelined very long. Hamstring injuries have a tendency to linger. Without Sheffield even the Yankees vaunted line up will suffer.

Randy Johnson’s back hasn’t been the same since he tweaked it reaching for a low throw from first baseman Jason Giambi last month. The Yankees hoped starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang’s return form the DL would help. Wang looked very rusty in his first outing this past Thursday against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Forget Yankee pitchers Carl Pavano and Kevin Brown they are done for the year.

More bad news for the AL’s wild card contenders.

Cleveland’s entire team is at full strength. The Tribe sports a five man rotation that can stand with any in the league right now. The schedule heavily favors Cleveland as they play Kansas City and Tampa Bay 10 times over the final 21 games.

In the NL the story line is much the same.

Will Roger Clemens be healthy enough to return to the Astro’s rotation full time? Is third baseman Morgan Ensberg’s hand injury only a bad bruise?

Padres top starter Jake Peavy has pain in his pitching shoulder. Peavy won’t see action for at least ten more days.

More uncertainty in San Diego: Number two starter Adam Eaton’s finger injury is still not completely healed. Catcher Ramon Hernandez just returned to the active list after having wrist surgery.

If the Giants were healthy they might be able to catch San Diego. Unfortunately, Jason Schmidt will miss his next start due to a groin strain. Barry Bonds could see the field at any moment, but how much he can actually contribute to the team is a huge question. Ray Durham is always hurt, while Armando Benitez is gamely trying to come back this month from a severe hamstring injury.

The Giants can’t catch the Padres unless they are at full strength and they are still hurting at key positions.

If the Marlins can keep Paul Lo Duca, Juan Encarnacion, and Josh Beckett at full strength, they have the pitching to catch the Astros in the NL wild card.

Houston’s road to the playoffs will not be easy. The Astros face the Marlins in a crucial four game set beginning Monday at home. Then it’s back to the Central, a schedule that includes seven games against the pitching rich Chicago Cubs. Watch out here, the Cubbies currently hold a 5-4 season edge on the Astros.

This season not only will the “tough” teams be the ones to survive the pressure of the pennant race, but the healthiest teams will be right there with them too.


1 Anonymous { 09.12.05 at 1:03 am }


on the Sunday night Cleveland — Minn telecast, Joe Morgan was commenting on how loose the Indians are, how confident, and strong — they seem to have the edge on the wild card, but also look like a really tough matchup for whoever they will face — the A’s have them this week, could be very tough

Chicago is very suspect, in fact Cleveland looks much stronger right now

The A’s have to edge out the Angels to get in, but they are playing now with their April-May sub 500 roster now, not at full strength

neither the Angels. Boston, or NY look very scary right now

what seems to matter the most is not who will survive these regular season marathons, and stumble across the finish line — but who is in the best shape to play well in the post season

to me its St.Louis / Atlanta in the NL with the survivor as emerging WS favorite — can you imagine a Mulder-Hudson showdown in a NL champoinship game?

2 marty { 09.12.05 at 7:39 am }

Looks like the injuries are starting to show in the A’s performance. The team looks tired again even when they win a game. It’s tough to compete when you don’t have reserves who can step into a major league line up and make a small short term impact.
Cleveland has a nice blend of young talent and players with three or more years in the majors, still the starting pitching and a realtively deep bull pen is what has kept them going all year.
The White Sox are tough to read. They have all the elements of a team that will do well in the playoffs. They have four solid pitchers, a very deep righty/lefty bull pen, and a big hitter in Paul Konerko plus some team speed to manufacture a run at the top of the lineup. Sometimes it’s tough to seal the deal in September when you have had a big lead all summer long. I think that is what ails the Sox right now.
The Cards seem to be the best bet to get to the world series. Carpente ris healthy and the NL Cy Young winner, Mulder is under the radar and has playoff experience. Morris, Marquis, and Suppan will be OK until facing the AL. Pujols has the bat that can carry any team. I still think the Marlins are the team that can give them the most trouble with Willis, Beckett, and Burnett. Burnett is killing the Marlins right now. Houston -Florida this week, Oakland- Cleveland/Boston this week, these series will shake things out for the Marlins and the A’s.
The Angels have pitched well for two months now they are starting to hit. If Garret Anderson somehow returns from his power outage Anaheim becomes a tough opponent. A’s need to be within 2-3 games of the Angels after next Sunday or else they will have little margin for error.

3 Anonymous { 09.12.05 at 9:24 am }

Marty: Angels fan here. Thank you for your great writing all year. You have great insight and your articles make it even more fun to follow the sport. The A’s have been an amazing story and I hope they continue to make it a battle. Dan Johnson, Huston Street — it is great to watch these newcomers. Boston’s pitching is weaker this year, and the White Sox don’t appear to have the magic. I think that the Yankees may go to the world series if they can make the playoffs. Otherwise, the Angels will go because their bats have to eventually wake up after a cold year.

4 Anonymous { 09.12.05 at 10:20 am }

The new owner could have showed a real committment with getting a big time hitter before the deadline but he rather hold onto his money till he gets a glitzy new statdium. A’s offense is terrible. Hatteberg as a cleanup hitter. Give me a break. And Kendall. That’s a laugher. He should accept a salary cut.

5 marty { 09.12.05 at 10:22 am }

Angels had their most promising week of the season last week. They played Boston tough in Fenway and swept the Sox doing it with great hustle (Vlad on Friday after dogging it out of the box) then home run hitting Saturday and Sunday plus it looks like Finley might be waking up. This week the Angels see the Mariners then Detroit, Texas, and Tampa Bay, Mariners swept Angels earlier, who knows how they will play this time. Angels miss Hernandez but Pineiro pitching very well.This could be the week Angels take command if A’s aren’t playing their best.
Thanks for the comments,

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