Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-8-24

8/24/2007
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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Happy birthday, Cal Ripken

Friday, August 24, 2007

Top of the 1st
IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Going into the grab bag to find a whole bunch little things for you this morning:
* Rawlings is offering a baseball glove called the Primo which features Italian leather hand-sewn into an advanced three-layer design that, Rawlings claims, can be broken in to suit specific positions. It costs $400.
* Mizuno claims that its Mizuno Pro with so-called 4D Technology, designed using pressure sensors attached to players’ hands, is actually the “world’s best ball glove.” It only costs $300.
* Alex Rodriguez leads the majors getting on base 233 times. Despite the fact that Albert Pujols home run streak ended at five consecutive games yesterday in the Cardinals 11-3 to the Marlins, he leads leads the National League having gotten on base 227 times.
* I like this one: Eric Byrnes, Matt Holliday, and David Wright have each gotten on base in 111 games to lead the majors. Ichiro and Grady Sizemore have each gotten on base in 110 games to lead the AL.
* In the Orioles 5-2 loss to Minnesota yesterday, Baltimore first baseman Kevin Millar set a club record by reaching via a hit, walk or hit by pitch in his 50th consecutive game. Millar, who broke the mark set by Ken Singleton (48) in 1977, began his streak on June 20.
* The Angels Vlad Guerrero leads Ichiro and David Wright by one by having the most games this season getting on base at least twice per game, with 77.
* Magglio Ordonez of the Tigers had two hits and a walk yesterday increasing his major league leading total of games getting on base three or more times to 40.
* Ordonez is tied with A-Rod with each having gotten on base four times in 13 games, which leads the majors.
* Last year, while battling shoulder problems, J.D. Drew, playing for the Dodgers, went 43 straight games without a home run. This year, Newbie is currently on a 47-game homer-less streak. That’s 162 at bats if you are counting.
* The saving grace for Drew is he’s on pace to have 59 RBI this season and he has stolen two bases in four attempts.
* Phillies teammate Aaron Rowand and Chase Utley are tied for the major league lead in being hit by pitches, 17 apiece.
* Mike Lowell of the Red Sox has been hit only three times, but on the last one, he was hit on the left hand by an 86 mph fastball from Tampa Bay starting pitcher Andy Sonnanstine and he thought he had broken it like he had in 2003. Fortunately, Sox rehabilitation coordinator Scott Waugh had previously created a plastic guard on the back of Lowell’s batting glove, using Velcro and it ended up protecting him. Scottso, want to go into business together?
* Brandon Inge and Juan Uribe lead the majors with seven homers batting in the #9 slot.
* Tony Pena, Jr. is the leading hitter from the #9 spot hitting .269.
* Paul Konerko needs five AB to reach 5000. If it ever stops storming in Chicago he should get it by at least Game 2 of the twinbill against the Red Sox, if not sooner.
* Edgar Renteria leads all shortstops with a .337 batting average. Too bad the Braves had to place him on the 15-day disabled list yesterday, one day after he was activated because of a sprained ankle.
* Ryan Zimmerman of the Nats negatively leads the majors having grounded into 24 double plays.
* In 448 at bats this season Curtis Granderson of the Tigers has grounded into no doubleplays. That would be none, zero, zilch.
* You think that is impressive? Granderson has 31 doubles, 19 triples, 16 homers and 14 stolen bases. The only players in major league history to record 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in a season were Willie Mays in 1957 and “Wildfire” Frank Schulte in 1911.
* David Wright of the Mets has 22 homers and 28 stolen bases. With a strong finish, Wright can become the first Met to go 30/30 since Howard Johnson in 1991.
* Wright has stolen more bases than any other player. He has been picked off three times, by lefties Mike Maroth, David Wells and Matt Chico which are counted as caught stealing because he had moved toward the next base.
* Jose Reyes does lead the majors, having been caught stealing 15 times, but he can be forgiven since he also leads the majors with 68 stolen bases.
* The Mets lead the majors with 164 stolen bases, followed by the Angels with 115.
* The Toronto Blue Jays are last with 41 stolen bases.
* Chase Utley is baseball’s leading batter from the 7th inning on hitting .383. He’ll play for Philadelphia’s Double-A affiliate in Reading today on a rehab assignment and hopes to be back soon.
* Carlos Guillen leads with 26 bases loaded RBI.
* Derek Jeter leads the majors hitting .460 with runners in scoring position and two outs.
* The Mets just picked up Jeff Conine, perhaps it’s because he leads the majors as a pinch-hitter, batting at a .417 clip.
* The Boston Red Sox lead the majors with 535 walks. The Seattle Mariners are last with 313 walks. Yet both teams may make the playoffs.
* The Kansas City Royals have only hit 84 homers this season.
* The Cardinals have only 8 triples this season.
* Torii Hunter leads the majors with three (yes, 3) grand slams this season.
* The Oakland A’s have only 14 sacrifice bunts this season.
* The winds you feel in Florida are not from hurricanes, they’re from strikeouts. The Marlins lead the majors with 1,029 strikeouts and Devil Rays are next with 997.
* The Twins have only struck out 638 times this season.
* Jim Thome has 493 homers and the White Sox may have him bat lead-off to give him more at bats to increase his chances of getting #500 this season. His next homer will tie Lou Gehrig.
* Barry B*nds need five RBI to tie Lou Gehrig.
* Since the All-Star break Brandon Webb is 6-2 with a 1.04 ERA. Fausto Caromona is 4-4 with a 1.80.
* Chris Capuano is 0-10 with a 6.70 ERA over his past 16 starts, the Brewers are 0-16 in those starts.
* Chipper Jones leads the majors with a .367 batting average with no one on base. Jorge Posada is a close second at .366.
* The Devil Rays, who have allowed 10 or more runs 21 times this year, have the major’s worst record at 48-79 and are 15-39 since June 25.
* Albert Pujols leads the majors with 14 homers since the All-Star break.
* Bobby Abreu leads with 46 RBI since the break.
* Richie Sexson is listed as weighing 237 pounds. He’s hitting .211. It’s going to be close this season, he’s either going to have to get hot at the plate or push the plate away and diet if he is hoping to hit his weight.

That should keep you occupied this weekend.

Enjoy.

Top of the 2nd
TIGERS TALES OF WOE
There is no question that the Detroit Tigers of this year are struggling. Heading into yesterday’s game, the Tigers starters were 5-18 with a 7.02 ERA since July 20. But even with Nate Robertson pitching brilliantly, the Detroiters couldn’t finish with a win yesterday losing to the Indians, 3-1 in 10 innings. Pinch-hitter Kenny Lofton’s infield single against Joel Zumaya broke a scoreless tie with two outs in the 10th inning after a leadoff double to Victor Martinez and an intentional walk to Travis Hafner. After Jhonny Peralta drew a four-pitch walk, Franklin Gutierrez struck out, Lofton batted for Jason Michaels and got the go-ahead hit. Chris Gomez followed with a two-run single to give the Indians a 3-0 advantage. In the bottom of the inning, Joe Borowski picked up his 36th save in 41 chances but only after Magglio Ordonez doubled, Carlos Guillen bunted for a single and Marcus Thames doubled a run home. Ivan Rodriguez popped up to end the game.

The last time the Tigers won a series was July 19, when they swept the Twins. In their last nine series, the Tigers have won the opener six times and then gone 2-13. In the 34 games they have played since July 19th, they have the worst winning percentage in the majors (.324), followed by the Devil Rays (.333), Brewers (.344), Marlins (.355) and Dodgers (.387)

The Indians and Tigers are scheduled to play only one more series, a three-game set Sept. 17-19 in Cleveland.

Strange blog entry by former Tiger pitcher Denny McClain on the cult of celberity can be found here: http://blogs.britannica.com/blog/main/2007/08/celebrity-a-little-bad-a-lot-of-good/

Top of the 3rd
TWINS CELEBRATING BILLY-BALL’S B-DAY
The Minnesota Twins have rescheduled their groundbreaking ceremony for the new ballpark for the evening of Aug. 30. Twins officials, former and current players and coaches, government officials and baseball commissioner Bud Selig are expected to attend. Work has already begun on the site, just west of Target Center on the edge of downtown Minneapolis, but the ceremony will serve as the official start of construction on the 40,000-seat ballpark that’s set to open in 2010.

Top of the 4th
PLAYERS WHO HAVE CLEARED WAIVERS
David Wells and the Dodgers agreed to a contract yesterday and Boomer plans to make his first start for Los Angeles on Sunday night against the Mets in New York. Wells, 44, was designated for assignment by his hometown Padres on Aug. 9. The Dodgers will be his ninth team in a 21-year career. He’s 5-8 with a 5.54 ERA this season.

There are other players who can be acquired through trades this month and next. Here are the players (with their contract status):
Pat Burrell – $13MM in ’07, $14MM in ’08, full no-trade clause
Jose Contreras – $9MM in ’07, $10MM in ’08, $10MM in ’09
Kyle Farnsworth – $5.25MM in ’07, $5.5MM in ’08
Troy Glaus – $10.75MM in ’07, $12.75MM in ’08, $11.25MM player option in ’09, full no-trade clause
Jason Lane – $1.05MM in ’07
Mike Piazza – $8.5MM in ’07
Odalis Perez – $7.75MM in ’07, $9MM club option in ’08 with $1.5MM buyout (Dodgers paying a portion)
Sammy Sosa – $0.5MM + a possible $2.2MM in playing time incentives
Josh Towers – $2.9MM in ’07
Steve Trachsel – $3MM in ’07, $4.75MM club option for ’08
Jack Wilson – $5.25MM in ’07, $6.5MM in ’08, $7.25MM in ’09, $8.4MM club option in ’10 with $0.6MM buyout
Dmitri Young – $5MM in ’08, $5MM in ’09, $6MM option in ’10 that may vest based on plate appearances

Top of the 5th
THIS IS NOT TYPO
The Newark Star-Ledger reports the Cubs are considering bringing up Jeff Samardzija when rosters expand Sept. 1. Samardzija, best known as a Notre Dame wide receiver, is now a pitcher in the Cubs’ system and has impressed since being promoted from Class-A Daytona to Double-A Tennessee.

I hope he wears #28 because that would be the number of points you would get if you could use his name in Scrabble.

Top of the 6th
REPORT FROM JAPAN
Wayne Graczyk of the Japan Times writes that Tokyo sports newspapers are dubbing the Red Sox set-up duo of Greg Gagne and Hideki Okajima the “GO” twins but, Graczyk adds, “if you add closer Jonathan Papelbon, you get “GOP” and wonder if these guys might be Republicans.”

This whole relief staff initial thing began with the Hanshin Tigers “JFK” trio of Jeff Williams, Kyuji Fujikawa and Tomoyuki Kubota. By the way, Jeff’ Williams’ ERA through games of Aug. 10 stood at 0.19, as he’s only given up one earned run all year in 48 innings of work.

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
AL
Boston Red Sox at Chicago White Sox, 2:05 pm
(R) Josh Beckett (15-5) vs. (R) Jon Garland (8-9)
Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles, 7:05 pm
(L) Johan Santana (13-9) vs. (R) Jeremy Guthrie (7-4)
New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers, 7:05 pm
(R) Roger Clemens (5-5) vs. (L) Andrew Miller (5-4)
Oakland Athletics at Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 7:10 pm
(L) Lenny DiNardo (8-6) vs. (R) James Shields (9-8)
Boston Red Sox at Chicago White Sox, 8:05 pm
(R) Curt Schilling (7-5) vs. (L) John Danks (6-11)
Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals, 8:10 pm
(L) CC Sabathia (14-6) vs. (R) Zack Greinke (5-5)
Seattle Mariners at Texas Rangers, 8:35 pm
(R) Felix Hernandez (9-6) vs. (R) Kevin Millwood (8-10)
Toronto Blue Jays at LA Angels of Anaheim, 10:05 pm
(R) Roy Halladay (14-5) vs. (R) Jered Weaver (8-6)
NL
San Diego Padres at Philadelphia Phillies, 7:05 pm
(R) Greg Maddux (9-9) vs. (L) Jamie Moyer (11-9)
Los Angeles Dodgers at New York Mets, 7:10 pm
(R) Brad Penny (14-3) vs. (L) Oliver Perez (11-8)
Florida Marlins at Cincinnati Reds, 7:10 pm
(L) Dontrelle Willis (8-12) vs. (R) Aaron Harang (12-3)
Pittsburgh Pirates at Houston Astros, 8:05 pm
(R) Ian Snell (8-10) vs. (R) Matt Albers (3-6)
Atlanta Braves at St. Louis Cardinals, 8:10 pm
(R) John Smoltz (11-6) vs. (R) Kip Wells (6-13)
Washington Nationals at Colorado Rockies, 9:05 pm
(R) Shawn Hill (3-3) vs. (L) Jeff Francis (13-6)
Chicago Cubs at Arizona Diamondbacks, 9:40 pm
(L) Sean Marshall (6-6) vs. (R) Micah Owings (6-6)
Milwaukee Brewers at San Francisco Giants, 10:15 pm
(R) Claudio Vargas (10-4) vs. (L) Noah Lowry (13-7)

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
On Aug. 10, Mets’ closer BillyWagner and Padres closer Trevor Hoffman blew saves on the same day for the first time ever. Yesterday, they did it in the same game. Hoffman got the win despite giving up the tying run in the 9th. The Padres edged the Mets 9-8 in 10 innings.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Hoffman and Wagner had the most combined saves by closers who failed to convert save opportunities in the same game, breaking the mark of 620 set by Dennis Eckersley and John Franco on April 4, 1996.

Top of the 9th
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND
Thanks for everything this week.

All the e-mails and as always all the support.

I look forward to seeing you shopping as I wander around the Billy-Ball-Mall.

Have a great weekend and hope you keep yourself and your planet cool.

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.