Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-6-13

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

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The only spin here is on my screwball

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Top of the 1st
Brookline Falcon’s coach emeritus, Jim Mooradian, wanted to be watching our 14-year old girls in the league’s soccer semi-finals last evening; he was stuck in Detroit for business last night. Instead of watching soccer, he was with his clients, he was at Comerica Park, he was watching Justin Verlander make history.

Verlander threw the first no-hitter in Comerica history as he crippled the Milwaukee Brewers with a 97 mph fastball, a classic 12 to 6 curveball, and a change-up that left Verlander’s hand the same way the fastball did. In his 4-0 victory, Verlander walked four, struck out 12 and threw 112 pitches. Brewers’ manager Ned Yost was effusive in his praise, “I think the biggest factor was probably the 99 mile-an-hour fastball on the black,” Yost said. “That does a lot for a guy right there. Plus he had a great breaking ball and a good change. That’s tough to beat.”

In the 9th, the first batter, Craig Counsell faced a 99 mile-per-hour fastball before feebly striking out on a curveball. Counsell struck out on a half swing. Verlander then threw nasty curves to Tony Graffanino and just like he did to start the game, Verlander had back-to-back strikeouts. Graffanino struck out four times last night. The next batter was J.J. Hardy who saw two 101 mph fastballs, the first was a swing and a miss, the second was fouled away.

After the next pitch Verlander stepped away from the mound. “I had to take a breath. That last pitch was high, out of the strike zone, but very hittable.” Verlander said. “I had to take a breather.” Hardy fouled off the next pitch. On pitch number 112, Hardy hit a high fly to right.

Ordonez drifted back.

Verlander lifted both his arms in the air.

Ordonez caught ball.

Pudge Rodriguez rushed the mound to hug Verlander.

“The last two pitches to me were both curveballs and I think he was throwing them harder than he had all night.” Hardy said.

There were two great plays made by his Tigers teammates, the first by Magglio Ordonez which was sliding catch of a line drive to right in the 7th and the second was by shortstop Neifi Perez who turned a sharp grounder in the 8th for the final double play outs. Perez dove for the ball to his left and then flipped it over his right shoulder to Placido Polanco at second who threw to Sean Casey at first for the double play.

In the dugout, Perez was surrounded by teammates congratulating him and Verlander managed to stick his hand in to congratulate him as well. Then Verlander sat down next to Omar Infante, who got up and left. Verlander said in a post game interview the words we have read so many times by pitchers whose teammates don’t want to put a whammy on their star during the game, “I felt a little lonely.”

The no-hitter was the first thrown against the Brewers since Minnesota’s Scott Erickson did it at the Metrodome on April 27, 1994. Jack Morris was the last Tigers pitcher to throw a no-hitter, topping the Chicago White Sox in Chicago in 1984. Before that Jim Bunning, who had been the last Tigers pitcher to throw a no-hitter ahead of Morris, was 25 when he did it at Boston in 1957, retiring Ted Williams on a fly ball to Al Kaline for the game’s final out.

“One of the most special moments of my life,” Verlander said, postgame. “The most special moment of my life to this point.”

Oh yes, in case you were wondering, the Brookline Falcons won, 1-0. They pursue history next on Friday evening.

Top of the 2nd
Two of baseball’s best sinkerball pitchers went at it last night and they each reminded people what happens when a sinker doesn’t sink…it stinks. Brandon Webb of the Arizona Diamondbacks faced Chien-Ming Wang of the Yankees at the Stadium last night and the Yankees reached the .500 mark for the first time since May 9. Wang had the lowest home run rate in the majors last season, allowing .5 homers every nine innings. Webb was second, at .57. But in the 1st inning the red-hot Bobby Abreu homered to give the Yanks a 3-0 lead. Chad Tracy homer into the right-field seats with one out in the 4th off of Wang, but his came with the bases empty.

With the 4-1 victory, the Yankees, have won seven in a row and 10 of 12, and trail the Red Sox who defeated Colorado last night 2-1, by nine and a half games in the American League East and are five and a half back in the wild-card race, with Detroit and Cleveland tied atop the A.L. Central at 37-26.

With a 31-31 record, the Yankees have 100 games to see if they can make the playoffs for the 13th season in a row.

Top of the 3rd
In what is becoming an increasingly fascinating story line this month, the Seattle Mariners won again yesterday, 5-3 in 13 innings. Making their first visit to Wrigley Field, Seattle picked up its fifth consecutive win and flu-ridden reliever J.J. Putz’s picked up his 19th save in 19 attempts. It was the fifth straight game Seattle has won in its final at-bat. The Mariners are nine games over .500 and three games behind the division-leading Los Angeles Angels.

Top of the 4th
Cleveland starter Fausto Carmona got his first loss in his last 11 starts, allowing three runs, all earned, on five hits in seven innings as the Marlins got a 3-0 win. Scott Olsen allowed three hits in seven innings for the victory. Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore pinch hit in the ninth inning against the Marlins, extending his consecutive-games played streak to 259. Miguel Tejada , of the Orioles, is the active leader with 1,144 consecutive games played.

Top of the 5th
The Phillies Cole Hamels gave up back-to-back homers in the 1st inning to Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko, but he settled down, striking out eight as Philadelphia defeated the White Sox, 7-3. Hamels is the first National League pitcher to win nine games this season and leads the league in strikeouts (104) and homers allowed (16). Chase Utley was 3-for-3 with a two-run homer and four RBIs.

The Phils are just one behind the Braves and three behind the Mets in what promises to be an interesting three team NL East race.

Top of the 6th
Justin Verlander is the sixth in Tigers history to throw a no-hitter. Here are the others:
Date Pitcher Result
April 7, 1984 Jack Morris at Chicago, 4-0
July 20, 1958 Jim Bunning at Boston, 3-0
Aug. 25, 1952 Virgil Trucks at New York, 1-0
May 15, 1952 Virgil Trucks vs. Washington Senators, 1-0
July 14, 1912 George Mullin vs. St. Louis Browns, 7-0

Top of the 7th
Chicago White Sox at Philadelphia Phillies, 1:05 pm
(L) John Danks (3-6) vs. (R) Kyle Kendrick (0-0)
Toronto Blue Jays at San Francisco Giants, 3:35 pm
(R) Dustin McGowan (2-2) vs. (R) Tim Lincecum (2-0)
Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles, 7:05 pm
(L) Matt Chico (3-4) vs. (R) Steve Trachsel (5-4)
Colorado Rockies at Boston Red Sox, 7:05 pm
(R) Josh Fogg (1-5) vs. (R) Curt Schilling (6-2)
Cleveland Indians at Florida Marlins, 7:05 pm
(L) Cliff Lee (2-4) vs. (R) Byung-Hyun Kim (3-2)
Milwaukee Brewers at Detroit Tigers, 7:05 pm
(L) Chris Capuano (5-5) vs. (L) Mike Maroth (4-2)
Texas Rangers at Pittsburgh Pirates, 7:05 pm
(R) Robinson Tejeda (5-6) vs. (R) Ian Snell (5-4)
Arizona Diamondbacks at New York Yankees, 7:05 pm
(R) Livan Hernandez (5-3) vs. (R) Mike Mussina (2-3)
San Diego Padres at Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 7:10 pm
(R) Jake Peavy (7-1) vs. (R) Edwin Jackson (0-7)
LA Angels of Anaheim at Cincinnati Reds, 7:10 pm
(R) John Lackey (9-4) vs. (R) Kyle Lohse (3-7)
Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros, 8:05 pm
(R) Joe Blanton (5-4) vs. (R) Chris Sampson (6-5)
Seattle Mariners at Chicago Cubs, 8:05 pm
(R) Miguel Batista (7-4) vs. (L) Sean Marshall (2-2)
Atlanta Braves at Minnesota Twins, 8:10 pm
(L) Chuck James (5-5) vs. (R) Carlos Silva (3-7)
St. Louis Cardinals at Kansas City Royals, 8:10 pm
(R) Adam Wainwright (4-5) vs. (L) Odalis Perez (3-6)
New York Mets at Los Angeles Dodgers, 10:10 pm
(R) Jorge Sosa (6-1) vs. (R) Brad Penny (7-1)

Top of the 8th
Mets starter John Maine allowed Wilson Betemit, Matt Kemp and Hong-Chih Kuo to homer on three consecutive pitches for the Dodgers in the 2nd inning (the next batter, Rafael Furcal lined out to second) and the Dodgers beat the Mets, 4-1, the Mets eighth loss in nine games.

Top of the 9th
Verlander’s no-hitter is the 10th in Detroit. Here are the others:
Date Pitcher Result
July 15, 1973 Nolan Ryan California Angels, 6-0
April 27, 1973 Steve Busby Kansas City, 3-0
May 15, 1952 Virgil Trucks vs. Washington Senators, 1-0
June 30, 1948 Bob Lemon Cleveland, 2-0
April 30, 1922 Charley Robertson Chicago, 2-0 (perfect game)
June 3, 1918 Hub Leonard Boston, 5-0
Aug. 30, 1912 Earl Hamilton St. Louis Browns, 5-1
July 14, 1912 George Mullin vs. St. Louis Browns, 7-0
Sept. 6, 1905 Frank Smith Chicago, 15-0

Bottom of the 9th
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