Billy-Ball Daily: 2006-10-6

10/6/2006
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Top of the 1st
LOADS OF PLACES LIKE HOME
Well, the first two games have been played in all four post-season series and I would say we have some unusual results. The statisticians amongst you will be impressed with the spread, but those of you who bet the home team are probably not too happy.

Only the Mets have taken their two games at home. Last night Tommy Glavine used his post-season expertise and pitched six scoreless innings as the Metsies defeated the Dodgers, 4-1. Jose Reyes drove in two runs from the leadoff spot, 48-year-old pinch-hitter Julio Franco hustled to beat out a potential double-play ball for an RBI, and Billy Wagner earned his second consecutive save.

The Mets were the only team in the first round to win its first two home games and head to LA needing just one win to move on to National League Championship Series.

The home team with the next best record is the Yankees, and they lost yesterday. Here’s what we’ve learned, it’s not how many hundreds of millions you sepnd on payroll, it’s all about how many hundreds of miles you can throw the ball.

The Tigers’ starter Justin Verlander threw at 100 mph and Joel Zumaya came out of the bullpen to toss fastballs at 102 mph. Curtis Granderson’s hit a go-ahead triple off Mike Mussina (Granderson is four for nine in the first two games of the series) and Detroit beat the Yankees 4-3 and the teams are tied at one game apiece in their best-of-5 AL playoff series.

The other two series are another kettle of fish altogether. Now I don’t know anything about kettles of fish, I’m a sushi man myself, so let me say that this is another Rainbow Maki altogether. Not only did the home team lose both games in Minnesota and San Diego, they looked horribly overmatched by the A’s and the Cardinals respectively.

While the A’s are 0-fer in their last nine potential clinching games, they returned home to Oakland knowing that they need just one victory to eliminate the Twins and close out a playoff series. Dan Haren will start for Oakland against Brad Radke. The A’s simply silenced the fans at the noisy Metrodome and the Twins will have to be dramatically different this weekend if they expect to extend this series.

If the A’s lose this series at this point, the only person who will get any satisfaction will be second baseman Mark Ellis who is lost for the remainder of the postseason after he broke his right index finger when he swung at a pitch and hit his hand in the 9th inning of Wednesday’s 5-2 win. D’Angelo Jimenez will start in his place. Ellis can simply contend he was the lynchpin.

The other series in which the home team dropped two took place in San Diego where the Cardinals looked like the Cardinals and the Padres looked like…well, the Padres. Who were each of these teams kidding in September?

The Padres are hitting an embarrassing .164 in the series, getting just 10 hits and one run so far, going 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position. “We’ve got to get on the board, score some runs,” said Padres starter David Wells, who may have pitched his final big-league game. He plans to retire at season’s end. “I think one run in two games isn’t going to cut it. This continues, then you know that’s the end of it.”

Jeff Weaver combined with four relievers, three of whom are rookies, on a four-hitter. He gave up two singles in five innings, allowing only two base runners as far as second base. And this isn’t even the good Weaver!

Is there a better player on this planet than Albert Pujols? Pujols had three more hits after homering in the 5-1 victory in Game 1. He and Jim Edmonds hit RBI singles off Wells to give the Cards a 2-0 victory that felt way more one-sided than the score indicated.

This weekend we head to Los Angeles (minus an injured Nomar Garciaparra); Detroit (will A-Rod fare better on the road? He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, including one that ended the 1st with the bases loaded and he’s 1-for-8 with four strikeouts in this series.); Oakland (it would be a huge weekend if the A’s also announce that Frank Thomas has accepted a two-year offer to remain with the team and if they don’t have to face Johan Santana again); and St. Louis (where the Padres may not even bother to show up).

My bet says that Monday is an off day and except for the Tigers and Yankees, Sunday may be as well.

Enjoy your weekend.

Top of the 2nd
2006 POST-SEASON
AL Division Series
Game Matchup Day Date Time ET TV
Gm 1 OAK 3 @ MIN 2 WP – Zito (1-0), LP – Santana (0-1)
Gm 2 OAK 5 @ MIN 2 WP – Calero (1-0), LP – Neshak (0-1)
Gm 3 MIN @ OAK Fri Oct. 6 4 pm ESPN
Gm 4* MIN @ OAK Sat Oct. 7 TBD
Gm 5* OAK @ MIN Sun Oct. 8 TBD
* – if necessary

Game Matchup Day Date Time ET TV
Gm 1 DET 4 @ NYY 8 WP – Wang (1-0), LP – Robertson (0-1)
Gm 2 DET 4 @ NYY 3 WP – Walker (1-0), LP – Mussina (0-1)
Gm 3 NYY @ DET Fri Oct. 6 8 pm ESPN
Gm 4 NYY @ DET Sat Oct. 7 TBD
Gm 5* DET @ NYY Sun Oct. 8 TBD

Game Matchup Day Date Time ET TV
Gm 1 STL 5 @ SD 1 WP – Carpenter (1-0), LP – Peavy (0-1)
Gm 2 STL 2 @ SD 0 WP – Weaver (1-0), LP – Wells (0-1)
Gm 3 SD @ STL Sat Oct. 7 TBD
Gm 4* SD @ STL Sun Oct. 8 TBD
Gm 5* STL @ SD Mon Oct. 9 TBD
* – if necessary

Game Matchup Day Date Time ET TV
Gm 1 LAD 5 @ NYM 6 WP – Mota (1-0), LP – Penny (0-1)
Gm 2 LAD 1@ NYM 4 WP – Glavine, LP – Kuo (0-1)
Gm 3 NYM @ LAD Sat Oct. 7 TBD
Gm 4* NYM @ LAD Sun Oct. 8 TBD
Gm 5* LAD @ NYM Mon Oct. 9 TBD
* – if necessary
ALL TIMES ET

Top of the 3rd
KUO & YDE
Tom Glavine pitched six scoreless innings to earn the victory in the Mets’ 4-1 win over the Dodgers. Glavine, who has 290 regular-season wins, defeated Hong-Chih Kuo, who has one victory.

The “record” was set during the 1925 World Series, when Walter Johnson of the Senators (397-257 at that time) defeated Emil Yde of the Pirates (33-12).

Top of the 4th
OH, MYERS
An abuse charge against Phillies pitcher Brett Myers was dismissed yesterday after his wife said she did not want her husband prosecuted for hitting her in the face during an argument near Fenway Park.

Judge Raymond Dougan acknowledged that Myers struck his wife June 23, yet dismissed the charge over the objection of prosecutors because Kim Myers agreed to an affidavit showing she did not want the charge pursued.

“There’s no violence in our family. That night in Boston we had both been drinking,” Kim Myers told the judge. “I was not hurt. I was not injured.”

Authorities say the two were arguing when Brett Myers hit his wife. One witness told investigators he pulled her hair.

Police responded to a 911 call and found Myers’ wife crying and with a swollen face, prosecutors said. Officers found Myers nearby and arrested him. Myers, 6 feet 4, 240 pounds, was booked by police, and his wife posted his $200 bail.

Authorities had wanted Myers to plead guilty to assault and battery, serve two years’ probation, enter a program for spousal abusers and undergo an alcohol abuse evaluation.

The hell with both of them, I say.

Top of the 5th
WASLEWSKI’S RECORD FINALLY BROKEN
For those of you who are members of the Gary Waslewski Society, yesterday proved to be a dismal day. Hong-Chih Kuo, whose lone regular-season victory came against the Mets last month, set a record last night for fewest career wins at the time of a postseason start. The previous record was two, by Gary Waslewski when he started Game 6 of the 1967 World Series for the Red Sox. Their results were remarkably similar.

Pitching against the Cardinals :
IP H R ER BB SO
Gary Waslewski 5.1 4 2 2 2 4

Pitching against the Mets:
IP H R ER BB SO
Hong-Chih Kuo 4.1 4 2 2 2 4

Top of the 6th
SOX IN SEARCH OF A CLOSER
The Red Sox are set on moving Jonathan Papelbon to the rotation next year, and it appears that the ill-advised promotion of Craig Hansen (the team’s presumed closer of the future) this season has led people in the organization to believe he took a step back in his development and isn’t ready for the job.

This means that amongst other needs the Sox can either hope that the enigmatic Keith Foulke can rediscover his 2003-04 form or they will be forced to go shopping. I’m sure the Astros are waiting to make their requests as they anticipate what it will take to get Brad Lidge. The BoSox are not in a good bargaining postion on this one.

Top of the 7th
ON THIS DATE…
On October 6, 1945, Chicago tavern owner “Billy Goat” Sianis buys a box seat for his goat for Game 4 of the World Series and is escorted out of Wrigley Field. In retaliation Sianis casts a “goat curse” over the Cubs. The Cubs lost Game 4 and eventually the 1945 World Series.

In fact, the Cubs have not played in a World Series since 1945, the longest pennantless drought in major league history and have not won the series since 1908.

But who believes in curses?

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
The Cincinnati Reds yesterday announced the hiring of veteran broadcaster Thom Brennaman for Reds radio and Reds TV broadcasts. Brennaman signed a 4-year contract through the 2010 season. He will work alongside his father, Hall of Famer Marty
Brennaman, for selected radio broadcasts on 700 WLW and also will sit in the booth for Reds TV broadcasts on FSN Ohio.

“This is a dream fulfilled for me,” said Marty Brennaman, who joined the Reds Radio team in 1974 and just completed his 42nd season as a sports broadcaster. “I was always a little bit envious of the Bucks and the Carays. Now I get to work with my son. Nothing’s better than that.”

Top of the 9th
HAPPY 50TH ANNIVERSARY DON LARSEN
Sunday is the 50th anniversary of the greatest pitched game in baseball history. I am proud to have written a multi-media site commemorating this event that can be found at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15149004/. I only wish my health had enabled me to add more to this project, but I encourage you all to relive this spectacular achievement through this article and audio.

It was good to be back this week.

Best to you all.

Bottom of the 9th
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