Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-6-27

6/27/2007
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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The only spin here is on my screwball

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Top of the 1st
BILLY-BALL STARS
Yesterday, I gave you my selections for the All-Star game; the best players at each position so far this season. Here are my first Billy-Ball selections, the WORST at each position, so far this season.

AL
1B – Richie Sexson – his 15 homers and 46 RBI simply does not compensate for a .213 batting average. Sexson has 54 hits and 56 strikeouts.
2B – Tadahito Iguchi, who is not awful, but somebody has to get the honor.
SS – Julio Lugo, hands down is the worst player in the majors this season. Lugo is hitting .191 and is in an 0-29 slump. His last hit was on June 14.
3B – Joe Crede is hitting all of .216 with four dingers.
OF – Corey Patterson is hitting .213 with 1 homer and 18 RBI
OF – Elijah Dukes – trouble, trouble, trouble
OF – Jay Gibbons

NL
2B – Adam Kennedy and his .211 batting average is our Ball-Star. Chris Woodward is the back-up, but Jamey carrol gets a little love as well.
SS – Cesar Iztouris – has a half-decent, but totally non-productive .253 batting average. He’s driven home eight runs and have scored on 13 times.
3B – Wilson Betemit has forced Nomar over to third base for the Dodgers. Wilson is hitting .197 he does have 8 homers, but only 20 RBI.
OF – Andruw Jones – Oh, how the mighty has fallen
OF – Pat Burrell
OF – Joe Borchard
OF – Carlos Quentin

I know I have left some players out, so feel free to email your suggestions – bill@billy-ball.com

Top of the 2nd
SHOPPACH A GLUTTON FOR PUNISHMENT
Cleveland’s reserve catcher Kelly Shoppach hit a pinch-hit three-run homer as the Indians scored five times in the bottom of the 9th to top the Oakland Athletics, 8-5. Shoppach homered off his former Red Sox teammate Alan Embree (1-1) hit a 1-0 fastball into the left-field bleachers for his fourth homer.

Cleveland’s sixth win in nine games pulled the Indians into a first-place tie with Detroit in the AL Central and extended Oakland’s losing streak to a season-high five games. It was the Indians’ 150th win in their last at bat at Jacobs Field, which opened in 1994

Shoppach was pounded by pumped teammates as he crossed the plate, “It was exciting,” Shoppach said. “I ran harder than usual because I was in a hurry to get beat up.”

Top of the 3rd
YOU NEVER KNOW
It’s hard to figure what will bring a team together to set them on a winning streak. In the case of the Milwaukee Brewers it was being no-hit. With last night’s 11-5 pounding of the Astros, the NL Central leaders have won 11 of 13 since Detroit’s Justin Verlander threw a no-hitter at them on June 12. The Astros, with one game left of a nine-game road trip, have lost six of their last eight. With the victory the Brewers are 29-13 at Miller Park, the best record in the NL. Only the Los Angeles Angels are better at home, with a 29-12 record.

Top of the 4th
CARLOS THE SPEED MERCHANT
There are very few cooler events in baseball than the steal of home, but when a catcher does it, we stand and cheer (I’m doing that as I write, I trust you are doing the same as you read). Carlos Ruiz became the first Phillies catcher to steal home in 25 years as the Phils buried the Reds, 11-4. Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino and Chase Utley homered for
the Phillies (40-36) who are a season-best four games above .500. Josh Hamilton and Adam Dunn hit solo homers for the Reds, who have the NL’s worst record (29-48).

In the 2nd inning, Reds catcher David Ross attempted to throw out Michael Bourn, at second, and Ruiz scored when shortstop Alex Gonzalez’s return throw home was off the mark. Bo Diaz was the last catcher to steal home for Philadelphia. He did it against Pittsburgh on June 18, 1982. Scott Rolen was the last Phillies player to do it on June 5, 1997, against the Cubs. Angels catcher Jose Molina is the only other catcher to steal home this season. That was also part of a delayed double steal.

Top of the 5th
COUNTING DOWN TO THE JULY 31ST TRADE DEADLINE
How soon will we see Mark Teixeira playing first for the Dodgers and perhaps Eric Gagne returning to Chavez Ravine as well?

With all the rumors about Mark Buehrle switching Sox, is it possible he’s heading to the Mets?

I keep wondering if Theo is looking for another new shortstop.

Top of the 6th
TWINS SCHEDULE STADIUM GROUNDBREAKING EVENT
The official groundbreaking for the new Twins ballpark in downtown Minneapolis will follow the Twins-Royals game on Aug. 2. The ballpark, not yet named, is scheduled to open for the 2010 season. Its cost currently is estimated at $522 million.

The Twins beat the Blue Jays yesterday, 2-1 in 12 innings.

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
AL
Texas Rangers at Detroit Tigers, 1:05 pm
(R) Kevin Millwood (4-6) vs. (L) Kenny Rogers (1-0)
Kansas City Royals at LA Angels of Anaheim, 3:35 pm
(L) Jorge De La Rosa (4-9) vs. (R) Jered Weaver (6-3)
Boston Red Sox at Seattle Mariners, 4:35 pm
(R) Daisuke Matsuzaka (9-5) vs. (L) Ryan Feierabend (1-2)
New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles, 7:05 pm
(R) Roger Clemens (1-2) vs. (L) Erik Bedard (5-4)
Oakland Athletics at Cleveland Indians, 7:05 pm
(L) Lenny DiNardo (2-4) vs. (R) Fausto Carmona (8-3)
Chicago White Sox at Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 7:10 pm
(L) Mark Buehrle (4-4) vs. (R) Andrew Sonnanstine (1-2)
Toronto Blue Jays at Minnesota Twins, 8:10 pm
(R) Josh Towers (2-5) vs. (R) Boof Bonser (5-3)
NL
Houston Astros at Milwaukee Brewers, 2:05 pm
(R) Woody Williams (3-10) vs. (R) Jeff Suppan (8-7)
Colorado Rockies at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 pm
(R) Jason Hirsh (3-6) vs. (R) Carlos Zambrano (8-6)
San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants, 3:35 pm
(R) Greg Maddux (6-4) vs. (R) Matt Cain (2-8)
Cincinnati Reds at Philadelphia Phillies, 7:05 pm
(R) Aaron Harang (8-2) vs. (L) Jamie Moyer (7-5)
Pittsburgh Pirates at Florida Marlins, 7:05 pm
(R) John VanBenschoten (0-2) vs. (R) Sergio Mitre (2-3)
St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets, 7:10 pm
(R) Anthony Reyes (0-9) vs. (L) Tom Glavine (6-5)
Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves, 7:35 pm
(L) Micah Bowie (4-2) vs. (R) John Smoltz (8-4)
Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks, 9:40 pm
(R) Derek Lowe (8-6) vs. (R) Brandon Webb (7-5)

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
With a save last night in the Padres 3-2 10 inning victory over the Giants, Trevor Hoffman has 502 career saves, the last 500 of them with the Padres. Hoffman’s first two saves came as a member of the Marlins.

Top of the 9th
READY TO GO
Almost two years after he retired, Troy Percival is back pitching in the big leagues. Percival joined the Cardinals yesterday after appearing in six games for Triple-A Memphis with a 1.35 ERA in 6 2/3 innings snce he signed with the organization June 8. The 37-year-old Percival, 12th on the career saves list with 324, left the majors because of persistent soreness in his right shoulder. His last outing was with Detroit on July 9, 2005, when he gave up a game-ending home run to Tampa Bay’s Jonny Gomes

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.