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Monday, October 23, 2006
Top of the 1st
EVERYBODY DID THEIR JOB
Here was a weekend in which everybody did their jobs to make baseball great.
CARDINALS WIN GAME 1 – St. Louis had one job coming into Detroit this past weekend – prove that this tired team could play with the well-rested, and heavily favored, Detroit Tigers and come out with a win. The Cards proved that quite emphatically with a 7-2 win. Cardinals rookie starter Anthony Reyes pitched eight solid innings to earn the win as he only allowed only two runs. At one point, Anthony Reyes retired 17 consecutive batters during Saturday night’s game, easily the longest streak by a rookie in a World Series game. The previous rookie record was 13 in a row, by the Cardinals’ John Stuper in 1982 and Dickie Kerr of the White Sox in 1919.
Tigers rookie Justin Verlander gave up six earned runs in five innings and took the loss. Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen went 2-for-4 with a home run Saturday to lead the Cardinals.
Albert Pujols homered on the first pitch of his 3rd inning at-bat. None of Pujols’ 12 previous hits during this postseason came on the first pitch. Pujols hit 49 home runs during the regular season, third-most in the majors, but only five of them came on the first pitch. Thirty-four major leaguers hit more first-pitch home runs than Pujols during the 2006 regular season.
According to our man on the scene, Boston Baseball’s Alex Bok, the reason why the Tigers lost Game 1 was that the fans did not get to sing the National Anthem. Prior to the game “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America” in the 7th inning. In addition, the only replays shown to fans were the two Tigers runs.
TIGERS WIN GAME 2 – Facing the task of heading to St. Louis, down 0-2, and facing Cards aces Chris Carpenter and Jeff Suppan. the Tigers and Kenny Rogers came through to take Game 2, 3-1. Craig Monroe hit his fifth home run of this post-season, connecting for the second straight day against the Cardinals and matched the franchise record for career homers in the post-season set by Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg. Of course, this record is bogus as Greenberg hit all of his in the World Series. On the other hand, Monroe is the fifth player to hit a home run in each of his first two World Series games. The others were Barry B*nds (2002), Ted Simmons (1982), Dusty Rhodes (1954) and Jimmie Foxx (1929).
Jeff Weaver pitched well in a losing cause, “He pitched well enough to win if we’d done something offensively,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. FYI: Weaver, Jeff Suppan, Mark Mulder and Jason Marquis are all free agents after this season.
But the story last night was Kenny Rogers. He worked eight shutout innings, allowing just two hits, to run his streak of scoreless innings in the postseason to 23. During his 18 regular seasons in the majors, Rogers recorded only two scoreless streaks longer than his current postseason span: 39 innings in 1995 and 31 in 2005. Rogers’ scoreless streak is just four innings behind Mathewson’s record of 27 for the New York Giants in 1905, causing Rogers to demur, “I’m no Christy Mathewson, that’s for sure.” No doubt, but this is still great pitching.
Here’s are two examples of how he gets it done- Rogers got Jim Edmonds to weakly fly out to centerfielder Curtis Granderson on a 58 m.p.h. breaking pitch in the 7th. He followed that a 90 m.p.h. fastball in to Preston Wilson, the next batter.
Rogers, had held opponents hitless in their last 28 postseason at-bats with runners on base, dating back to 1999 before Scott Rolen’s 1st inning infield single. Only four pitchers compiled longer streaks in postseason play: Whitey Ford (0-for-34, 1960-1962); Bob Gibson (33, 1964-1968); Christy Mathewson (30, all in 1905); and Dave McNally (30, 1966-1969).
That’s great pitching.
So with the Series tied at one game apiece we only waited for the bad news from New York, but we got the opposite.
OWNERS AND PLAYERS REACH AGREEMENT – Baseball players and owners reached a tentative agreement on a five-year contract, the first time the sides have achieved labor peace before their current deal expires. The agreement, which will be finalized this week, was completed during bargaining sessions in New York on Friday night and Saturday. The current deal, set to expire Dec. 19, was agreed to on Aug. 30, 2002, just hours before players were set to strike. That contract was the first since 1970 achieved without a work stoppage, and this marks the first time the sides reached agreement before the expiration of the previous contract. The most significant changes in the new contract will be the elimination of draft choice compensation for the loss of free agents, a slotting structure for signing bonuses for players selected in the annual June draft, and the moving of the Dec. 20 deadline for tendering a player a contract to early in December.
Lawyers were working on drafting language for the new deal yesterday, and hoped to put the finishing touches on it today or Tuesday. The new deal guarantees labor peace through 2011. Once that happened, Commissioner Bud Selig will announce it in St. Louis at the World Series and we will all try to forget that 12 years ago, the World Series was canceled because of the owners intransigence.
All and all, it was a pretty damn good weekend for baseball because everybody did their job and did it well.
Bottom of the 1st
MUCH ADO ABOUT POO
There was a lot of discussion about the foreign substance seen on Kenny Rogers pitching hand in the 1st inning. After several Cardinals players complained about the movement of Rogers’ pitches in the inning and some players in the clubhouse saw the FOX video, manager Tony La Russa discussed the issue with the umpires. The umpires met with manager Jim Leyland and told the Tigers pitcher to wash the smear off his hands.
Umpire supervisor Steve Palermo, interviewed by a television reporter during the game, said that there was nothing suspicious about the substance.
“It’s not important to talk about,” La Russa said afterward. He did pitch seven scoreless after that.
“A guy pitches like that, we as a team don’t take things away from anybody,” he said.
My guess is this, Tigers second baseman Placido Polanco said he coats himself in grease to insulate against the cold. He’s not the only one, getting the idea from teammate Ivan Rodriguez. “I tried it the last game against Oakland and it worked,” Polanco said.
Rogers probably high-fived one of his greasy teammates and got yucky.
Top of the 2nd
POST-SEASON SCHEDULE AND RESULTS
AL DIVISION SERIES
Oakland Athletics vs. Minnesota Twins
OAK wins 3-0
Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees
DET wins 3-1
NL DIVISION SERIES
St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Diego Padres
STL wins 3-1
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets
NYM wins 3-0
AL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics
DET wins 4-0
NL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
St. Louis Cardinals vs. N.Y. Mets
STL wins 4-3
STL vs. Detroit Tigers
Gm Date Site Time (TV)/Result
1 STL 7-2 @ Detroit WP – Reyes, LP – Verlander
2 DET 3-1 @ Detroit WP – Rogers, LP – Weaver
3 Tue. Oct. 24 @ STL 8 p.m. ET (FOX)
Bonderman vs. Carpenter
4 Wed. Oct. 25 @ STL 8 p.m. ET (FOX)
Robertson vs. Suppan
5 Thu. Oct. 26 @ STL 8 p.m. ET (FOX)
Verlnder vs. Reyes
6* Sat. Oct. 28 @ Detroit 7:30 p.m. ET (FOX)
7* Sun. Oct. 29 @ Detroit 7:30 p.m. ET (FOX)
* – If necessary
All games can be heard on ESPN Radio
Top of the 3rd
THANKS TO BRUCE BROWN
Thanks to Bruce Brown we have this list from unquenchable Tigers fan Dave Raglan, McLean, VA. Here is a best of list of Tigers who also played for the Cardinals. Raglan’s preamble: “This is a heavily updated list from the one in the book Mark Pattison and I wrote in 2002, “Detroit Tigers Lists and More”. Criteria were: (1) quality of play for the two clubs, (2) as many games as possible for each club, and (3) bonus points for being traded from one club to the other, and (4) personal preference.
1b – GREGG JEFFRIES (Det 1999-2000, StL 1993-94)
2b – Placido Polanco (Det 2005-present, StL 1998-2002)
3b – Darnell Coles (Det 1986-87 & 1990, StL 1995)
SS – Charlie O’Leary (Det 1904-12, StL 1913)
C – Mike Heath (Det 1986-90, StL 1986)
LF – Larry Herndon (Det 1982-88, StL 1974)
CF – ERIC DAVIS (Det 1993-94, StL 1999-2000)
RF – Juan Encarnacion (Det 1997-2001, StL 2006-present)
DH – DMITRI YOUNG (Det 2005-06, StL 1996-97)
PH – ALEX JOHNSON (Det 1976, StL 1966-67)
PR – VINCE COLEMAN (Det 1997, StL 1985-90)
RH – Jeff Weaver (Det 1999-2002, StL 2006-present)
RH – Syl Johnson (Det 1922-25, StL 1926-33)
RH – GERRY STALEY (Det 1961, StL 1947-54)
LH – Bob Sykes (Det 1977-78, StL 1979-81)
RP – AURELIO LOPEZ (Det 1979-85, StL 1978)
Mgr – SPARKY ANDERSON (Det 1979-95, StL Minors 1965-67)
Eddie Ainsmith (Det 1919-21, StL 1921-23)
Doug Bair (Det 1983-85, StL 1981-85)
ED BRINKMAN (Det 1971-74, StL 1975)
Dave Collins (Det 1986. StL 1990)
Charlie Gelbert (Det 1937, StL 1929-36)
Kid Gleason (Det 1901-02, StL 1892-94)
Lerrin LaGrow (Det 1970-75, StL 1976)
JERRY MORALES (Det 1979, StL 1978)
Craig Paquette (Det 2002-03, StL 1999-2001)
FERNANDO VINA (Det 2004,StL 2000-03)
Hal White (Det 1941-52, StL 1953-54)
ALL CAPS = All-Star
This silliness aside, thanks in general to Bruce Brown and T. Scott Brandon for the unbelievable lists and trivia questions they produce all season long. They make baseball and the internet a better place to live.
Top of the 4th
TBS – LCS -AOK
The Turner Broadcasting System has reached a seven-year agreement with Major League Baseball to broadcast the National League Championship Series and American League Championship Series in alternating years from 2007 to 2013. This marks the first time that either the NLCS or ALCS will be the exclusive property of a cable network. Until now, both series, which were born in 1969, have been shown on broadcast television in the United States.
TBS will have the NLCS in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013 and the ALCS in 2008, 2010 and 2012. As part of another deal reached earlier this summer, FOX will continue to broadcast the ALCS, in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013, and the NLCS, in 2008, 2010 and 2012. Fox will also continue to carry the All-Star Game and the World Series on its over-the-air network through 2013.
TBS had previously agreed to broadcast 26 regular season games on Sunday afternoons, beginning in 2008. Also, beginning in 2007, TBS will telecast all regular-season tiebreaker games, all Division Series games and the All-Star Game Selection Show each year. Any conflicts between games starting at the same time will be resolved by rolling postseason games over to TNT.
The TBS regular-season slate will replace the 70 Atlanta Braves games, which will disappear from its menu after the 2007 season. Turner, which still owns the Braves, is hoping to divest itself of the club by the start of the 2007 season. Liberty Media has been in negotiations to purchase the team.
Top of the 5th
2006 MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL ATTENDANCE, COMPARED WITH 2005:
Rank Team Total Avg. Change
1. N.Y. Yankees 4,200518 51,858 +110,078
2. L.A. Dodgers 3,758,421 46,400 +154,741
3. N.Y. Mets 3,379,551 43,327 +597,339
4. St. Louis 3,407,104 42,588 -84,733
5. L.A. Angels 3,406,790 42,059 +2,104
6. Chicago Cubs 3,123,215 39,040 +22,953
7. Giants 3,130,304 38,645 -10,477
8. Houston 3,022,763 37,318 +260,291
9. Chicago White Sox 2,957,414 36,511 +614,547
10. Boston 2,930,768 36,182 +117,414
11. Philadelphia 2,701,815 34,200 +36,514
12. San Diego 2,659,732 32,836 -172,307
13. Detroit 2,595,937 32,048 +571,432
14. Atlanta 2,549,522 31,869 +27,988
15. Seattle 2,480,717 30,626 -208,812
16. Texas 2,388,757 29,490 -98,168
17. Milwaukee 2,335,643 28,835 +124,620
18. Toronto 2,302,182 28,422 +324,233
19. Minnesota 2,285,018 28,210 +271,565
20. Baltimore 2,153,250 26,583 +471,554
21. Washington 2,153,150 26,582 -538,973
22. Cincinnati 2,134,472 26,531 +191,315
23. Colorado 2,105,995 25,999 +190,409
24. Arizona 2,091,505 25,821 +32,174
25. Cleveland 1,998,070 24,667 +24,885
26. A’s 1,976,625 24,402 -132,673
27. Pittsburgh 1,861,549 23,269 +67,312
28. Florida 1,823,388 22,792 +658,268
29. Kansas City 1,371,181 17,356 -1,503
30. Tampa Bay 1,124,189 14,052 -244,842
For the postseason, the Cardinals have lined up white folding chairs in front of the original wall and moved padding forward. In the offseason, fixed rows of seats will be installed and the padded barrier will be rebuilt as an extension of the dugouts. Foul territory could shrink by about 8 feet down both baselines. A total of 200 to 250 additional seats will be added, usurping some of the larger-than-expected foul territory at the new ballpark. The Cardinals also are looking at other options to add capacity to the ballpark.
Top of the 6th
After leading the Twins to one of the more improbable comebacks in recent memory this season, Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire received a two-year contract extension through the 2009 season. The Twins have won the division four times in Gardenhire’s five years at the helm.
Top of the 7th
ON THIS DATE…
On October 23, 1993, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Joe Carter became the second player to end a World Series with a home run – his three-run shot gave Toronto an 8-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 6.
Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
Kenny Rogers, 41, became the oldest starting pitcher ever to win a World Series game. Early Wynn had previously been the oldest (39). Dolf Luque of the Giants was the oldest reliever to do so (age 43 in 1933).
Top of the 9th
WORLD SERIES TEAMS MAKEUP
Farm system (6) – Verlander, Granderson, Inge, Infante, Zumaya, Rodney
Trades (8) – Bonderman, Robertson, Polanco, Casey, Guillen, Wilson, N. Perez, Miner
Free agents (8) – Rogers, Ordonez, I. Rodriguez, T. Jones, Walker, Thames, Santiago, Grilli Waivers (2) – Monroe, Gomez
Minor league draft (1) – Ledezma
Farm system (6) – Pujols, Thompson, Reyes, Molina, Johnson, Duncan
Trades (7) – Edmonds, Belliard, Weaver, Wainwright, Rolen, Rodriguez, Miles
Free agents (10) – Eckstein, Carpenter, Wilson, Suppan, Spiezio, Looper, Hancock, Flores, Encarnacion, Bennett
Japan League (1) – Taguchi
Independent League (1) – Kinney
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.