Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-7-19

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

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Top of the 1st
Flicking the channels the other day I ran across Robert DeNiro in some movie and I just marveled at what a magnificent actor he is. Even in his lame comedies, DeNiro does a great job. So today, Billy-Ball salutes Robert DeNiro.

In 2005, DeNiro played the Archbishop of Lima in “The Bridge Of San Luis Rey” -miracles must have been at work for the “San Luis” Cardinals last night as Kip Wells gave up only two hits in eight innings as he and the Cards beat the Florida Marlins, 6-0.
Wells (4-12) struck out four and walked two to win for the first time since he threw two shutout innings in relief against Kansas City on June 20. It was his first win in a start since he beat Pittsburgh on May 23. The outing was the longest of the season for Wells, who lowered his ERA from 6.25 to 5.75. He’s tied for the major league lead in losses and had failed to win his previous six starts

Billy-Ball loved the 1993 film “A Bronx Tale” with its fabulous soundtrack. Here in 2007, there may be an entirely new Bronx tale taking place as the Yankees won their fifth straight, beating the Toronto Blue Jays, 6-1. By winning 11 of 14 overall, the Yankees have trimmed Boston’s AL East lead to seven games — the closest they’ve been since after games of May 12. New York has won 17 of its last 22 home games. The Yankees have won four consecutive series after losing their previous four.

In 1977, DeNiro played Jimmy Doyle in the hit film “New York, New York” which in this case brings up the Mets, the Mets. These New Yorkers lost to the Padres last night, 5-4. Greg Maddux pitched five brilliant innings before he left with a tugging in his hamstring.

In another one of his flawed comedies, in 1999 DeNiro played Paul Vitti, along side of Billy Crystal, in “Analyze This” and reprised the role in 2002 in “Analyze That.” One can be expecting Red Sox manager Tito Francona to ask team consultant Bill James to analyze this and that to determine why his team is simply not winning games. Possessing a 12-game lead in the AL East less than two weeks ago, the Red Sox lead is dwindling after losing their second game in a row to Kansas City, 6-5. Julian Tavarez (5-8) continues to be a problem in the Sox rotation. In his last five starts, he is 0-4 with a 7.71 ERA and has allowed 42 hits in 23 1/3 innings. He didn’t make it past the fifth inning in four of those outings. In his previous seven starts, he was 3-0 with a 3.07 ERA and gave up 37 hits in 44 innings. Despite being in first place for 95 consecutive days, after dropping two of three to the Royals, the Red Sox are now 3-7 in their last 10 games. The Royals remain in the AL Central cellar despite winning 12 of their last 19 games.

In 1998, DeNiro was in the film, “Great Expectations” and once again that title was a theme for the Atlanta Braves this season. But those great expectations are meeting a harsh reality as Brandon Phillips’ two-run single off rookie Jose Ascanio in the 15th inning gave the Reds a 5-4 victory over the Braves on Wednesday and their first three-game sweep in Atlanta since April 1990. The Reds improved to 8-3 in their last 11 games while the Braves are 2.5 behind the Mets and 2.5 ahead of the Phils.

DeNiro was brilliantly scary as Max Cady in the 1991 remake of “Cape Fear.” The Mariners are having little difficulty navigating around Cape Fear as they continue their strong play last night defeating the Baltimore Orioles. 6-5. Adrian Beltre working a bases loaded walk from Chad Bradford with two outs in the 8th inning was the difference in the game. Seattle took two of three from Baltimore and finished 4-3 on its seven-game homestand after the All-Star break, moving within a game of Cleveland in the wild card and 1