Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-8-3

8/3/2007
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Top of the 1st
DIDYMOUS
The annual Twins Days Festival, open to all multiples — identical, fraternal, young and old, twins, triplets, quads — and their families, takes place each year on the first full weekend of August meaning it starts today. And where does it take place, you ask? Well, my first guess would have been a lie (DupliCity). It actually takes place in Twinsburg, about a 20-minute drive south of Cleveland, Ohio.

The Twins have been very much on our minds these days because of the tragedy in Minnesota. But I am happy to say that the Twins, after consulting with the Department of Public Safety and the Minneapolis Police Department, will be playing their scheduled four-game series against the Indians. The games will take place tonight at 7:10 p.m., Saturday at 2:55 p.m., Sunday at 1:10 p.m. and Monday at 7:10 p.m. The team will observe another moment of silence before the game.

Yesterday’s postponed game vs. K.C. will be rescheduled as the first game of a split doubleheader Aug. 31.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation offers updated traffic and road information on their website at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/.

The Twins have postponed their Waiter Event for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities at Morton’s The Steakhouse on Sunday, August 5, 2007. But to help support the American Red Cross of the Twin Cities during this critical period, a 27-liter bottle of 2003 Charles Krug Cabaret Sauvignon signed by the Minnesota Twins players will be sold to the highest bidder via a silent auction. The bottle will be on display at Morton’s The Steakhouse, located at 555 Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. Bids will be taken in-person or by calling 612-673-9700.

After going 0-6 to start the season against Cleveland, the Twins won two tight games last weekend with 10 games between these teams still to play. Over the past five games, Twins starting pitchers have combined to go 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA, with eight earned runs in 36 innings pitched.

Of course, all is not entirely well from ace Johan Santana’s perspective. He was once again disappointed with GM Terry Ryan’s efforts at the trading deadline. These were Santana’s words Tuesday after the non-waiver trade deadline passed without another trade: “I’m not surprised. That’s exactly how they are. That’s why we’re never going to go beyond where we’ve gone.”

“It’s not just about hope,” Santana said. “In a realistic world, you have to really make it happen and go for it.

“You always talk about future, future. … But if you only worry about the future, then I guess a lot of us won’t be part of it,” Santana said.

“Why waste time when you’re talking about something that’s always going to be like that? It’s never going to be beyond this point. It doesn’t make any sense for me to be here, you know?”

“I’ve been here for eight years, and I’ve seen a lot of those kind of things,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of those guys [like Castillo] come in and leave. [The decision makers] don’t care. They always talk about caring about it; I don’t think they care.

“Because if you’re always talking about having young players — that’s the philosophy the team has, and I respect all that — but it’s been proven that it’s not enough to go all the way to the World Series.”

“We’ve been close,” Santana said. “And in all those times, we seem to be a couple players away from winning it all. So I respect all the decisions they make, but I won’t say that they’re right all the time.

“They protect their young players. They protect their organization, their roots, everything. But I guess I won’t be a part of it. A lot of guys don’t feel like they can be part of it, and they have to move on.”

Santana will be a free agent following the 2008 season and doesn’t sound as if he would be upset if he were dealt during this coming off-season. “I never give up,” Santana said. “Me, personally, I never give up. It’s over when the last game of the season’s over. I don’t know how these guys upstairs think. I’m expecting everybody else to do their jobs and help us win games because I’ve been so close to being in the World Series.

I think that Santana is particularly frustrated because despite the fact that the Twins don’t have the same hype as the Tigers and the Indians, they are not that far behind either of them:
Central W L PCT GB Home Away DIV Streak
Detroit 61 46 .570 — 26-21 35-25 23-20 Lost 2
Cleveland 61 47 .565 1/2 37-22 24-25 22-14 Won 1
Minnesota 55 52 .514 6 30-25 25-27 18-22 Lost 1

If Justin Morneau can continue hitting the way he did in July, the Twins are a dangerous tea. Morneau finished the month batting .347 (35-for-101) with eight home runs and 28 rbi, the fourth most in the majors.

It would be fair to say that Twins are hoping to be suffering from diplopia (seeing double) – Through games on July 31, 2006, the Twins record was 61-43 (third place) and trailed the Tigers by 8.5 games, but the Twins went on to win the division on the final game of the season.

Top of the 2nd
ODD NIGHT IN HOUSTON
Astros pitcher Jason Jennings came through with a pinch-hit, two-out RBI single in the 14th inning to give Houston a 12-11 win over the Atlanta Braves last night, ending a three-game losing streak.

In his last start on Sunday, Jennings gave up 11 runs, eight hits and three walks in the first inning against San Diego and was gone after getting only two outs. It was the most runs given up by a pitcher to start a game since Aug. 13, 2006, when Kansas City’s Luke Hudson allowed 11 runs against Cleveland.

Jennings, who was 1-for-17 entering the game, singled to right on a 2-1 pitch from Oscar Villarreal (1-1), scoring Jason Lane, who opened the inning by getting hit by a pitch and took second on a groundout by Mike Lamb. After Brad Ausmus struck out, Jennings got the game winner – raising his batting average to .111.

Losing pitcher Villarreal singled in the 13th inning, his first major league hit after going 0-for-10.

Edgar Renteria left the game in the 8th inning with a sprained right ankle and is listed as day-to-day. Chipper Jones replaced Renteria at shortstop, his first time at that position since June 12-18, 2000. Willie Harris replaced Jones at 3B, a position he had never played in the majors, although he has played some at second

Top of the 3rd
THE CUBS NIGHTMARE REVISITED
The Mets are on their way to Wrigley Field this weekend, and Cubs fans are not going to be too pleased to see two members of the Mets’ starting lineup.

No opponents are happy to see Jose Reyes and David Wright, but they are not cause of cold sweats for the Cubs Land faithful. You might recall on October 14, 2003 a foul pop was hit down the left-field line in the 8th inning of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley with the Cubs leading the Florida Marlins 3-0 and seemingly on their way to the World Series.

That foul ball was unintentionally interfered with by a Cubs fan by the name of Steve Bartman which prevented the left-fielder from recording the out. The Marlins scored eight runs to win Game 6 and then went on to Game 7 as well, leaving the Cubs in the very familiar spot on the outside looking in.

The left fielder for the Cubs in that game is the current left fielder for the Mets, Moises Alou. The Marlins batter who hit that foul fly, and eventually worked a walk, is the Mets newly acquired second baseman, Luis Castillo.

The Cubs will attempt to exorcise some of the pain this weekend.

Top of the 4th
SMELLS LIKE TROUBLE FOR CUBAN
Speaking of the Cubs, here’s some information from Brian Berger of Sports Business Radio (http://www.sportsbusinessradio.com/) – Berger reports that Madison Dearborn Partners Chair & CEO John Canning Jr. will be the next owner of the Chicago Cubs because of his close association with Bud Selig. Canning, who resides in Chicago, is an investor in the Milwaukee Brewers. Additionally, Selig and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf are very concerned about Mark Cuban and will do what they can to prevent him from making the purchase.

Top of the 5th
JIM RICE HALL OF FAME PETITION NIGHT
Former Red Sox Jim Rice will be making an appearance at Holman Stadium tonight at 7:05 PM, as the Nashua Pride encourage fans to sign a petition to be sent to members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWA) urging them to vote Rice into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Next year is the last year of Rice’s BBWAA voting eligibility. The 1978 American League Most Valuable Player will be on-hand prior to the game to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Additionally, Rice will sign free autographs in the concourse during the game.

For more information call 603-883-BALL (2255), or visit www.nashuapride.com.

Top of the 6th
TAKING STOCK OF B*NDS
B*nds went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks in the Giants 4-2 victory over the Dodgers last night. His single to ended an 0-for-19 stretch against the Dodgers.

The Dodgers hosted a steroid awareness clinic for Little Leaguers earlier in the day at the ballpark; B*nds did not attend.

Dodger fans did their share chanting “Barroid! Barroid!” Someone held a sign reading, “Barry: Just Say No” and one man held open his button-down shirt to reveal a black T-shirt with a giant red asterisk in the middle. “Hey Barry, where’s Greg Anderson? Where is he, Barry?” one man hollered from the sky-high seats during batting practice in reference to the slugger’s incarcerated trainer. “How much are you paying him? We don’t hate you because you’re a cheater, it’s because you’re a jerk.”

Barry is now 2 for 14 since hitting his 754th homer last Friday and is hitting .188 since July 1. In July he recorded his worst average for a calendar month since 1991. Between his 751st career homer and the two he hit in Chicago, Bonds went 1-for-25 with no RBI. Between the two-homer game and career home run No. 754, Bonds went 3-for-18 with no RBI.

He heads to San Diego for the weekend and has 86 homers against the Padres, his highest total against any club – but only three in pitcher-friendly Petco Park.

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
FYI – The Mariners are 143-193 all-time against the Red Sox, and lead this year’s series 4-2.

Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers, 7:05 pm
(L) Mark Buehrle (8-6) vs. (L) Andrew Miller (5-3)
Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees, 7:05 pm
(L) Odalis Perez (6-9) vs. (R) Chien-Ming Wang (12-5)
Texas Rangers at Toronto Blue Jays, 7:07 pm
(R) Kevin Millwood (7-9) vs. (R) Roy Halladay (11-5)
Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 7:10 pm
(R) Daniel Cabrera (7-11) vs. (R) James Shields (8-6)
Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins, 8:10 pm
(L) CC Sabathia (13-6) vs. (L) Johan Santana (11-8)
Boston Red Sox at Seattle Mariners, 10:05 pm
(L) Jon Lester (1-0) vs. (L) Horacio Ramirez (6-3)
LA Angels of Anaheim at Oakland Athletics, 10:05 pm
(R) Dustin Moseley (4-1) vs. (L) Lenny DiNardo (5-6)
NL
New York Mets at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 pm
(R) Orlando Hernandez (7-4) vs. (R) Carlos Zambrano (14-7)
Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates, 7:05 pm
(R) Matt Belisle (5-8) vs. (R) Ian Snell (7-9)
Houston Astros at Florida Marlins, 7:05 pm
(R) Roy Oswalt (10-6) vs. (L) Dontrelle Willis (7-10)
St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals, 7:05 pm
(R) Kip Wells (4-13) vs. (R) Tim Redding (1-2)
Colorado Rockies at Atlanta Braves, 7:35 pm
(L) Jeff Francis (11-5) vs. (R) John Smoltz (10-5)
Philadelphia Phillies at Milwaukee Brewers, 8:05 pm
(R) Kyle Kendrick (5-1) vs. (R) Yovani Gallardo (3-1)
San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres, 10:05 pm
(R) Matt Cain (3-12) vs. (R) Greg Maddux (7-8)
Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers, 10:40 pm
(L) Doug Davis (7-10) vs. (R) Chad Billingsley (7-1)

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
The Brewers were beat up by the New York Mets at Miller Park yesterday, 12-4. The loss was the Brewers’ 10th in their last 14 games and also their fourth in their last six home games, although their 37-19 (17-7 roof closed; 20-12 roof open) record is still the best in the National League.

Overall, the Brewers are 58-51 compared to 52-57 last year.

Top of the 9th
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND EVERYONE
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I look forward to seeing you on Monday, but in the meantime 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.