Billy-Ball Daily: 2006-5-22

5/22/2006
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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The only spin here is on a curveball

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Top of the 1st
BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS…
By the time you read this, I’ll either be on the plane or already in Springfield, Missouri checking out Hammons Field home to the Texas League Springfield Cardinals, the Double A minor-league team owned by the St. Louis Cardinals. You might ask, how does a town just 30 miles away from Branson, Missouri get in the Texas League?

The answer is simple – the Cardinals purchased the El Paso Diablos franchise on August 18, 2004 from Brett Sports and Entertainment, whose ownership includes Kansas City Royals Hall-of-Famer George Brett.

I only wish I was at the game in Little Rock Saturday night, when Springfield scored eight times with two outs in the top of the 9th inning, shocking the Arkansas Travelers by a final score of 11-10. Through Saturday night, the Cardinals lead the Texas League North standings with a record of 24-16. The Cardinals will be facing the Midland RockHounds, the Double A affiliate of the Oakland A’s.

I’ll be looking forward to seeing Midland’s outfielder Jason Perry who was hitting .402 to lead the league through Saturday and Reid Gorecki, the Cardinals outfielder who is second in the league in homers with 10.

In any case, I’ll give you a complete report on Wednesday – please don’t hesitate to e-mail with any relevant news and interesting stories. Bill@billy-ball.com

Top of the 2nd
THE BEST OF SATURDAY’S HOMERS
Josh Beckett, Red Sox, went 2-for-4 with a homer and pitched seven innings as Boston beat Philadelphia 8-4.

Ten American League pitchers have hit home runs since the beginning of interleague play in 1997. Which AL team has had the most HRs from its staff since ’97?

Answer in the Bottom of the 6th

Top of the 3rd
BEST YOUNG PITCHER IN FLORIDA
The Rays and the Marlins played a game to determine who the best young pitcher in Florida and yesterday Scott Kazmir proved that he was the man as he best Dontrelle Willis. Kazmir allowed four hits and matched a career-high with 11 strikeouts in eight innings leading the Devil Rays to a 3-0 victory over Dontrelle and the Florida Marlins.
Kazmir (7-2) held the Marlins to three singles winning his career-best fifth in a row. At 22, he’s the youngest major league pitcher to win seven games this early in a season since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981.

Top of the 4th
THE ROYALS CHALLENGED
Albert Pujols homered in his third game in a row and the St. Louis Cardinals beat Kansas City, 10-3 yesterday to complete a three-game sweep and send the Royals to their ninth consecutive loss. Kansas City (10-31) has the worst record in baseball and has been swept nine times this season. The Royals’ mark is the worst in franchise history after 41 games. The 1962 New York Mets were 12-29.

Pujols, who leads the majors with 22 home runs in St. Louis’ 44 games, reached the homer mark in the second-fewest games in baseball history. Barry Bonds did it in 43 games in 2001. Pujols is also first with 56 runs scored and 118 total bases. He already had a four-game homer streak this season between April 15-18.

The Cardinals have won five in a row for the first time since July 10-18, 2005, and are a season-high 14 games over .500. The Cardinals are 24-6 in their past 30 interleague games.

Top of the 5th
THE KNOCK ON WOOD
After reportedly feeling like he’d been hit by a truck after his season debut, Kerry Wood’s next start could be in jeopardy. Wood has some soreness in his right shoulder and will not start on Tuesday if he does not pass his next side session. He was unable to throw on Sunday, but is expected to throw a light bullpen session on today. “It’s regular soreness that people have in between starts,” Wood told MLB.com. “I plan on pitching Tuesday.”

Sure, Kerry, sure.

Top of the 6th
STATS DU JOUR
Prior to last night’s NY/NY game –

AL Outfield Assists
1 Ichiro Suzuki Sea 6
2t Russell Branyan TB 4
2t Emil Brown KC 4
2t Melky Cabrera NYY 4
2t Michael Cuddyer Min 4

NL Outfield Assists
1 Alfonso Soriano Was 7
2 Brad Hawpe Col 5
3t Ryan Freel Cin 4
3t Matt Holliday Col 4
5t Jason Bay Pit 3
5t Carlos Beltran NYM 3
5t Joe Borchard Fla 3
5t Pat Burrell Phi 3
5t Matt Diaz Atl 3
5t Luis Gonzalez Ari 3
5t Matt Murton ChC 3
5t Shane Victorino Phi 3
5t Randy Winn SF 3

Bottom of the 6th
HR PITCHER ANSWER
Ten American League pitchers have hit home runs since the beginning of interleague play in 1997. Which AL team has had the most HRs from its staff since ’97?

Four Indians pitchers have homered during interleague play, the most from any one staff. They are: C.C. Sabathia (2005), Jason Davis (2004), Dwight Gooden (1999) and Dave Burba (1998).

Top of the 7th
BILLY-BALL-A-GRAM – 5/21/2006
Happy birthday, Bucketfoot
SLIM MOANS

BILLY-BALL-TRIVIA – 5/21/2006
Who holds the record for most homers hit in a span of 10 consecutive years?
Send your answers to Bill@billy-ball.com

Bottom of the 7th
BILLY-BALL-A-GRAM ANSWER – 5/21/06
Happy birthday to this former Yankee infielder who can now hear our good wishes
DULL MAGIC DOG – GIL MCDOUGAL

BILLY-BALL-TRIVIA-ANSWER – 5/21/06
Who holds the record for most pinch-hit home runs?
Cliff Johnson, 20.

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
According to the back of Barry B*nds’ Topps rookie card, “Barry majored in Criminal Justice at Arizona State.”

Top of the 9th
SEE YOU WEDNESDAY!

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.