Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-9-18

9/18/2007
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Top of the 1st
THE ROCKET’S LAST RED SOX WIN
There was a time when Roger Clemens wasn’t booed at Fenway Park. A time when he was loved like no other pitcher in a Red Sox uniform and that includes Cy Young, Jim Lonborg, Luis Tiant, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling and Clay Buchholz. But that was a long, long time ago when he wore the laundry that Bostonians worship.

Clemens had had a great Boston career but over time the management and Roger simply did not get along. You have to wonder how this current ownership group would have coddled their jewel. The last four years of their marriage was in a word “ugly.”

After Clemens winning his third Cy Young in 1991, leading the AL in shutouts (4) and ERA (2.62) and leading the majors in innings pitched and tied for strikeouts (241), he had peeked from GM Dan Duquette’s perspective. His 2.41 ERA in 1992 once again led the league, as did his five shutouts, but the Sox/Clemens relationship was bumpy.

Over the next four seasons, it went from bumpy to rocky to the equivalent of a Sunni stroll through a Shite neighborhood in Baghdad. By 1996, the Sox were playing poorly and the Clemens contract was up. The question was whether Clemens would give a friendly rate to the Sox despite their unfriendly attitude towards him as he contemplated free-agency.

He was only 10-13 that season but what Sox fans conveniently forget was that he suffered from lack of run support and in the second-half of the season rebounded to go 6-2, with a 2.09 ERA in his last 10 starts, and after the All-Star break struck out 123 men in 111 1/3 innings.

On the evening of Wednesday, September 18, 1996, he made his penultimate road start in a Red Sox uniform as he faced the Detroit Tigers. The Sox were nothing more than a third-place team, while the Tigers fared even worse that season finishing in fifth place. Nevertheless, there were a number of very well known names in that game.

The Sox had Mo Vaughn, Nomah, Mike Greenwell, John Valentin, and Jose Cans*co. The Tigers had Alan Trammell, Ruben Sierra, Tony Clark, Travis Fryman, Phil Nevin and Brad Ausmus. It was a good game; too bad only 8,779 fans were there to see history being made.

When I tell you that the Sox won, 5-0, it’s no big deal. Clemens allowed hits to Trammel, Sierra, Nevin, Ausmus, and Melvin Nieves. He didn’t walk anybody although he did throw a wild pitch.

Here’s the history making part:
* In the 1st inning, Bobby Higgenson grounded out.
* In the 3rd inning, Ausmus did the same.
* In the 4th inning, Trammell grounded out.
* In the 7th inning, Sierra did the same.
* In the 8th inning, Bobby Higgenson grounded out
* In the 9th inning, Alan Trammel popped out and Tony Clark flew out.

Everybody else struck out.

Five ground outs, one pop out, one fly out, 20 strikeouts.

Not a bad night for Roger Clemens.

The Rocket had tied his own major-league record 10 years after setting it in 1986 against the Seattle Mariners by striking out 20 Tigers.

Clemens threw 151 pitches, striking out Travis Fryman four times and Tony Clark three times. Only Ausmus and Tramell each struck out only once. He threw 100 pitches for strikes. Fourteen Tigers went down swinging. All four batters who didn’t strikeout had two strikes on them. Only four runners reached second; none reached third.

After the game Clemens donated an autographed baseball from the game and his game-worn cap to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His battery mate Bill Haselman would donate his catcher’s mitt from the game.

Only Kerry Wood of the Chicago Cubs (May 6, 1998 vs. Houston) has managed to strike out 20 batters in a nine-inning game. Randy Johnson of the Arizona Diamondbacks (May 8, 2001 vs. Cincinnati) fanned 20 batters in the first nine innings of an 11-inning game and in 1962, Washington Senators pitcher Tom Cheney struck out 21 Baltimore Orioles batters in a 16-inning game.

It was his last win as a member of the Red Sox. With the win he matched the club records for most club victories (192) and shutouts (38), held by Cy Young.

That season his 257 strikeouts in 242 innings were tops in the AL. He held the Red Sox team career record for games started (382), bases on balls (856), and strikeouts (2,590), and tied with Cy Young with 192 victories.

Less than two months later, he was a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.

He has been lustily booed at Fenway Park ever since.

Top of the 2nd
POST HASTE
As we hurry to the end of the season, we rush to judgment:

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
TEAM W L PCT GB
Red Sox 90 61 .596 –
Yankees 86 64 .573 3.5
d–Blue Jays 75 75 .500 14.5
e–Orioles 64 85 .430 25
e-Devil Rays 63 88 .417 27

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
TEAM W L PCT GB
Indians 88 62 .587 –
Tigers 83 68 .550 5.5
e–Twins 73 77 .487 15
e–White Sox 65 85 .433 23
e–Royals 64 85 .430 23.5

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
TEAM W L PCT GB
Angels 88 62 .587 –
Mariners 79 70 .530 8.5
e–A’s 74 78 .487 15
e–Rangers 70 80 .467 18

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
TEAM W L PCT GB
Mets 83 66 .557 –
Phillies 81 69 .540 2.5
Braves 77 73 .513 6.5
e–Nationals 67 83 .447 16.5
e–Marlins 65 85 .433 18.5

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
TEAM W L PCT GB
Cubs 79 72 .523 –
Brewers 77 72 .517 1
Cardinals 70 79 .470 8
Reds 68 82 .453 10.5
e–Pirates 66 84 .440 12.5
e–Astros 65 85 .433 13.5

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
TEAM W L PCT GB
Diamondbacks 84 67 .556 –
Padres 82 67 .550 1
Dodgers 79 70 .530 4
Rockies 77 72 .517 6
e–Giants 67 83 .447 16.5

d–mathematically eliminated from winning the division title
e–mathematically eliminated from the postseason

The Twins and A’s were mathematically eliminated from the postseason.
The Astros and Pirates were mathematically eliminated from winning the division title and from the postseason.

AL Wild Card Standings
Team W L Pct GB Home Road Last 10 Streak
New York 86 64 .573 – 48-27 38-37 8-2 W 2
Detroit 83 68 .550 3.5 41-34 42-34 7-3 L 1

NL Wild Card Standings
Team W L Pct GB Home Road Last 10 Streak
San Diego 82 67 .550 – 44-31 38-36 6-4 W 4
Philadelphia 81 69 .540 1.5 43-32 38-37 8-2 W 5
Los Angeles 79 70 .530 3.0 41-34 38-36 6-4 L 1
Milwaukee 77 72 .517 5.0 47-27 30-45 6-4 W 3
Colorado 77 72 .517 5.0 44-30 33-42 5-5 W 1
Atlanta 77 73 .513 5.5 39-36 38-37 6-4 W 2

Division Magic Numbers

The magic number is derived by adding one to the number of remaining games and subtracting the number of games ahead in the loss column from the second-place team. Here’s where the leaders stand:
AL EAST
Red Sox 9
AL CENTRAL
Indians 7
AL WEST
Angels 5
NL EAST
Mets 11
NL CENTRAL
Cubs 12
NL WEST
D-backs 12

AL EAST
Headline: Yankees win, Yankees win, the Yankees win
* It was a three win night last night for the Yankees. The first win occurred in Toronto where the Boston Red Sox were defeated by the Toronto Blue Jays, 6-1. Just about any other game Dustin McGowan using a 98 mph fastball, a low 90s slider, a changeup in the high 80s and a curveball in the low 80s, would have been the story. But this was a night that reminded everyone why Frank Thomas (and sometimes is) “the Big Hurt.” Thomas went deep three times last night enabling him to pass Mel Ott and tie Eddie Mathews and Ernie Banks for 18th place on the all time HR list, with 512 but more importantly leading his team to a decisive victory. Thomas homered twice off Tim Wakefield, then hit his third against reliever Kyle Snyder. Thomas had three homers one other time — hitting all of them off Wakefield at Fenway Park on Sept. 15, 1996. Dustin McGowan (11-9) pitched a five-hitter, struck out nine and walked none.
* It was the fourth multihomer game of the season for Thomas and the 33rd of his career.
* Thomas is a career .250 (12-for-50) hitter against Wakefield
* The second Yankee win of the night occurred in the Bronx as New York defeated the Orioles, 8-5. Hideki Matsui broke out of a long slump with a go-ahead homer, and Phil Hughes won his second consecutive start. Mariano Rivera struck out Melvin Mora with runners at second and third for his 29th save in 32 chances. Matsui hit his first homer in 123 at-bats since Aug. 8 at Toronto off Roy Halladay. Matsui began the day in a 5-for-43 (.116) slump. Alex Rodriguez matched his high for RBI in a season with his 142nd.
* The Yankee 3.5 game deficit is their smallest since before play on April 22, when the Red Sox completed a three-game sweep of New York at Fenway Park.
* Derek Jeter singled and doubled, passing Bernie Williams for fourth place on the club’s career list with 2,337 hits. Lou Gehrig (2,721 hits), Babe Ruth (2,518) and Mickey Mantle (2,415) remain ahead for the Captain.
* The Yankees have won 10 of 12, improving to a season-best 22 games over .500.
* Baltimore still leads the season series 8-5, but has dropped 20 of 26 overall.
* The Voice of God, Bob Sheppard, the longtime public address announcer at Yankee Stadium, missed the game with laryngitis. He is expected back later this week.

AL CENTRAL
Headline: There is joy in Mudville or at least Cleveland
* The third Yankee win last night came compliments of the Cleveland Indians who came back to defeat the Tigers, 6-5 in 11 innings. It was Casey Blake at the bat with one out in the 11th inning and his walk-off brought the Indians victory. Rafael Betancourt (5-1) struck out four in two scoreless innings of relief. Jhonny Peralta homered twice for the Indians including the big blow, a two-run 8th inning homer of Joel Zumaya that tied the score.
* The Tigers had their five-game winning streak snapped.
* Placido scored his 100th run. The Tigers have four players: Magglio Ordonez, Curtis Granderson and Gary Sheffield are the others — with at least 100 runs for the first time since 1950 when George Kell (114), Johnny Lipon (104), Jerry Priddy (104) and Hoot Evers (100) all reached the century mark.
* The Tigers and Indians have finished 1-2 in the same season twice, most recently in 1940, when Detroit edged Cleveland by one game.
* The Indians are 18-5 since Aug. 25.
* The Indians’ magic number is seven.

AL WEST
Headline: The Angels lowered their magic number for clinching the AL West to five
* The Angels defeated the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 10-7.

NL EAST
Headline: As one New Yawk team thrives, the other is trying to survive and the Phillies are playing in overdrive
* The Mets’ lead in the NL East is crumbling away thanks tp last night’s fourth straight loss, a 12-4 defeat to the Nationals. The Mets blew an early four-run lead against the Nationals with a combination of horrible pitching, worse defense, dubious managing and insufficient hitting. But besides that it was a lovely evening. The Mets committed four more errors, giving them 10 in their last two games and 12 during their four-game losing streak. Prior to these last four games, the Mets had committed 13 errors in their previous 26 games.
* No team has ever been up seven with 17 to play and not captured the division or league.
* After nearly blowing a 6th inning 11-0 lead, the Phillies thanks to a tumbling inning ending 8th inning catch by Aaron Rowand defeated the soon to be former World Champion St. Cardinals, 13-11. Rowand’s catch prevented the tying and go-ahead runs from scoring and would made Ryan Howard’s grand slam and solo homer for naught. Rowand and Jimmy Rollins also homered as the Cardinals almost recovered against the exhausted, bedraggled Phillies bullpen which was without their top three relievers, Brett Myers, Tom Gordon, and J.C. Romero, unavailable because of constant use.
* Rick Ankiel had a sacrifice fly for his first RBI since his human growth hormone report became public. Ankiel hit two homers and had seven RBI on Sept. 6, but was 4-for-33 the next 10 games.
* Tom Gordon tweaked his lower back on Sunday. He visited the Mets’ team doctor yesterday and will visit the Cardinals’ doctor today, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Gordon’s status is unclear at this point.
* Andruw Jones hit a three-run homer and Jeff Francoeur also drove in three runs to reach 100 RBIs for the second year in a row, as John Smoltz (14-7) defeated the Marlins, 11-6.
* The Braves have scored just eight runs in Smoltz’s seven losses, and they’ve been held to three runs or less in 14 of his 30 starts.
* Forty-nine-year-old Julio Franco pinch-hit a bloop RBI single.

NL CENTRAL
Headline: Pleasant Weathers for the Cubbies
* David Weathers had not blown any of his last 10 save chances and then came the Cubs scoring three in the 9th last for a walk-off 7-6 over the Reds. Weathers walked Ryan Theriot to start the inning. Derrek Lee hit the next pitch into right for a single. Aramis Ramirez hit a ball that center fielder Norris Hopper made a diving attempt on. It went to the wall for a game-tying triple. The Reds walked Daryle Ward and then brought Hopper in to play right in front of second base but Mark DeRosa hit a ball up the middle that Weathers deflected and the winning run scored. It was DeRosa’s fifth straight hit. DeRosa is 10-for-10 against the Reds in his last two games against them — he also went 5-for-5 on Aug. 16.
* Carlos Zambrano goes tonight for the first time on three days rest.
* Manager Lou Pinella said he might use Steve Trachsel out of the bullpen over the final couple weeks. Trachsel has said that he isn’t fond of the idea, but he may not have a choice, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Trachsel has made just one relief appearance in his career, but with a couple off days before the end of the year, the team may only need to use a fifth starter once.
* Remember this name – Geovany Soto is making a case for regular playing time down the stretch for the Cubs. Soto got a couple starts over the weekend and went 5-for-9 with three doubles, including a four-hit game on Sunday. “It’s a lot of food for thought,” manager Lou Piniella said in the Chicago Sun-Times. “What a job he’s done. It’s awfully impressive.” Soto won PCL Player of the Year honors after hitting .353 with 26 homers and 109 RBI for Triple-A Iowa.
* Brewers rookie Yovani Gallardo threw eight scoreless innings against the Astros as the Brewers picked up a . Gallardo allowed seven hits and three walks while striking out five. In doing so he won his ninth game of the season. Gallardo (9-4) allowed seven hits and struck out five in a season-high eight innings to win his fourth consecutive start. He hasn’t allowed a run in 21 innings, a streak that began when he threw seven shutout innings against the Astros in Milwaukee’s 14-2 victory on Sept. 5. Brewers picked up their 11th victory in 16 games.
* Prince Fielder singled to extend his hitting streak to 15 games.
* The Brewers have hit 209 homers this season, tied for second-most in franchise history. The Brewers hit 216 homers in 1982.
* Brewer’s third baseman Ryan Braun said he would play during the Jewish holy day Yom Kippur this weekend in Atlanta. Braun’s father is Jewish, but his mother is a Catholic and said he had not observed that holy day in the past. “I don’t really celebrate the (Jewish) holidays so it won’t be much of an issue with me,” Braun said. “Growing up half-Jewish, half-Catholic, I’ve never really celebrated one holiday over the other.”

NL WEST
Headline: The Padres edge closer to the D-Backs
* Arizona gave up five runs to the Giants in the 8th inning as San Francisco rallied to win, 8-5. Tony Pena gave up a three-run homer to Randy Winn followed by a two-run shot to Pedro Feliz in the 8th. Pena (5-4) had not allowed a run in seven September outings. After the game, the Diamondbacks announced that third baseman Chad Tracy would undergo season-ending surgery on his right knee on Thursday. Brandon Webb pitched six innings allowing three runs.
* Webb drew his first walk of the season.
* Arizona dropped to 71-95 all-time against the Giants, and 35-47 in Phoenix.
* Rookie Jack Cassel led the Padres to their fourth consecutive victory – 3-0 over the Pirates. Cassel pitched six innings, Khalil Greene hit a two-run home run and three relievers secured the pitching’s staff 20th shutout, highest in the majors since the Braves had 23 in 1998. It was Cassel’s first major league victory. Future Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman picked up his 38th save, then signed the final out ball and gave it to Cassel. Hoffman usually keeps the ball from the final out of his saves, except for special occasions such as another pitcher’s first win. Cassel gave up eight hits, but he didn’t walk a batter and retired all four Pirates he faced with runners in scoring position.
* Hoffman has converted six straight save opportunities and needs two more to give him 40 for a record-extending ninth season. Hoffman has converted 20 straight saves at home, where his ERA is 0.95 since April 28.
* In Cassel’s two starts he has thrown strikes with 73 percent of his pitches.
* Padres reliever Heath Bell picked up his 31st hold of the season with a scoreless inning. He has appeared in 75 games this season and 63 have been scoreless.
* Cassel’s younger brother Matt is a Patriots back-up quarterback.
* Cassel’s mother, Barbara, won a creative arts Emmy for art direction for “Tony Bennett: An American Classic.”
* Two wins in the past three games (Brett Tomko and Jack Cassel) for the back end of the Padres rotation equal the total for the past 30 starts made by starters not named Jake Peavy and Greg Maddux.
* Khalil Greene has hit 26 career home runs at Petco. That’s 11 more than all visiting shortstops combined in the park’s history.
* The Padres have allowed one run in the last three games.
* San Diego coming off a 2-6 stretch against winning teams in the NL West, have opened a 10-game homestand with four consecutive victories.
* With their 82nd win, the Padres are guaranteed their fourth straight winning season and just the 14th in franchise history.
* Historically, the Dodgers lead the Rockies 130-94, including 62-52 in Denver and 54-47 at Coors Field. They lead 6-5 this season, but the Rockies are 3-2 against Los Angeles at Coors Field.
* To make up for a July 27 rainout against the Dodgers at Coors Field, the Rockies are scheduled to play a split doubleheader today, their first doubleheader since Aug. 8, 2005, when they swept Florida 4-3 in 11 innings and 5-3. This will be the first split doubleheader at Coors Field since Aug 19, 2004, when the Mets swept the Rockies 10-3 and 4-2. The Rockies have played 31 doubleheaders, winning 10, losing 11 and splitting 10.

Top of the 3rd
THE ENCARNACION WATCH
Juan Encarnacion is in Boston visiting an eye specialist to judge the improvement in his left eye. He is also considering treatments for the potentially career-threatening injury, which occurred when he was struck by a foul ball while standing on the on-deck circle, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Encarnacion will require surgery to repair fractures to the orbital bone, but doctors have been more concerned with possible damage to his optic nerve.
Top of the 4th
A NEW HALL OF FAMER
Mr. Met has been named a member to the Mascot Hall of Fame (http://www.mascothalloffame.com/). He was actually edged out in fan voting by basketball’s San Antonio Coyote, but the Hall of Fame’s Executive Committee decided the two should share the honor.

For those of you who have never seen what Mr. Met looks like, picture a white Barry B*nds with stitches.

Top of the 5th
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ELLSBURY
The following is abridged from an article written by Keith Chu that appeared in The Bulletin from Bend, Oregon.

Jacoby Ellsbury was a star from the time he got to Madras (Oregon) High School, where he lettered in five sports: baseball, basketball, football, soccer and cross country.

“From the time he stepped on the field to the time he got off, he was a very astute student of the game. He worked diligently every day,” said Bruce Reece, his high school baseball coach, now athletic director at Oregon City High School. “We knew he was a heck of an athlete, and there was no doubt he was going to be really, really good.”

Ellsbury’s parents, Jim and Margie, lived on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation until he was in kindergarten. Margie, who is part Navajo, said she came to Warm Springs in 1980, after her sister married a tribal member there. She now works for the tribes in the early-childhood education department, while Jim is a forester for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

In his second game, with his parents watching from the stands, Ellsbury hit his first Major League home run.

“The second day was when Jacoby had his home run, and we were all giving each other high fives and then I was really excited and happy and then I started getting emotional,” Margie said who was so overwhelmed, she was wiping away tears by the time he finished his home run trot.

“I didn’t even get to see him cross home plate,” Margie Ellsbury said.

“There are guys who maybe have as much speed as Jacoby has, but when you add that to instinct, he not only is fast, but intuitively he is a great baseball player,” said Pat Casey, Ellsbury’s coach for three years at Oregon State University. “Those are special guys.”

Casey said he expects Ellsbury to show more of himself as he acclimates to the majors.
“I just think that he’s going to be a little bit reserved at first and then get a little more comfortable with his surroundings,” Casey said. “I think Jack’s personality is tremendous.”

At Oregon State University, Casey said, they called him Jack, or Jackaby. “We called him Jackaby; it kind of tied into his ability to run like a jackrabbit,” Casey said.
Ellsbury said he’ll take whatever nickname fans give him.

Last Thursday, their first day off since being called up on Sept. 1, Ellsbury and fellow rookie Clay Buchholtz moved into an apartment in Boston, replacing the hotel rooms that served as home since the beginning of the month. The apartment is “very expensive,” according to Ellsbury’s dad. It’s one of a few big-ticket items Ellsbury has bought since signing a $1.5 million bonus with the Red Sox two years ago.

Ellsbury said he invested much of his windfall, but first he bought a new house in Madras for his mom, Margie. Then came a condo in Tempe, Ariz., and an almost-new Cadillac Escalade, currently parked in Mom’s garage.

Top of the 6th
THE BARRY BALL
In a Sotheby’s auction, fashion designer Marc Ecko paid $752,467 for Barry B*nds’s 756th home run ball.

Instead of keeping the ball, he has created a website — vote756.com — where he asks people to vote on whether they want him to a) donate the ball to the National Baseball Hall of Fame; b) brand the ball with an asterisk, then send it to the Hall of Fame; or c) send the ball into space.

I personally love “b” – but that’s just me.

What are you going to do? Bill@billy-ball.com

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
I’m 6-2 since I started playing MLB Fantasy Survivor and my streak is 1.

Many great match-ups tonight – The homophones are pitching in New York and Toronto, Anaheim and St. Louis, Verlander goes for 18th, Lackey his 17th, Francis his 16th, Maine his 15th, Sheets his 13th, Gaudin his 12th, Mussina his 11th, Mussina his 10th, Wells his 9th, Burnett his 8th, Weaver his 7th, Westbrook his 6th, Lester his 5th, Hanrahan his 4th, Hammel his 3rd, Floyd his 2nd, and Sedon his 1st.

But I’m going to take the Mets tonight for 20 Kranepools.

Here’s where you can play: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/fantasy/index.jsp

AL
Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees, 7:05 pm
(R) Jon Leicester (2-1) vs. (R) Mike Mussina (9-10)
Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians, 7:05 pm
(R) Justin Verlander (17-5) vs. (R) Jake Westbrook (5-9)
Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays, 7:07 pm
(L) Jon Lester (4-0) vs. (R) AJ Burnett (8-7)
Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals, 8:10 pm
(R) Gavin Floyd (1-3) vs. (R) Gil Meche (8-12)
Texas Rangers at Minnesota Twins, 8:10 pm
(R) Kevin Millwood (9-12) vs. (R) Carlos Silva (11-14)
Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics, 10:05 pm
(R) Jeff Weaver (6-12) vs. (R) Chad Gaudin (11-11)
Tampa Bay Devil Rays at LA Angels of Anaheim, 10:05 pm
(R) Jason Hammel (2-4) vs. (R) John Lackey (16-9)

NL
Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies, 3:05 pm
(R) Chad Billingsley (11-4) vs. (L) Jeff Francis (15-8)
New York Mets at Washington Nationals, 7:05 pm
(R) John Maine (14-9) vs. (R) Joel Hanrahan (4-3)
Florida Marlins at Atlanta Braves, 7:35 pm
(L) Chris Seddon (0-0) vs. (L) Jo-Jo Reyes (0-2)
Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs, 8:05 pm
(R) Aaron Harang (15-4) vs. (R) Carlos Zambrano (16-12)
Milwaukee Brewers at Houston Astros, 8:05 pm
(R) Ben Sheets (12-5) vs. (R) Felipe Paulino (0-0)
Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals, 8:10 pm
(L) Cole Hamels (14-5) vs. (R) Todd Wellemeyer (3-2)
Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies, 8:35 pm
(L) David Wells (8-8) vs. (L) Mark Redman (1-4)
San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks, 9:40 pm
(L) Jonathan Sanchez (1-4) vs. (R) Micah Owings (6-8)
Pittsburgh Pirates at San Diego Padres, 10:05 pm
(L) Tom Gorzelanny (14-7) vs. (R) Greg Maddux (12-10)

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
The Dodger’s Juan Pierre has played in 421 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the majors. Pierre’s 58 stolen bases are the most for a Dodger since Davey Lopes stole 63 in 1976, and he has a hit in 29 of his past 33 games, going 46-for-137 (.336).

Top of the 9th
200 TIGERS
Magglio Ordonez picked up two hits last night and now has 200 hits this season. Here are the Tigers with 200-hit seasons since 1950:

Name Year Hits Avg .
Magglio Ordonez 2007 200 .357
Alan Trammell 1987 205 .343
Lou Whitaker 1983 206 .320
Ron LeFlore 1977 212 .325
Al Kaline 1955 200 .340
Harvey Kuenn 1954 201 .306
Harvey Kuenn 1953 209 .308
George Kell 1950 218 .340

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.