Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-4-19

4/19/2007
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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On this date in 1999, Cal Ripken Jr. was placed on the disabled list for the first time in his 19-year career because of irritation in his lower back. Ripken’s record consecutive game streak ended September,1998 at 2’632 games.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Top of the 1st
THE HURLY-BUEHRLE MAN
Now, that’s what I’m talking about!

Chicago White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle threw the first no-hitter of the season, walking just one, Sammy S*sa with one out in the 5th, then Buehrle picked him off first base. He faced the minimum 27 batters in his 6-0 victory over the Texas Rangers. Buehrle got 19 of his 27 outs on strikeouts (eight of them) or ground balls.

“I can’t believe I did it,” Buehrle said. “Perfect game would have been nice, too.”

On a chilly, 40-degree night (every time I looked you could see the players’ breath), Buehrle threw 105 pitches and struck out eight in a game that took just 2 hours, 3 minutes. It was the 16th no-hitter in White Sox history and first since Wilson Alvarez threw one at Baltimore on Aug. 11, 1991.

In the 9th, with the crowd on its feet, Buehrle struck out Matt Kata and Nelson Cruz before Gerald Laird hit a slow grounder to third that Joe Crede picked up and threw to Paul Konerko, who caught the ball, pumped his fist, and set off a wild celebration with Buehrle mobbed by teammates. He got a big hug from manager Ozzie Guillen as he came off the field.

“You don’t want to make that one mistake and give up a hit,” Buehrle said. “I could feel my knees a little bit, a little shaken, a little extra adrenaline going for the 9th inning.”

In terms of close calls, in the 2nd, Hank Blalock caught the closest thing to a Buehrle mistake, a changeup up in the strike zone, but he hit it just a bit too high into the wind, Jermaine Dye leaped just above the right field fence to take a home run away from him.
In the 3rd, Jerry Hairston Jr. bounced to Joe Crede at third base and tried to beat out a close play with a head-first slide. Umpire James Hoye ruled him out. Hairston argued and was ejected for throwing his helmet. He came back on to the field to argue more vehemently with Hoye, which could earn him a suspension. Replays showed that Hairston was out. In the 7th, Kenny Lofton led off and lined a ball over Crede’s head, but the ball hooked slightly and landed foul.

Buehrle stayed calm all night joking with teammates and even went to the clubhouse to watch some TV and chat with catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Buehrle said his teammates tried to avoid him on the bench as the game progressed, determined not to jinx him. But he went up to a couple of players in the dugout around the 5th inning and said, “You know I got a no-hitter going.”

“People try to jinx and I was trying to jinx on myself,” Buehrle said. That makes Billy-Ball shudder.

Buehrle retired 20 of the final 22 batters he faced in his previous start against Oakland. But it was just his first win since Sept. 2 of last season and only his fourth victory in his last 19 starts. He threw only one complete game last season. He entered the game 3-7 with 6.25 ERA since the 2006 All-Star break. Buehrle is now 9-3 in his career against the Rangers. His previous low-hit game was a one-hitter against Tampa Bay on Aug. 3, 2001. Buehrle completed his no-hitter in 123 minutes. It was the fastest no-hitter since 1988, when Tom Browning threw a perfect game for the Reds against the Dodgers in 111 minutes.

It was the 16th no-hitter in White Sox history (tied for the second-most with the Red Sox and Dodgers, who have 20 no-hitters) and the first since 1991 (Wilson Alvarez) and first at home since 1967 (Joel Horlen).

After the game Buehrle wore a Virginia Tech cap.

Check out Buehrle’s pitching chart: http://assets.espn.go.com/mlb/pdf/buehrle-no-hitter.pdf

Bottom of the 1st
NO-HITTER TRIVIA QUESTION:
More than two years had passed without a no-hitter in major league baseball before rookie Anibal Sanchez threw one for Florida last Sept. 6, ending the longest stretch without a no-no in big league history. His gem against the Arizona Diamondbacks was the first in the majors since Arizona’s Randy Johnson threw a perfect game to beat Atlanta 2-0 on May 18, 2004.

The last time the Rangers were no-hit was when California’s Mike Witt threw a perfect game at them on the final day of the 1984 season. Among AL teams, only one team had (and has) gone longer than the Rangers without being no-hit, who are they?
Answer in the Top of the 9th

Top of the 2nd
THE MAINE MAN
The Mets had never thrown a no-hitter before last night; before tonight either, for that matter. But it’s not for lack of trying. John Maine, took a no-hitter into the 7th inning last night against the Florida Marlins before Miguel Cabrera lead off with a sharp single to left-center field. Maine lost his shutout a few batters later, when Joe Borchard hit a two-run homer over the 434-foot sign in straightaway center field. The Mets won, 9-2.
David Wright, with his second-inning single, set a franchise record by hitting in his 25th consecutive game. The Marlins entered the game with the highest batting average (.288) in baseball. Losing pitcher Dontrelle Willis entered the game tied for the league lead in victorieswith a 3-0 record and a 3.32 earned run average. Lifetime, in 16 starts before last night, Willis was 11-2 with a 2.02 E.R.A. against the Mets.

Top of the 3rd
IGAWA VS. MATSUZAKA
In the battle of Japanese imports, last night the Yankees Kei Igawa tied his more-heralded Red Sox rival Daisuke Matsuzaka in wins by picking up number one against the Cleveland Indians. By pitching six innings last night in a 9-2 victory against the Tribe at Yankee Stadium, Igawa became the second Yankees rookie starter in two nights to gain his first major league victory. Chase Wright did it yesterday and Darrell Rasner will try to make it here in a row against the Indians this afternoon.

While they are tied in victories, Igawa’s pitching numbers haven’t been as impressive as Dice-K’s , then again he didn’t cost as much to acquire. Igawa, 27, was obtained in the off-season for a $26 million posting fee and a four-year, $20 million contract. The biggest difference is the support that Igawa receives from his teammates. One night after Matsuzaka lst 2-1, Igawa’s victory was fueled by a five-run, seven-hit 3rd inning that erased a 2-1 deficit. And that was before back-to-back home runs in the 6th inning by Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi. With nine homers already, A-Rod is on pace for 112 home runs this season.

“This team consists of the best lineup in the world,” Igawa said of a lineup that had 14 hits, three by Derek Jeter. “I’m happy to have that support.”

Top of the 4th
TROUBLE FOR THE SEATTLE KING
The Mariners pitching star, 21-year old King Felix Hernandez left with tightness in his pitching elbow in the 1st inning last night after recording just one out and giving up his first three runs of the season. The Twins held on for a 5-4 victory when Luis Castillo threw out Adrian Beltre at the plate to end the game.

Top of the 5th
A WEE BIT O’CONFUSION
For those of you keeping track, Craig Biggio now has 2,944 career hits some folks have him 30th on the all-time list others have him 29th. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the official statistician of Major League Baseball, Biggio is 30th. Hall of Famer “Wee” Willie Keeler, who played in the majors from 1892-1910, according to Elias has2,955 career hits, which makes him 29th and Biggio 30th. Other sources put Keeler’s total at 2,932.

Now if you care about this, STOP and please, please seek a mental health provider immediately.

Top of the 6th
IN CASE YOU WERE C-CURIOUS
Mr. Sabathia’s real name is Carsten Charles Sabathia.

He explains, “I was always “C.C.” – my grandmother gave me that the day I was born because she couldn’t pronounce “Carsten Charles.” She just started calling me “C.C.” and that was my name ever since.”

Now if you care about this, perhaps you should consider pornography or just something to keep yourself occupied until your meds can be reevaluated.

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
Jake Peavy tries to go 3-0 tonight.
The Jays look to win the series behind Roy Halladay.
The Yanks throw rookie number three in their attempt to sweep the Tribe.
Santana looks to resume his evil ways.
And, Texas looks for a hit.

Away Home Time (ET) Away Probable Home Probable
Red Sox Blue Jays 12:37 p.m. Tavarez (0-1) Halladay (2-0)
Indians Yankees 1:05 p.m. Carmona (0-1) Rasner (0-1)
Phillies Nationals 1:05 p.m. Moyer (1-1) Patterson (0-2)
Pirates Brewers 1:05 p.m. Duke (1-1) Suppan (1-2)
Dodgers Rockies 3:05 p.m. Hendrickson (0-0) Cook (0-0)
D-Backs Padres 3:35 p.m. Hernandez (1-0) Peavy (2-0)
Cardinals Giants 3:35 p.m. Wells (1-2) Lowry (0-2)
Twins Mariners 6:35 p.m. Santana (2-1) Washburn (0-1)
Mets Marlins 7:05 p.m. Hernandez (1-1) Vanden Hurk (0-0)
Astros Reds 7:10 p.m. Williams (0-2) Arroyo (0-2)
Cubs Braves 7:35 p.m. Hill (2-0) Redman (0-2)
Rangers White Sox 8:11 p.m. Padilla (0-3) Vazquez (2-0)

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
Before last night’s 4-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston’s bottom third of their lineup, the seventh, eighth and ninth hitters were hitting a combined .188 with a .286 on-base percentage and .282 slugging percentage.

Last night, Coco Crisp went 0-4 lowering his average to .136, he’s now 4 for 40 (.100 – the Tigers’ gary Sheffield is also 4-40) “hitting” in the bottom third of the lineup. Doug Mirabelli went 2-3 to boost his average to .333 and hit his second homer of the season. He and Wily Mo Pena, both essentially bench players have the only homers in the bottom third and their total is now three. Jason Varitek is batting .212 with no homers and 5 RBI. Dustin Pedroia is hitting .188 with six singles and seven walks. He has no extra base hits and no RBI and has gone one for his last 23.

Bottom of the 8th
WHITE SOX NO-HITTERS
April 18, 2007: Mark Buehrle vs. Texas, 6-0
Aug. 11, 1991: Wilson Alvarez at Baltimore, 7-0
Sept. 19, 1986: Joe Cowley at California, 7-1
July 28, 1976: Blue Moon Odom and Francisco Barrios at Oakland, 2-1
Sept. 10, 1967: Joel Horlen vs. Detroit, 6-0
Aug. 20, 1957: Robert Keegen vs. Washington, 6-0
June 1, 1937: William Dietrich vs. St. Louis, 8-0
Aug. 31, 1935: Vernon Kennedy vs. Cleveland, 5-0
Aug. 21, 1926: Ted Lyons at Boston, 6-0
April 30, 1922: Charles Robertson at Detroit, 2-0-y
April 14, 1917: Eddie Cicotte at St. Louis, 11-0
May 31, 1914: Joseph Benz vs. Cleveland, 6-1
Aug. 27, 1911: Ed Walsh vs. Boston, 5-0
Sept. 20, 1908: Frank Smith vs. Philadelphia, 1-0
Sept. 6, 1905: Frank Smith at Detroit, 15-0
Sept. 20, 1902: James Callahan vs. Detroit, 3-0
y-perfect game

Top of the 9th
LEFT ON BASE
The last place Phillies lost 5-4 in 13 innings at Washington, and went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position a night after going 0-for-13 in those at-bats in a loss to the Mets. The Phillies have left 131 runners on base in 13 games this season, the highest total for any big-league team over its first 13 games since the Tigers stranded 132 runners in their first 13 games back in 1970. (But while those Tigers went 10-3 despite stranding all of those runners, the Phillies stand at 3-10.)

The next time Charlie Manuel goes after a radio host, he should hand him his resume.

TRIVIA ANSWER
Among AL teams, only one team had (and has) gone longer than the Rangers without being no-hit, who are they?

That would be the Kansas City Royals who haven’t had a no-no thrown at them since 1973.

The Mets have played 7,171 regular-season game over 46 seasons and never had a no-hitter. That’s the second-longest streak of games without a no-hitter in major-league history; the Phillies went 8,944 games between no-hitters, from Johnny Lush in 1906 to Jim Bunning’s perfect game against the Mets, in 1964.

Bottom of the 9th
VISIT-BILLY-BALL-WORLD
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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.