Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-5-4

Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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The only spin here is on my screwball

Friday, May 04, 2007

Top of the 1st
It can’t easy being a fan of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. They have had a horrible history, they play in a horrible ballpark, and they have miserable fan support. So today we rejoice the fact that they are in second place in the rough and tumble world of the American League East.

Truth be told, the Devil Rays moved into a tie for second place in the American League East with their win over the Twins yesterday and even the St. Petersburg Times, their hometown paper doesn’t seem to care. “Several people e-mailed FSU officials last season threatening to withhold donations if Bobby Bowden didn’t step down and/or fire his son,” recites the lead story.

But the lead for Billy-Ball is this – the Rays at 13-15 are tied for second place, the first (and only) time they’ve been that high this deep into a season since May 8, 1999. On that date, the Devil Rays were in second place through 32 games, with a 17-15 record.

The Rays beat the Twins, 6-4 yesterday and they were helped by a hit from B.J. Upton, who leads the American League in hitting at .381; Upton is 14-for-25 with runners in scoring position, and by James Shields, who threw 7.1 solid innings and is now 3-0 with a 3.74 ERA, and by Al Reyes who is now 10-10 in saves attempts and has an ERA of 1.29.

Rocco Baldelli hit his fifth homer of the season. He’s hitting .273. Carlos Pena hit his fifth homer. Carl Crawford had an RBI double; he’s hitting .288 with seven stolen bases. The Rays lead the majors with 28 stolen bases. They also lead the American League with 34 homers.

So, why aren’t they doing better?

Wel, they are last in the AL in overall pitching. Only Texas’ starters have a higher ERA. Nobody’s bullpen is worse in the AL than the TB DR’s.

But let’s concentrate on the good news and enjoy this little story and keep our fingers crossed as the Rays welcome the A’s this weekend.

Top of the 2nd
Jimmy Rollins tripled twice and drove in two runs and Shane Victorino and Chase Utley each drove in two runs for the Phillies in their 9-7 victory over the Giants. Philadelphia starter Adam Eaton won ugly. Real ugly. Eaton in pitching five plus innings allowed six runs and eight hits, walked three and struck out five but still managed to beat the Giants for the first time since June 7, 2001, when he was with San Diego. He was 0-4 in 10 starts against San Francisco until Thursday.

Matt Cain (1-2) lasted three-plus innings, the shortest start of his career. He allowed seven earned runs, matching his career high, eight hits and four walks. He allowed more runs yesterday than in his previous five starts combined.

Top of the 3rd
The Mets have brought up reliever Lino Urdaneta, who was 1-0 with six saves and a 5.84 earned run average in 10 relief appearances, for New Orleans. Here’s hoping he gets in a game and gets an out.

Urdaneta has made one major league appearance, on September 9, 2004, while pitching for the Detroit Tigers. Urdaneta faced six Kansas City Royals and retired none of them, allowing five hits, a walk and six earned runs. This means that right now his ERA is infinity. No matter how many runs he allows in his next appearance, if he records an out, his ERA will go down.

Top of the 4th
The Indians completed their sweep of the Blue Jays yesterday by coming from four runs down to win, after trailing by three runs on Tuesday and two runs on Wednesday.

Top of the 5th
I always find it interesting when a road team is dominant in an opponent’s park. I’m not talking about a team going into Pittsburgh or KC, I’m talking major leagues. Last night, Damion Easely’s three-run homer off closer Jose Valverde with one out in the 9th sparked a six-run inning, and the Mets once again topped the Diamondbacks, 9-4, for their 11th consecutive victory at Chase Field. David Wright also added a three-run homer in the 9th, his second home run in three games.

Tom Glavine, who was in line for the loss, notched his third consecutive no-decision as he strives for his 300th career victory. He has been stuck at 293 since April 17.

Top of the 6th
No Billy-Ball tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start your day with a smile. When you start your PC tomorrow morning, follow these instructions”

1. Open a new file on your computer’s desktop.

2. Name it “Barry B*nds”

3. Send it to the trash.

4. Empty the trash.

5. Your PC will ask you, “Do you really want to get rid of Barry B*nds?”

6. Firmly click “Yes.”

7. Feel better.

PS: Next week we’ll do Bud Selig

Top of the 7th
Dontrelle hopes to pick up win #6 against the Friars tonight.
McCarthy hopes to get the Texas Rangers right

Wakefield will display the pitch that batters hate.
John Maine shows he’s a pitcher and not just a state.

Away Home Time (ET) Away Probable Home Probable
Nationals Cubs 2:20 p.m. Bergmann (0-2) Zambrano (2-2)
Indians Orioles 7:05 p.m. Byrd (2-1) Bedard (3-2)
Padres Marlins 7:05 p.m. Maddux (2-2) Willis (5-1)
Mariners Yankees 7:05 p.m. Baek (0-0) Igawa (2-1)
Rockies Reds 7:10 p.m. Hirsh (2-2) Belisle (3-1)
Athletics Devil Rays 7:10 p.m. Haren (3-2) Fossum (2-2)
Dodgers Braves 7:35 p.m. Tomko (0-2) Smoltz (3-1)
Pirates Brewers 8:05 p.m. Maholm (1-3) Vargas (2-0)
Blue Jays Rangers 8:05 p.m. Ohka (2-2) McCarthy (1-4)
Red Sox Twins 8:10 p.m. Wakefield (2-3) Silva (2-1)
Tigers Royals 8:10 p.m. Verlander (1-1) Bannister (0-1)
Astros Cardinals 8:10 p.m. Sampson (3-1) Wainwright (1-2)
Mets D-Backs 9:40 p.m. Maine (4-0) Johnson (0-1)
White Sox Angels 10:05 p.m. Contreras (2-2) Escobar (2-1)
Phillies Giants 10:15 p.m. Moyer (3-1) Morris (3-1)

Top of the 8th
Ichiro set an American League record last night with his 41st consecutive stolen base. When he stole second in the 1st inning of the Mariners 8-7 loss to the Beantown Boppers, he moved past Tim Raines on the AL list and left him nine thefts behind Vince Coleman for the major-league record.

Top of the 9th
This was a good week but also a sad week for Billy-Ball-World. On Wednesday, we lost Jane Knox who passed away in Fairbanks, Alaska after a strong and courageous battle with diabetes. Jane and her husband, Bob, have been loyal readers and supporters of Billy-Ball and her love for baseball will live on through Bob.

As always I thank you for all of your e-mails, I will try catch up with those of you who I owe responses to, and your support, both financial and through encouragement. As always, I urge you to pass Billy-Ball on to another baseball fan and please get your friends and family to sign up and join our world.

Have a great weekend everyone and Go Blast!

Bottom of the 9th
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Information provided in Billy-Ball has been gathered from A.P. reports,,, 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.