Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

2005 Predictions Part II (National League)

The National League might have
to wait until the All Star break
to see its biggest star take a
swing in pursuit of the record.

By Amaury Pi-GonzálezBarry Bonds has spoken (again)and it is
the second part of his tirade against all in
the Media. I’ll guess we are all responsible
for his mistress and his tax problems and
his three knee operations and his mental
situation in which he exposes his son in
front of the camera and tell the TV people
“make sure my son is in the shot”prior
to speaking in Scottsdale.

Like I did with the American League I will
begin my predictions with our Western Division.

1-San Francisco
2-San Diego
3-Los Angeles

1-San Francisco.
So Bonds might not swing at a pitch until
maybe June ? We all know he is a great
competitor and he will pursue the home run
record with a vengance -once he is back-
after his rehabilitation from the latest
of three surgeries on his right knee.
Will he retire ? I don’t think so.
The question then is ? Will the Gigantes
have enough to stay in the race even
without Bonds during most of the first
part of the season ? A: Yes.
Another question is: Will the Giants
have enough without Bonds the whole season?
A: No.
So, let’s say that he comes back after the
All Star break (by the 13th of July)and he
is 100X100 and is the Barry we know at the
If that is the case the Giants have enough
to win this Division in which they finished
second last season 91-71 in second place
behind the Dodgers. With Omar Vizquel
the shortstop position has been greatly
improved defensively, he won nine Gold
Gloves for a reason. Vizquel reminds me
a lot of Ozzie Smith. Armando Benitez will
be the closer, coming from the Marlins he
is a steady worker coming out of the
bullpen to close. Last season Benítez
finished with a 1.35 ERA in save situations
which happens to be the best in Major
League Baseball.
Moisé Lou is a .300 hitter and(when Bonds
is in the lineup)should supply excellent
protection. Pedro Feliz is a key player
on this team and the more he plays the
more he will produce.
The Giants pitching is anchored by one
of the best in the league in Jason Schmidt.
Then young Noah Lowry and Jerome
Williams with veterans Brett Tomko
and Kirk Rueter.
They improved their defense and
attitude behind the plate when they signed
Mike Matheny. Already during Spring Training
Giants pitchers were raving about Matheny’s
leadership behind the plate, something that
they really never got from A.J.Pyerzinski.
They are the oldest team(by age)but these
guys are competitors. Maybe the best
quote I got from Scottsdale during Spring
Training was when I spoke with Marquis
Grisson and he told me “I never take for
granted anything, I come out with the
same attitude every year, to play and
to win”. I like the Giants, of course with
Barry Bonds playing I would like them
even better to win their division. This after
all is not one of the strongest divisions
in baseball.

2-San Diego
The Padres had a problem scoring runs last
season but If they can correct this problem
in 2005 they could even win it. They added
some nice players. Dave Roberts who can
fly gives them more options, they got back
Woddy Williams who was with them years
ago went to St Louis just to return this season.
They did loose during the off season veteran
lefty David(Boomer)Wells who went to
Boston but the Padres rotation is as solid
as any here. Jake Peavy(who was hurt towards
the end of Spring Training)is the key to their
puitching staff followed by Brian Lawrence,
Adam Eaton, Woody Williams and Derell May
a lefty that was in Kansas City. Their bullpen
relies on one of the best ever in Trevor Hoffman
with Dennys Reyes,Chris Hammond.
An exciting team with Khalil Greene at
shortstop and with the nice bats of Brian Giles
and Phil Nevin. They need more power still,
last season they finished 14th in the league in
home runs with 139.
Congratulations to Jerry Coleman their longtime
play by play man for being awarded the
Ford C. Frick Award 2005.
Good manager in Bruce Bochty, good
organization nice park, nice town, they
do have a lot of positives and I think
they will compete all year.

3-Los Angeles
The other team in Southern California also
has the name of Los Angeles. They are in
a Marketing war with the Los Angeles Angels
of Anaheim. This makes the Dodgers of
2005 even more interesting since this used
to be L.A’s team, but the Angels are coming
up strong and they have one of the most
exciting players in baseball in Vladimir
Guerrero. The Dodgers won the division
last season with a 93-69 record(just 2 games
ahead of the Giants).
This season they do not have Steve Finley,
José Lima.Robin Ventura(yes he retired)
and Shawn Green who went to the D-Backs
on a trade for young catching prospect
Dioner Navarro. Derek lowe will take his
World Series ring to Los Angeles after
winning that memorable Series last year
first for Red Sox in 84 years.
Closing they have “the man”in Eric Gagne.
Eric Gagne has saved a total of 152 games
in a three year period, the most in history
for three consecutive seasons. If he is
healthy he is a-u-t-o-m-a-t-i-c.
Their rotation is not that strong, with
Jeff Weaver,bRad Penny(could be very good)
Kazuhisa Ishii, Odalis Pérez and Derek Lowe.
Last season they finished 10th in batting
with a .266 team average.
Their shortstop might be the best young
defensive at this position, César Izturis.
They got Jeff Kent(who sais he loves L.A)
and J.D. Drew from the Cardinals right
after they traded Green to the D-Backs.
Dodgers for third place.

The Diamondbacks have a new manager.
Bob Melvin who lost 99 games as manager
of the Seattle Mariners in 2004 has joined
the 2005 Diamondbacks a team that lost
111 games last season.
They did good by signing right hander
Russ Ortiz and third baseman slugger
Troy Glaus, but they lost the great
Randy Johnson to the Yankees.
They got lefty Javier Vázquez from the
Yankees a guy that seemed to have
all the potential in the world just a
few season past with the Expos.
There is some thunder in this lineup
with guys like: Luis González,Troy Glaus
and Shawn Green hitting in the middle
of their lineup.
I don’t think they can compete in
this division with their pitching
rotation of: Russ Ortíz,Javier Vázquez,
Brandon Webb, Shawn Estes and
Mike Gosling.
Fourth place is their place.

In the land of the thin air the Rockies
were fifht in the National League in home runs
last season with 202, but as usual their
pitching ERA was brutal, a 5.54 combined
which ranks 16th(last)in the league.
They will continue to put some runs in
the scoreboard with one of the best
hitters in baseball in Todd Heltonm but
not much after or before him on that
They lost three veteranos during the
winter, Vinny Castilla(Washington),
Mark Sweeney(San Diego)andRoyce
Their best starter is Jason Jennings
followed by Joe Kenedy, Shawn Chacón,
Jeff Francis and Jamey Wright.
You got it !
Last place

(Central Division)

1-St Louis

Tony LaRussa’s Cardinals are the team to
beat again.With a healthy bullpen headed
by Jason Isrinhausen he tied for the league’s
lead with 47 saves, but also the good arms
of Julian Tavarez, Steve Kline, Ray King,
Kiko Calero and Cal Elred was all great
pitching coach Dave Duncan needed.
The Cardinals lineup is solid, with three
of the best all-around players in the
world with Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen
and Jim Edmonds. These three are all
MVP quality in any given season.
As a matter of fact this trio combined
for 122 homers last season, tops
for any given trio of any team.
They lost a very good catcher in Mike
Matheny who went to the Giants but
they got a very nice shortstop and pesky
hitter in David Eckstein, after they lost
Edgar Renteria to the Red Sox.
Their rotation: Matt Morris, Mark Mulder,
Jeff Suppan,Jason Marquis and Chris
In 2004 the Cardinals won 105 games,
most in Major League Baseball. Hard
to predict how many they will win
this season but I think they will have
enough to win the division again.
Like the Cardinals to win it again.

When I spoke with Dusty Baker in
Spring Training he told me he was
worried about Kerry Wood’s health,
Mark Prior was also not 100 percent.
Key reliever Joe Borowski broke his
arm in Arizona during Spring Training
and will be out for a couple of months.
There is no Sosa in Chicago anymore,
their biggests stars are Aramis
Ramírez and Nomar Garciaparra.
One thing in Chicago they expect
this season is for starter Carlos Zambrano
to have a terrific season and keep
an eye on Angel Guzmán a rookie
righthander that has plenty of stuff.
Of course, Greg Maddux still throwing
strikes, whoy would he not ? He is
Greg Maddu.
Good team, but I do not think they
are better than St Louis.
Like to see the Cubs win a World Series,
specailly the year after the Red Sox won
one, but it is going to be tough.
Wild Card ? Maybe. Second place,yes.

The Astros remind me of the Minnesota
Viking when coach Bud Grant was at
the helm. They always come close, but
that’s it.
Last season was the best ever for them
with 92 wins yet they didn’t go far.
Roy Oswald is a great 20 game winner
and Roger Clemens still good for 18 ?
But the Biggio-Bagwell-Bergman act
is getting old, samething each year,they
seemed to be poised to win the league,
then n-a-d-a.
No Jeff Kent anymore in Houston.
Brad Lidge showed everybody a lot
in 2004 and is their closer with 29 saves.
Let’s face it, without Jeff Kent and
Carlos Beltrán this is not the same
team scoring runs.
Houston is a good third.

If Ken Griffey Jr can stay healthy the
whole year ? And their very powerful
bats produce they are dangerous
but still not in the same class as
St Louis,Chicago or Houston.
Fourth place is a nice fit.


(Eastern Division)

4-New York

The Braves have Tim Hudson in their nice
rotation to go along with John Smoltzx,
Mike Hampton,John Thompson and JHoracio
Ramirez, their lineup still very strong and
well balanced: Rafael Furcal,Marcus Giles,
Chipper Jones, Andrew Jones, Johnny Estrada
and company.
Their bullpen(since Smoltz is starting)is
suspect, but I have a lot of faith in Leo
Mazzone and this organization when it
comes to pitching. They got a young and
strong arm on Jorge Vázquez from Kansas
City who will join the bullpen with Dan Kolb
and Chris Reitsma among others.
They will win another division.
What else is new ?

Manager Larry Bowa is gone. There might
be some peace and quiet in Philly ?
Bowa(who reminded me of a Billy Martin
with much more vinegar)ran that club
like a drill instructor in the US Army bootcamp.
Bobby Abreu one of their most all around
and solid stars combined with Jim Thome.
Jimmy Rollins is a nice shortstop and lead off
hitter and Pat Burell is still a force.
Vicente Padilla is ready to become a leader
on that pitching staff together with guys like
Randy Wolf, Jon Lieber(always underrated)
and Cory Liddle.
Seond place.

Fast and exciting the Marlins are in a division
were they always can win. Miguel Cabrera
one of the best young players in both
leagues could break out and be an MVP
any time now. Juan Pierre, Luis Castillo,
they can run.
Their pitching with Bay Area (Alameda)
product Dontrelle Willis, Josh Beckett,
Al Leiter and in the bullpen the “two amigos”
Guillermo Mota and Antonio Alfonseca.
Exciting team to watch good for third.

4-New York
Pedro is not enough in Shea Stadium..

When the Washington Senators played there
until 1960 they were known for:
“first in war, first in peace, last in the
American League”.
Only thing that would change above is
that they are in the National League this
this time. But they are still a last place
Would not like to have to travel with
this bunch an interview manager Frank
Robinson after each lost
Last season they were the Montreal Expos
and they won 67 and lost 95.
They are going to finish last.


1 Anonymous { 03.25.05 at 10:48 am }


the Dodgers got free agents Jeff Kent from Houston and JD Drew from Atlanta — not from the Cardinals

2 Anonymous { 03.26.05 at 5:22 pm }

Sorry, you are correct sir.
My mistake.

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