Billy-Ball Daily: 2008-5-23

5/23/2008
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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The only spin here is on my screwball

Friday, May 23, 2008

Top of the 1st
THE BILLY-BALL 25 FACT ROSTER
This should get you through the weekend:

1. The last American League Triple Crown winner was Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. The last National League Triple Crown winner was the Cardinals’ Joe Medwick in 1937. This year we have candidates in both leagues: Josh Hammilton of Texas leads the AL in hitting at .335, tied with Carlos Quentin with 12 homers, and leads with 53 RBI. In the NL, Lance Berkman trails Chipper Jones in batting average (.412 to .388) but leads with 16 homers and 45 RBI.
2. The Mariners have lost 11 of 15, 16 of 21, 20 of 29 and 24 of their last 40 games.
3. On the other hand, since April 22, the TB Rays have the best record in baseball at 19-8.
4. Jason Giambi has 10 singles and 8 homers this season. In 2001, Barry B*nds hit 73 homers and only 49 singles. In 1999, Mark McGw*re had 65 homers and only 58 singles.
5. Florida has five shutouts this season, one more than it had all of last season.
6. Daisuke Matsuzaka is now 8-0 with the 6th best ERA in baseball at 2.40. In 60 innings he has allowed 41 hits and 38 walks (he leads the majors in walks). He is 11th in the majors with 1055 pitches thrown. Aaron Harang leads with 1173. But Dice-K is first with 4.11 pitches per plate appearance and 17.6 pitches per inning.
7. Chipper Jones has 398 homers, Manny Ramirez has 498 homers, and Ken Griffey, Jr. has 598 homers.
8. On the subject of Junior, he is the fourth player to hit at least 300 home runs with one team and 200 with a second. Griffey had 398 homers for the Seattle Mariners, with whom he played from 1989 to 1999, and has hit 200 home runs with the Reds. Mark McGw*re, Rafael Palm*iro and Jimmie Foxx are the others to accomplish that feat.
9. The AL has 12 players hitting .300 or better. The NL has 31.
10. Don’t come late to an Astros game – Houston has scored 36 times in the 1st inning (tied with the 2nd as their most productive) and given up 44 runs in the 1st which is their worst inning.
11. The Yankees are in the position to dump a lot of money at the end of this season starting with Jason Giambi’s $22 million club option for 2009. Carl Pavano will be bought out of his injury contract as well and Bobby Abreu, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina, Kyle Farnsworth, and LaTroy Hawkins all come to the end of their contracts.
12. Preferring the comforts of home, the Milwaukee Brewers are 11-6 on the road this season and have had a losing road mark for 8 consecutive seasons. Their last winning season on the road was 1999, when they were 42-39.
13. Speaking of the Brewers, maybe they should move to Florida – they have three players on their roster who have already “retired”: Gabe Kapler, who spent the 2007 season as a manager at Class-A Greenville in the Red Sox organization; Joe Dillon, who was a coach at Texas Tech University in 2003, and Salomon Torres who was the pitching coach for the Expos’ affiliate in the Dominican Summer League from 1998-2000.
14. Dating back to last season, the Angels have spent 216 out of a possible 234 days in first place
15. Nick Markakis has 15 strikeouts in the past 10 games. He struck out seven times in the three-game series at Yankee Stadium and entered last night ranked 10th in the American League in strikeouts with 45. Fifteen of Markakis’ strikeouts have come with runners in scoring position, and the outfielder entered last night’s game hitting just .220 in those situations.
16. Ryan Howard leads the majors having struck out 71 times. Howard now has 564 career strikeouts in 459 games. Joe DiMaggio had 369 strikeouts in 1736 career games.
17. The Cardinals lead the majors with 231 walks. The Twins are last with 121. They also lead with 23 intentional walks.
18. On the subject of walks, Texas pitchers lead the majors have given up 205, the Red Sox are next with 199. Interestingly enough, the Twins pitchers have also surrendered the least with 126.
19. Julio Lugo leads the majors with 11 errors and you get the feeling that Sox fans hold their breath every time he has to throw the ball – even on easy plays.
20. Get `em early – The Nationals are 16-0 when leading after 8 innings this season and dating back to last season, when leading after 8, Washington has won 24 consecutive games.
21. Ichiro has stolen at least 31 bases in every season of his career, stealing a career high 56 in 2001; this season he already has 21 in 48 games.
22. Adam Dunn is fifth on the Reds all-time home run list with 249; he’s just two short of Ted Kluszewski’s franchise record for a lefthanded batter. Johnny Bench is the all-time leader with 389.
23. The Yankees are 6-19 when their opponents score first.
24. There have been only 24 home runs hit at Dodger Stadium, which is the lowest total among the 30 Major League ballparks (excluding the Ballpark at Disney, where Tampa played host to Toronto for three games April 22-24, and the Tokyo Dome, where the Red Sox and A’s played a pair March 25-26). The number one launching pad is in Cincinnati where the “B.P.” in the Great American Ball Park should stand for “Batting Practice.”
25. Manny Ramirez has 20 career grand slams but hasn’t hit one since July 5, 2005 against Chris Young of Texas (it was homer #412)

Top of the 2nd
THE SOX KEEP ON ROLLING
Carlos Quentin hit a tiebreaking single in the 8th and the Chicago White Sox beat the Cleveland Indians, 3-1, for their eighth straight victory. Chicago’s winning streak is its longest since winning nine straight June 15-24, 2006.

J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell each hit grand slams as Daisuke Matsuzaka remained unbeaten and Boston completed a perfect seven-game homestand with an 11-8 win over the Royals. Drew and Lowell were the first to hit slams in the same game at Fenway since Tony Armas and Bill Buckner did it Aug. 7, 1984. The last time Boston had two slams in a game was when the switch-hitting Bill Mueller hit both — one from each side — at Texas on July 29, 2003.

Matsuzaka (8-0) gave up three runs on six hits, walked six, struck out seven and threw two wild pitches while becoming the AL’s first eight-game winner. Arizona’s Brandon Webb has nine wins.

Top of the 3rd
IT’S MILLER TIME
It’s very odd watching the gathering of 13,233 fans, but they sound as if there 15,000 in the park as their Florida Marlins completed a three-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Florida’s Andrew Miller threw seven scoreless innings while striking out a career-high nine batters. The Diamondbacks arrived in Miami with the best record in the majors. They ranked fourth in runs but they totaled only 17 hits in the three games and were outscored 10-3.

The sweep was the Marlins’ fourth this year. Their most recent sweep against Arizona was a three-game set July 28-30, 2003. The Diamondbacks lost their sixth road game in a row, and their three-game losing streak matches their longest this season.

Top of the 4th
BIG PUMA
Longtime reader James Boyce asked the question why Lance Berkman is becoming increasingly known as the “Big Puma.”

While some of Berkman’s teammates call him “L.B.,” but it was the “Fat Elvis” label that moved him to come up with his own new nickname. Why Puma? To Berkman, it’s just simply logical: “Agile, athletic, sleek … all the things that describe my game,” he has said, somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

Top of the 5th
A NEW YOGI STORY
According to New York Times, Bobby Murcer recounts a recent phone call between former Yankee Mel Stottlemyre and Berra. Stottlemyre called to ask about Murcer’s battle with brain cancer. Berra shouted to his wife, “He wants to know if we’ve heard anything about Bobby’s autopsy.” Berra meant to say biopsy.

Top of the 6th
BILLY-BALL-SITE-OF-THE-DAY
We’ll be talking about this next week, so get me some reactions in advance:
http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/sweepstakes/y2008/state_farm/callyourshot_sweeps.jsp?sf_ref=S00472

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
AL
Rangers (Kason Gabbard) at Indians (Fausto Carmona), 7:05
Twins (Kevin Slowey) at Tigers (Armando Galarraga), 7:05
Mariners (Erik Bedard) at Yankees (Andy Pettitte), 7:05
Royals (Zack Greinke) at Blue Jays (Roy Halladay), 7:07
Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie) at Rays (Matt Garza), 7:10
Angels (Joe Saunders) at White Sox (Gavin Floyd), 8:11
Red Sox (Tim Wakefield) at A’s (Rich Harden), 10:05

NL
Cubs (Carlos Zambrano) at Pirates (Zach Duke), 7:05
Giants (Barry Zito) at Marlins (Scott Olsen), 7:10
Diamondbacks (Max Scherzer) at Braves (Jo-Jo Reyes), 7:35
Brewers (David Bush) at Nationals (Odalis Perez), 7:35
Phillies (Adam Eaton) at Astros (Brandon Backe), 8:05
Mets (Oliver Perez) at Rockies (Greg Reynolds), 9:05
Reds (Edinson Volquez) at Padres (Shawn Estes), 10:05
Cardinals (Adam Wainwright) at Dodgers (Derek Lowe), 10:40

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
The New York Mets are 22-23 after being swept by the Braves and dropped below .500 for the first time since April 13.

Top of the 9th
HAVE A GREAT (AND LONG) WEEKEND
Billy-Ball will be off on Monday -it’s Memorial Day, here in the States, but I’ll be back on Tuesday. Have a magnificent weekend and head out to a ballpark, at any level.

Thank you all for your feedback. Thank you, Alex Bok for inviting me to the game yesterday. And thank you all who have purchased the book. Please, leave some good words on Amazon.com, it does help sales a lot. And make sure you check out the offer in the Bottom of the 9th it’s a great deal.

Have fun and see you soon.

Bottom of the 9th
THERE’S ONLY 25 DAYS UNTIL FATHER’S DAY
Show Dad where his memories rank among the greatest baseball moments of all time

Walkoffs, Last Licks, and Final Outs: Baseball’s Grand (and not-so-grand) Finales
By Bill Chuck and Jim Kaplan, Foreword by Jon Miller

This Father’s Day, relive some of the most memorable finales in baseball history with dear ‘ol Dad by flipping through the pages of Walkoffs, Last Licks, and Final Outs. This book is the definitive collection of baseball’s grand–and not-so-grand–final acts, including:

The greatest postseason finishes of all-time
The last moments of the most distinguished old stadiums
Heroic (and not-so-heroic) endings to Hall of Fame careers
Boxscores and linescores for some of the greatest games ever played
A slew of career statistics, ballpark data, and photographs
$14.95, 213 pages, paperback.

Plus, buy just one copy and receive The Bill James Daily Match-ups for your favorite team delivered FREE to your email inbox every day between now and the All-Star break–a $30 value!

To take advantage of this optional special offer, mention the “Father’s Day Special” when calling (800) 397-2282 or enter the name of your favorite team under “Additional Comments” when checking out online. One team per book.
http://www.actasports.com/detail.html?&id=3427

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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.