Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-9-21

9/21/2007
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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The only spin here is on my screwball – happy birthday, Sudden Sam McDowell.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Top of the 1st
T.G.I.F.
Thank goodness it’s Friday and thank goodness I don’t have to live and die with the Houston Astros. Yesterday, they signed Ed Wade as their new general manager, two years after the Phillies fired him as GM following eight seasons without a playoff appearance. He was criticized in Philadelphia for his reluctance to make big moves before the trade deadline and giving big-money, long-term contracts to players (middle relievers) who underachieved. He sounds perfect for the Astros whose owner Drayton McClain is nothing but a meddler. Someday when I grow up I want to be a member of a Good Ol’ Boy network.

Thank goodness it’s Friday and thank goodness I’m not Ken Griffey Jr. this morning. Junior will miss the rest of the season because of a strained groin, which hurts me even to type. Griffey left Wednesday night’s game against the Chicago Cubs after injuring himself while fielding a ball in right field. As he started to make a throw, Griffey stopped in pain and had to underhand the ball back to the infield before falling to the ground.
Griffey hit .277 this year with 30 homers and 93 RBIs, playing 144 games — his highest total since 2000. He was an All-Star for the first time since 2004 and the 13th time overall, and he moved up to sixth on the career home run list with 593. This is the 8th time he has been on the DL since 2000. He’s had swelling behind his right knee a dislocated toe, torn hamstrings, a torn knee tendon, a dislocated shoulder, a torn ankle tendon and he broke his left hand in an accident at home last December. All this simply because he left the Mariners, which means the solution is very simple….

Thank goodness it’s Friday and thank goodness I’ve been to whatever they are calling the Giants ballpark these days. The Giants will reach the 3 million mark for the eighth straight year of their waterfront ballpark’s existence Friday night, needing just 791 fans to reach that magic number. I wouldn’t bet on it next year though. As fabulous as AT&T Park is this is a bad ballclub and they won’t attract as many fans without the hype of a home run chase.

Thank goodness it’s Friday and thank goodness I’m not in St. Louis this morning. They must be so depressed after losing to the Astros last night, 18-1. The Cardinals have lost 13 of 15 and according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last defending World Series champions to lose by 17 or more runs were the Arizona Diamondbacks, who won the title in 2001 and lost 19-1 to Los Angeles on Sept. 2, 2002. I think LaRussa and Jocketty leaving the Cardinals will be good for them and for the Cards and for the Mariners and for me (I like to write about them).

Thank goodness it’s Friday and thank goodness I’m not a Texas Rangers season ticket holder. I can’t imagine having to go see the home team play the Orioles last night…and lose, 6-3, in extra innings no less. Yuck.

Thank goodness it’s Friday and thank goodness I don’t have to figure out what the Orioles can do about Miguel Tejada. Tejada has become a defensive liability at short this season at the only position he has ever played, making 15 errors and compiling a .969 fielding percentage, which would be his worst since he became an everyday player for the Oakland Athletics in 1998, but good luck at trying to convince him to move to third base. The 15 errors are two fewer than Derek Jeter, who has won a Gold Glove the past three seasons and only Los Angeles’ Cabrera (11) has fewer errors than Tejada. However, the statistic is largely deceiving because Tejada has played in at least 20 fewer games than most of the qualifiers and 34 fewer than the Seattle Mariners’ Yuniesky Betancourt. In addition his range is limited and seemingly lately so is his desire to go after balls. He is under contract with the Orioles through the 2009 season and still has $26 million remaining on the deal.

Thank goodness it’s Friday and thank goodness I don’t speed through a season the way that Oakland designated hitter Jack Cust has. Cust didn’t make his first major league appearance this season until the Athletics acquired him from San Diego on May 6 and yet he has a chance to become the ninth player to lead a league in walks and strikeouts (how many can you name? Cust leads the American League in strikeouts and is six walks behind David Ortiz of Boston.

Thank goodness it’s Friday and I didn’t have to watch the line of Mets fans considering jumping off the Triboro Bridge.

Thank goodness it’s Friday and I didn’t have to watch the line of Red Sox fans considering jumping off the Zakim Bridge.

Thank goodness it’s Friday.

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 63 .588 –
Yankees 88 64 .579 1.5
e–Blue Jays 77 75 .507 12.5
e–Orioles 65 87 .428 24.5
e-Devil Rays 63 90 .412 27

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
TEAM W L PCT GB
Indians 90 62 .592 –
Tigers 83 70 .542 7.5
e–Twins 75 77 .493 15
e–Royals 66 86 .434 24
e–White Sox 66 87 .431 24.5

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
TEAM W L PCT GB
y–Angels 91 62 .595 –
Mariners 81 71 .533 9.5
e–A’s 74 80 .481 17.5
e–Rangers 70 83 .458 21

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
TEAM W L PCT GB
Mets 84 68 .553 –
Phillies 83 70 .542 1.5
Braves 80 73 .523 4.5
e–Nationals 68 85 .444 16.5
e–Marlins 66 87 .431 18.5

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
TEAM W L PCT GB
Cubs 80 73 .523 –
Brewers 78 74 .513 1.5
Cardinals 71 81 .467 8.5
e–Reds 70 83 .458 10
e–Astros 67 86 .438 13
e–Pirates 66 87 .431 14

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
TEAM W L PCT GB
Diamondbacks 86 67 .562 –
Padres 85 67 .559 0.5
Rockies 81 72 .529 5
Dodgers 79 74 .516 7
e–Giants 67 86 .438 19

y-clinched a tie for the division title
d–mathematically eliminated from winning the division title
e–mathematically eliminated from the postseason

AL wild-card race
W L Pct GB
New York 88 64 .579 —
Detroit 83 70 .542 5