Billy-Ball Daily: 2008-5-1

5/1/2008
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

Billy-Ball – From the diamond to your desktop…

Subscribe to Billy-Ball – it’s free – www.billy-ball.com

The only spin here is on my screwball

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Top of the 1st
1ST OBSERVATIONS
As we will do on the first day of every month during the season is take a quick look at the big picture as reflected in the standings.

May 1, 2008 Standings

American League

East W L Pct GB Home Road Streak L10
Boston Red Sox 17 12 .586 — 11-4 6-8 Won 2 5-5
Tampa Bay Rays 15 12 .556 1.0 10-7 5-5 Won 1 8-2
Baltimore Orioles 15 12 .556 1.0 10-5 5-7 Lost 1 5-5
New York Yankees 14 15 .483 3.0 5-6 9-9 Lost 2 5-5
Toronto Blue Jays 11 17 .393 5.5 5-7 6-10 Lost 2 2-8

Central W L Pct GB Home Road Streak L10
Chicago White Sox 14 12 .538 — 7-6 7-6 Lost 2 4-6
Minnesota Twins 13 14 .481 1.5 8-6 5-8 Won 2 6-4
Cleveland Indians 13 15 .464 2.0 7-9 6-6 Won 1 6-4
Detroit Tigers 13 15 .464 2.0 6-8 7-7 Won 2 7-3
Kansas City Royals 12 15 .444 2.5 5-7 7-8 Lost 1 3-7

West W L Pct GB Home Road Streak L10
Los Angeles Angels 18 11 .621 — 8-6 10-5 Won 2 6-4
Oakland Athletics 17 12 .586 1.0 8-7 9-5 Lost 2 6-4
Seattle Mariners 13 15 .464 4.5 7-7 6-8 Lost 1 4-6
Texas Rangers 10 18 .357 7.5 5-8 5-10 Won 1 3-7

* Glass half empty – Mediocrity abounds in the AL, today nobody has more than a one game or two game winning or losing streak.
* Glass half parity – Parity reigns in the AL, today nobody has more than a one game or two game winning or losing streak.
* The Angels have the best record, the Rangers the worst.
* Tried and true formula for winning a division win two-thirds of your games at home and half of your games on the road – check out the three teams atop the AL East.
* The Angels are 10-5 on the road.
* The Jays are 6-10 on the road, it must be the bad exchange rate.
* The A’s are 10-4 against the Central Division.
* The Red Sox are 1-7 in turf.
* Only one team in the AL Central is above .500, and the White Sox won’t have that distinction for very long.
* Tampa Bay’s previous best April was 12-12 in 1999.
* Here come the Tigers.
* Billy Beane is the AL Executive of the month, hands down.
* Who goes first John Gibbons in Toronto or Ron Washington in Texas? I say Gibbons may not see June 1, his team looks awful.
* This first month the Yankees were too old, too young, too injured, too road weary.
* The Angels finished April with 18 wins, a franchise record for this month.
* The Rays have won 12 of 19 against their opponents in the East.
* The Yanks haven’t played a team in the West this season – that ends this weekend.
* The Red Sox are 8-3 against the West.
* The Red Sox are 7-2 in one-run games, so are the Orioles!
* The Mariners are 1-7 in one run games.
* Tampa Bay has never been three games over .500 this late in the season.
* The Tigers are 3-10 in day games.
* The Blue Jays are 6-1 during the day.
* The Angels, Mariners, and Yanks have yet to play an extra-inning game.

National League

East W L Pct GB Home Road Streak L10
Florida Marlins 15 12 .556 — 7-7 8-5 Lost 2 5-5
New York Mets 14 12 .538 0.5 9-5 5-7 Lost 1 4-6
Philadelphia Phillies 15 13 .536 0.5 7-7 8-6 Lost 1 7-3
Atlanta Braves 12 15 .444 3.0 8-4 4-11 Lost 4 4-6
Washington Nats 11 17 .393 4.5 4-10 7-7 Won 3 6-4

Central W L Pct GB Home Road Streak L10
Chicago Cubs 17 10 .630 — 11-5 6-5 Won 1 6-4
St. Louis Cardinals 18 11 .621 — 12-6 6-5 Won 2 6-4
Milwaukee Brewers 15 12 .556 2.0 7-6 8-6 Lost 1 4-6
Houston Astros 13 16 .448 5.0 6-5 7-11 Lost 1 6-4
Cincinnati Reds 12 17 .414 6.0 6-8 6-9 Lost 2 4-6
Pittsburgh Pirates 11 16 .407 6.0 6-7 5-9 Won 1 4-6

West W L Pct GB Home Road Streak L10
Arizona D-backs 20 8 .714 — 11-3 9-5 Won 1 7-3
Los Angeles Dodgers 14 13 .519 5.5 9-5 5-8 Won 5 7-3
San Francisco Giants 13 16 .448 7.5 8-8 5-8 Won 1 5-5
San Diego Padres 11 17 .393 9.0 6-9 5-8 Won 1 3-7
Colorado Rockies 11 17 .393 9.0 4-6 7-11 Lost 1 2-8

* Who would have ever imagined the Marlins in first in the East?
* The Phillies went 15-12 in April, their best start since 2003.
* Going to be a long, hot summer in Atlanta waiting for football to begin.
* The three teams battling in the NL Central may do that all season long. It’s remarkable what LaRussa has done in St. Louis.
* Right now, the Diamondbacks are the best team in baseball and may be getting better.
* This was a franchise record April for Arizona.
* Joe Torre has the Dodgers on a five-game winning streak
* Diamondbacks, Cubs, Cardinals and Mets have the pennant winning formula.
* The Braves are 4-11 away from their teepee, the worst road record in baseball.
* Arizona is an amazing 17-5 in their division; they haven’t played a team from the East yet.
* Last year, the Cardinals needed 43 games to win No. 18.
* The Mets and Nats haven’t played a team from the West.
* The Nats have certainly not acclimated themselves to their new home, they’re 4-10.
* There are no turf fields in NL.
* The Reds have lost nine of their last 11 at St. Louis.
* The Marlins are 6-3 in one-run games.
* Even more surprising, Arizona is only 4-4 in one-run games.
* Even more shocking than that is the Braves 0-9 record in one-run games (including 0-3 in extra innings).
* The Giants started 1-6.
* The Cubs have already gone into extras five times winning four of them.
* The Brewers are 10-5 in day games; Prince Fielder likes to look at his shadow.
* The Padres and Rockies each are already nine games out.

Top of the 2nd
HOW MUCH DO WE LOVE MICAH OWINGS?
Huge.

He’s my American Idol. He’s my Nobel Peace Prize winner. He’s my Democratic Party nominee for president.

Yesterday, Micah Owings didn’t pitch for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Off to a 4-0 start it wasn’t his turn. He simply pinch-hit a two out opposite field two-run homer on the first pitch of the game from Astros reliever Dave Borkowski to tie the game and put Arizona in position to win 8-7.

Owings raised his season average to .421 (8-for-19). A silver-slugger winner last year when he hit .333, Owings has five home runs in 79 at bats over his two big league season.

Top of the 3rd
HMMM, LET’S SEE SEE
C.C Sabathia is 1-4 with a 7.88 ERA which means that the Tribe would be jumping off a cliff if it weren’t for Cliff Lee who won his fifth straight start, leading the Cleveland Indians to an 8-3 win over the Seattle Mariners last night.

Lee’s consecutive scoreless innings streak ended at 27 on Wladimir Balentien’s three-run homer in the 7th. It raised his ERA from 0.28 to 0.96, still lowest in the majors.
Top of the 4th
MORNEAU? MORE YES!
Justin Morneau hit a two-out RBI double in the 7th inning to give Nick Blackburn and the Twins a 4-3 victory over the White Sox yesterday. Morneau raised his average with runners in scoring position to .481 with 18 RBIs in 27 at-bats.

Top of the 5th
SOMEBODY NEW FOR ME TO SUCK UP TO
MLB has hired CBS Exec VP & Exec Producer Tony Petitti to run MLB Network, which is scheduled to launch in January. At CBS, Petitti reported to CBS News and Sports President Sean McManus, who has deep relationships with several leagues. McManus said, “There are not too many executives that have the programming, production and business affairs experience that Tony has. There isn’t a better executive in my mind to take on a challenge like the MLB Network.”

Top of the 6th
BILLY-BALL-SITE-OF-THE-DAY
Looking for a great gift when even the terrific book “Walkoffs, Last Licks, and Final Outs” is simply not enough? How about Vroop’s Liveboard? Designed like an old-time stadium scoreboard, this device has built-in Bluetooth capabilities that enable it to sync up and display real-time MLB scores. It comes with a wireless USB adapter.

http://myliveboard.com/ is the Billy-Ball-Site-of-the Day.

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
AL
Rays (Matt Garza) at Orioles (Brian Burres), 12:35
Royals (Zack Greinke) at Rangers (Sidney Ponson), 2:05
Blue Jays (A.J. Burnett) at Red Sox (Tim Wakefield), 7:05
Mariners (Miguel Batista) at Indians (Paul Byrd) 7:05
Tigers (Nate Robertson) at Yankees (Ian Kennedy), 7:05
A’s (Justin Duchscherer) at Angels (Nick Adenhart), 10:05

NL
Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda) at Marlins (Burke Badenhop), 12:10
Brewers (Yovani Gallardo) at Cubs (Carlos Zambrano), 2:20
Padres (Randy Wolf) at Phillies (Adam Eaton), 7:05
Pirates (Zach Duke) at Nationals (Odalis Perez), 7:10

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
Arizona has 110 extra-base hits this season, an average of nearly four per game.

Top of the 9th
THE CURSE OF B*NDS (CONTINUED)
Giants minor league catcher Eliezer Alfonzo was suspended 50 games yesterday for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, the first player penalized this year under Major League Baseball’s drug program.

Alfonzo, 29, is on San Francisco’s 40-man roster so he falls under the major league program even though he has played all season at Triple-A Fresno (Calif.). Alfonzo was batting .306 with three homers and 14 RBIs in 16 games. He played 113 games with the Giants in the last two seasons, hitting .263 with 13 homers and 45 RBIs.

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.

Autographed first editions are available by contacting, Bill@billy-ball.com or order directly from Acta Sports, http://www.actasports.com/detail.html?&id=3427 or from your favorite bookstore worldwide.

* Support Billy-Ball via PayPal (WWW.BILLY-BALL.COM) or Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/paypage/PBANN9XCMMFSH.

Do you want to snail mail?
Billy-Ball
258 Harvard Street, #145
Brookline, MA 02446

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.