Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Daily Dish August 21st

If you look closely you can see baseball’s five game division series right around the corner.

Arguments have been made to expand that round to a best of seven format.

I disagree.

I think the five gamer is the most exciting week of baseball that we see all year. Every inning is played like it is the seventh game of the world series. There is no room for error. Teams that win a five game division series, don’t do it through luck. They play good hardnosed intelligent baseball. This means they run the bases alertly, throw to the right base, hit the ball when it matters, make routine catches, and pitch like a career is at stake.

Luck has nothing to do with it. Whoever plays the best baseball over the five games wins. Losers go home.

The excitement generated from the division series sets the tone for the whole month of October.

The baseball season has two distinct parts. The first lasts six months covering 162 games, with margins of error that can last for months at a time. The second covers only one month and potentially 19 games. The slightest misstep or misplay can send the offending team home for the winter in disgrace.

October starts with high drama in the five game division series. Game five can be as riveting as the seventh game of the world series.

I wouldn’t change it, I like the action.

The Red Sox were serious when they put in a recent waiver claim for Roger Clemens. Too bad approximately five other playoff teams wanted the Rocket, forcing Houston to withdraw his name, effectively keeping Clemens grounded in Houston for the rest of the season.

The Cubs are struggling finding a successful righthander out of the pen. Kyle Farnsworth, who throws about 100 mph on a good day, just can’t fill the bill in the eighth inning. Guess who is on his way back to Chicago? Joe Borowski, the soft tosser who started the year as the Cubs closer, then blew out his shoulder. Borowski is now on rehab in AAA.

It happens every year. A player on the verge of free agency suddenly fulfills all of his team’s expectations and has a breakthrough season. This year that player is the Dodgers Adrian Beltre, a legit MVP candidate.

It’s time for Eric Gagne to remove the numbers of his traded buddies (the ones who went to the Marlins) from his baseball cap. It looked inappropriate to see Paul Lo Duca’s number on Gagne’s hat as the reliever was trying to retire his former teammate the other night with the game on the line.

By the way, Gagne walked Lo Duca during the critical sequence in the ninth inning. Gagne said he had trouble containing his laughter while Lo Duca was at the plate. If the Dodgers miss the division by one game maybe Gagne will stop laughing.

Even if the Phillies change managers, it is too late to salvage the season. Unfortunately for Larry Bowa, all the key injuries the team suffered this year sabotaged his season.

After watching the Giants hit homer after homer in the Phils new park, it became obvious that the Phillies better look for submarine type pitchers who throw mostly sinkers. This place is a better hitters park than Coors Field, if you can believe that.

After watching Jon Leiber and Esteban Loaiza pitch for the Yankees, I can see why the Bombers are trying to bring lefty David Wells back to NY. San Diego needs Wells to make the playoffs. There is no upside to bringing Loiaza, Lieber, or Kenny Lofton to the Padres.

If the A’s make the playoffs, there aren’t many lefty pitchers to worry about in the AL. Only Minnesota’s Johan Santana, Anaheim’s Jarrod Washburn, or Cleveland’s duo of CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee could be ahead. The Yanks and Red Sox starters are currently all righthanded.

I’m not counting on Texas or Chicago making the playoffs.

Meaning Erubiel Durazo, Eric Chavez, Mark Kotsay, and Scott Hatteberg, the A’s top hitters should have the upper hand in most of the games. It wouldn’t hurt to see Jermaine Dye and Bobby Crosby start hitting with some authority in September.

The Yankees are looking for a lefthanded reliever. The A’s have three. It might not happen this season, but Arthur Rhodes has the kind of contract that won’t scare the New Yorkers, if the A’s are interested.

The Devil Rays pried top Met prospect AA lefty Scott Kazmir from New York in the Victor Zambrano trade last month. Why the Mets traded for the sore armed Zambrano (now on the DL) is still a mystery?

Now with Tampa in its usual mid summer free fall, the Devil Rays are thinking of having Kazmir make his ML debut in Oakland next weekend. Sounds like another young pitcher being rushed to the majors before his time.


1 Anonymous { 08.21.04 at 1:44 pm }

Marty, It looks as if the Giants brought up their young prospect just in time. Lowry has three pitches, an 89 mph fast ball, a 72 mph change and a curve ball. None of them sound frightening standing alone, but when they are thrown together, and are consistently in the strike zone or close by, they end up yesterday giving him ten strikeouts in six innings. The only bright spot in the pitching equation.


2 Anonymous { 08.22.04 at 9:30 pm }

Marty, you are so insightful.

I like the five gamer, but that gives the advantage to the weaker teams and the better teams usually don’t win the World Series now becuase of this. The ’98 Yankees are the sole team to climb this mountain since the Divsiojn format was used.

So are you going to tell Shooty that you are off the Chicago bandwagon?

3 marty { 08.23.04 at 9:18 am }

I’m officially off the White Sox, something missing when Thomas and Ordonez went down for the season. Adding Alomar and Everett made it impossible for them to win. Schoenweiss’s elbow surgery was a bad blow too. Up to that point I thought five starters could keep them in the race, no more. For the second year they have disappointed me.
The Giants will have to watch Noah Lowery’s starts the second time through. His change up will be timed and then the trouble will start. Giants can make it if Bonds stays very hot and Schmidt comes back for the last 20 games. I wouldn’t rush him.
I gave Shooty his props for being on the Cards first.

4 Anonymous { 08.23.04 at 9:35 am }

Marty, You’re right, as usual, about Lowry’s second starts. The encouraging aspect is that when the opposition goes thru the lineup a second and, occasionally, a third time, they still have trouble dealing with the changeup. Also, everyone knows that Hoffman is going to be throwing changeups when he closes but he remains successful. Lowry, of course, has a great deal to prove before a comparison with Hoffman becomes relevant.

5 marty { 08.23.04 at 11:09 am }

Ed One scout pointed out to me yesterday that Lowery’s change up is too good causing the batters to swing and miss, they need to be off balance, hit the ball, and put the ball into play. Is it possible he gets too many swings and misses? If they hit the ball weakly that would lower his pitch total.

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