Billy-Ball Daily: 2006-5-12

5/12/2006
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Top of the 1st
BIG NAME PLAYERS
The Kansas City Royals figured some big name players would attract some crowds. Somehow, he got quantity and quality confused.

The right side of the Royals infield consists of Doug Mientkiewicz at first and Mark Grudzielanek at second (32 letters). These are the biggest name players since Carl Yastremski and Rico Petrocelli (28 letters) played some games at first and second for the Red Sox in 1976. In 1954, Theodore Kluzewski and Johnny Temple (29 letters) played for the Reds and Red Schoendienst and Joe Cunningham (28 letters) played for the ’54 Cards.

They may not be large but here are some more names I like –

Adam LaRoche – Braves – translated from the French it means Adam the Roche
Albert Pujols – Cards – Where your poos come from
Ambiorix Burgos – Royals – A two-handed dominatrix
Bartolome Fortunato – Mets – Worked with Copernicus
Chipper Jones – Braves – Too damn happy Jones, if you ask me
Coco Crisp – BoSox – For breakfast, a snack, anytime
Curt Schilling – Red Sox – A shill is a person who poses as a satisfied customer or an enthusiastic gambler to dupe bystanders into participating in a swindle.
Grady Sizemore – Indians – Gay porn star
Huston Street – A’s – In New York they pronounce it “How” ston
Kiko Calero – A’s – Say it loud and there’s music playing, Say it soft and it’s almost like praying.
Marco Scutoro – A’s – Italian means of conveyance
Mark Bellhorn – Padres – Always musical
Marlon Byrd – Nationals – The aquatic bird
Matt Roney – A’s – the brother of Mac A.
Melky Cabrera – Yankees – Which way? The Melky Way.
Milton Bradley – A’s – I like his gamesmanship
Nick Swisher – A’s – Another gay porn star
Pete Orr – Braves – Finish the question, dammit.
Pokey Reese – Marlins – Gumby’s friend
Ryan Freel – Reds – I freel good, I knew that you would
Seth McClung – Rays – McDonald’s McPeaches?
Yadier Molina – Cardinals – Big talker, yada-yada-yada

Top of the 2nd
THE YANKEE LOSS
Bubba Crosby, Melky Cabrera and Bernie Williams – if Johnny Damon needs a day off that’s the Yankee’s outfield after Hideki Matsui broke his wrist diving for a ball last night. Gary Sheffield is on the bench sulking with wrist problems and a 2007 option that hasn’t been picked up and Johnny may need to sit because “I hurt my [left] shoulder and [right] foot again,” said Damon, who crashed into the center-field fence taking an extra-base hit, possibly a home run, away from Doug Mirabelli in the 4th inning of last night’s damaging 5-3 loss to the Red Sox. Damon injured his left shoulder last June diving into a base and was never the same. He bruised his right foot climbing a wall in Toronto on April 18.

Matsui had played in 518 consecutive games since joining the Yankees in 2003 after playing in 1,250 straight for the Yomirui Giants from 1994-2002.
Mark Loretta had the key hits for the Sox going 4-for-6, giving him nine hits in the three-game series against the Yankees. In the past 30 years, only three other visiting players had 9-plus hits in a three-game series: the Royals’ Willie Wilson (10 hits in July 1980), Dave Gallagher of the White Sox (nine in June 1989) and Boston’s Edgar Renteria (10 in May 2005).

Jonathan Papelbon finished for his 13th save in 13 chances. He retired Giambi on a popup with a runner on to end it after 3 hours, 59 minutes.

“Dreams are made of these games,” Papelbon said.

Who will Brian Cashman go after to shore up the corners of his outfield? The possibilities include Phillies’ Bobby Abreu or David Dellucci, Kansas City’s Reggie Sanders, Minnesota’s Lew Ford, Detroit’s Craig Monroe or Dmitri Young, Arizona’s Eric Byrnes or Jeff DaVanon, Milwaukee’s Brady Clark, Pittsburgh’s Craig Wilson, Baltimore’s Jeff Conine and of course, Washington’s Jose Guillen or Alfonso Soriano, who is the most likely suspect. Then again, their could be a blockbuster which bring Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis over from the yard-sale minded Marlins.

Top of the 3rd
JUNIOR IN PINSTRIPES?
The Cincinnati Reds center fielder Ken Griffey Jr., in his first game back from a month the disabled list was only 1-for-5 when he came to bat in 11th inning against Washington.
His three-run homer sent the Reds to a huge 5-4 victory. The Nats had scored three in the top of the inning and the Reds had countered with four. The last time that the Reds won a game in which they trailed by three-or-more runs in extra innings was on June 5, 1973 — a 6-5 victory against the Mets, capped by a three-run game-ending home run by Johnny Bench.

“After you hit it, it’s like cloud nine,” Griffey said.

Bronson Arroyo pitched 8 shutout innings for the Reds and lowered his ERA to 2.03. The victory extended their first-place stay in the NL Central to 14 days, their longest in two years. Reds shortstop Felipe Lopez stole his 16th base of the season, topping his total from last season.

Junior is the first major-league player to hit a game-ending home run in his first game off the DL since his former teammate Barry Larkin did it for the Reds on May 6, 2003, against the Cardinals.

Top of the 4th
PHILS WIN BY A NOSE
Aaron Rowand broke his nose on the spectacular run-saving catch, Chase Utley homered and the Phillies beat the New York Mets 2-0 in a rain-shortened game that ended after five innings. With two outs and the bases loaded in the 1st, Xavier Nady hit a drive to deep center field that put Rowand on the run with his back to the infield. Rowand made the overhead catch in his outstretched glove as he smacked face first into the railing on top of the short bullpen fence next to the 398-foot sign and collapsed to the ground. His left knee dented the “M” in a wall advertisement and blood spurted from his nose. Rowand was admitted to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital where he will undergo further evaluation. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said a disabled list stint could be likely for his starting center fielder.

The Philadelphia Phillies plan to call up top pitching prospect Cole Hamels to make his major league debut tonight against the Cincinnati Reds. The 22-year-old left-hander is 3-1 with a 1.04 ERA in seven minor league starts this year. He has 65 strikeouts in 43.1 innings and opposing batters are hitting just .168 against him.

He has been dominating in his last three starts, all at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Hamels went 2-0 with a 0.39 ERA, 36 strikeouts and just one walk in 23 innings for the Red Barons.

Top of the 5th
SAN DIEGO, HOME OF SUN, SURF, AND ANNOUNCER GAFFES
Okay, Keith Hernandez made a fool of himself making sexist comments while broadcasting a Mets game in San Diego. We don’t condone his actions, we just understand them, because chances are very good that Keith is a sexist.

But Rick Sutcliffe?

Sutcliffe, a Cy Young award winner and ESPN baseball analyst, gave a rambling, slurred interview during the local television broadcast of the Brewers-Padres game Wednesday night. Sadly, Sutcliffe’s microphone eventually was cut off.

Sutcliffe, who used to broadcast Padres games for Channel 4 San Diego, dropped by the broadcast booth late in Wednesday night’s game and was warmly welcomed by announcers Matt Vasgersian and Mark “Mud” Grant, a former big league pitcher.

The conversation turned to Sutcliffe’s daughter, who, the pitcher said, has been accepted to Harvard Medical School. “She’s on her way to Africa tomorrow,” Sutcliffe said. “How about that? Over there on one of those missions, man. George Clooney — you been reading about all that, you been seeing that?”

To which Vasgersian responded with surprise: “George Clooney?”

“Yeah, he’s up there with the Congress, he’s trying to get everybody to go over there and solve that thing.”

Sutcliffe then said: “I’m getting yelled at from Bill Murray in the back. I need to go. I’d much rather hang with you guys.”

Grant thanked Sutcliffe for joining them.

“Mud, you’re the best, man,” Sutcliffe replied. “Anybody on Earth that doesn’t like Mark Grant, they’ve got problems.”

Sutcliffe then asked Vasgersian, “Matty, what are you still doing here in San Diego?” “No, no, no, Matty — everybody on Earth has been trying to steal you — the Dodgers, the Cubs, ESPN. What are you still doing here?”

Sutcliffe was then replaced by Ron Burgundy.

Top of the 6th
BASEBALL TERMINOLOGY – ON-BASE AVERAGE
To determine on-base average – Divide the total number of hits plus walks plus hits by pitch by at-bats plus walks plus hit-by-pitch plus sacrifice flies.

Top of the 7th
BILLY-BALL-A-GRAM – 5/11/2006
This birthday boy was one sweet second baseman
WITH OUR LEAK

BILLY-BALL-TRIVIA – 5/11/2006
Who were the only two players to appear in 162 games in a season as a DH?
Send your answers to Bill@billy-ball.com

Bottom of the 7th
BILLY-BALL-A-GRAM ANSWER – 5/11/06
Happy birthday to the thrower of the “ephus.”
SEWER PILL – RIP SEWELL

BILLY-BALL-TRIVIA-ANSWER – 5/11/06
Who’s the single season leaders in homers by a DH?
David Ortiz who hit 43 in 2005

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
Jake Peavy struck out 13 batters in seven scoreless innings against Milwaukee leading the Padres to their 11th victory in 12 games, 8-5. Over the last three seasons, only one major-league pitcher had more strikeouts in an outing of seven-or-fewer innings: A.J. Burnett whiffed 14 Brewers in a six-inning appearance on July 6 of last year.

Top of the 9th
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND
Thanks for another great week – as always your feedback is so greatly appreciated.

Hey, all you mothers out there, have a happy Mother’s Day and thanks for all you do to keep the world in line.

Especially you Mrs. Ball.

Bottom of the 9th
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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.