Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-6-19

6/19/2007
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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Remembering Lou Gehrig born June 19, 1903

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Top of the 1st
PERLOZZO GETS WHACKED
The scene is a New Jersey diner.

Sitting in the booth are three family members, waiting for the fourth. They’re munching on onion rings.

The wife speaks, “You know Ton, I always liked this song.” Tony grunts.

She continues, “Tony, what’s the matter with you?”

“It’s that guy in the Members Only jacket, the one who just went to do his business,” Tony says gesturing toward the bathroom. “He’s one of Angelo’s guys and I know why he’s in the region.”

“Is this it?” the son asks.

“Yeah,” Tony responds. “They’re going to whack Sam Perlozzo.”

And yesterday they did.

The last place Baltimore Orioles, spiraling amidst an eight game losing streak, gave their manager the axe, the axe, the axe. The madey the move for a very simple reason…you can’t fire everybody else in the organization and you certainly can’t fire the owner.

Baltimore’s 29-40 record is the fifth-worst in the major leagues. The Orioles trail first-place Boston by 15 1/2 games in the AL East.

The $90 million-plus team is not done trying to change direction. A baseball source said Angelos also will be hiring former Minnesota Twins and Chicago Cubs executive Andy MacPhail as the club’s chief operating officer to attempt to guide the listing ship. Vice presidents Mike Flanagan and Jim Duquette, whose contracts expire in 2008, have already stopped at the Post Office for change of address forms. Peter Schmuck, brilliantly writes in today’s Baltimore Sun, “this is the owner who insisted nearly a decade ago that the conventional baseball operations hierarchy was obsolete and created a new paradigm that turned out to be worth less than a pair of dimes.”

Perlozzo joins Ray Miller, Mike Hargrove, and Lee Mazzilli in the not very exclusive group of managers who have failed in their attempts to rescue the Orioles who will have their 10th straight losing season in 2007. The O’s had not had more than three consecutive losing seasons in their first 45 years.

Since Davey Johnson led the Orioles to a first-place finish in 1997, no one has been able to win in Baltimore. Believe it or not, Johnson has been mentioned as a possible successor to Perlozzo although numerous sources say that the favorite is Joe Girardi, who won the National League Manager of the Year award last season with the Florida Marlins and was subsequently fired. Angelos henchmen are planning to meet with Girardi today in Chicago. If they don’t like what they hear, or if Girardi decides to wait to see what happens with Joe Torre after this season, I think Dusty Baker will be the manager. Baker and MacPhail were with the Cubs until the end of last season.

Meanwhile, Orioles bullpen coach Dave Trembley is singing “If I Were King of the Forest” (try to get that song out of your head) and is serving as interim manager as the Woe’s face the San Diego Padres in California. Perlozzo himself was an interim manager after the Orioles dismissed Mazzilli on Aug. 4, 2005. After guiding Baltimore to a 23-32 record that season, Perlozzo signed a three-year contract in October 2005. He finished 122-164, including 70-92 last season. Pitching coach Leo Mazzone, who joined the Orioles last year because of his friendship with Perlozzo, will continue to destroy his reputation as his staff has a 4.27 ERA and a league-leading 276 walks.

Back at the New Jersey diner…

“Poor Sam,” Carmela says, “he’s such a good guy.”

“This stinks,” A.J. adds, “the misguided policies of the Angelos and Bush and everybody has to pay for it.”

Tony snorts, “It’s always so simple for you isn’t it? You know if Jay Gibbons could have gotten a hit, than Angelos wouldn’t have had to make the hit. You know it’s not easy being a boss.”

“It’s not easy being a fan,” A.J. snaps in response.

“Could we please talk about something more pleasant?” Carmela implores. “I really like this song, who sings it.”

“Journey” Tony and AJ say together smiling. “Don’t you remember?” Tony adds, “I played it when we were here last week.”

“Yeah, what a difference a week….”

Cut to black.

Top of the 2nd
CHONE CHANGES HIS NAME TO CHSIX
Chone Figgins went 6 for 6, including a game-winning RBI triple in the 9th inning that gave the Los Angeles Angels a 10-9 victory over the Houston Astros. Figgins had a double and four singles to go with his 40th career triple and first this season. He drove in three runs and matched Garret Anderson’s 1996 franchise record for hits in a game, helping the Angels rally from a 9-4 deficit and maintain their six-game lead in the AL West.

“This is one of those special games,” Figgins said. “You can’t explain it. You just stay within yourself. The thing about it was that the game was close, so it made you concentrate even more to get a hit. I don’t think I ever did that in a video game, much less in a professional game.”

Figgins became the first major league player to get six hits since Seattle’s Raul Ibanez on Sept. 22, 2004, at Anaheim, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Top of the 3rd
COCO AUDITIONS TO REPLACE ANDRUW
I think both the Red Sox and the Braves would be happy to consider ending this series with the other team’s centerfielder. Coco Crisp went 4-for-4 with a pair of solo home runs to lift his batting average to .247, which is its highest since May 2 (.250). Crisp recorded his first career multi-homer game, and has hit safely in five consecutive games (9-for-14) and 9-of-10. Yet Crisp’s effort was for naught as Curt Schilling was slammed in the Sox 9-4 loss.

The Senator pitched 4.1 innings last night giving up six runs on 10 hits and two walks, striking out none and permitting the Braves to go 3-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Edgar Renteria (why can’t the Sox get a shortstop like him?), Chipper Jones and Brian McCann (3-run homer) went7-for-9 with five RBI and five runs scored against Schilling. Schilling had made 348 starts since his last one without a strikeout. On July 1, 1993, Schilling surrendered 11 runs in only 2 innings of Philadelphia’s 14-5 loss to the Cardinals in St. Louis. The blogger hadn’t completed a start with more walks than strikeouts since May 28, 1998, when he walked three Chicago Cubs and struck out two for the Phillies.

Since Schilling pitched his almost no-hitter against the Athletics on June 7, broken up with two outs in the 9th, he’s given up 19 hits and 11 earned runs in 9 1/3 innings. The six runs allowed to the Braves were a season high for Schilling, while the stint of 4 1/3 innings was his shortest since opening day. In that one, he lasted only four innings at Kansas City for his briefest start since 2001.

Meanwhile Andruw Jones, now 30, is a five-time All-Star in his 12th big league season. He has won nine Gold Gloves in center field, hit 30 or more home runs in seven seasons and has 353 career homers. But after last night’s 0-for-4, with poor at bats, he’s hitting only .205, the low mark among National League regulars.

Top of the 4th
ABOUT SCHMIDT
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Jason Schmidt is going back on the disabled list because of a right shoulder problem. Schmidt gave up gave up five hits and three runs in 4 2/3 innings Saturday, walking four and striking out two to leave him with a 1-4 record and a 6.31 ERA in his third start since missing 45 games because of bursitis in his shoulder.

Top of the 5th
DELTA IS READY WHEN HANK IS
Delta Air Lines honored baseball’s home run king, Hank Aaron, by naming a Boeing 757 the ‘Hank Aaron 755’ – the number of total home runs the slugger hit with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers. The plane is branded with artwork from Aaron’s historic 715th home run, which beat Babe Ruth’s record.

Meanwhile, BALCO has named a blimp after Barry B*nds.

Top of the 6th
CUST MAKES PIAZZA A CATCHER (AGAIN)
When the 38-year old Mike Piazza returns from the DL it won’t be as a DH, it will be as the catcher that he thought he would no longer be. Piazza has been sidelined since May 3 with a sprained right shoulder, missing his 41st game Sunday against St. Louis. Piazza, playing in the American League and as a DH for the first time after 15 seasons as a catcher, is batting .280 with one home run and four RBIs in just 25 games in 2007. A’s manager Bob Geren, general manager Billy Beane and assistant GM David Forst met late Saturday and made the decision, and a big reason behind it was the fact Jack Cust has done such a good job as DH in Piazza’s absence.

Geren isn’t ready to call Piazza the backup to durable starting catcher Jason Kendall, who has caught at least 143 games in each of the past seven seasons and 150 or more in four of those years.

“That’s cool,” Kendall said. “He’s caught 1,800 games. That’s awesome. Physically, it’s like riding a bike, you get used to it. You get to a point it’s like a mind-set. I feel more comfortable squatting than I do standing up. Anybody who’s caught that many games, between the two of us we should have an idea of what we’re doing.”

Cust is batting .276 with nine homers and 25 RBIs since the A’s acquired him May 3 from the San Diego Padres in a minor league trade. Five of his homers have come in the 7th inning or later, and five of those gave Oakland the lead.

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
Philadelphia Phillies at Cleveland Indians, 7:05 pm
(R) Kyle Kendrick (0-0) vs. (L) Jason Stanford (1-0)
Detroit Tigers at Washington Nationals, 7:05 pm
(R) Chad Durbin (5-3) vs. (R) Jason Simontacchi (4-4)
Los Angeles Dodgers at Toronto Blue Jays, 7:07 pm
(R) Brad Penny (8-1) vs. (R) Dustin McGowan (3-2)
Minnesota Twins at New York Mets, 7:10 pm
(L) Johan Santana (6-6) vs. (R) Jorge Sosa (6-2)
Boston Red Sox at Atlanta Braves, 7:35 pm
(R) Josh Beckett (9-1) vs. (R) Tim Hudson (6-4)
Kansas City Royals at St. Louis Cardinals, 8:10 pm
(R) Scott Elarton (2-2) vs. (R) Brad Thompson (4-2)
Florida Marlins at Chicago White Sox, 8:11 pm
(L) Dontrelle Willis (7-6) vs. (L) John Danks (3-6)
Chicago Cubs at Texas Rangers, 8:35 pm
(L) Sean Marshall (3-2) vs. (R) Robinson Tejeda (5-7)
New York Yankees at Colorado Rockies, 9:05 pm
(R) Mike Mussina (3-3) vs. (R) Josh Fogg (2-5)
Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Arizona Diamondbacks, 9:40 pm
(L) JP Howell (1-1) vs. (L) Doug Davis (4-8)
Cincinnati Reds at Oakland Athletics, 10:05 pm
(R) Homer Bailey (1-0) vs. (R) Chad Gaudin (6-1)
Houston Astros at LA Angels of Anaheim, 10:05 pm
(R) Jason Jennings (0-1) vs. (R) Bartolo Colon (6-2)
Pittsburgh Pirates at Seattle Mariners, 10:05 pm
(L) Tom Gorzelanny (6-4) vs. (R) Miguel Batista (7-5)
Baltimore Orioles at San Diego Padres, 10:05 pm
(R) Steve Trachsel (5-4) vs. (R) Jake Peavy (8-1)
NL
San Francisco Giants at Milwaukee Brewers, 8:05 pm
(R) Tim Lincecum (2-1) vs. (R) Ben Sheets (7-3)

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
Tampa Bay defeated Arizona last night, 10-2. The Devil Rays have a 7-0 record against their 1998 expansion partners.

Top of the 9th
CONGRATULATIONS
Congratulations to Bill and Max Chuck whose daughter Jennifer is finally graduating elementary school tonight after nine years. Actually, Jen and her buddies have been at the Devotion School since kindergarten and are finishing 8th grade tonight and heading to Brookline High School in the fall.

Jen, your parents are so unbelievably proud of you. Congratulations on a terrific job at Devo.

Much love,
Billy-Ball

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.