Billy-Ball Daily: 2006-5-11

5/11/2006
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Top of the 1st
DIARY OF A DH
Do you ever wonder how a DH spends his time while waiting for his turn to hit? The Boston Red Sox slugger, David Ortiz, finds a wide variety of activities to keep busy. Billy-Ball was able to get exclusive access to his clubhouse diary from last night’s game (I will not reveal my sources).

Dear diary –

Well, here we are in New York for game two of this three game set. Man the tabloids ripped the Yankees today worse than we did last night. It’s a good thing our fans back home don’t over-react (only kidding, diary).

Tonight we face Mike Mussina, what a grouch! I’ve never done great against him, only 7-39, but I do have two homers against him, so that’s good.

We have Schilling going tonight. That’s cool, it gives the rest of us time off from having to talk to the press. He talks to anyone with a mike or a pen. I’ll never forget when he gave an interview to a 12-year old who was looking for an autograph.

Okay, game time, here we go. I’m going to have a great game tonight! And I’m gonna help people! Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me!

Bottom of the 1st – Whoop! Whoop! Here we go again! Did you see the look on the faces of the fans here after I took Mussina deep with Loretta aboard? 2-0 diary and Schilling looks ready.

Bottom of the 2nd – We are up 3-0, Lowell went deep. He hits plenty of doubles, I didn’t think he could still go yard. Entering the game, Schill is 74-3 since 2000 when he started a game and had a lead of at least three runs. Bug Papi, big stat man. Uh-oh, I hear cheers. Yanks must have scored. Okay, it’s 3-1, but Schilling is throwing a lot of pitches. I better get out there.

Bottom of the 3rd – I got a two out hit and Manny doubled – they should’ve sent me home. Big Papi’s got those big wheels turning. Tek left the bases loaded.

I’m hungry. I’m gonna get my hot plate out and cook some rice and beans for later in the game. Uh-oh, more cheers. Let me turn the game on the TV. Giambi homered we’re tied. We’re screwed, Schilling has nothing.

Bottom of the 4th – Still tied. Man, that food is smelling good. Better than the spread after the game. JD told me that when we have seafood salad here on the visitor’s side, the Yanks have grilled shrimp. Papi loves the grilled shrimp. I’m up next inning, I’m going to watch a video of the homer I hit. Sweet. It’s almost time for Idol. Cool.

Bottom of the 5th – The big man is now 3-3, sometimes even I can’t believe how good I am. Check this out, Schilling just struck out Jeter and Giambi. He believes how good he is. Crap. A-Rod homered. I thought his panties would be out of shape after his mess last night. Matsui just walked. Maybe I’ll get sushi after the game. Crap, crap Posada just homered, we’re losing 5-3. Sushi really sounds good.

Bottom of the 6th – Okay Schilling is in here now. Just look busy. Oh, please don’t start talking to me. He’s walking toward me. No eye contact, no eye contact. His cell phone rang. Thank goodness. I heard him say “Hi, Katy”. It’s his publicist; he’ll be even crankier when he gets off the phone. I need to find something to read. Let me see what Manny has in his locker. He’s reading “The Balkans: Nationalism, War & the Great Powers, 1804-1999” That is so Manny being Manny. What a policy wonk!

Bottom of the 7th – They brought Austin Powers (Mike Myers) in to face me and I singled off of him like he was Wayne’s World. Good night for me but bad night for the team. We’re down 7-3 and we look flat. Damn. Chris was voted off Idol. The boy can rock.

Final entry – We lost, 7-3. I wonder who wants to go for sushi. I’ll call JD and Alex, see if they can join us.

Top of the 2nd
WEBB AGAIN
Last season, Brandon Webb finished with a record of 14-12. I mention that because Webb started his season 6-0. By defeating the Pirates last night, 7-4, Webb once again is 6-0. Webb has a 15-7 record in April and May during his career, but is 21-30 in other months. He’s the first National League pitcher in 54 years to win each of his first six decisions in back-to-back seasons. Preacher Roe did that for the Dodgers in 1951 and 1952.

Top of the 3rd
METS SAY PHILL ER UP
Just when the Mets looked like they would be heading South, Tommy Glavine righted the ship. Glavine pitched seven strong innings and drove in a pair of runs to help the New York beat Philadelphia, 13-4, ending the Phillies’ nine-game winning streak.

The Mets beat up Phillies starter Cory Lidle (3-4) early, with eight players getting hits and all nine scoring while building a 10-0 lead through three innings. The NL East-leading Mets pushed their lead back to four games over the second-place Phillies, who were on their longest winning streak since a 13-game run in 1991.

For those of you keeping track of these kind of things, the 40-year old Glavine, had two hits and a walk. The last 40 or older major-league pitcher with two-plus hits and a walk in one game was Gaylord Perry of the Padres on June 12, 1979 (against Pittsburgh).

The Mets scored their most runs since beating Milwaukee 13-4 on April 13 and the Phillies allowed their most runs since St. Louis scored 13 on opening day.

Top of the 4th
TEST PUJOLS
Whatever Albert Pujols has going through his system, Billy-Ball wants.

Pujols hit his major league-leading 18th homer and Jeff Suppan won his fourth straight start, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 7-4 victory over the Rockies. Pujols reached 18 homers in 35 games, the second-fastest in major league history according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Cy Williams of the Philadelphia Phillies did it in 34 games in 1923. Williams finished that season with 41 homers.

Pujols is 9th in the league in hitting with a .328 average. He leads in homers, leads in RBI with 43. In the last 40 years, only four other major-leaguers had that many RBI in their team’s first 35 games: Barry Bonds (45 in 1996), Tino Martinez (43 in 1997), Juan Gonzalez (46 in 1998) and Manny Ramirez (47 in 1999). Leads in slugging at .845. Leads in OPS at 1.311. Leads in runs with 35. Leads in total bases with 98. He’s third in walks with 31. He has only struck out 10 times and even has two stolen bases.

Top of the 5th
CELEBRATING ROYALLY
It is remarkable when the Royals win a game. Shocking when the win two in a row. Astonishing when they sweep a series. Well you can call me “astonished” as the Kansas Citians defeated the Indians, 10-8 to complete a three-game sweep. Kansas City reached double digits in runs in consecutive games for the first time since June 2004, when they won three straight games by 10-4, beating Atlanta twice and Philadelphia once. They hadn’t swept the Indians at home since a three-game series from May 9-12, 2002.

Every player who came to the plate for the Royals had at least one RBI in the team’s 10-8 win against Cleveland. Since 2000, only one other major-league team has done that: Texas, in a 12-9 win at Oakland on Sept. 14, 2004. It was the first time the Royals did it since a 13-6 win at Milwaukee on June 1, 1975. Vada Pinson and Harmon Killebrew led Kansas City with three RBI apiece in that victory.

Top of the 6th
HALL OF FAME FANTASY CAMP
Slated for Oct. 6-11 in Cooperstown, N.Y., the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s “Fantasy Camp” gives baseball fans the chance to get tips from legends such as batting champ George Brett, 500-home-run hitter Eddie Murray, 300-game winner Phil Niekro and acrobatic shortstop Ozzie Smith. In addition to coaching from these and other baseball greats, the “Fantasy Camp” lineup includes games on Doubleday Field and a private tour of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, as well as a round of golf with Hall of Famers on the Leatherstocking Championship Golf Course. Participants stay at Otesaga Resort Hotel, with the tab of $7,495 covering accommodations, all meals, activities, games, greens fees, souvenirs and ground transportation. The camp is open to men and women who love the game–no special skills are required. (607-547-7200; www.baseballhalloffame.org)

Top of the 7th
BILLY-BALL-A-GRAM – 5/11/2006
Happy birthday to the thrower of the “ephus.”
SEWER PILL

BILLY-BALL-TRIVIA – 5/11/2006
Who’s the single season leaders in homers by a DH?
Send your answers to Bill@billy-ball.com

Bottom of the 7th
BILLY-BALL-A-GRAM ANSWER – 5/10/06
This original New York Met, celebrating his birthday today, was the first member of the franchise to hit for the cycle (8/7/63).
NICK HIM JAM – Jim Hickman

BILLY-BALL-TRIVIA-ANSWER – 5/10/06
How many inside the park homers did Hank Aaron hit?
On May 10, 1967, in the 8th inning against Jim Bunning of the Phillies, Hank Aaron drove a ball to deep center field and scores ahead of the relay. It was the only inside-the-park home run among his 755.

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
The all-time home-run leaders against the Royals:
Rafael Palmeiro 41
Reggie Jackson 37
Cal Ripken 37
Juan Gonzalez 35
Frank Thomas 34
Manny Ramirez 33
Don Baylor 32
Jim Thome 31

Top of the 9th
WHO’S ON THE PHONE?
“That’s my Aunt Marge. She’s having a Grey Goose, I can tell you that.” – Florida manager Joe Girardi after the Marlins ended their 11-game home losing streak with an 11-3 win over Atlanta last night.

Bottom of the 9th
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Have a great day!

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Information provided in Billy-Ball has been gathered from A.P. reports, espn.com, sportsline.com, mlb.com and numerous other e-sources. Opinions expressed in Billy-Ball are obviously solely the opinions of the author of Billy-Ball and do not reflect those of source material no matter how off the wall they may be.