Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-6-26

6/26/2007
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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Happy Birthday to Derek Jeter – June 26, 1974 and Abner Doubleday – June 26, 1819

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Top of the 1st
MY ALL-STAR SELECTIONS
It is indeed finally time to vote for the All-Star team. Each team has 32 players – the fans select the eight starting position players. The players’ ballot accounts for 16 more — 8 position players, 5 starting pitchers and 3 relievers — leaving 8 spots to be filled.
The manager is awarded seven selections, and the final slot will be chosen during online voting in the week before the game July 10 in San Francisco. The teams will be announced Sunday evening.
Here are my selections:

National League
First base: Prince Fielder, Brewers. The Prince is first in the NL in home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage. Derrek Lee, Cubs; and Dmitri Young of the Nats are my back-ups. Guess what? That means no Albert Pujols.
Second base: Chase Utley, Phillies. The Chase is on. What a great ballplayer. Orlando Hudson, Diamondbacks; Brandon Phillips. Reds are my back-ups.
Shortstop: Jose Reyes, Mets – this is a close one because Edgar Renteria, Braves is also having such a great season including hitting for power. But Reyes speed is a game changer and he’s my All-Star. Absolutely right behind these guys is Hanley Ramirez, Marlins and not too far behind him is J.J Hardy, Brewers. The premier position in the National League.
Third base: Miguel Cabrera, Marlins – This one was easy. There are few players at any position that you would put ahead of Miggy. Cabrera is hitting .330, is among the league leaders in home runs, RBIs, hits and total bases. Aramis Ramirez, Cubs and David Wright, Mets are my back-ups.
Catcher: Russell Martin, Dodgers. I love this guy, he does it all. Excluding Marin, baseball’s remaining top 15 catchers have 14 stolen bases; Martin has 13 by himself. Plus .300 average with decent power makes him an All-Star. Bengie Molina, Giants and Paul LoDuca are my back-ups.
Outfield: Matt Holliday, Rockies (leads the NL in hitting and total bases); Alfonso Soriano, Cubs; Eric Byrnes (a personal favorite); Arizona are my choices, but I will admit after Holliday, I’m not thrilled. Ken Griffey Jr., Reds should be on the team ahead of Byrnes. Aaron Rowand, Phillies; Brad Hawpe, Rockies; Jason Bay, Pirates; Carlos Lee, Astros;; and Anybody But B*nds are my back-ups.

American League:
First base: Casey Kotchman, Angels is my All-Star with his OPS being the difference over Justin Morneau, Twins. David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis,Red Sox; and Mark Teixeira, Rangers are my other back-ups in this position rich with talent
Second base: Placido Polanco, Tigers. The Phillies traded Placido so that Chase could be an All-Star. Brian Roberts, Orioles and Aaron Hill of Toronto are my back-ups.
Shortstop: Derek Jeter, Yankees – A no brainer but Orlando Cabrera, Angels; Carlos Guillen, Tigers are both having terrific seasons as well. Great players like Brandon Harris of Tampa, Jhonny Peralta, Cleveland and Yuniesky Betancourt, seattle all are having great seasons but don’t make the cut.
Third base: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees; No discussion. A-Rod is the best player in baseball right now. Mike Lowell, Red Sox and I guess, Ty Wigginton, Tampa are my back-ups.
Catcher: Jorge Posada, Yankees; Victor Martinez, Indians (any other year and he is the selection); Ivan Rodriguez, Tigers
Outfield: Magglio Ordonez, Tigers (Ordonez leads the league in hitting, doubles, on-base percentage, extra-base hits and. batting average with runners in scoring position); Vladimir Guerrero, Angels; Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners are my All-Stars.; Torii Hunter, Twins; Carl Crawford, Tampa and I guess Manny are my back-ups. I could also go with Grady Sizemore, Indians.

Vote up to 25 times on the All-Star Online Ballot through June 28 – http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2007/index.jsp

Top of the 2nd
11
C.C. should change those initials to represent his wins. Sabathia joined Boston’s Josh Beckett as the majors’ only 11-game winners by leading the Cleveland Indians to a 5-2 victory over the Athletics. Sabathia (11-2) allowed nine hits in his second complete game this month to improve to 2-5 in 12 career starts against the A’s, the team he pulled for as a kid growing up in Vallejo, Calif. The left-hander had been 0-4 vs. Oakland since last beating the A’s on July 30, 2003. Sabathia struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter. In his last 14 starts, Sabathia has walked only 11 and not more than one in any outing. He has 89 strikeouts over the same span. Sabathia is the first Indians left-hander to win 11 games before June 30 since Sam McDowell in 1970.

Oakland has lost a season-high four straight, and seven of nine overall.

Top of the 3rd
10
Brad Penny earned his 10th victory to help Los Angeles beat Arizona, 8-1. Penny (10-1) allowed one run and four hits in eight innings, lowering his NL-leading ERA to 2.04. His only loss this season came against the Los Angeles Angels on May 18. Jonathan Broxton pitched the ninth to complete the five-hitter.

Penny improved to 7-2 lifetime against the Diamondbacks, who drafted him in the fifth round in 1996, two years before they played their first game. Penny was named Arizona’s minor league pitcher of the year in 1998, but the next season the Diamondbacks traded Penny, still in the minors, to Florida.
Top of the 4th
9
Ben Sheets won his fifth consecutive decision in Milwaukee’s 6-1 victory over Houston. Prince Fielder hit his NL-leading 27th home run, one less than he had last season, and J.J. Hardy added a solo shot. The Brewers, are an NL-best 28-13 at Miller Park and have won 10 of their last 12 games since being no-hit by the Tigers’ Justin Verlander on June 12. Sheets (9-3) allowed five hits and three walks in six innings while striking out five. He’s allowed three runs or fewer in each of his last 13 starts and has won five straight decisions for the first time since 2001, his rookie year. But he’s only averaging 4.4 strikeouts per start this season after managing 5.7 over the course of his injury-plagued seven-year career.

Top of the 5th
INTERLEAGUE WRAP
For the second straight year, the 252 games set an attendance record, averaging 34,905 fans a game. Attendance for all games is up from last season’s record, but the interleague average is 15.4 percent higher than the intraleague average, 30,257.
Here are the contenders interleague records:
The Tigers and the Los Angeles Angels had the best record in the AL – 14-4
Boston – 12-6
Twins – 11-7
Oakland -10-8
Yankees – 10-8
Toronto – 10-8
Indians – 9-9
Seattle – 9-9
Cubs – 8-4
Mets – 8-7
Phils – 8-7
Milwaukee – 8-7
Padres – 6-9
Cards – 6-9
Dodgers – 5-10
Braves – 4-11

Top of the 6th
THE METS THINK GREEN
The Mets conserved their energy last night at Shea getting only three hits, but the third was an 11th inning walk-off homer by Shawn Green against Russ Springer to beat St. Louis, 2-1. The Mets matched a season high with their fourth victory in a row and their seventh straight regular-season win against St. Louis. Mike Maroth was brilliant in his Cardinals’ debut only allowing the Mets two hits and one run in 7.2 innings. Maroth also singled, stole a base and laid down a sacrifice bunt.

So Taguchi extended his career-high hitting streak to 17 games and Adam Kennedy picked up his 1,000th major league hit.
Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles, 7:05 pm
(L) Andy Pettitte (4-5) vs. (R) Jeremy Guthrie (4-1)
Oakland Athletics at Cleveland Indians, 7:05 pm
(R) Danny Haren (9-2) vs. (L) Cliff Lee (4-4)
Texas Rangers at Detroit Tigers, 7:05 pm
(R) Willie Eyre (2-3) vs. (L) Nate Robertson (4-6)
Chicago White Sox at Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 7:10 pm
(R) Jon Garland (4-5) vs. (R) James Shields (6-2)
Toronto Blue Jays at Minnesota Twins, 8:10 pm
(R) Shaun Marcum (4-2) vs. (R) Scott Baker (2-2)
Boston Red Sox at Seattle Mariners, 10:05 pm
(L) Kason Gabbard (1-0) vs. (R) Felix Hernandez (4-4)
Kansas City Royals at LA Angels of Anaheim, 10:05 pm
(R) Gil Meche (4-6) vs. (R) Ervin Santana (5-7)
NL
Cincinnati Reds at Philadelphia Phillies, 7:05 pm
(R) Homer Bailey (2-0) vs. (R) Kyle Kendrick (1-0)
Pittsburgh Pirates at Florida Marlins, 7:05 pm
(L) Paul Maholm (3-10) vs. (L) Dontrelle Willis (7-6)
St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets, 7:10 pm
(R) Todd Wellemeyer (2-0) vs. (L) Oliver Perez (7-6)
Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves, 7:35 pm
(L) Mike Bacsik (1-4) vs. (R) Buddy Carlyle (1-2)
Houston Astros at Milwaukee Brewers, 8:05 pm
(L) Wandy Rodriguez (4-6) vs. (R) Claudio Vargas (6-1)
Colorado Rockies at Chicago Cubs, 8:05 pm
(R) Rodrigo Lopez (4-0) vs. (L) Ted Lilly (5-4)
Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks, 9:40 pm
(R) Chad Billingsley (4-0) vs. (R) Edgar Gonzalez (3-2)
San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants, 10:15 pm
(L) David Wells (3-5) vs. (L) Barry Zito (6-8)

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
Jeremy Bonderman was trying to match Bobo Newsom’s 67-year-old Tigers record of 18 starts without a loss, but fell short as the Texas Rangers beat Detroit, 8-3. Bonderman’s last loss came in Minnesota on Sept. 10.

Top of the 9th
OVER AND OUT
For the season, managers have been thrown out 54 times. Only three managers have not been ejected this season – veteran St. Louis manager Tony La Russa who has 73 career ejections, good for seventh on the all-time list, one more than Lou Piniella; and two first year manager’s Washington’s Manny Acta and Texas’ Ron Washington.

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.