Billy-Ball Daily: 2008-5-30

5/30/2008
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

Billy-Ball – From the diamond to your desktop…
By Baseball Newstalgist Bill Chuck

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The only spin here is on my screwball

Friday, May 30, 2008

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

1. The Astros will retire Craig Biggio’s No. 7 on Aug. 17. Biggio retired last season after playing his entire 20-year career with Houston. Biggio will become the ninth Astro to have his number retired by the team. The last Astro to wear #7 was catcher Robbie Wine in 1987. Biggio wore #4 during his first season but changed to 7 because Steve Lombardozzi came over from the Twins and wanted 4. Then Lombardozzi did not make the club out of Spring Training.
2. Phillies pitcher Jaime Moyer has beaten each of the 30 teams in the majors.
3. Bobby Cox, 67, has agreed to a one-year contract extension to manage through 2009. Cox managed the Braves from 1978 through 1981. He then skippered the Blue Jays for four seasons 1982-85) and has currently the Braves since 1990 when he took over from Russ Nixon after 65 games.
4. On the Yankees visit to Baltimore, Jason Giambi hit two homers that landed on Eutaw Street beyond the right-field scoreboard. The 41st and 42nd balls to land there since Camden Yards opened in 1992. The Yankees now have hit the last four: Giambi (twice this week), Johnny Damon (Sept. 28, 2007) and Giambi again (Sept. 29, 2005). Rafael Palmeiro has the record of five. Giambi is tied with Brady Anderson with three. Giambi now has 188 Yankee homers and 187 Oakland A’s homers.
5. Speaking of homers, Chase Utley is on pace to hit 50 of them, 18 more than his career-high in 2006. The record for second basemen is 43 held by Davey Johnson in 1973, Rogers Hornsby had 42 in 1922. Utley has 17 homers, the most by a second baseman by the end of May in MLB history. The Marlins’ Dan Uggla has 16. Bobby Doerr of the Red Sox twice hit 27 and once hit 22 to have the best three numbers of Boston second basemen.
6. Speaking of the BoSox, Reds rookie sensation Jay Bruce went 3 for 3 and three walks before being retired. The best start ever was by the Red Sox’ Ted Cox who went 6-for-6 with a walk in his first seven times up in the majors.
7. The incredibly hard to find Manny Mota Stick is now available from MaxBat. This revolutionary grip aid is reusable, long lasting, and won’t stain your uniform and clothing like old fashioned pine tar. Just peel away the cardboard tube as needed, and rub directly onto your bat handle for instant gripping power.
8. The Royals’11-game losing streak is their longest since losing 13 in a row from May 12-25, 2006. It’s the fourth time in the last three seasons that they have had losing streaks of at least 11 games. They had a club-record, 19-game losing streak in 2005.
9. The Red Sox (3:06) and the Yankees (3:03) play baseball’s longest games in part because they are on more nationally televised games that have commercial breaks of about 2:30 versus the standard two minute.
10. Batters are hitting .238 against the Cubs’ Carlos Zambrano but as a batter, Zambrano is hitting .324.
11. Going into action on Friday, Mike Lamb, Joe Mauer, Nick Punto, Matt Tolbert, and Delmon Young have been to bat a total of 650 times with a grand total of one homer (hit by Lamb). Throw in Michael Cuddyer and Adam Everett and you have a grand total of three homers in almost 900 at bats.
12. The Rays have been over .500 34 consecutive days and 38 total on the season, both club records. The team had never been more than four games over at any point in their history entering this season and are the first team since 1900 to hold the best record in the majors thru Memorial Day after having the worst record in the majors the year prior.
13. Speaking of the Rays, their best season ever was in 2004, when they went 70-91. This means that that they need to go 39-69 to have their best record ever.
14. One more thing about the Rays – they have the first choice in the upcoming draft. They have said their top five considerations are Georgia high school shortstop Tim Beckham, Florida State University catcher Buster Posey, Vanderbilt University third baseman Pedro Alvarez, San Diego State University pitcher Brian Matusz and California high school catcher Kyle Skipworth, but most people feel the first two on the list are the first two on their list.
15. Torre is the only person in MLB history to garner 2,000 hits as a player (2,342) and 2,000 victories as a manager (2,093).
16. The only all-Chicago World Series took place in 1906 when the “Hitless Wonders” White topped the Cubs 4 games to 2. The Cubs had been favored to win the “Trolley Series” after they had won a major league record 116 games. Both Chicago teams lead their Central Divisions.
17. Speaking of the Cubs, the all-time series between the Cubs and Dodgers is tied 1010-1010.
18. Hard to believe but Ryan Ludwick leads the Cardinals in homers with 13.
19. This past Sunday, Omar Vizquel set the record for most games played at shortstop, breaking the mark held by Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio (2,583 games). One record of Aparicio’s that Vizquel can’t break is Aparicio remaining the only non-pitcher in the Hall of Fame to play all his games at one position. Vizquel played one game at second base for Seattle in 1991 and one game in right for the Indians in 1999. At 39, Little Looie ended his career playing both ends of a Fenway doubleheader for the Red Sox on Sept. 28, 1973, going 2-6.
20. The Giants’ Matt Cain faces Greg Maddux tonight for the third time this season and the sixth time in his 82 career starts. Maddux is 3-0 with a 1.84 ERA in his five starts against Cain. Cain is 0-3 with a 3.66 ERA
21. Royals second baseman Mark Grudzielanek had been in the majors for 14 years and 1,719 games without being a part of a no-hitter before going 0-for-3 against Sox Jon Lester.
22. Speaking of no-hitters, the Mets still don’t have one. The Mets have gone 7,364 games without pitching a no-hitter, but their 47 years without one is still second to the Phillies who didn’t toss one from 1907 to 1963.
23. Does crime pay? The Astros and the Rays are one-two in the majors in stolen bases and also have baseball’s best records since April 20.
24. While we wait for Manny to hit his 500th homer, we should note that Frank Robinson is the only player to hit #499 and #500 on the same day…but not in the same game. On September 13, 1971, while playing for the Orioles, Robby hit #499 against Detroit’s Mike Kilkenny…and in the second game of the double-header, he hit #500 against Fred Scherman.
25. And at the bottom of today’s column, Detroit’s Carlos Guillen has been out of action the last couple of days. Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland said, “I’m going to stand him for two days.” Please note that Guillen is suffering from hemorrhoids.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Top of the 2nd
CATCHER, TORRE RETURN TO NY (SAY IT ALOUD)
David Wright hit two more home runs off Brad Penny and the New York Mets helped by a rare catcher’s interference call beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 8-4. The Mets won their third in a row and sent the Dodgers to their fourth straight loss.

In the 4th inning the Mets were leading 2-0 with two outs and no one on base when The Mets had two outs and none on when pitcher Claudio Vargas routinely grounded out and the Dodgers began to run off the field. Not so fast boys. L.A. catcher Russell Martin was called for tipping Vargas’ bat, and the career .082 hitter was awarded first base. Jose Reyes followed with a single, Luis Castillo hit an RBI double and Wright connected for his 11th homer and a 6-0 lead.

Torre managed his first game in New York since parting with the Yankees. Many fans in the crowd of 52,886 at Shea Stadium stood and cheered when he made a pitching change in the 7th inning, and the L.A. cool Torre waved and doffed his cap while walking back to the dugout.

Top of the 3rd
REDS LOSE – WE CAN STOP WATCHING BRUCE
Aaron Harang, who pitched four innings in the Padres 18-inning loss on Sunday, pitched four more innings as a starter last night, allowing six runs on 10 hits to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 2-7 Harang lost to the Bucs, 7-2. The Reds were trying to match the franchise’s 10-game winning streak from Sept. 9-Oct. 1, 1978.

Reds rookie phenom Jay Bruce was 0-for-3 but reached base when he was hit by a pitch.

Top of the 4th
A.S.G 2010 – L.A.A.O.A.
Commissioner Bud Selig finally got around to announcing the obvious: The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will host the 2010 All-Star game.

The All-Stars will be at Anaheim for the first time since 1989, when Bo Jackson hit a 448-foot homer and was selected MVP. Nolan Ryan was the winning pitcher in the AL’s 5-3 victory, and John Smoltz, the only player still active from that game, took the loss.

The 2010 game is scheduled for July 13. This summer’s All-Star contest is at Yankee Stadium, and St. Louis will host the 2009 game. Arizona is the expected host in 2011, Kansas City in 2012 (why not Boston on the 100th anniversary of Fenway?!?) and the New York Mets’ Citi Field in 2013.

Top of the 5th
FIRST VS. FIRST
The AL Central leaders White Sox (30-23) won the first ever game at Tropicana Field between teams in sole possession of first place in their divisions Thursday night, topping the AL East-leading Rays(32-22), 5-1 before of a crowd of 12,636 (UGH!).

John Danks (4-4) allowed one run and six hits in six innings to beat Edwin Jackson (3-4) for the second time this season. He pitched seven scoreless innings to beat the right-hander 6-0 on April 20, a loss that left Tampa Bay in last place at 8-11.

Top of the 6th
BILLY-BALL-SITE-OF-THE-DAY
Yesterday’s site of the day had to do with mascots, check out the two creepy mascots accompanying the creepy Mariah Carey as she attempts to throw out a first pitch in Japan (is this the same mound from where Dice-K got his control?)
http://youtube.com/watch?v=y5p8jXfiwj8

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
AL
Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles, 7:05 pm
(R) Josh Beckett (5-4) vs. (R) Daniel Cabrera (5-1)
Chicago White Sox at Tampa Bay Rays, 7:10 pm
(R) Jose Contreras (5-3) vs. (R) James Shields (4-3)
Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers, 8:05 pm
(R) Justin Duchscherer (4-3) vs. (R) Kevin Millwood (2-3)
Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals, 8:10 pm
(L) Cliff Lee (7-1) vs. (R) Gil Meche (3-7)
New York Yankees at Minnesota Twins, 8:10 pm
(R) Mike Mussina (7-4) vs. (L) Glen Perkins (2-1)
Toronto Blue Jays at LA Angels of Anaheim, 10:05 pm
(R) Dustin McGowan (3-4) vs. (R) Jered Weaver (4-5)
Detroit Tigers at Seattle Mariners, 10:10 pm
(L) Nate Robertson (2-5) vs. (R) Carlos Silva (3-4)

NL
Colorado Rockies at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 pm
(R) Aaron Cook (7-3) vs. (L) Ted Lilly (5-4)
Florida Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies, 7:05 pm
(L) Mark Hendrickson (7-2) vs. (R) Brett Myers (2-6)
Atlanta Braves at Cincinnati Reds, 7:10 pm
(L) Tom Glavine (2-2) vs. (R) Edinson Volquez (7-2)
Los Angeles Dodgers at New York Mets, 7:10 pm
(L) Clayton Kershaw (0-0) vs. (R) John Maine (5-4)
Houston Astros at Milwaukee Brewers, 8:05 pm
(R) Brandon Backe (4-5) vs. (L) Manny Parra (2-2)
Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals, 8:15 pm
(L) Zach Duke (2-3) vs. (R) Todd Wellemeyer (5-1)
Washington Nationals at Arizona Diamondbacks, 9:40 pm
(R) Tim Redding (6-3) vs. (R) Micah Owings (6-2)
San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants, 10:15 pm
(R) Greg Maddux (3-4) vs. (R) Matt Cain (2-3)

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
Baseball has some funky scoring rules including the catcher’s interference as described in today’s 2nd inning. While Martin was charged with an error for the catcher’s interference, the runs that scored after the two-out play were officially earned. According to scoring rules, it couldn’t be assumed that Vargas would have made the third out.

Top of the 9th
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND
Between sneezing, hacking, and coughing with bronchitis, I am so glad the weekend is here. I’m even going to miss watching the Boston Blast play soccer (boy, I really must be under the weather). Congratulations to Mike LaFrancesca and Mike Freedman for the great job they did this season, it was fun for the kids and parents alike.

Thank you all for all your support this weekend and TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE OFFER BELOW -IT’S A GREAT FATHER’S DAY PRESENT!

See you all in June!

Bottom of the 9th
THERE’S ONLY 18 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.