Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-4-26

4/26/2007
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Top of the 1st
THE BLOODY MYTH?
Here’s how the Boston Globe laid it out this morning – the Red Sox beat the Orioles last night, 6-1 behind Curt Schilling. Then, of course, there was Manny, Papi, Alex Cora, yadda, yadda, blah, blah blah.

The real story, the focus of Gordon Edes story was the comment made by Orioles broadcaster Gary Thorne during the 5th inning in the booth with broadcast partner Jim Palmer. Here’s Edes account:

“The great story we were talking about the other night was that famous red stocking that he wore when they finally won, the blood on his stocking,”

“Nah,” Thorne said. “It was painted. Doug Mirabelli confessed up to it after. It was all for PR. Two-ball, two-strike count.”

Palmer: “Yeah, that was the 2004 World Series [sic].” Thorne: “Yeah.”

During a break two innings later, Thorne confirmed that’s what he said, and that Mirabelli had told him so in a conversation “a couple of years ago.”

“Go ask him [Mirabelli],” Thorne said.

Mirabelli was shocked, then angry, when relayed Thorne’s comments.

“What? Are you kidding me? He’s [expletive] lying. A straight lie,” Mirabelli said. “I never said that. I know it was blood. Everybody knows it was blood.”

So, there you have it. What had been previously intimated in GQ Magazine and, according to Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun, former Baltimore Sun columnist Laura Vecsey angered the Red Sox and Schilling when she wondered in a Oct. 25, 2004 column whether he embellished the injury for dramatic effect, has been now further procreated by Thorne.

Here’s what my investigation has found – during Schilling’s medical procedure to ease the discomfort, he was eating cherry and strawberry popsicles to allay the discomfort. Some dripped on his sock after he put it on, it was too uncomfortable for him to take it off and that’s where the stains came from.

I also found out that when Kirk Gibson hit his dramatic home run against Dennis Eckersley in 1988 World Series that he limped around the basepaths because he had rocks in his shoes. He had come to the ballpark via the gravel quarry.

I also found out that Manny is actually a woman and that it is Manny being Mandy.

I also found out that the films we see of Willie Mays’ catch against Vic Wertz in the 1954 World Series was taken with what was experimentally referred to as a “Reverse-o-lens.” Mays actually just had to run in to make a relatively easy basket catch.

I also found out that Derek Jeter wears makeup whenever he appears in public. Without the makeup Jeter is a dead ringer for Danny DeVito.

I also found out that when Babe Ruth “called his shot” in the 1932 World Series he actually was giving directions to his favorite tavern to the Cubs catcher, Gabby Hartnett. It seems that Hartnett couldn’t hear him above the roar of the crowd and Ruth needed to point to where the establishment was.

I also found out that Barry B*nds is a “bubble boy.” Because of an immunological disorder, B*nds must be encased in an air-tight bubble because he is ultra-sensitive to germs. He wears a body bubble and a head bubble, both which are so perfectly molded to him that it gives the false impression that he has expanded over the years. In addition, when B*nds is not on his prescription drug regimen to fight this problem, he is charming.

I also found out that the “Miracle Mets” of 1969 achieved their success because of an actual miracle which has enabled their “manager” Gil Hodges to be considered for sainthood.

I also found out in reality David Eckstein and Albert Pujols are the exact same size. I still don’t know how they do that.

I also found out that besides Billy Ripken, Cal Ripken has another brother…who is his identical twin. Whenever Cal would get injured, slept late, or simply wanted a day off, twin brother Roger would substitute for him.

I also found out that David Wells is an ascetic. He only pretends to party and drink beer to be “one of the guys.”

I also found out that Dice-K was born and raised in Indianapolis.

I also found out that it doesn’t really matter what Gary Thorne says. Or what Lesley Visser says. Or what Doug Mirabelli says. Or what Curt Schilling says, and says, and says, and says.

What matter is that sometimes we need a little exaggeration. We need a little romance to a story. We need a myth. This world is filled with ugly truths that make it harder and harder to get through a day.

I also found out that sometimes, we just need to remember Tug McGraw’s words, “You gotta believe.”

Top of the 2nd
A WHIFF OF SUCCESS AND FAILURE
Detroit Tigers pitcher, Chad Durbin tossed eight innings of three-hit ball to keep the White Sox scoreless into the 9th and picked up his first major league win since Sept. 16, 2004 as the Tigers won, 6-2. Durbin struck out a career-high nine in eight innings.

San Diego Padres star pitcher Jake Peavy struck out 16 batters in just seven innings, including striking out the side in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th innings. Peavy got a no-decision as Scott Linebrink gave up a run in the 8th and Stephen Drew hit a two-out, two-run homer in the 9th off of Trevor Hoffman and Arizona won, 3-2 despite only getting four hits.

Tim Hudson had a career-high 12 strikeouts and took a six-hit shutout going into the 9th inning before giving up singles to the first three Marlins’ batters. Before the 9th began, Hudson had a 3-0 record, a 0.49 ERA, a 22-inning shutout streak, and a three-run lead. In came closer Bob Wickman and Miguel Olivo doubled home Florida’s first two runs. Then with one down out and the bases loaded, Olivo scored without a play when a sinking fastball eluded catcher Brian McCann. Hudson’s ERA, a major league-best 0.62 ERA to start the game, nearly doubled to 1.22. Hudson has a career record of 83-1 (19 no-decisions) when given a lead of three or more runs, having won 64 consecutive decisions dating back to August 2000. Wickman took the 4-3 loss. Atlanta’s Andruw Jones struck out three times and left the bases loaded in the 5th. He went 0-for-4 and is 0-for-14 against Scott Olsen with seven strikeouts. Olsen finished with 10Ks.

Top of the 3rd
EXTRA, EXTRA
Adam LaRoche singled in the winning run in the 16th winning as the Pirates beat the Astros, 4-3. That hit brought LaRoche’s batting average up to a Paris Hilton must go on a diet like .106. It was the first walkoff hit of LaRoche’s major league career. John Wasdin, the eighth Pirates pitcher, was the winner. LaRoche is the son of former major league pitcher Dave LaRoche who had a lifetime .246 batting average.

Jhonny Peralta hit a game-winning RBI single with one out in the 11th inning to give the Cleveland Indians an 8-7 victory over the Texas Rangers. The Rangers struck out a team-record 19 times and the Indians 13 times. The last time Cleveland struck out 19 batters in a game was July 3, 1968, when Luis Tiant got them all in a 10-inning win over Minnesota.

Top of the 4th
COMPLETE AND TO THE POINT
Jarrod Washburn threw a three-hit shutout as the Mariners topped Joe Blanton, who threw a six hit complete game, and the Athletics, 2-0. Washburn (1-2), whose only other shutout was against the Chicago White Sox on July 7, 2004, struck out two and walked two in his first complete game since a rain-shortened, five-inning blanking of Kansas City for the Angels on July 3, 2005.

Blanton (2-1) gave up homers to Jose Guillen and Kenji Johjima in a game that lasted 107 minutes, the quickest nine-inning game for the A’s since 1979.

Top of the 5th
FROM THE TRAINER’S TABLE
I continue to be thrilled 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 Mark Prior’s right shoulder arthroscopy performed by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Alabama yesterday. Here’s Chris’ explanation:

Well this is a big one, typical repair is going to be 6 months before throwing and about a year for return to competitive pitching. The surgery is actually quite simple and by itself is not much to worry about, but overall this is serious stuff for the shoulder of a pitcher.

The rotator cuff is a group of 4 muscles that surround the shoulder joint. Its primary responsibility is to stabilize the shoulder by keeping the ball in the socket. The capsule is essentially one big spherical ligament and helps at the end of your range of motion to stop dislocation where muscles truly stabilize throughout. The labrum (you have one in your hip too) has the rigidity to deepen the socket which increases stability (notice a theme here), and the flexibility to allow movement (like your ears and nose). Add all those injuries up and you get a massive stability failure of the shoulder.

Here’s how it might happen: You are throwing hard and your arm is tired. Your mechanics slip a little and that ball of the joint drives too hard into the socket. The result is a slight tear of the cartilage. Your shoulder smarts a little but it does not hurt very much. Your shoulder just feels more fatigued, maybe a little heavy. You throw again and each pitch brings you closer to the next failure since one of the stabilizing components is now compromised. Likely the next thing to happen is micro-tearing of the rotator cuff. The muscles are overburdened and slowly lose the battle. Finally with the muscles fatigued and the labrum unable to hold up its’ end the ligaments suffer becoming stretched and torn. At this point it is conceivable that a person could dislocate their shoulder if they continued to throw, but the truth is it just hurts too much to throw. The pitching arm begins to look like a stuffed doll arm hanging lifelessly by their side. Accuracy wanes and velocity is lost.

The surgical fix is to anchor down the labrum, suture the rotator cuff and tighten the capsule to increase stability. Allow 2-3 months for everything to heal up good and tight and then begin the long road to strengthening and eventually throwing.

Top of the 6th
ON THIS DATE
On April 26, 1961, in the Yankees 11th game of the season, facing Paul Foytack of the Detroit Tigers, Roger Maris hit his FIRST home run of the season on the way to setting the record of 61.

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
Zach Greinke goes against the struggling Twins.
Phil Hughes the savior? We’ll see tonight at The Stadium.
Josh Beckett hopes to go 5-0 while Brad Penny hopes to go 4-0.

Away Home Time (ET) Away Probable Home Probable
Rangers Indians 12:05 p.m. Loe (1-0) Byrd (1-1)
Astros Pirates 12:35 p.m. Rodriguez (0-2) Armas (0-2)
Reds Cardinals 1:10 p.m. Lohse (1-0) Keisler (0-0)
Royals Twins 1:10 p.m. Greinke (1-2) Bonser (0-1)
Nationals Phillies 3:05 p.m. Hill (1-2) Hamels (2-0)
Mariners Athletics 3:35 p.m. Batista (1-2) Kennedy (0-2)
Devil Rays Angels 3:35 p.m. Seo (1-1) Colon (1-0)
Red Sox Orioles 7:05 p.m. Beckett (4-0) Loewen (2-0)
Blue Jays Yankees 7:05 p.m. Burnett (1-1) Hughes (0-0)
Tigers White Sox 8:11 p.m. Robertson (2-1) Contreras (1-2)
Padres D-Backs 9:40 p.m. Young (2-1) Hernandez (1-1)
Giants Dodgers 10:10 p.m. Ortiz (2-1) Penny (3-0)

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
Trevor Hoffman pitched in his 801st career game, all with the Padres. Only Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators and Elroy Face of the Pittsburgh Pirates made more appearances with one team, both with 802 games.

Top of the 9th
FROM OUR FRIENDS AT ELIAS
When the Rockies defeated the Mets 11-5 last night, it was the 296th time that the Rockies have scored in double figures, the highest total in either league during the 15 seasons since Colorado joined the National League in 1993. But only 65 of the Rockies’ 10-run games have been played on the road. With the exception of the 1998 expansion teams (the Diamondbacks and Devil Rays), the Rockies and Expos/Nationals have the fewest double-digit road games since 1993.

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.