Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-4-23

4/23/2007
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Top of the 1st
I’LL HAVE MINE RARE
There are many stories to tell about last night’s Yankee/Red Sox Sunday night spectacular and while there are loads of questions that the series raised about each team, this we know for certain, the Red Sox swept the Yankees over the weekend with three come-from-behind victories at Fenway Park winning last night 7-6.

It was Daisuke Matsuzaka’s official welcome to the great rivalry and for the most part Matsuzaka was Matsusoso. But as I’m sitting at the game with Bok and the boys, (thank you, thank you, Alex) and every inning brings another story, I could not help but marvel at the fact that this game featured back-to-back-to-back-to-back homers from the Red Sox.

How rare is this feat? Can you remember the last time a restaurant actually brought you that piece of Ahi tuna perfectly seared on the outside, ruby red, but not cold on the inside? That’s how rare this feat was.

As I looked back at just the four other occurrences in major league history, I became even further amazed at the coincidences and the peculiarities of the feat.

B-B-B-B has occurred five times in baseball history and four of the five times were in successive years: 2007, 2006, 1964, 1963 and 1961 was the stand alone.

The April 22, 2007 event consisted of homers from Manny Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell, Jason Varitek. Unbelievably, while none of the 10 teams involved ever were participants more than once, J.D. Drew was a part of it twice. Drew was a part of the event last year as a member of the Dodgers and both times he was the second of the four homers hit.

When the Dodgers did it last September 18, 2006, Jeff Kent, J.D. Drew, Russell Martin (like Varitek, Marin is a catcher) and Marlon Anderson hit the stands. While the Yankees were winning 3-0 last night before the barrage, it was only the 3rd inning. When the Dodgers did it they were trailing by four in the bottom of the 9th and the fearsome foursome tied it up against Jon Adkins and the great Trevor Hoffman who were on the hill for the Padres. It only took Hoffman two pitches to give up the last two homers and only seven pitches were needed for all four. As the brilliant Jason Stark of ESPN.com points out these two pitchers had given up just three homers all season to the previous 432 hitters they’d faced, in a combined 108 appearances.

In that game, former Red Sox pitcher Aaron Sele gave up the go-ahead run to the Padres as they re-claimed the lead in the top of the 10th, but former Red Sox pitcher Rudy Seanez gave up a two-run homer to former Red Sox star Nomar Garciaparra to enable the Dodgers to win the game in the bottom of the 10th, 11-10.

The 9th inning wasn’t the latest in a game the four jacks were dealt. On May 2, 1964 against the Kansas City Athletics, Tony Oliva, Bob Allison, Jimmie Hall, and Harmon Killebrew of the Minnesota Twins waited until the top of the 11th inning of a 3-3 game to go long-long-long-long. The Twins won that game, 7-3.

For both Oliva and Killebrew it was their second homers of the game. Mike Lowell had two last night and Marlon Anderson hit two for the Dodgers last year. In fact, each time the event has happened, one of the four hitters had two homers in the game.

Eddie Mathews had the pair of homers the game in which the Milwaukee Braves did it on June 8, 1961 in the 7th inning against the Reds. The Braves were the only team that truly had their predictable power hitters do the job: Eddie Mathews (512 career homers), Hank Aaron (755), Joe Adcock (336), and Frank Thomas (286). They also were the only team that lost the game in which they had the power display, losing 10-8.

Despite homering himself, Warren Spahn was the losing pitcher that day, but his homer wasn’t part of the four-play. But pitcher Pedro Ramos’ homer was when he pitched for Cleveland against the Angels on July 31, 1963. In fact, Ramos was the batter with the two homers. The former Yankee pitcher was the winning pitcher that day and former Yankee pitcher Eli Grba was the loser. But Grba was not the pitcher who gave up the multiple dingers. Last night, all the Red Sox went deep against Chase Wright (he threw 10 pitches for four gophers). The only other pitcher who was the sole purveyor of this largesse was Paul Foytack when he pitched for the Angels and gave the gophers to the Cleveland Indians in the 6th inning Foytack, in the 87 “other” innings he pitched that season, only allowed nine other homers.

In that game (the second of a doubleheader), the first homer was hit by Woodie Held. The second homer was hit by Pedro Ramos. The fourth homer was hit by Larry Brown. Oh yeah, the third homer was by Terry Francona’s father, Tito Francona.

I think I also forgot to mention that last night’s action all happened on Red Sox manager Terry Francona’s birthday. And, in case you want one last garnish to your plate, on that day back in 1961 when Mathews, Aaron, Adcock and Frank Thomas did their deed at Crosley Field, the batter following Thomas? Current Yankee manager Joe Torre.

Enjoy your tuna.

Top of the 2nd
ACCORDING TO ELIAS
It was only the second time in the history of the rivalry that Boston swept a series of at least three games in which it trailed New York in each game. The only other time it happened was in April 1985 (a three-game set at Fenway Park by scores of 9-2, 14-5 and 6-4).

Top of the 3rd
THE BEST JAPANESE PITCHER YESTERDAY
The Florida Marlins Dan Uggla homered twice and drove in a career-high six runs to lead his team to a 12-6 victory over Washington yesterday. Wes Obermueller earned his first major league victory in almost two years in the game by allowing just two runs and four hits in six-plus innings, walking four and striking out five

Obermueller had not pitched in the majors since Sept. 17, 2005, with Milwaukee and his previous win came on May 17, 2005, at Washington. The right-hander spent 2006 with Triple-A Richmond in Atlanta’s farm system and Orix of the Japanese League.

Top of the 4th
WHERE HAVE ALL THE TRANSFAT GONE?
The Class AAA Sacramento River Cats and their food-service provider, Centerplate Inc., plan to begin eliminating trans fat at the team’s Raley Field home this year. Foods prepared at Raley Field will use only trans-fat-free shortening products, and the team will work with food suppliers to eliminate their use of trans fat in their processing.

Top of the 5th
FROM THE TRAINER’S TABLE
I am very excited about this new feature on Billy-Ball. We are lucky enough to have the expertise of an outstanding Physical Therapist, Chris Morin, to guide us through some of the complexities of sports injuries. Chris works at Sports and Physical Therapy Associates, the official physical therapy providers for the Boston Red Sox and has assisted Scott Waugh, the Rehabilitation Coordinator of the Red Sox.

I asked Chris about Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners. Seattle Mariners Medical Director Dr. Edward Khalfayan announced that Hernandez has a Grade 1 flexor-pronator strain. Khalfayan said that Hernandez, who left his third start of the season with stiffness in his right elbow, will not throw for five days and will be re-evaluated at that time.

Here’s how Chris explained that the grading system is typically a 3 or 4 point system. Grade 1 means a muscle strain without specific tearing. The muscles involved would be from the forearm. Your wrist (and finger) flexors are active in latter stage of throwing a pitch, near the release point. They are the muscles that curl your fingers and wrist down and create the last phase of the “whip.” The pronators are the forearm muscles that turn ones palm down from the up position. Pronation might be something you do more when turning a pitch over like when you are trying to get a little tail on a change-up. The pain can be felt as high as the elbow

Grade 1 strains typically take two weeks to heal. If the injury is closer to a Grade 2, then it could take as long as four weeks. If Hernandez is put on the 15 day DL over the next few days, then the injury is closer to a Grade 2. If not and they expect him to be game ready sooner, it will confirm a Grade 1 strain.

Top of the 6th
OH, THE O’S!
Last August, the Baltimore Orioles had their only four-game winning streak of the season. Yesterday, after completing a three game weekend sweep of the Blue Jays, the Orioles are riding their second four-game winning streak of the season. Nick Markakis and Miguel Tejada each had three RBI, in yesterday’s 7-3 win and Baltimore has now won eight of nine and is 11-4 since opening the season with three consecutive losses in Minnesota.

The Blue Jays, who have lost five straight and were outscored 17-9 in its first three-game sweep at Baltimore since May 9-11, 1994.

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
Eric Bedard and his second place Orioles host Dan haren and the A’s tonight.
Scott Buerhle attempts to Johnny Vander Meer the Royals and Gil Meche
Mike Maroth goes against the good Weaver tonight
Dontrelle hosts the Braves
After this weekend, I just think I’ll watch the worst season of “24” tonight.

Away Home Time (ET) Away Probable Home Probable
Braves Marlins 7:05 p.m. Davies (0-0) Willis (3-1)
Astros Phillies 7:05 p.m. Sampson (2-0) Eaton (1-1)
Athletics Orioles 7:05 p.m. Haren (1-2) Bedard (3-1)
Blue Jays Red Sox 7:05 p.m. Ohka (0-2) Wakefield (2-1)
Rockies Mets 7:10 p.m. Buchholz (1-0) Maine (2-0)
Yankees Devil Rays 7:10 p.m. Igawa (1-0) Fossum (1-1)
Brewers Cubs 8:05 p.m. Vargas (1-0) Zambrano (1-2)
Mariners Rangers 8:05 p.m. Baek (0-0) Millwood (2-2)
White Sox Royals 8:10 p.m. Buehrle (1-0) Meche (1-1)
Indians Twins 8:10 p.m. Sowers (0-1) Silva (1-1)
Tigers Angels 10:05 p.m. Maroth (2-0) Weaver (0-1)

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
Ted Williams had five homers in 1-0 wins. Dwight Evans, Bobby Grich, Jimmy Wynn and Bobby Bonds each did the deed four times. Barry B*nds has done it twice including Saturday.

Top of the 9th
GET WELL SOON, RON
Chicago Cubs broadcaster and former All-Star Ron is in the hospital while undergoing tests for an irregular heartbeat. The 67-year-old Santo was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when he was 18, and both legs were amputated below the knee in recent years. He had a heart bypass in 2000 and was diagnosed with bladder tumors four years ago.

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.