Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-10-16

10/16/2007
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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The only spin here is on my screwball

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Top of the 1st
THE RESERVATION
“Good evening, Enchainment du Monde, may I help you?”

“Yeah, I’d like to make a reservation please”

“Excuse me, you do know we are tres exclusive, not everyone can make a reservation for Enchainment du Monde.”

“Yeah, I’m well aware how exclusive you are, I’ve been there.”

“You? You’ve been to Enchainment du Monde?”

“Yup. I was just a kid. It was in 1980. I went to your establishments in Kansas City and Philadelphia and for the most part I enjoyed myself.”

“Mon dieu, that was a long time ago. We shut down the Kansas City branch ages ago and we were considering re-opening in Philadelphia this year, but it didn’t work out.”

“I know. I know. Here’s the deal, as I said I had a good time the last time but the only trouble was, I didn’t taste your champagne. I really want to taste your champagne.”

“Yes monsieur, everyone wants to taste our champagne, but that is not up to us, it’s up to you.”

“Okay, I understand. Let’s get back to the reservation.”

“Let me see when and where you want it and we’ll see what we can do, okay?

“Okay, I need a table for 25 and another one for me and my staff.”

“So you want our standard set up. That’s fine. When do you want this for?”

“Wednesday, October 24 and Thursday, October 25.”

“Yes, Enchainment du Monde is opening a little late this year. Please make sure you wear something warm. Where is this reservation for?”

“Yeah, that’s a little bit of a problem; I need it either in Boston or Cleveland. They are battling to see who will be my date.”

“How flattering for you. I presume you will need a second reservation, everyone makes a second reservation.”

“That’s right I do. I want Saturday and Sunday, October 27 and 28. Oh, I may also need the 29th but the way things are going, probably not.”

“This is for where?”

“Colorado.”

“Colorado?!? We’ve never presented Enchainment du Monde in Colorado!”

“Well, you will this year.”

“Okay, I have all of the information. The reservation will be held under the name Willie Randolph. Is there anything else I can help you with Monsieur Randolph?”

“Uh, I’m not Willie Randolph.”

“Oh you must be Monsieur Manuel, Charlie Manuel.”

“Wrong again.”

“Monsieur Melvin?”

“My name is Clint Hurdle and my reservation is for 25 Colorado Rockies and we don’t really need to dress warm because no matter what the weather is, or will be in Cleveland or Boston, we are hot and we are going to stay hot. Oh and one more thing…”

“What is that Monsieur Hurdle?”

“You may call it the exclusive “Enchainment du Monde” but I call it the World Series and we can’t wait to get there.”

“We can’t wait to have you, Monsieur Hurdle. Have a good rest and oh, don’t worry we have your favorite bubble gum awaiting you.”

Top of the 2nd
THE POST-SEASON
NL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Colorado Rockies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Gm Date Site Time ET (TV)
1 Thurs., Oct. 11 @ARI COL 5, ARI 1
W: J. Francis (2-0) L: B. Webb (1-1)
2 Fri., Oct. 12 @ARI COL 3, ARI 2
W: M. Corpas (1-0) L: J. Valverde (0-1)
3 Sun., Oct. 14 @COL COL 4, ARI 1
W: J. Fogg (2-0) L: L. Hernandez (1-1) S: M. Corpas (4)
4 Mon,. Oct. 15 @COL COL 6, ARI 4
W: M. Herges (1-0) L: M. Owings (0-1) S: M. Corpas (5)
Rockies win series 4-0

AL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Cleveland Indians vs. Boston Red Sox
Gm Date Site Time ET (TV)
1 Fri., Oct. 12 @BOS BOS 10, CLE 3
W: J. Beckett (2-0) L: C. Sabathia (1-1)
2 Sat., Oct. 13 @BOS CLE 13, BOS 6
W: T. Mastny (1-0) L: E. Gagne (0-1)
3 Mon., Oct. 15 @CLE CLE 4, BOS 2
W: J. Westbrook (1-1) L: D. Matsuzaka (0-1)
4 Tues., Oct. 16 @CLE 8 p.m. (FOX)
BOS: T. Wakefield (0-0, 0.00) P. Byrd (1-0, 3.60)
* 5 Thurs., Oct. 18 @CLE 8 p.m. (FOX)
BOS: J. Beckett (1-0, 0.00) CLE: C. Sabathia (1-0, 5.40)
* 6 Sat., Oct. 20 @BOS TBD (FOX)
* 7 Sun., Oct. 21 @BOS TBD (FOX)
Indians lead 2-1
* if necessary

WORLD SERIES
Gm Date Site Time (TV)
1 Wed., Oct. 24 AL hosts FOX
2 Thurs., Oct. 25 AL hosts FOX
3 Sat., Oct. 27 Colorado FOX
4 Sun., Oct. 28 Colorado FOX
* 5 Mon., Oct. 29 Colorado FOX
* 6 Wed., Oct. 31 AL hosts FOX
* 7 Thurs., Nov. 1 AL hosts FOX

Top of the 3rd
ROCKTOBER
Each day leading up to the World Series we’ll find something to write about the National League Champs.

* The Rockies defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks last night, 6-4.
* The Rockies scored six runs in the fourth, when pinch hitter Seth Smith doubled home two runs and their MVP candidate Matt Holliday hit a three-run home run.
* Reliever Matt Herges pitched two hitless innings for the win.
* Manny Corpus picked up his second save of the series.
* Corpas leads all closers in the playoffs with five saves.
* In the 9th, Arizona shortstop Stephen Drew, representing the tying run, hit a short fly ball to second base on a 3-0 pitch. Not hitting in the clutch runs in the family.
* They swept the NLCS, 4-0.
* The only team to sweep a NLCS since it went to a best-of-seven format in 1985 was the Atlanta Braves, who blanked Cincinnati in 1995.
* The Rockies trailed in just two of the 38 innings in this series.
* Colorado’s starters had a 1.66 ERA.
* The Rockies bullpen has a 1.61 ERA for 28 innings in the postseason.
* The D-backs led the NL with 90 victories.
* The game ended at 11:38 p.m. local time, 1:38 a.m. on the East Coast.
* The D-backs went 4-for-27 with runners in scoring position in the series and scored just eight times, the fewest in an NLCS of at least four games since Pittsburgh was held to 12 runs in seven games in 1991.
* The Rockies and Diamondbacks combined to score 26 runs in the series. The fewest combined runs scored in an NLCS of at least four games is 24. It was done twice: by Atlanta (19 runs) and Cincinnati (five) in 1995 and by Philadelphia (16) and Los Angeles (eight) in 1983.
* Before sweeping the Diamondbacks, the Rockies swept the Philadelphia Phillies, 3-0, in the N.L. division series.
* Arizona hadn’t lost four straight games since a five-game streak July 4-8.
* The Colorado Rockies began as an expansion team in 1993.
* This is their first World Series.
* The Rockies have made the playoffs once before, for one round in 1995, when they were nicknamed the Blake Street Bombers.
* In 1995, the Rockies had one post-season victory when they were eliminated by Atlanta in the first round.
* They currently have a 10-game winning streak.
* They have won 21 of their last 22.
* The Rockies are the first team since the 1935 Chicago Cubs to win at least 21 of 22 after Sept. 1, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
* The Rockies last lost a game on Sept. 28 in the regular season.
* Colorado has lost only once since Sept. 16.
* Colorado won the wild-card berth in the N.L. by beating San Diego, 9-8, in 13 innings in game 163.
* Colorado had never won more than 83 games before going 90-73 this season
* The Rockies are the second team to win each of its first seven games to open the postseason.
* The 1976 Cincinnati Reds, went 7-0 in sweeping to a World Series title when the maximum number of postseason victories was seven.
* Since the playoffs were expanded to three rounds in 1995, two teams have won eight in a row: The 2004 Red Sox and the 2005 White Sox.
* During the regular season, the Rockies ranked 19th among 30 teams in attendance with an average of 28,978 a game.
* The Rockies have a record eight days off before opening the World Series at either Cleveland or Boston on Oct. 24.
* Four franchises remain that have never reached the World Series: the Mariners, Devil Rays, Senators/Rangers and Expos/Nationals.
* The Rockies went 2-1 against Boston this season, outscoring the Red Sox 20-5 in a June series at Fenway Park.
* Colorado last played Cleveland in 2005, getting swept in a three at Jacobs Field.
* The Rockies have Dave Holliday, Jack Gillis, Mike Paul, Kasey McKeon and Mark Wiley scouting Boston and Cleveland in the American League Championship Series.

Top of the 4th
CLEVELAND ROCKS
“Cleveland/Rocks” will be the headline of the Cleveland Plain Dealer if the Red Sox have to start Daisuke Matsuzaka in another critical game. The Indians won last night, 4-2, to take a 2-1 lead in the best of seven series.

For the second time in two post-season starts Daisuke (which is Japanese for ineffective nibbler) could not make it out of the 5th inning. Matsuzaka, gave up a two-run homer to Kenny Lofton and two other runs in 4 2/3 innings of labor. He threw 101 pitches. Matsuzaka needed six or more pitches on 12 of 22 hitters. He now has a postseason ERA of 6.75.

Winning pitcher Jake Westbrook got 14 of 19 outs on Red Sox grounders. Jason Varitek pounded a two-run homer to complete the Sox scoring. Westbrook ended three innings with double-play grounders, one with the bases loaded. He struck out two and walked three in six and two-thirds innings. Jensen Lewis, Rafael Betancourt and Joe Borowski did not allow a hit for the final two and a third innings. Westbrook threw 104 pitches in 6 2/3 innings.

Big Papi and Manny each went 1-for-3. They each walked once, and each hit into a double play.

Jason Varitek hit his 10th postseason home run tying Johnny Bench and Javy Lopez for most career playoff home runs for a catcher. Varitek also tied David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez for most postseason home runs by a Red Sox player.

For the second game in a row, the Red Sox grounded into three double plays. They have hit into seven in the first three games. The Orioles hit into 10 in 1997.

In 3-of-5 postseason games, including the last two games of this series, Red Sox starters have failed to get out of the 5th inning.

Since the ALCS went to a seven-game format in 1985, eight of the 10 winners in Game 3 of a 1-1 series have gone on to the World Series.

Top of the 5th
STONEMAN A STONE’S THROW AWAY
Bill Stoneman, 63, is planning to move to a consultant’s position with the Angels. He has been the GM since 1999. His most recent four-year contract expired with the 2007 season but includes a mutual option allowing him to stay beyond ’07 as either a GM or a consultant. Under Stoneman, the Angels have won three AL West titles in the past four seasons and have reached the postseason in four of the past six years. Among the players acquired during his reign were free agent slugger Vladimir Guerrero and free agent pitcher Bartolo Colon.

Stoneman’s replacement as GM was not immediately clear, but it is believed that the Angels are looking at Tony Reagins, currently their director of player development, to succeed Stoneman. Reagins, 40, joined the Angels as an intern in 1992 and has run the team’s minor league system for the last six seasons. He did not play or coach professionally, and his background leans more toward administration than player evaluation.

Reagins, who is African American, would join Ken Williams of the Chicago White Sox and Omar Minaya of the New York Mets as the only minority general managers in the major leagues.

The Angels have called a news conference for today.

This will be the game’s fourth significant GM change in the past month. Atlanta’s John Schuerholz and Minnesota’s Terry Ryan each have resigned within the past month, and St. Louis fired Walt Jocketty.

Stoneman pitched two no-hitters for the Montreal Expos, the highlights of his eight seasons in the major leagues. He retired in 1974 and worked in the banking industry for a decade, then joined the Expos’ front office.

Top of the 6th
OPERATION BETANCOURT
Rafael Betancourt is unscored upon in 5 1/3 innings this postseason, giving up two hits and striking out six. He pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings in the Indians’ 13-6 victory in Game 2 of the ALCS at Fenway Park.

Betancourt, a former middle infielder and pitcher in the Red Sox system, is pitching with a plate and screws in his right forearm after surgery on the elbow to transpose the ulnar nerve in July 2001. Betancourt’s surgeon was Dr. Bill Morgan, who performed the famous procedure on Curt Schilling’s ankle in the 2004 postseason.

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
It’s Paul Byrd versus Tim Wakefield tonight, and Byrd summed it up correctly when he said, “This may be the slowest-throwing right-handed matchup of all time in the postseason.”

* Byrd went 15-8 with a 4.59 ERA in 31 regular-season starts. Byrd was 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in one start against the Red Sox this season. He allowed nine hits and one earned run in six innings of an 8-4 victory in Fenway Park.
* Byrd gave up 239 hits in 192 1/3 regular-season innings but he ranked first in the American League with 1.31 walks per nine innings.
* Tim Wakefield went 17-12 with a 4.76 ERA in 31 regular-season starts. After being named Red Sox Player of the Month in August, Wakefield struggled in September.
* Wakefield hasn’t pitched since Sept. 29 and was left off Boston’s American League Division Series roster because of a right shoulder that required a cortisone shot.
* Wakefield missed a start on September 1 because of the injury. Spot starter Clay Buchholz threw a no-hitter in his place.
* Wake returned to the rotation Sept. 6, and in five September starts, he had an 8.76 ERA. In 24 2/3 innings, he allowed 24 earned runs, seven homers and a .361 opponent’s batting average.
* Wakefield did not pitch against the Indians this season. He is 5-4 with a 4.64 ERA in 11 career appearances at Jacobs Field.
* With Wakefield starting tonight, Doug Mirabelli will be behind the plate for the Sox.
* Kenny Lofton is 18-for-66 (.273) in his career against Wakefield.
* Manny Ramirez is just 2-for-14 with one homer in his career against Byrd, although he was 1-for-3 this season
* Red Sox versus Byrd: Coco Crisp (5-for-11, .455), Mike Lowell (8-for-20, .400), David Ortiz (8-for-26, .308) and Jason Varitek (7-for-18, .389). Bobby Kielty is 10-for-30 (.333) with four homers against Byrd.
* The Indians, who were 52-29 at home this season, have won all three home games in October.

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
For the second straight year the Indians spent the fewest amount of days on the disabled list among MLB’s 30 teams, losing only 323 days due to injury while using the DL 9 times. Last year the Indians lost 274 days to injury. In 2003, the Indians lost 1,445 days to injuries.

Top of the 9th
ROCKIES WS TIX
Tickets for World Series games at Coors Field scheduled for Oct. 27, 28 and 29 (if necessary) will go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday. Tickets will be sold online at ColoradoRockies.com and in person at Coors Field and Rockies Dugout Stores. Telephone orders will not be accepted.

Line lotteries will be used at Coors Field and Rockies Dugout Stores.

There is a limit of four tickets per person per game.

Single-game ticket prices range from $65 for Rockpile tickets to $250 for club level and infield box.

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.