Billy-Ball Daily: 2008-5-9

5/9/2008
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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The only spin here is on my screwball

Friday, May 9, 2008

Top of the 1st
THE NEXT ONE’S ON ME
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. Not only are the Mariners stinking it up on the field but their attendance on Wednesday of 15,818 was a record low for Safeco Field. Seven of the 10 smallest Safeco Field crowds have come this season.
2. Jody Gerut has raised his average to over .300 at Triple-A Portland and playing centerfield, while on the parent club, Jim Edmonds is playing like he’s 300 hitting under .200 and dragging in the field. At 38, he may be done.
3. Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson will remain out of the lineup for at least two more weeks with a strained left calf that has sidelined him for all but three games.
4. Without Wilson, the Pirates have had one of the NL’s worst defenses, with 24 of the team’s 32 errors committed by infielders.
5. The Yankees announced they have gone over the four million mark for tickets sold this season for a major league record fourth year in a row.
6. When the Padres lost Wednesday night to Atlanta, 5-2, it marked the 16th time this season (47 % of their games) that the Padres had scored two runs or fewer.
7. Sign him up – Since Pope Benedict did Mass at their park, the Nationals have been 8-3 at home.
8. David Ortiz had two more hits last night and now has multiple hits in six of his last eight starts to raise his average to .239.
9. B ig day for Ryan Howard yesterday, he only struck out once.
10. The Rays will auction several “experiences” during Monday’s broadcast, including pitching sessions with Scott Kazmir and batting lessons by Cliff Floyd.
11. Jerry Remy’s restaurant at Logan Airport (Terminal C where Jet Blue is located) will be opening later this summer. As part of the decor they will highlight photos of the greatest Red Sox players of all time and the media’s top self-promoters.
12. Albert Pujols has reached base successfully in all 36 games the Cards have played this season.
13. Braves beat the Padres 5-4 last night. Atlanta had been the first team since the 2000 Houston Astros to lose its first nine one-run games and were the only team in the major leagues without a one-run victory.
14. Mike Mussina has only issued five walks in 52 innings this season.
15. The Braves completed a 6-0 homestand to improve to 14-4 at Turner Field, the best home winning percentage (.778) in baseball.
16. The Blue Jays placed shortstops David Eckstein and John McDonald on the 15-day disabled list, two days after both were injured in a loss to the Rays. Utilityman Joe Inglett was promoted from Triple-A Syracuse and scored the tying run as a pinch-runner in the 9th last night in game eventually won by the Rays, 8-3 in 13.
17. Lance Berkman had two more hits last night and now has 23 hits in 48 AB good for a .479 average, .368 overall.
18. The Mariners have lost eight of nine, own the American League’s worst record at 14-22, trail their division leaders by eight games and have scored just once in the last 32 innings.
19. In 2004, Reds outfielder Corey Patterson struck out 168 times for the Cubs. This season, he has whiffed just nine times in 95 at-bats. On the other hand, he’s only hitting .200 with an On Base Percentage of only .260.
20. Jamie Moyer became the fourth pitcher 45 or older to get two hits in a game.
21. But the AARP Award goes to: When Tim Wakefield and Mike Timlin shut out the Tigers Tuesday night, they became the first over-40 duo to combine on a shutout.
22. Manny Acosta had his third save taken away when an official scorer realized he mistakenly awarded one in the previous night following the Braves’ 5-2 win over the Padres. Acosta entered the game with a 5-2 lead after Will Ohman got the first out of the ninth inning. Acosta retired Callix Crabbe and Khalil Greene to end the game. Braves official scorer Jack Wilkinson awarded Acosta his third save, and the save was included on the boxscore and postgame report.
23. Jason Giambi has 14 hits this season, six homers, four doubles and four singles.
24. The AL Central is a major league worst 12 games under .500. The NL West is a combined 10 games under.
25. On Wednesday, at Dodger Stadium, in the bottom of the 5th inning Glen Walker sitting in Section 11, Row N, Seat 1 caught a pop foul hit by Dodger first baseman James Loney. Joe Castro in Seat 2 was high-fiving Walker as the next pitch was delivered by the New York Mets’ John Maine, Loney hit another foul that hit the scoreboard on the second-level facade, then bounced right into Castro’s hands.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Top of the 2nd
THE WEBB MASTER
Brandon Webb became the first pitcher in three years to win his first eight starts, pitching his 13th career complete game to help the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 8-3. He struck out four and didn’t walk a batter in his first complete game of the year. He hit one batter.

At 8-0, Webb became the first pitcher to win his first eight starts since Jon Garland of the Chicago White Sox in 2005 and the first in the NL since Pedro Martinez for Montreal in 1997, according to our friends at the Elias Sports Bureau.

Both Webb and Arizona are working on a long-term extension tohis existing contract. Webb is scheduled to make $5.5 million this season as part of a four-year contract that originally guaranteed him $19.5 million and potentially is worth $27.5 million over five seasons. He is due $6.5 million next year, and the Diamondbacks have an $8.5 million option for 2010 with a $1.5 million buyout.

Top of the 3rd
GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS
Brian Mazone of the Triple A International League Lehigh Iron Pigs (no, the name is not the bad news) is 4-3 this season with a 2.96 ERA. That’s the good news.

The overall record of the Iron Pigs (no really, the name is not the bad news) is 5-30. Now, that’s the bad news.

Top of the 4th
FOUR AND COUNTING
So far its taken 42-year-old future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux four attempts (failed attempts) to reach 350 wins. Coincidentally, it took the last pitcher reach that number, Roger Cl*m*ns, five appearances to get off of 349 wins too. Last season Clemens was also 0-3 with a 5.60 ERA and .301 opposing average in the Yankees losses in his four appearances before reaching the milestone. Maddux has gone 0-3 with a 5.54 ERA and .324 opposition batting average in his last four appearances, all resulting in Padres losses. Maddux’s next scheduled start should be at home tomorrow against the equally struggling Rockies.

Top of the 5th
WHY DOES THIS REALLY FEEL LIKE IT’S IN BAD TASTE?
I wish I was making this up – but it’s real –

As part of its 2008 First-Year Player Draft next month, Major League Baseball will hold a ceremonial selection of players from the Negro Leagues. Participation in the draft is voluntary, but most of the 30 clubs are expected to take part as baseball continues its efforts to keep alive the history of the Negro Leagues.

The ceremonial event will be streamed live by BaseballChannel.TV at 1 p.m. ET, directly preceding the start of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft at 2 p.m. ET. Both events will take place at The Milk House at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Fla. Fans are encouraged to attend and admission is free, with seating available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Under the initiative, teams will “draft” surviving Negro League players, he said. The individuals selected will represent all the black ballplayers that were denied a chance to play in the Majors because of their skin color.

Each team will compensate the player it selects with a stipend, Solomon said. Major League Baseball will pick up the travel expenses for each player (and a companion) to the Draft headquarters in Orlando.

Next year if they have a draft for short, fat, bald, white guys with one real knee…I’m going to Disney World!

Top of the 6th
BILLY-BALL-SITE-OF-THE-DAY
Oh, it is simply an awful website, but today is Tony Gwynn’s 48th birthday and his official site is http://www.tonygwynn.com/.

You’re better off going to the Hall’s page on Tony – http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/hofers/detail.jsp?playerId=115270

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
AL
New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers, 7:05 pm
(L) Kei Igawa (0-0) vs. (L) Kenny Rogers (2-3)
Toronto Blue Jays at Cleveland Indians, 7:05 pm
(R) Roy Halladay (3-4) vs. (L) C.C. Sabathia (1-5)
LA Angels of Anaheim at Tampa Bay Rays, 7:10 pm
(R) Jon Garland (4-3) vs. (R) James Shields (3-2)
Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers, 8:05 pm
(L) Greg Smith (2-1) vs. (R) Scott Feldman (0-1)
Baltimore Orioles at Kansas City Royals, 8:10 pm
(R) Steve Trachsel (1-4) vs. (R) Gil Meche (2-4)
Boston Red Sox at Minnesota Twins, 8:10 pm
(L) Jon Lester (2-2) vs. (R) Boof Bonser (2-4)
Chicago White Sox at Seattle Mariners, 10:10 pm
(R) Jose Contreras (2-3) vs. (R) Carlos Silva (3-1)

NL
Arizona Diamondbacks at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 pm
(R) Dan Haren (4-1) vs. (L) Ted Lilly (2-4)
Atlanta Braves at Pittsburgh Pirates, 7:05 pm
(L) Tom Glavine (0-1) vs. (R) Ian Snell (2-2)
Cincinnati Reds at New York Mets, 7:10 pm
(R) Matt Belisle (1-2) vs. (R) Mike Pelfrey (2-2)
Florida Marlins at Washington Nationals, 7:35 pm
(R) Ricky Nolasco (1-3) vs. (R) Tim Redding (4-2)
St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers, 8:05 pm
(R) Todd Wellemeyer (3-1) vs. (L) Manny Parra (1-2)
Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres, 10:05 pm
(R) Aaron Cook (5-1) vs. (R) Jake Peavy (4-1)
Philadelphia Phillies at San Francisco Giants, 10:15 pm
(L) Cole Hamels (3-3) vs. (L) Pat Misch (0-0)
Houston Astros at Los Angeles Dodgers, 10:40 pm
(R) Brian Moehler (0-0) vs. (R) Derek Lowe (2-2)

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
According to the Boston Globe’s Gordon Edes, the Red Sox have started Coco Crisp and rookie Jacoby Ellsbury almost the same number of games in center field. Last night, Crisp made his 19th start in center field; Ellsbury has started 18 times. The Red Sox had the same record (11-7) for each player when he started in center entering play last night (the Sox whupped Detroit 5-1)

The Sox have scored 114 runs in Ellsbury’s starts, an average of 6.4 runs. They’ve scored 68 runs in Crisp’s starts, an average of 3.8 runs.

Top of the 9th
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY
Everyone’s had one, some of you are one, and some of you will be. My best wishes to you all including the best one around, Mrs. Ball, her ownself.

Have a magnificent weekend everyone and I look forward to seeing you back here on Monday.

Thanks for all your emails as usual.

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.

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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.