Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-7-12

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

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The only spin here is on my screwball

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Top of the 1st
The All-Star break only feels like forever but as San Diego outfielder Brian Giles said, “Now the fun starts.”

* Tom Glavine has 297 wins.
* Glavine has 197 losses.
* Alex Rodriguez has 494 homers
* Jim Thome has 486 homers
* Junior Griffey has 586 homers
* Manny Ramirez has 481 homers
* For the first time since the last expansion, in 1998, home runs are being hit at a pace of fewer than two a game at this time of year.
* Barry B*nds has 597 doubles
* Craig Biggio has been hit by 285 pitches; he’s two away from tying Hughie Jennings all-time record
* Biggio (661) needs four doubles to tie George Brett for fifth place all-time
* Biggio (3,013) needs seven hits to tie Raffy Palm*iro,10 hits to tie Lou Brock, 40 hits to tie Rod Carew and 42 hits to tie Rickey Henderson for 20th place on the all-time hit list.
* Kenny Lofton needs five runs scored for 1,500
* Lofton’s (619) next stolen base ties him with Otis “My Man” Nixon for 15th place all-time.
* Pedro Martinez has 2,998 strikeouts.
* David Wells has surrendered 395 homers.
* Paul Byrd has surrendered 199.
* The American League has bested its counterpart in interleague play each of the last four seasons, winning this year’s round 137-115. (Since interleague play began in 1997, the AL leads the NL 1,387 to 1,317.)
* Tim Wakefield has given up 990 walks.
* Juan Pierre of the Los Angeles Dodgers is the closest player to Cal Ripken’s mark of 2,632 consecutive games played. Pierre has played in 361 straight.
* The Yankees have a 9-14 record against lefty starters.
* The Padres longest losing streak was four (June 8-12, vs. Dodgers, vs. Seattle, at Tampa Bay).
* Ervin Santana has a 1-8 record on the road.
* Alex Rodriguez is only hitting .253 with four home runs against lefties.
* Gary Sheffield is hitting .305 with five home runs against lefties.
* Matt Holliday ranks second in the NL with a .341 average, third with 69 RBI and sixth with a .573 slugging percentage.
* The Padres’ Jake Peavy is 9-3, 2.19 ERA and Chris Young is 8-3, 2.00 which leads the league in ERA.
* Magglio Ordonez has a .367 average, 13 homers, 70 RBIs, .446 on-base percentage, .604 slugging percentage and the lead over A-Rod for MVP.
* Milwaukee has not finished a season over .500 since 1992.
* And finally, the Philadelphia Phillies have 9,999 losses

Top of the 2nd
At 49-36, the Mariners are three games back of Boston for the best record in baseball.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox are 5-8 in their last 13 games, with just one series win (against the horrid Rays) in their last four tries. The really good news is that the Sox are 13-3 in Josh Beckett’s starts. Boston starts the second half by opening an 11-game homestand on Thursday against Toronto. The Blue Jays are followed into Fenway by Kansas City and then the White Sox. Boston is eighth in the majors in runs, with 435, thanks in part to a major league-leading on-base percentage of .358.

AL West W L PCT GB Home Away DIV Streak
LA Angels 53 35 .602 — 29-13 24-22 16-9 Lost 1
Seattle 49 36 .576 2 1/2 27-15 22-21 15-11 Won 3
Oakland 44 44 .500 9 23-23 21-21 9-12 Lost 3
Texas 38 50 .432 15 22-22 16-28 8-16 Won 1

Top of the 3rd
Travis Hafner and the Cleveland Indians agreed to a $57 million, four-year contract extension through the 2012 season. The 30-year-old Hafner is batting .262 with 14 homers and 57 RBIs this season after hitting .308 last year with 42 homers and 117 RBIs.

The Indians have reached agreement with two of their three primary free-agent-to-be targets. Earlier in the year they reached a three-year $33 million extension with right-hander Jake Westbrook. C.C. Sabathia, also represented by Legacy Sports Group, can be a free agent after the 2008 season.

While we’re on the subject of the Indians, Billy-Ball loves Grady Sizemore, here’s another reason why. When asked if the AL All-Stars had signs for their hitters and baserunners, Sizemore smiled and said, “Of course we do. It’s a real game, you know. I don’t know what the signs are, but I’m sure we have them.”

AL Central W L PCT GB Home Away DIV Streak
Detroit 52 34 .605 — 25-19 27-15 17-15 Won 5
Cleveland 52 36 .591 1 31-12 21-24 18-9 Lost 1
Minnesota 45 43 .511 8 22-20 23-23 14-17 Lost 2
Chicago WSox 39 47 .453 13 19-25 20-22 15-15 Won 2
Kansas City 38 50 .432 15 20-28 18-22 10-18 Won 2

Top of the 4th
The Toronto Blue Jays are just another member of the under-achieving AL (L)East. The Red Sox are the only team over the .500 mark in a simply dismal first half for this often dominant division. The Jays, like the Yankees, are just one game under .500 which means they are one game shy of mediocrity. They finished the first half with a sweet 1-0 victory of the Indians thanks to the outstanding pitching of Josh Towers, but the Jays are hoping to start strong out of the gate following the Break. They just got Reed Johnson back from the DL and will Lyle Overbay and Troy Glaus will both be returning which should make things interesting as the Jays have an eight-game road swing facing the Boston Red Sox for four games and the New York Yankees for another four.
AL East W L PCT GB Home Away DIV Streak
Boston 53 34 .609 — 28-14 25-20 19-9 Lost 3
Toronto 43 44 .494 10 26-19 17-25 16-14 Won 1
NY Yankees 42 43 .494 10 26-18 16-25 8-17 Won 1
Baltimore 38 49 .437 15 19-21 19-28 14-11 Lost 1
Tampa Bay 34 53 .391 19 19-24 15-29 8-14 Lost 2

Top of the 5th
Rickey Henderson most likely is replacing Rick Down as hitting coach of the New York Mets starting today. Henderson, who had been a special instructor for the Mets this season, is a 10-time All-Star who set career records for stolen bases (1,406) and runs (2,295). New York, which leads the NL East by two games over second-place Atlanta, is sixth in the NL with a .268 team batting average. The New York Times reports that according to a club official, the Mets were deliberating whether to make him the first-base coach and bump Howard Johnson to hitting coach.

NL East W L PCT GB Home Away DIV Streak
NY Mets 48 39 .552 — 23-19 25-20 18-15 Lost 1
Atlanta 47 42 .528 2 22-21 25-21 23-19 Won 1
Philadelphia 44 44 .500 4 1/2 22-21 22-23 16-18 Won 1
Florida 42 47 .472 7 17-25 25-22 18-20 Lost 1
Washington 36 52 .409 12 1/2 19-27 17-25 14-17 Won 2

The soft tissue infection in the right buttocks of Washington Nationals reliever Jesus Colome hospitalized him, but the quote from Washington General Manager Jim Bowden put me in stitches: “We pray for his buttocks and his family. I never had a player who had this problem before. It was a large buttocks problem.”

This from Washington Post writing god Thomas Boswell, “The dog days are coming, the time when losing teams with poor morale sometimes simply roll over. But the Nationals and Orioles have no excuse to play like canines. Remember, where there is pitching, there is hope.”

Phillies prospect C.J. Henry, 21, is batting .171 for Lakewood, the Philadelphia Phillies’ lower-level Class A team in New Jersey. In the last year of his contract, Henry is considering a returning to college to resume playing basketball. Henry was the prize the Phils acquired in the Bobby Abreau deal last season.

Speaking of the Phils, they have used 25 pitchers already, two short of the franchise record.

Bottom of the 5th
The Arizona Diamondbacks changed hitting coaches yesterday, promoting Rick Schu to replace Kevin Seitzer. The Diamondbacks have stayed in contention despite a .248 team batting average, 15th in the NL, and the Diamondbacks’ 371 runs rank 12th. Schu, in his 10th season with the Arizona system, was the organization’s hitting coordinator. Seitzer was in his first year as the Diamondbacks hitting coach. Seitzer, a career .295 hitter in 12 seasons in the majors, had been running a hitting facility near Kansas City before being hired in October. The 45-year-old Schu, who had a .246 batting average over parts of nine major league seasons, also served as the Diamondbacks’ hitting coach in 2004. He was the farm system’s hitting coordinator in 2003 and from 2005 until Wednesday’s move.

In other Arizona news, GM Josh Byrnes didn’t provide a timetable on when Randy Johnson might return, but he said, “It’s not going to be anywhere close” to Saturday, which is the first day Johnson is eligible to be activated from the disabled list.

Byrnes said Johnson would proceed more slowly in his return than he did the last time he was on the DL, when he returned two days after the requisite 15-day period.

The Rockies return to play Friday with a 44-44 record, only the fifth time in their 15-year history they have been .500 or better at the All-Star break, and 5 1/2 games back of NL West-leading San Diego, in fourth place. They begin a 10-game trip to Milwaukee (three games), Pittsburgh (three) and Washington (four) on Friday. The Rockies were swept in Milwaukee each of the past two seasons and have lost their previous seven series in Pittsburgh.

NL West W L PCT GB Home Away DIV Streak
San Diego 49 38 .563 — 25-20 24-18 19-13 Lost 1
Los Angeles 49 40 .551 1 26-20 23-20 18-14 Won 1
Arizona 47 43 .522 3 1/2 25-19 22-24 17-21 Lost 5
Colorado 44 44 .500 5 1/2 26-19 18-25 17-18 Lost 1
San Francisco 38 48 .442 10 1/2 21-21 17-27 17-22 Lost 1

Top of the 6th
If I were voting for the AL Rookie of the Year, in order:
Red Sox Hideki Okajima
Red Sox Daisuke Matsuzaka  
Red Sox Dustin Pedroia

Although Reggie Willits leads AL rookies in batting average, on-base percentage, runs and stolen bases.

If I were voting for the NL Rookie of the Year, in order:
Astros Hunter Pence
Milwaukee Ryan Braun
Reds Josh Hamilton  

Pence started the season in the minors, but leads all major-league rookies in extra-base hits (40), doubles (23), triples (5), total bases (162), and multi-hit games (29.). He also leads the league in batting average (.342), and is tied for third in slugging percentage (.589).

Milwaukee third baseman Ryan Braun is batting .350, but does not qualify for the batting title lead with 163 at-bats in 40 games, starting every game. He was named National League Rookie of the Month for June after batting .382 with six homers and 21 RBIs.

Top of the 7th
Chicago White Sox at Baltimore Orioles, 7:05 pm
(R) Jon Garland (6-6) vs. (R) Jeremy Guthrie (4-2)
Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox, 7:05 pm
(R) Roy Halladay (10-3) vs. (R) Tim Wakefield (9-8)
New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 7:10 pm
(L) Andy Pettitte (4-6) vs. (R) James Shields (7-4)
Oakland Athletics at Minnesota Twins, 8:10 pm
(R) Chad Gaudin (8-3) vs. (R) Scott Baker (3-3)
Detroit Tigers at Seattle Mariners, 10:05 pm
(L) Andrew Miller (4-2) vs. (R) Felix Hernandez (5-4)
Cincinnati Reds at New York Mets, 7:10 pm
(R) Bronson Arroyo (3-9) vs. (R) Orlando Hernandez (4-4)

Top of the 8th
Julio Franco has 8,637 career at-bats, and only one of them, in September, 1999, came with the Devil Rays. Franco grounded out.

Bottom of the 8th
“Trust me, its way past embarrassing. I ain’t trying to show my face anywhere right now. I’m embarrassed to go outside my hotel room.”
Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford, on the D-Rays 11-game losing streak.

Top of the 9th
The Milwaukee Brewers announced that the block party planned for Saturday in Clark Square Park would be open to the public. Saturday’s gig will be at 2330 W. Vieau Place (S. 23rd and Mineral St., just south of National Ave.) beginning at 11 a.m. and ending at 1:30 p.m.

The party is free, and the first 300 people will receive a complimentary hot dog, soft drink and potato chips.

Scheduled to appear are J.J. Hardy, Kevin Mench, Johnny Estrada, Dave Bush, Yovani Gallardo, Gabe Gross, Corey Hart, Brian Shouse, Claudio Vargas and Carlos Villanueva.
After an extended all-star break, the Brewers open a 10-game home stand against Colorado tomorrow with the best home record (30-13) in the league.
NL Central Division
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Cent West Last 10 Streak
Milwaukee 49 39 .557 – 30 – 13 19 – 26 12 – 11 23 – 15 6 – 6 3 – 7 L 2
Chicago 44 43 .506 4.5 20 – 21 24 – 22 12 – 14 17 – 18 7 – 7 6 – 4 L 1
St. Louis 40 45 .471 7.5 21 – 22 19 – 23 3 – 9 21 – 15 10 – 12 6 – 4 W 1
Pittsburgh 40 48 .455 9 22 – 24 18 – 24 9 – 7 22 – 21 4 – 10 7 – 3 W 1
Houston 39 50 .438 10.5 24 – 22 15 – 28 7 – 5 15 – 24 8 – 12 6 – 4 W 1
Cincinnati 36 52 .409 13 20 – 26 16 – 26 3 – 7 17 – 22 9 – 12 6 – 4 W 4

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.