Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

World Series Heroes Tough to Predict

You can have all the post season records you want, most hits, games in the post season, homers, wins, you name it, but the only records that matter to me are the ones that are set in the World Series.

October baseball is unique and special. Heroes are etched in baseball lore forever, goats are never forgiven.

Mickey Lolich winning three games in the 1968 series for the Tigers, Catfish Hunter shutting down the Reds in ’72, Brooks Robinson destroying Cincinnati with his glove in 1970, and Ron Swoboda, breaking the Orioles back with great catches in the outfield in 1969 for the Miracle Mets.

World Series memories go on and on right through Randy Johnson and Luis Gonzalez last year in Arizona.

So, what will happen this year between the Angels and the Giants. (click “read more”)The Giants have been playing excellent baseball for about fifty games now. They ended the regular season 28-10. Prior to that time, the Giants were not a championship club. they didn’t hit with runners in scoring position, they scored early in the game and then saw zeroes on the scoreboard, they swung from their heels, and their starting pitching broke down often.

Now, they hit in the clutch. They score often, they have runners on base all the time, and they get two out hits. Benito Santiago may be the most important player on the roster. Santiago follows Barry Bonds and almost always comes up with men on base.

Some scouts say stop Santiago, stop the Giants. He is very hot, swinging at will, a few curve balls may be all he’ll see from Anaheim in the tough situations.

The Angels will pitch to Bonds if his at bat cannot change the outcome of the game. Basically, this has been the strategy of every team facing the Giants since August. It hasn’t worked very well.

The opponents must have starters who can pitch with men on base, because they are on almost every inning. When trying to avoid a meaningful Bonds at bat, the pitcher gives in to Kenny Lofton, Rich Aurilia, and Jeff Kent, thus creating trouble when Bonds comes up.

Neither the Cardinals nor the Braves could avoid these situations.

The NLDS and the NLCS both turned on big at bats by the players who followed Bonds. Pitchers expend so much energy figuring a way to avoid a Bonds hit, that the other batters get good pitches to hit and reach base.

Now, what about Anaheim’s staff.

Jarrod Washburn is a six inning pitcher, so is Kevin Appier. Ramon Ortiz can get deeper in the game, but he gives up the long ball. John Lackey is a rookie who will be lucky Lackey to last into the sixth.

The Angels bull pen will be tested often. Francisco Rodriguez, only 20 and with four post season wins (zero in the world series) already, will be asked to go more than one inning and pitch with runners on base frequently. I say he has trouble in the series pitching from the stretch.

Troy Percival is outstanding and will give the Angels a legit shot to close every game he has the lead.

How will the Angels hit?

Probably very well, but not enough. Jason Schmidt pitched some of the best games I saw all year. Russ Ortiz can dominate any lineup for six innings. Kirk Reuter will get knocked around and Livan Hernandez will take his team into the seventh inning.

I think the Giants bull pen will be the difference in the series. Either Felix Rodriguez, Tim Worrell, and Robb Nen will get the job done or the Angels will win the series. If they do get it done, the Giants win.

I’m banking on the Giants pen coming through big time. SF has turned the game into a six inning affair. Rodriguez is 95% of what he was last year (lights out). Worrell, Jay Witasick, and Scott Eyre are scary, but what can I say, they have gotten the key outs for the team all month.

There will be a home field advantage for the Giants in Pac Bell. Teams just don’t score many runs there, if the Giants win one of the first two games in Anaheim, then they will take control of the series at home in games three, four, and five.

Can the Angels win?

Sure they can, but they better retire Santiago, Kent, and Snow with men on base. Bonds can’t carry the team for seven games, but his presence can drive even the best pitching staffs crazy. The Angels do not have one of the best pitching staffs, so it won’t take much to upset their rhythm.

The Giants must slow Darin Erstad and Troy Glaus down to win. Tim Salmon can be pitched to as long as you keep the ball above his hands. Scott Spiezio and Adam Kennedy have hit all sorts of pitching this month. David Eckstein will have eight pitch at bats, but you have to make him hit the fastball. Garrett Anderson will get himself out if you give him half a chance, just throw it close to the plate and he will swing.

I have seen the A’s and the Angels play twenty times, all tough games. I’ve seen the A’s take four of six games from the Giants and have Bonds only hurt them one time.

The Giants and the Angels are evenly matched. The Giants have the great equalizer to the Angels attack, Pac Bell Park.

Who will be the hero?

I say it is a pitcher and it will be Jason Schmidt.

The Giants will win in seven games in a terrific World Series.

What a way to end the season and knowing baseball who knows what will happen next.


There are no comments yet...

Kick things off by filling out the form below.

You must log in to post a comment.