Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Down the Stretch They Come!

Batter Up Sept 2nd, 2007
Immortal racetrack announcer Clem McCarthy said it best as he described the turn for home and the frantic charge down the stretch in the Kentucky Derby. McCarthy wove a compelling picture of 10 or more horses fighting for the lead as they bumped their way through the final turn on the track before heading into a mad sprint to the finish line.
Baseball has the same compelling moments as the season heads into its last month. The contenders jockey for position eyeing each other as they meet on the field. For the fan the day-to –day drama is excruciating. First your favorite team takes the lead by a game, then falls back, only to regain the top spot three days later.
Who can forget the Yankees overcoming the Red Sox in ’78? The New York Mets breaking the Cubs hearts in ’69? The New York Giants forcing the playoff with Brooklyn Dodgers in ’51?
In 2007 not only are the final playoff spots still up for grabs with four weeks to go, but the major individual season awards are hanging in the balance too.

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The Mets are doing everything in their power to make this a memorable month for the NL East. New York relievers Billy Wagner, Aaron Heilman, and Guillermo Mota picked a bad time to lose their touch.
The Phillies and Braves better not get their hopes too high of catching the Mets. The Mets’ final 13 games are against division doormats Washington and Florida.
If the Phillies make the playoffs mark either first baseman Ryan Howard or shortstop Jimmy Rollins as the NL’s MVP.
The NL West should go down to the last week and the winner will be the team that plays the best on the road. The Padres last 7 games are away from home as the Friars face the revitalized Giants (3) before ending the season against the Brewers (4).
Either Brandon Webb, Jake Peavy, or Carlos Zambrano will nail down the NL’s Cy Young award based on September’s work.
The Dodgers close the campaign in SF (3). What a series it will be at AT&T Park if the Dodgers need to win any of those games to make the post season.
Arizona ends their schedule at PNC Park against the Pirates (3) and at Coors Field versus the resilient Rockies (3).
The Cubs end the season at Florida and at Cincinnati (a team that gives Chicago trouble). The Cards are away at Milwaukee and Pittsburgh over the final week.

After facing a steady diet of Tampa Bay and Baltimore this month, the Red Sox end the season with a two-game series in Fenway against the A’s and then a four game set at home with Minnesota.
Over the Yankees last 15 games, 9 are with the Orioles and Devil Rays. The remaining 6 games may decide their fate. They face Boston (3) in Fenway and Toronto (3) in the Bronx.
Either Alex Rodriguez, Vladimir Guerrero, or Magglio Ordonez will win the AL MVP.
The Tigers need to find some pitchers for the stretch drive. With each Tiger loss, the Indians gain more confidence.
Cleveland’s last ten games include three at home with the pesky A’s, then four in Seattle with the road weary Mariners, before ending the season in Kansas City (3) with the dramatically improved Royals.
With a big final month Cleveland’s CC Sabathia can win the Cy Young.
Detroit needs to stay close going into the final ten days. They play KC (3) and Minnesota (3) at Comerica before closing the season against the hopeless ChiSox (3) in Chicago.

Nothing better than a photo finish at the track or in baseball. Down the stretch they come.

Martin Lurie
EarthLink Revolves Around You.


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