Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

It Will Be a Good Summer in the Bay Area by Marty Lurie

With spring training coming to an end it is time to look at some of my observations going into the season opener on Sunday night.

The A’s and the Giants both had good springs in that there were no major injuries, the new players seem to be fitting into their teams and the returning veterans are ready to play.

So, how will it turn out. Click read more and I’ll tell you my picks.Let’s put all the A’s fans at ease first. This current version of the Athletics looks to me to be the best team they have put on the field since the end of the glory days of the early 90’s.

In fact, the A’s are so balanced that they remind me of the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers who got off to such a fast start behind pitchers Don Newcombe, Johnny podres, and Carl Erskine that they had the NL pennant wrapped up by early June.

The A’s have four dominant starters: Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson, and Ted Lilly maybe the best four starters on any team in baseball, yes, the Yankees included.

John Halama and Aaron Harang and anyone else Billy Beane plugs into the fifth spot should not create a significant drop off.

Keith Foulke is weird enough to be a decent closer, in fact, he told me he’d rather be a starter than pitch in relief.

The set up men may be all right, we’ll see. Chad Bradford, Ricardo Rincon, Michael Neu, Jeremy Fikac, and Micah Bowie don’t strike fear in the heart of any big league hitter, but they are good enough to get the ball to Foulke at least until Jim Mecir or a midseason replacement arrives.

Offensively the team is loaded and ready to go. The A’s have a muscle man, Mark Ellis at second, followed by a smart hitter Scott Hatteberg at first. After the first two then the fun starts. Miguel Tejada, Eric Chavez, Jermaine Dye, and Erubiel Durazo can powder the ball. Terrence Long, Ramon Hernandez, and a healthy Chris Singleton can hit enough to help the offense. Anything the last three does at the plate will be a plus.

I expect the A’s to get off to a 15-5 start through the West and win the division by ten games.

If I have five starters and you have two or three at best, I’m going to beat you. That is the state of the American League when facing Oakland.

Bring on the Yankees.

Seattle has too many “ifs”. If Edgar is healthy, if Mike Cameron comes back and hits, if Bret Boone is healthy, if Jamie Moyer still has something left at 40, if Sasaki is healthy, if Arthur Rhodes can find his fastball, and if Freddy Garcia can pitch like an ace. The list goes on and on. Too many ifs to predict a division title for Seattle.

Anaheim is a tough team, but somehow I just don’t think they will be healthy all year. Already Darren Erstad is complaining of a sore wrist, Tim Salmon is coming off knee surgery, David Eckstein’s back hurts, Jarrod Washburn was hurt in spring, Aaron Sele is hurt, Troy Glaus has a sore wrist, and most of all, it is tough to repeat.

Texas has some real thunder at the plate and some pitching at the back end of the staff, but their starting pitching is woeful. Chan Ho Park may win 14 if all is perfect, John Thomson doesn’t have a clue, Ismael Valdes is a true four or five starter, Colby Lewis and Ryan Drese are scary (can they go five innings without getting rocked).

It all adds up to a runaway for the A’s. You can take it to the bank.

The Giants are a different team in that they will

run and try to create runs the old fashioned way.

Their starting pitching is not as strong as most believe. Damian Moss is a second year pitcher who won’t have Tom Glavine to tutor him. Jason Schmidt has yet to put an injury free year together. Kirk Reuter needs a lot of help from the bull pen. Kurt Ainsworth and Ryan Jensen are essentially still rookies in experience. Closer Robb Nen is coming off elbow surgery. The bull pen, which Felipe Alou needs big time, is not together. Roles are not defined until Nen shows what he can do.

The Dodgers are better, but are relying on surgically repaired pitchers Darren Dreifort and Kevin Brown. Kaz Ishii, Odalis Perez, and Hideo Nomo have to have big years.

The Dodgers had a great season last year and are a good team, they may sneak in and win the West, it isn’t impossible.

Arizona has great pitching and adequate hitting. If I had to pick a winner in the West, I’ll take Arizona because of the big two, Johnson and Schilling, if they stay healthy, the bull pen is solid and I think Arizona can win. The Giants and the Dodgers will be close behind and injuries may tell the story of the NL West this season.

Don’t worry about the Rockies and the Padres, they won’t be close.

So, that’s a quick look at what I see after spring training.

Pitching is the name of the game, follow the pitchers and they will take you to the playoffs.

I guarantee it.


1 bigmac216 { 03.29.03 at 1:15 pm }


I too remember the 55 Dodgers. One point, that line-up had been together for years, with all young fans like you and I knowing it by heart since it seldom changed. It all came together that year and the pitching was great as you said. Great to hear about the original America’s team!

Joe McDonald

2 Anonymous { 03.29.03 at 2:43 pm }

the analysis is pretty good,but you never know

if injuries or slumps can occur. the a’s have 3 stoppers so that should help them avoid any long losing streak. t.long and hernandez must improve over last years poor performance and durazo must

remain healthy. several years ago the a’s got danny tartabull in a trade for ruben sierra. tartabull had a reputation for being fragile. he lasted about 11 games in all for the a’s

spring training is over and let’s play ball!!

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