Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Giants' Playoff Prospects by Ed Stern

Marty; There are 15 games remaining to be played, three with the Astros, and 6 each with LA and the Padres. The Giants are a half game in front of the Cubs, 2 ahead of Houston and 3 and 3 and 1/2 ahead of the rapidly failing Padres and Marlins.

Click below for Ed’s analysis of the Giants chances for the postseason.
There were more than a few times during the year when one would have considered predicting the present state of affairs as being the height of foolish optimism. This has been a team which has had ever-present pitching problems throughout the season. The bullpen has been constantly overworked, largely as a result of a rotation which couldn’t find a pitcher other than Schmidt who could get out of the fifth inning. Schmidt then came down with a groin injury, was out for a short period and when he came back had a number of unsuccessful starts.

Surprisingly, however, the Giants today look to be in a remarkably strong position to make a determined, and possibly successful, run for the playoffs. The team appears healthy, Schmidt has apparently recovered from his groin injury and the after effects. Most important, they have come up with a starter, Tomko, who has pitched better in his last five starts than any other pitcher in the league. If he continues to pitch as well for the remaining games, the Giants have two starters who are the equal or better than any two starters on any team still in contention.

With open dates on the calendar they have the luxury of pitching these two out of order but with four days rest. This is necessary since they do not have a 5th starter, their 4th starter is a rookie with a spotty performance record and their third starter is our old friend, Rueter, who still can’t get out of the 6th inning. On the days they are not pitching Schmidt and Tomko, however, they are getting strong hitting which has enabled them to maintain their position in the race.

Their defense has been playing well. Mohr won a game with a catch in the 9th inning recently, Bonds threw out a key runner at home with a great Golden Glove days throw to the plate which probably preserved a one run lead and the game, Alfonzo has been playing errorless ball at third for the better part of this past month.

The bullpen, taking advantage of off days and the strong pitching of the two starters, is better rested and performing adequately. Hermanson has managed to get through the ninth with a welcome consistency.

The opposition seems to be the Cubs, particularly if the Giants can take two games from Houston when they meet shortly. The Cubs have an easier schedule than the Giants, who have to face two teams, LA and the Padres, each with something to gain by winning games. San Diego has beaten them regularly this year, LA wishes to keep the Giants at bay. But this is the new season, the time of year when momentum and desire take hold. The Giants have momentum, SD doesn’t. The past doesn’t necessarily foretell the short future remaining. Schmidt and Tomko are pitching better than anyone on the Dodgers staff. It may be enough to hold off Baker’s crew. An interesting note in yesterday’s Cubs’ game. Neifi Perez was playing shortstop for them and managed to hit a home run. Despite this, his needed presence for Baker may be a measure of the Cubs problems the rest of the year.

There are two stories of interest these days on the Giants. One, of course, is the eternal passage of Bonds into the realm of the games immortals. The other is the J.T.Snow renaissance. Snow is hitting .336 and driving in runs. He never hit .336 in his baseball lifetime. He provides backup support for Barry. He has been doing this consistently since he came off the DL in the middle of the year. In the month of August he was the leading hitter in either league, with an average hovering around the .450 mark. An amazing story. There should be some kind of an award for what he has done.

A word about Alou. He is the manager of the year as far as this page is concerned despite the terrible call when he hit for Tomko recently in the 7th inning and the team holding a one run lead. His later analysis, saying that he hit for him because he had no confidence in his pen to hold a one run lead late in the game, doesn’t bear close analysis. There was a better option, keep Tomko in the game for two or three innings, if the bullpen was unreliable, which it was at that time.

If the team manages to make it into the playoffs, they will initially be hard to beat. In a five game series, two strong starters can carry the club.

It’s going to be a hectic 16 games. A fitting end to what has been an entertaining year. May it last through October as far as the Giants are concerned.



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