Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

August and September; Two Distinct Months

Batter Up July 29th 2007
The two most unique months of the baseball season are August and September.
In August, the grinders take over. These players come to play hard every day. They do the little things to win ball games. In September the pros take over. These players excel under pressure. These players become the MVPs. The pros become the legends of the game.
No matter what trades are made over the next few days the grinders will be key for the contenders this month.
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The Diamondbacks are still in contention. How come? The grinders. Eric Byrnes, Orlando Hudson, Stephen Drew, and Chris Young are contributing each day. Pitchers Micah Owings, Brandon Webb, Tony Pena, and Jose Valverde are grinding through the summer. I doubt if the Diamondbacks will make the playoffs because the team lacks a carrier (a player who makes you sit up and take notice when he comes to bat), but this team comes to play and isn’t going away easily.

The Cubs have played some of the best ball in baseball over the past two months. Infielders Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot plus veterans Mark DeRosa and Jason Kendall are true grinders. The Cubs have the pros to carry the team in September. Take your pick of Derrek Lee, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano or Aramis Ramirez. If one of the carriers gets hot in September, the Cubs will pass the Brewers.
The Brewers are a team of grinders. Prince Fielder, JJ Hardy, Ryan Braun, Bill Hall, Johnny Estrada, and Corey Hart come to mind. Problem lies with the starting pitching. With Ben Sheets on the DL, the starting staff lacks a carrier. Milwaukee made a smart move picking up reliever Scott Linebrink from San Diego. If the Brewers make the playoffs the pen’ will be the key.
Detroit and Cleveland are loaded with grinders and pros.
The Tigers have grinders in Curtis Granderson and Brandon Inge. Gary Sheffield, Magglio Ordonez, and Pudge Rodriguez head the list of pros. The Tigers only weak link is the ‘pen. Next month the team will get help either through a trade or the return of righty Joel Zumaya.
The Indians rely on grinders Grady Sizemore, Casey Blake, and Josh Barfield. Although they have never made it to the playoffs Victor Martinez, CC Sabathia, Travis Hafner, and Jhonny Peralta are all players capable of being pros in September.
The Yankee players are both grinders and pros. Starting on opening day New York grinds every day of the baseball season. Hideki Matsui, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Johnny Damon, Jorge Posada, and Robinson Cano never quit no matter how desperate the season may look. A Rod loves his numbers, this may be the year he becomes the “pro”.
The A’s have been grinders over the past eight summers. Mark Ellis is the best example with his steady play every day. Travis Buck and Nick Swisher play all out every game. Dan Haren throws every pitch as if it’s the one that will determine the game. The A’s have plenty of grinders, now it’s time to find out who the pros are for ’07.
The Mariners have been grinding each day. Unfortunately their season has had so many ups and downs that it’s tough to say whether peaks or valleys lie ahead. Ichiro is the grinder. Adrian Beltre may be the pro. The starting pitching holds the answer.
The Angels run, bunt, hit and run, and take the extra base. Manager Mike Scioscia grinds whenever he can. They have “the pro” in Bad Vlad and the grinders in Orlando Cabrera and Chone Figgins.
The Dodgers have grinders in Juan Pierre, Jeff Kent, and Russell Martin.

The little guys will get you through August; then the big boys take over.


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