Billy-Ball Daily: 2008-5-16

Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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The only spin here is on my screwball

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Top of the 1st
Billy-Ball works hard to give you stuff to talk about around the water cooler during the work week, but sometimes I get concerned that you have nothing to share around the bar on the weekends.

Here are 25 factoids that might get you a free drink:
1. Eight of the top nine interleague records belong to AL teams. The Marlins are the exception, at 105-81. The AL has won the season series in seven of 11 years, including each of the last four.
2. If you were born after Jaime Moyer on November 18, 1962, then you are still young enough to play in the majors. Now that Julio Franco has been put out to pasture, Moyer is the oldest active player.
3. Gary Sheffield’s move to left field has ended, at least temporarily, because his aching right shoulder has made it all but impossible to make throws from the outfield.
4. Giants officials laughed at the rumor of Omar Vizquel being acquired by the Red Sox to replace Julio Lugo.
5. Once in each homestand, the Orioles come early for pitcher fielding practice on one day and bunting practice on another. Baltimore manager Dave Trembley has instituted infield practice before the first game of each homestand and road trip. It may be old school, but that team is exceeding expectations.
6. The Yankees and Mets come into this weekend with a combined record of 40-41.
7. The Padres and Mariners should be happy they are not playing their series on a neutral field. Coming into their series this weekend, the Pad’s are 7-17 on the road and the M’s 7-14.
8. The Royals are now 6-0 versus the Tigers and 13-21 against the rest of the AL. Speaking of the Royals, they are on pace for 580 runs, which would be more than 100 fewer than any AL team has scored since the 119-loss Tigers in 2003. It would be the league’s lowest total since the 106-loss Tigers in 2002.
9. Jarrod Washburn, whose last relief appearance had come in 1999, picked up the save for the Mariners in their extra inning win over Texas on Wednesday. He had never had a save opportunity before.
10. The Cubs lead the majors with 238 runs, their .378 on-base percentage and 3.93 pitches seen per plate appearance. Their patience at the plate is highlighted by the fact that their batters have seen 256 full-counts, the most in the majors.
11. Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy has used 40 lineups in San Fran’s first 41 games.
12. The Mariners are 16-9 when scoring at least four runs. The Giants are 9-12 when scoring four or more runs.
13. Brandon Webb is 9-0 through the first quarter of the Diamondbacks season. You want to know how hard it is to win 30 games? He has to win 21 out of his remaining 27 starts to reach the magic number. In his next start, Webb can tie the major-league record of 10 consecutive starts won to begin a season held by Andy Hawkins of the 1985 Padres. The all-time record of consecutive wins in one season is 19, shared by two New York Giants pitchers, Rube Marquard in 1922 and Tim Keefe in 1888.
14. Since interleague play began in 1997, the Orioles have posted the worst record among American League teams at 79-114. The Pirates record is 57-94, the worst in baseball.
15. The Diamondbacks are 20-5 in their division and 6-10 outside of it.
16. Gabe Kapler, who was a Red Sox farm system last season, returns to Fenway tonight as a playing member of the Milwaukee Brewers. Kapler is a lifetime .429 hitter against Tim Wakefield.
17. Alfonso Soriano has 46 career leadoff homers, third in major league history behind Rickey Henderson (81) and Craig Biggio (53).
18. Livan Hernandez, who will pitch and hit Saturday for the Twins, has a career .232 batting average with nine home runs and 73 RBI in 789 career at-bats
19. In 1997, Greg Maddux had 19 wins and 20 walks. In 1913, Christy Mathewson had 25 wins and 21 walks and in 1914, Matty had 24 wins and 23 walks.
20. Since April 12, Jason Isringhausen has blown six saves. He’s given up 19 hits and 16 earned runs in 12 innings for an ERA of 12.00, and the batting average against him during that period is .352. He’s also walked 8, with only 5 Ks.
21. Last season, the Padres were 23-11 in games started by Jake Peavy, who was a majors-best 10-1 on the road with an NL-leading 2.57 ERA. This year, Peavy is 2-1 away from Petco Park with a 5.40 ERA. Overall, the Padres are 4-5 when Peavy starts.
22. The New York Mets have now gone 7,359 games without a no-hitter.
23. Tampa Bay is next to last in the AL in attendance, averaging 18,263 per game through 22 home dates. The Marlins are averaging 14,981 for 21 dates to rank last in the majors.
24. The last time there was an all-Florida World Series was never.
25. Unbelievab-lee great – The more you look at Cliff Lee’s numbers the more insane they appear. Lee has thrown 53.2 innings going 6-0 allowing just four earned runs, striking out 44, walking four, all with an ERA of 0.67 (which is the same as his WHIP). Just to let you know the AL average ERA is 4.16.

Top of the 2nd
Lance Berkman splashed his major league-leading 15th home run into McCovey Cove, breaking a 9th inning tie and helping the Houston Astros rally past the San Francisco Giants, 8-7. Berkman leads the majors with 15 homers and 43 RBI and his .391 batting average trails only Chipper Jones of Atlanta.

Berkman also hit a two-run single and has a 14-game hitting streak. He went 7-for-15 (.467) with three homers and seven RBIs during the series.

Berkman also stole his 7th base yesterday, his career high is nine in a season.

Top of the 3rd
Brandon Webb threw 7 1/3 innings to help the Diamondbacks complete a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies with an 8-5 win and Webb moved to 9-0 on the season. He struck out a season-high eight. The Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew had a career-high four hits including two doubles and a triple and on this homestand, he is 8 for 14 with five runs scored and four RBIs.

He improved his batting average by 19 points, to .295, with his four-hit night from the No. 2 spot. Drew has hit safely in 10 of his past 11 games, batting .383 (18 for 47) in that span.

Top of the 4th
Tampa Bay (24-17) defeated the Yankees yesterday, 5-2. The Rays have been alone atop the division standings for three consecutive days for the first time. The Rays won three of four from New York and have captured six of seven series in building the best record in the AL. The Yankees have lost six of nine and fell to last place in the AL East.

Top of the 5th
The Giants’ record through 40 games and how they finished the past five years:
Year 40 games Final
2003 26-14 100-61
2004 16-24 91-71
2005 19-21 75-87
2006 20-20 76-85
2007 20-20 71-91
2008 17-23 69-93*

Top of the 6th
Former Red Sox slugger and (hopefully) Hall-of-Fame soon-to-be-er Jim Rice has a blog. You can find it right here:

Top of the 7th
Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles, 7:05 pm
(R) Shawn Hill (0-0) vs. (L) Garrett Olson (2-0)
New York Mets at New York Yankees, 7:05 pm
(L) Johan Santana (4-2) vs. (R) Darrell Rasner (2-0)
Milwaukee Brewers at Boston Red Sox, 7:05 pm
(R) Jeff Suppan (2-2) vs. (R) Daisuke Matsuzaka (6-0)
Toronto Blue Jays at Philadelphia Phillies, 7:05 pm
(L) David Purcey (0-0) vs. (L) Jamie Moyer (2-3)
Cleveland Indians at Cincinnati Reds, 7:10 pm
(L) Jeremy Sowers (0-0) vs. (R) Johnny Cueto (2-4)
Kansas City Royals at Florida Marlins, 7:10 pm
(R) Brett Tomko (1-4) vs. (L) Scott Olsen (4-1)
Oakland Athletics at Atlanta Braves, 7:35 pm
(L) Dana Eveland (3-3) vs. (R) Jair Jurrjens (4-3)
Houston Astros at Texas Rangers, 8:05 pm
(R) Shawn Chacon (0-0) vs. (R) Sidney Ponson (2-0)
Tampa Bay Rays at St. Louis Cardinals, 8:15 pm
(R) Andy Sonnanstine (5-1) vs. (R) Braden Looper (5-2)
Minnesota Twins at Colorado Rockies, 9:05 pm
(R) Nick Blackburn (3-2) vs. (R) Ubaldo Jimenez (1-3)
Detroit Tigers at Arizona Diamondbacks, 9:40 pm
(R) Jeremy Bonderman (2-4) vs. (R) Dan Haren (4-2)
Los Angeles Dodgers at LA Angels of Anaheim, 10:05 pm
(R) Hiroki Kuroda (1-2) vs. (L) Joe Saunders (6-1)
San Diego Padres at Seattle Mariners, 10:10 pm
(R) Chris Young (3-3) vs. (R) Miguel Batista (3-4)
Chicago White Sox at San Francisco Giants, 10:15 pm
(R) Gavin Floyd (3-2) vs. (L) Jonathan Sanchez (2-2)

Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 pm
(L) Tom Gorzelanny (3-3) vs. (R) Sean Gallagher (0-0)

Top of the 8th
Hits Derek Jeter, NYY 254
RBIs Manny Ramirez, BOS 139
HRs Jim Thome, CWS 53
Average Michael Young, TEX .347

Wins Mike Mussina, NYY 20-12
ERA Johan Santana, NYM 2.27
Saves Mariano Rivera, NYY 51

Top of the 9th
Another fun week with lots of emails and great feedback, thanking you all as always.

I will be back here on Monday looking forward to hearing from you again next week.

Go out and buy the book!

Have a great weekend.

Bottom of the 9th
Bill Chuck is the creator of 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, or order directly from Acta Sports, or from your favorite bookstore worldwide.

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Information provided in Billy-Ball has been gathered from A.P. reports,,, 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.