Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-7-2

7/2/2007
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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The only spin here is on my screwball

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Top of the 1st
HEY, YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR
Congratulations to the team
* is managers Jim Leyland and Tony LaRussa’s choices :

American League
Catcher
Ivan Rodriguez (14th), Tigers – Good season but should not be the starter
* Victor Martinez (2nd), Indians – what a threat at the plate
Jorge Posada (5th), Yankees – like fine wine, aging very well

Infield
Derek Jeter (8th), Yankees – shine in the mess known as the Yankees
David Ortiz (4th), Red Sox – Youk? Youk?
Placido Polanco (1st), Tigers – forget his bat (which is great), he’s even better in the field
Alex Rodriguez (11th), Yankees – first half player of the year
* Michael Young (4th), Rangers – this mandatory Ranger means that Orlando Cabrera gets snubbed
Mike Lowell (4th), Red Sox – outstanding in all aspects of the game
Carlos Guillen (2nd), Tigers – so good, so steady
Justin Morneau (1st), Twins – should change his name to More?Yes!
Brian Roberts (2nd), Orioles – this great ballplayer deserves a better team

Outfield
Vladimir Guerrero (8th), Angels – did you see his basket catch and rifle arm yesterday?
Magglio Ordonez (6th), Tigers – great hitter, great hair (sigh!)
Ichiro Suzuki (7th), Mariners – one of the all-time greats
* Carl Crawford (2nd), Devil Rays – excitement personified
* Alex Rios (2nd), Blue Jays – the best Toronto can offer
Torii Hunter (2nd), Twins – Will he rob B*nds again? Let’s hope so.
Manny Ramirez (11th), Red Sox – has he bailed on this yet? Curtis Granderson should be his replacement
Grady Sizemore (2nd), Indians – He should never plan for this time off

Pitcher
Josh Beckett (1st), Red Sox – great mental maturity this season
Dan Haren (1st), Athletics – when people talk about great pitchers, he’ too often overlooked (my bad)
* Bobby Jenks, (2nd), White Sox – the only member of the White Sox and even he’s not great
John Lackey (1st), Angels – tough, tough, tough
* Gil Meche (1st), Royals – great free agent signing
Jonathan Papelbon (2nd), Red Sox – if he is not the best
J.J. Putz (1st), Mariners – then he is.
Francisco Rodriguez (2nd), Angels – or maybe he is
C.C. Sabathia (3rd), Indians – I love this guy and not just because he’s chunky
*Johan Santana (3rd), Twins – future Hall of Famer
Justin Verlander (1st), Tigers – his future’s so bright, I need to wear shades

National League
Catcher
Russell Martin, Dodgers – absolutely the best catcher in the NL
Brian McCann, Braves – not an All-Star

Infield
Prince Fielder, Brewers – well named
Jose Reyes, Mets – baseball best lead-off hitter
Chase Utley, Phillies – perennial all-star to be
David Wright, Mets – not a great season, but has charisma
* Freddy Sanchez, Pirates – Edgar Renteria got jobbed – so did Jimmy Rollins
* Dmitri Young, Nationals – Comeback player of the first half
Miguel Cabrera, Marlins – should be the starter
J.J. Hardy, Brewers – emerging like a flower – a Hardy Mum
Orlando Hudson, Diamondbacks
Derrek Lee, Cubs
* Albert Pujols, Cardinals – his presence is a gift from Tony

Outfield
Carlos Beltran, Mets – solid, but not spectacular – I look for a big second half from him
Barry B*nds, Giants – the fans have spoken, I will hold my nose and cover my mouth – wait, I’m suffocating
Ken Griffey, Jr., Reds – great year, let’s hope he stays healthy
* Aaron Rowand, Phillies – not clear he is deserving
Matt Holliday, Rockies – best hitter in the NL?
Carlos Lee, Astros – I bet he’ll drive home at least one run in the ASG
Alfonso Soriano, Cubs – doing a lot better since he was moved to left

Pitcher
Francisco Cordero, Brewers – big reason why the Brewers are first
Brian Fuentes, Rockies – I don’t think so
Cole Hamels, Phillies – get used to seeing this guy here even if this year he shouldn’t have been chosen
Trevor Hoffman, Padres – big reason why the Padres are first
Jake Peavy, Padres – best pitcher in baseball this year
Brad Penny, Dodgers – worth a pretty penny
* Takashi Saito, Dodgers – kangeisuru
Ben Sheets, Brewers – fitted for an all-str-uniform
John Smoltz, Braves – favorite all-star hair do
* Jose Valverde, Diamondbacks – not an all-star
* Billy Wagner, Mets – big reason why the Mets are first

Voting for the last pitcher on each team is being conducted at MLB .com. The choices in the N.L. are Roy Oswalt of the Astros, Tom Gorzelanny of the Pirates, Brandon Webb of the Diamondbacks, Chris Young of the Padres and Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs. The A.L. candidates are Detroit’s Jeremy Bonderman, Toronto’s Roy Halladay, Boston’s Hideki Okajima, Minnesota’s Pat Neshek and the Angels’ Kelvim Escobar. The two All-Stars will be announced Thursday.

Final All-Star voting

AL
1. Ivan Rodriguez, Tigers, 2,343,425
2. Jorge Posada, Yankees, 1,643,058
3. Joe Mauer, Twins, 1,464,814
4. Jason Varitek, Red Sox, 1,443,515
5. Victor Martinez, Indians, 1,024,989
6. Kenji Johjima, Mariners, 583,023
7. A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox, 361,515
8. Jason Kendall, Athletics, 314,457
First Base
1. David Ortiz, Red Sox, 2,857,848
2. Justin Morneau, Twins, 1,780,118
3. Sean Casey, Tigers, 1,300,383
4. Travis Hafner, Indians, 806,402
5. Jason Giambi, Yankees, 777,322
6. Mark Teixeira, Rangers, 459,176
7. Richie Sexson, Mariners, 392,644
8. Casey Kotchman, Angels, 390,683
Second Base
1. Placido Polanco, Tigers, 2,317,713
2. Robinson Cano, Yankees, 1,331,786
3. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox, 1,001,297
4. Luis Castillo, Twins, 873,029
5. B.J. Upton, Devil Rays, 670,720
6. Josh Barfield, Indians, 569,700
7. Brian Roberts, Orioles, 528,566
8. Jose Lopez, Mariners, 494,977
Third Base
1. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees, 3,890,515
2. Mike Lowell, Red Sox, 1,364,553
3. Brandon Inge, Tigers, 1,091,359
4. Eric Chavez, Athletics, 552,074
5. Adrian Beltre, Mariners, 528,070
6. Nick Punto, Twins, 468,501
7. Casey Blake, Indians, 389,221
8. Chone Figgins, Angels, 372,793
Shortstop
1. Derek Jeter, Yankees, 3,199,571
2. Carlos Guillen, Tigers, 1,718,265
3. Orlando Cabrera, Angels, 849,750
4. Miguel Tejada, Orioles, 839,979
5. Julio Lugo, Red Sox, 724,129
6. Jason Bartlett, Twins, 484,770
7. Jhonny Peralta, Indians, 483,021
8. Michael Young, Rangers, 468,559
Outfield
1. Vladimir Guerrero, Angels, 3,151,387
2. Magglio Ordonez, Tigers, 2,715,389
3. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners, 2,341,409
4. Manny Ramirez, Red Sox, 2,153,242
5. Gary Sheffield, Tigers, 1,738,553
6. Torii Hunter, Twins, 1,717,097
7. Grady Sizemore, Indians, 1,296,708
8. Bobby Abreu, Yankees, 1,013,826
9. J.D. Drew, Red Sox, 951,748
10. Johnny Damon, Yankees, 940,869
11. Hideki Matsui, Yankees, 935,031
12. Coco Crisp, Red Sox, 893,387
13. Sammy Sosa, Rangers, 800,420
14. Craig Monroe, Tigers, 704,128
15. Michael Cuddyer, Twins, 620,667
16. Carl Crawford, Devil Rays, 601,922
17. Nick Swisher, Athletics, 515,895
18. Gary Matthews, Jr., Angels, 511,800
19. Jermaine Dye, White Sox, 448,209
20. Vernon Wells, Blue Jays, 407,884
21. Trot Nixon, Indians, 388,658
22. Kenny Lofton, Rangers, 348,738
23. Scott Podsednik, White Sox, 339,989
24. Alex Rios, Blue Jays, 316,033

NL
Catcher
1. Russell Martin, Dodgers, 2,039,130
2. Paul Lo Duca, Mets, 1,742,182
3. Johnny Estrada, Brewers, 1,460,902
4. Bengie Molina, Giants, 1,383,753
5. Brian McCann, Braves, 971,502
6. Yadier Molina, Cardinals, 944,427
7. Brad Ausmus, Astros, 655,967
8. Michael Barrett, Padres, 555,293
First Base
1. Prince Fielder, Brewers, 2,706,020
2. Albert Pujols, Cardinals, 1,936,054
3. Nomar Garciaparra, Dodgers, 1,421,208
4. Derrek Lee, Cubs, 987,994
5. Carlos Delgado, Mets, 951,911
6. Ryan Howard, Phillies, 851,355
7. Rich Aurilia, Giants, 584,651
8. Adrian Gonzalez, Padres, 531,886
Second Base
1. Chase Utley, Phillies, 2,112,142
2. Rickie Weeks, Brewers, 1,253,651
3. Jeff Kent, Dodgers, 1,206,760
4. Craig Biggio, Astros, 1,195,567
5. Jose Valentin, Mets, 763,772
6. Ray Durham, Giants, 671,831
7. Dan Uggla, Marlins, 53 2. 050
8. Marcus Giles, Padres, 495,993
Shortstop
1. Jose Reyes, Mets, 2,213,606
2. J.J. Hardy, Brewers, 1,976,083
3. Omar Vizquel, Giants, 1,108,665
4. Rafael Furcal, Dodgers, 1,031,639
5. David Eckstein, Cardinals, 905,797
6. Edgar Renteria, Braves, 846,742
7. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies, 833,624
8. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins, 455,534
Third Base
1. David Wright, Mets, 2,302,836
2. Miguel Cabrera, Marlins, 1,807,720
3. Chipper Jones, Braves, 1,084,240
4. Scott Rolen, Cardinals, 998,950
5. Aramis Ramirez, Cubs, 899,298
6. Craig Counsell, Brewers, 889,000
7. Pedro Feliz, Giants, 546,359
8. Wilson Betemit, Dodgers, 508,364
Outfield
1. Ken Griffey, Jr., Reds, 2,986,818
2. Carlos Beltran, Mets, 2,511,242
3. Barry Bonds, Giants, 2,325,391
4. Alfonso Soriano, Cubs, 2,202,513
5. Matt Holliday, Rockies, 1,549,050
6. Geoff Jenkins, Brewers, 1,206,462
7. Andruw Jones, Braves, 1,205,800
8. Bill Hall, Brewers, 1,176,633
9. Carlos Lee, Astros, 1,165,580
10. Corey Hart, Brewers, 1,099,359
11. Luis Gonzalez, Dodgers, 918,166
12. Jim Edmonds, Cardinals, 866,118
13. Moises Alou, Mets, 838,422
14. Juan Pierre, Dodgers, 836,800
15. Jason Bay, Pirates, 756,026
16. Andre Ethier, Dodgers, 752,063
17. Shawn Green, Mets, 749,673
18. Jeff Francoeur, Braves, 719,524
19. Adam Dunn, Reds, 699,284
20. Aaron Rowand, Phillies, 696,486
21. Chris Duncan, Cardinals, 555,214
22. Dave Roberts, Giants, 549,960
23. Eric Byrnes, Diamondbacks, 549,350
24. Randy Winn, Giants, 544,079

Top of the 2nd
THIS SIMPLY DOESN’T MAKE SENSE
Mike Hargrove wakes up this morning with the knowledge that the Seattle Mariners, thanks to some late-inning heroics yesterday, have an eight-game winning streak and are 12 games over .500. It is beyond our knowledge as to why then Mike Hargrove resigned as manager.

It is doesn’t make sense to us because we have no idea what goes on underneath the surface for Mike Hargrove. Early in his press conference yesterday he explained he had lost the passion that he himself demanded of those around him. Later in his press conference he replied to a question and insisted he still had the passion for the game. He insisted he wasn’t burnt out, but sounded very burnt out. Jerry Brewer, Seattle Times columnist described Hargrove’s demeanor at the press conference as “Unrevealing as the White House press secretary.”

The Mariners will be fine, probably in the long run better, without him. John McLaren, the bench coach, manager in waiting, now adds interim manager to his title. He will hold the job the rest of the year. He has a good relationship with the players, particularly Ichiro who Hargrove did not connect with.

I have never been a huge fan of Hargrove because I always thought he was uncreative and on auto-pilot most of the time. He clearly wasn’t yesterday. I hope he and his family are okay and that this is nothing more than a mid-life crisis.

Hargrove is 57 years old and has been around the majors for 35 years and clearly needs a change. Earlier in the season he went from the “Human Rain Delay” to the “Human Snow Delay” and maybe liked the switch. Who knows? Hargrove said yesterday that he didn’t expect people to understand why he was quitting. That continues.

HARGROVE’S RECORD
Year Division Team Gms Wins Loss Pct. Finish
1991 AL East Cleveland Indians 85 32 53 .376 Seventh
1992 AL East Cleveland Indians 162 76 86 .469 Fifth
1993 AL East Cleveland Indians 162 76 86 .469 Sixth
1994 AL Central* Cleveland Indians 113 66 47 .584 Second
1995 AL Central Cleveland Indians 144 100 44 .694 First
1996 AL Central Cleveland Indians 161 99 62 .615 First
1997 AL Central Cleveland Indians 161 86 75 .534 First
1998 AL Central Cleveland Indians 162 89 73 .549 First
1999 AL Central Cleveland Indians 162 97 65 .599 First
2000 AL East Baltimore Orioles 162 74 88 .457 Fourth
2001 AL East Baltimore Orioles 161 63 98 .391 Fourth
2002 AL East Baltimore Orioles 162 67 95 .414 Fourth
2003 AL East Baltimore Orioles 162 71 91 .438 Fourth
2005 AL West Seattle Mariners 162 69 93 .426 Fourth
2006 AL West Seattle Mariners 162 78 84 .481 Fourth
2007 AL West Seattle Mariners 78 45 33 .577 ???
Totals Cleveland Indians 1,312 721 591 .550
Baltimore Orioles 647 275 372 .425
Seattle Mariners 402 192 210 .478
* MLB changed AL and NL from two divisions to three in 1994.

The Mariners won Hargrove’s final game, beating the Blue Jays 2-1 on Jose Guillen’s game-tying homer in the 8th and go-ahead single in the 9th. J.J. Putz picked up the win after, hold on world, eight stellar innings from Jeff Weaver. Maybe, that’s it; after seeing Weaver pitch well again, maybe Hargrove thought he saw it all.

Top of the 3rd
THIS MAKES SENSE
Jerry Narron was fired as manager of the Cincinnati Reds yesterday. The team, whose awful composition is not his fault, is in last place and is rapidly circling the drain. Reds advance scout Pete Mackanin, 55, takes Narron’s place. Mackanin managed the Reds’ Triple-A team in Nashville from 1990-92. He was the Pittsburgh Pirates’ interim manager for the final 26 games of 2005 after Lloyd McClendon was fired.

The Reds have played uninspired baseball all season and the dwindling fan base had their fill. The Reds relievers have lost 18 games, most in the league. The problem is in the front office and in being penurious and everyone knows it, but Jerry Narron paid the price for it.

In his last game, the Reds lost to the Cards, 11-7 despite Junior Griffey’s 585th career homer. Cards’ reliever Troy Percival, who was out of baseball for two years because of a bad elbow, got his second victory of the series. Reds shortstop Alex Gonzalez committed his team-high 14th error, twice as many as he had last season for Boston. On the other hand, his .253 batting average is 60 points higher than his Boston replacement Julio Lugo.

Top of the 4th
THESE ANGELS HAVE WINGS
I have been remiss in giving props to the Los Angeles Angels who are playing the best baseball in all of baseball. Yesterday, John Lackey picked up his 11th victory when Vladimir Guerrero threw out Melvin Mora at the plate on the game’s final play to help the Los Angeles Angels defeat the Baltimore Orioles, 4-3. The Angels are now 51-31, the best record in baseball and the only team with 50 wins (the Red Sox who lost to Texas yesterday is 49-31).

Top of the 5th
PHILS SALVAGE ONE
The Phils beat the Mets, 5-3, yesterday to deny the Metsies a four-game sweep. The Mets entered the series three games ahead of the Phillies and left town ahead by five.

Top of the 6th
SIMPLY INEXPLICABLE
After Andy Pettitte was hammered by the A’s and Oakland finished off the Yankees 11-5 there is simply no explanation for why this team is playing as poorly as they are. The Yankees have lost 9 of 11 games, and while there are reasons for poor results at different times of the season, there is no explanation for why this team day after day is only inconsistent in their mediocrity. Check this number out: over the past 12 games, the Yankees’ No. 3 hitter has gone 5 for 49 – that’s even worse than Julio Lugo in June who was 7 for 79.

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
Away Home Time (ET) Away Probable Home Probable
Cubs Nationals 7:05 p.m. Lilly (6-4) Simontacchi (5-5)
Brewers Pirates 7:05 p.m. Suppan (8-7) Van Benschoten (0-2)
Twins Yankees 7:05 p.m. Bonser (5-4) Clemens (1-3)
Devil Rays Indians 7:05 p.m. Sonnanstine (1-2) Carmona (8-4)
Rangers Red Sox 7:05 p.m. McCarthy (4-4) Gabbard (1-0)
Phillies Astros 8:05 p.m. Moyer (7-5) Williams (3-10)
D-Backs Cardinals 8:10 p.m. Webb (8-5) Looper (6-6)
Mariners Royals 8:10 p.m. Hernandez (4-4) Meche (5-6)
Orioles White Sox 8:11 p.m. Bedard (6-4) Buehrle (5-4)
Mets Rockies 9:05 p.m. Glavine (7-5) Hirsh (3-7)
Marlins Padres 10:05 p.m. Mitre (2-3) Wells (3-5)
Blue Jays Athletics 10:05 p.m. Towers (3-5) DiNardo (3-4)
Braves Dodgers 10:10 p.m. Smoltz (9-4) Lowe (8-7)

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
Cal Ripken holds the record for most homers by a shortstop with 345; Alex Rodriguez is second with 344.

Top of the 9th
TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS
Some of you may be celebrating Lindsay Lohan’s 21st birthday today – gee Lindsay you can have your first drink. Others may celebrate Deb Lindeman’s birthday (Billy-Ball reader). I, of course, celebrate Larry David’s birthday everyday of the year except for today, his actual birthday.

It’s the Cans*co twins birthday and Chuck Stobbs and Hal Reniff’s birthday, but today those of us from Playground 10 today we celebrate Peter Meisel’s birthday. For those of you in the Sydney, Australia area, you may know Peter’s stand-up comedy at The Laugh Garage, the Comedy Store, and with Comics Ink. But Peter is more than funny looking. He is…uh…no, that’s it, he’s funny looking. But I love him nonetheless.

Happy birthday, Pete, I wish I could celebrate it with you.

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.