Billy-Ball Daily: 2008-4-25

4/25/2008
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Top of the 1st
APRIL RACES TO WATCH
Let’s wake up everybody! Games in April count every bit as much as games in August and September…and yes, we have big races going on that we can follow throughout the season- take a look:

WASHINGTON VERSUS WASHINGTON
New ballpark be damned, the Washington Nationals are still a horrible ballclub. Their record, like their hips, don’t lie. The Washington Nationals are 7-16, the same record as their opponents in this match-up, the Ron Washington led Texas Rangers. Each team can brag about shaky pitching and poor clutch hitting, but only the Rangers can own their club record for most losses in April. The previous high of 15 happened three times. The 2008 Rangers also matched the 1982 squad for the worst start after 23 games since the team moved to Texas in 1972. Here’s a race to watch all season long or until Ron Washington loses his job, whichever comes first.

JOE VERSUS JOE
While neither Joe is faring as poorly as Tom Hanks in “Joe Versus the Volcano,” you know that I’m not the only one tracking the Joe Torre Dodgers versus the Joe Girardi Yankees. As of this date, it’s the Yankees at 12-11 over LA, 9-13.

MANNY VERSUS JUNIOR
When you mention Manny Ramirez you must acknowledge that most of the time it results in Manny versus reality, but in the case I have him in a home run milestone duel. Manny and his 496 homers versus Junior Griffey and his 597 homers. Who will reach their respective milestone first?

MANNY VERSUS MANNY
Last season Manny had career lows with 20 homers and 88 RBI – I say the 2008 version of Manny (the one in a contract year) has those numbers by the All-Star break.

PHIL HUGHES VERSUS IAN KENNEDY VERSUS CLAY BUCHHOLTZ
Yes, there must be at least Yankees/Red Sox rivalry going on and this seems like as good a one as any. Here are three pitchers who are not quite ready to pitch in the majors throwing for teams who feel that their offenses are good enough to compensate. So far, Phil Hughes is 0-3 with a 7.85 ERA; Ian Kennedy is 0-2 with a 9.64 ERA, and, the clear leader, Clay Buchholz is 1-1 with a 4.79 ERA.

FRANK THOMAS VERSUS JASON GIAMBI
Frank is back in Oakland, which means this battle of the over-the-hills can resume. The Big Hurt is hitting .159 with 3 homers and 11 RBI while Jason “I’m so sorry” Giambi has 3 homers and 7 RBI with a .161 batting average. Saying goodbye to this contest is David “Big Papi” Ortiz who is now up to .189 with 4 homers and 20 RBI.

TAMPA BAY VERSUS DISNEY WORLD
This is so one-sided, I can’t imagine why the Rays just don’t pick up and move to David Archuletta Land (that’s a shout out to “American Idol” fans on your way to crowning the whiniest and most annoying dull singer since Bobby Goldsboro). After sweeping the Jays, the Rays are now 6-0 in the House of the Mouse. The attendance for the series finale was 9,540, the largest crowd of the three games this year. That brought the total for the series against the Blue Jays to 26,798 – 119 fewer fans than last year’s set here against the Rangers. On top of that, Toronto’s Alex Rios was ejected during last night’s game against Tampa Bay when he slung his bat and slammed his batting helmet to the ground after striking out. His words deeply offended Snow White.

JOHN GIBBONS VERSUS THE TORONTO BLUE JAYS RECORD
Scott Rolen can’t come back fast enough to help Gibbons who is in the last year of his contract.

STEPHEN VERSUS J.D. (A.K.A. NANCY) DREW
The Drew brothers, the Hardy Boys of baseball, are always a fun rivalry. Stephen, at short for the Diamondbacks, has three homers, eight RBI and is hitting .286. Nancy, playing right field for the Red Sox, has three homers, 13 RBI and is hitting .284. In case you are curious, J.D.’s full name is David Jonathan Drew – no joke or as he says, “joke no.”

ERIC GAGNE VERSUS MANNY CORPUS
This is a great race between two closers to see who can accumulate the most blown saves; right now they are tied at four apiece.

B.J. UPTON VERSUS JUSTIN UPTON
B.J. is hitting .296 with two homers, 17 RBI and four stolen bases. Justin Upton is way in the lead herewith five homers, 14 RBI and a .361 batting average (zero stolen bases). B.J.’s given name is Melvin Emmanuel Upton, I don’t want to know how he got his nickname.

DETROIT TIGERS VERSUS 1,000 RUNS
For those of you had picked the Tigers to generate a 1,000 run offense, you must have pretty worried. Well, as long as there are pitching staffs like the Texas Rangers, there is always hope. Detroit is up to 119 runs in 23 games, while the Cubs still lead all teams in scoring with 135.

BRANDON WEBB VERSUS BARRY ZITO
Can Webb actually win more games than Zito loses? Webb has five wins, Zito has five losses. This should be great

CUBS VERSUS WHITE SOX
The first place White Sox are 12-9. The first place Cubs are 15-7. May 23, 2004, is the last time the Cubs and White Sox were in first place at the same time this late into the season. The last time these teams met in the Series? In 1906, the White Sox topped the Cubs, 4 games to 2.

NHL PLAYOFFS VERSUS APATHY
Who cares? Really? Who cares?

Top of the 2nd
DOWNRIGHT CHIPPER
Yesterday was Chipper Jones’ 36th birthday and he celebrated by going 3-for-3, including a homer, to lead Atlanta past the NL East-leading Florida Marlins 7-4. For his career on April 24, he’s hitting .500 (18-of-36) with four homers, eight RBIs and 10 runs. For he season, Jones has the best average in the majors to .442, with seven homers and 20 RBIs.

So much for missing Andruw.

Top of the 3rd
YOU READ IT HERE FIRST
Last night Joe Crede lined an RBI single to center to score Carlos Quentin in the bottom of the 9th as the White Sox beat New York 7-6 and avoided a three-game sweep by handing Joba Chamberlain his first major league defeat.

Next season, the Yankees infield will have Scott Boras’ free agent Joe Crede at third, Alex Rodrguez at short, Robinson Cano at second and Derek Jeter at first.

Top of the 4th
JOHN DEWAN’S STAT OF THE WEEK
Who is seeing the most pitches 
per plate appearance?
More and more people are beginning to appreciate the value of a hitter seeing pitches. It wears out the opposing pitcher and it gives the hitter a chance to walk or find a pitch he can handle. However, the data is not widely available. Below we show the 2007 and 2008 leaderboards for the hitters seeing the most pitches and the teams seeing the most pitches. Notice that six of the eight 2007 playoffs teams are in the 2007 team top ten.
2008 Top 10 Hitters By Pitches Seen per Plate Appearance
Hitter Team Pitches PA PPA
Jayson Werth Phillies 304 64 4.75
Kosuke Fukudome Cubs 423 91 4.65
Andruw Jones Dodgers 356 79 4.51
Jack Hannahan Athletics 300 67 4.48
Alex Rios Blue Jays 402 90 4.47
Ronny Cedeno Cubs 165 37 4.46
Craig Monroe Twins 160 36 4.44
Jason Botts Rangers 133 30 4.43
Ryan Spilborghs Rockies 186 42 4.43
Jim Edmonds Padres 292 66 4.42
Minimum 30 plate appearances.
2007 Top 10 Hitters By Pitches Seen per Plate Appearance
Hitter Team Pitches PA PPA
Jayson Werth Phillies 1,392 304 4.58
Reggie Willits Angels 2,301 518 4.44
Jack Cust Athletics 2,232 507 4.40
Jason Botts Rangers  833 190 4.38
Bobby Abreu Yankees 3,060 699 4.38
Ruben Gotay Mets  922 211 4.37
Todd Helton Rockies 2,970 682 4.35
Troy Glaus Blue Jays 1,972 456 4.32
Kevin Millar Orioles 2,429 562 4.32
Ryan Shealy Royals  815 189 4.31
Minimum 100 plate appearances.
2008 Top 10 Teams By Pitches Seen per Plate Appearance
Team Pitches PA PPA
Cubs 3,502 890 3.93
Dodgers 3,132 800 3.92
Mets 3,141 804 3.91
Pirates 3,271 840 3.89
Phillies 3,392 872 3.89
Indians 2,956 763 3.87
Athletics 3,297 852 3.87
Marlins 3,118 807 3.86
White Sox 2,969 773 3.84
Blue Jays 3,380 881 3.84

2007 Top 10 Teams By Pitches Seen per Plate Appearance
Team Pitches PA PPA
Red Sox 25,327 6,426 3.94
Indians 25,074 6,367 3.94
Athletics 24,871 6,365 3.91
Yankees 25,327 6,528 3.88
Rangers 24,065 6,214 3.87
Phillies 25,311 6,537 3.87
Rockies 25,159 6,498 3.87
White Sox 23,523 6,103 3.85
Blue Jays 23,781 6,197 3.84
Diamondbacks 23,176 6,101 3.80
Source: Baseball Info Solutions
2008 data through the games of Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Top of the 5th
FOX’S SATURDAY BASEBALL TELECAST SCHEDULE
Saturday, April 26, 2008
New York Yankees at Cleveland Indians
Los Angeles Angels at Detroit Tigers
Arizona Diamondbacks at San Diego Padres

Saturday, May 3, 2008
Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals
New York Mets at Arizona Diamondbacks
Baltimore Orioles at Los Angeles Angels

Saturday, May 10, 2008
New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers
St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers

Saturday, May 17, 2008
Milwaukee Brewers at Boston Red Sox
Cleveland Indians at Cincinnati Reds
Los Angeles Dodgers at Los Angeles Angels

Saturday, May 24, 2008
New York Mets at Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks at Atlanta Braves
Los Angeles Angels at Chicago White Sox

Saturday, May 31, 2008
Los Angeles Dodgers at New York Mets
Detroit Tigers at Seattle Mariners
Atlanta Braves at Cincinnati Reds

Saturday, June 7, 2008
Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers
Seattle Mariners at Boston Red Sox
Cleveland Indians at Detroit Tigers

Saturday, June 14, 2008
Boston Red Sox at Cincinnati Reds
Los Angeles Dodgers at Detroit Tigers
Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals

Saturday, June 21, 2008
St. Louis Cardinals at Boston Red Sox
Cleveland Indians at Los Angeles Dodgers

Saturday, June 28, 2008
New York Yankees at New York Mets
Chicago Cubs at Chicago White Sox

Saturday, July 5, 2008
Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals

Saturday, July 12, 2008
Colorado Rockies at New York Mets
San Francisco Giants at Chicago Cubs
Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers

Tuesday, July 15, 2008
79th All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, 8 p.m.

Saturday, July 19, 2008
Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels
Cleveland Indians at Seattle Mariners
San Diego Padres at St. Louis Cardinals

Saturday, July 26, 2008
New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies

Saturday, August 2, 2008
Los Angeles Angels at New York Yankees
Milwaukee Brewers at Atlanta Braves

Saturday, August 9, 2008
New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels
St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs
Atlanta Braves at Arizona Diamondbacks

Saturday, August 16, 2008
Los Angeles Angels at Cleveland Indians
Philadelphia Phillies at San Diego Padres
Seattle Mariners at Minnesota Twins

Saturday, August 23, 2008
Los Angeles Dodgers at Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves at St. Louis Cardinals
San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants

Saturday, August 30, 2008
Philadelphia Phillies at Chicago Cubs
Seattle Mariners at Cleveland Indians
Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres

Saturday, September 6, 2008
Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets
Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins
Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers

Saturday, September 13, 2008
Atlanta Braves at New York Mets
Milwaukee Brewers at Philadelphia Phillies
Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels

Saturday, September 20, 2008
TBA

Saturday, September 27, 2008
TBA

Watching these games?
You’ll enjoy it more with
The Bill James
Daily Match-Ups(TM)

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Right now at BillJamesMatchUps.com, you can obtain for free the lifetime match-up stats (updated daily) between the pitchers and batters of both teams for any game being played in Major League Baseball that day.
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The Match-Ups are available FREE to everyone for the rest of the MONTH OF APRIL. You can go right now to BillJamesMatchUps.com and download any or all of that day’s games.

Top of the 6th
BILLY-BALLBALL-SITE-OF-THE-DAY

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
AL
Yankees (Andy Pettitte) at Indians (Paul Byrd), 7:05
Angels (Ervin Santana) at Tigers (Nate Robertson), 7:05
Red Sox (Tim Wakefield) at Rays (Matt Garza), 7:10
Twins (Nick Blackburn) at Rangers (Kevin Millwood), 8:05
Blue Jays (A.J. Burnett) at Royals (Zack Greinke), 8:10
Orioles (Brian Burres) at White Sox (Mark Buehrle), 8:11
A’s (Dana Eveland) at Mariners (Miguel Batista), 10:10

NL
Phillies (Adam Eaton) at Pirates (Zach Duke), 7:05
Braves (Jair Jurrjens) at Mets (Mike Pelfrey), 7:10
Cubs (Ryan Dempster) at Nationals (Odalis Perez), 7:35
Marlins (Scott Olsen) at Brewers (Yovani Gallardo), 8:05
Astros (Shawn Chacon) at Cardinals (Braden Looper) 8:15
Diamondbacks (Randy Johnson) at Padres (Randy Wolf), 10:05
Reds (Aaron Harang) at Giants (Jonathan Sanchez), 10:15
Rockies (Ubaldo Jimenez) at Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda), 10:40

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
Atlanta pitchers have yet to get a hit this season, going 0-of-39. The Braves are the last NL team without a hit from a pitcher.

Top of the 9th
THANK YOU FOR A GREAT WEEK
Thanks Nick Cafardo for the mention in the Boston Globe, thanks Doug Miller for the great write-up on MLB.com (http://www.mercurynews.com/sports/ci_9040086?nclick_check=1) Thank you all for your purchases, your emails, and your fun ideas.

I look forward to limping through another wonderful week on Monday.

See yu then.

Bottom of the 9th
BUY THE BOOK
Bill Chuck is the creator of Billy-Ball.com and, with Jim Kaplan, is the author of the book, “Walk-Offs, Last Licks, and Final Outs – Baseball’s Grand (and not so Grand) Finales,” with a Foreword by Jon Miller available now from ACTA Sports.

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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.