Billy-Ball Daily: 2008-6-27

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

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By Baseball Newstalgist, Bill Chuck

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The only spin here is on my screwball

Friday, June 27, 2008

Top of the 1st
By Baseball Newstalgist, Bill Chuck

Here’s a 25-fact roster for you.

Speaking of baseball…

1. Aaron Boone, now playing for the Nationals, reached the 1,000 career hit mark Wednesday to join grandfather Ray (1,260), father Bob (1,838) and brother Bret (1,775) in the club of 1,171 major leaguers.
2. So far this season, the Padres have allowed 103 stolen bases, by far the most in the majors (the White Sox are next having allowed 75).
3. Pittsburgh outfielder Morgan should be playing for Newark or some team in greater New York – his first name is Nyjer.
4. Twins catcher Justin Morneau only has two homers this season but he does have 28 multi-hit games and a .305 batting average.
5. Tracking Paplebon: This year, the dancing closer appeared in his 35th game in the Sox 81st game of the season. Last year, when the Sox were being careful because he ended the 2006 season with arm trouble, he appeared in his 35th game in the team’s 100th game. In 2006, the season that ended with a sore shoulder, Pap appeared in his 35th game in the Red Sox 76th game of the season.
6. Speaking of closers – Can Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez break the single season save record? K-Rod leads the majors with 31 saves in 33 chances and the Angels are 35-2 in games he has pitched. Rodriguez became the first pitcher in the majors to notch 30 saves on June 22 at Philly, the earliest in a season a pitcher ever reached 30 saves, both by date (June 22) and number of team games (76). The record for saves is 57 by Bobby Thigpen of the White Sox in 1990.
7. The Rays did not get their 47th win last season until Aug. 19, in their 123rd game.
8. Five Giants pitchers have made a total of six All-Star starts, Jason Schmidt in 2003. Rick Reuschel in 1989, Vida Blue in 1978, Juan Marichal in 1965 and ’67, and the most famous, Carl Hubbell (of the New York Giants) in 1934. Hubbell struck out future Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin consecutively in that game. Tim Lincecum may be the next Giants All-Star starter this July.
9. Those oldies but goodies – 44-year old Randy Johnson faced 41-year old Tim Wakefield this week. The folks at Elias said it also was a match of starters with the oldest combined age, 86 years, 252 days, since Satchel Paige, at 59 years, 81 days, allowed just one hit in three shutout innings against Bill Monbouquette, at 29 years, 45 days, pitched a complete game for a 5-2 win over the host Kansas City Athletics. They were a combined 88 years, 126 days old. Wake and the Big Unit have combined for 6,551 strikeouts in 6,660 1/3 innings.
10. The Indians have used 38 players already this season after only using 41 all last year.
11. On Wednesday, Barry Zito threw six consecutive scoreless innings against the Indians. It was only the third time this season he pitched more than three consecutive scoreless innings.
12. To catch a thief – Jimmy Rollins has stolen 31 straight bases without being caught, the longest active streak in the major leagues. The whole team is good at thievery, the Phils have stolen 22 straight bases without being caught and as a team they have 63 stolen bases and have only been caught 7 times, a 90.0% stolen base rate, best in the majors
13. Detroit’s Eddie Bonine became only the second big-league pitcher in at least 53 years to give up at least six runs in his debut and win. The other was Philadelphia’s Dave Coggin on June 23, 2000 against the Expos.
14. Reason for concern – in Jason Varitek’s last 60 games last season he went 43-191, a .225 batting average. This season, in 63 games, Tek is 49 for 212, a .231 batting average. That’s a .228 average over the last year and this is his contract year.
15. No team in baseball history has fallen 18 games below .500, as the Rockies did on June 2 at 20-38, and gone on to make the postseason. The closest would be the 1914 Boston Braves, who were 16 below .500 at 12-28 before finishing 94-59 and sweeping the Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series. The 2005 Astros came back from 15 games below .500 to win the wild card and go to the World Series.
16. Without a prayer – The Nationals seem to be getting worse despite the fact that sometimes they field a team that has Jesus pitching to Jesus and a pretty good Cristian at short. I am referring pitcher Jesus Colome, catcher Jesus Flores, and shortstop Cristian Guzman.
17. Toronto is 11-20 in one-run games and 3-7 in extra-inning games.
18. If the season ended today, the teams with the top three payrolls in baseball, the Yankees, the Mets, and the Tigers would miss the playoffs for the first time in 17 years.
19. When you look at J.D. Drew’s 10 homers this month, don’t get too excited. The AL record for a month is held by Rudy York who went deep 18 times in August, 1937 as a rookie for the Detroit Tigers. He hit .360 that month with 49 RBI. He missed the first three games that month, but caught 28 games in 28 days including four doubleheaders. Let’s see Drew play for 28 straight days.
20. Speaking of rookies, with outfielder Justin Christian joining the Yankees on Tuesday, the New Yawkahs have now used 11 rookies this season
21. Bill Mazeroski was a part of 1,706 double plays, the most of any second baseman.
22. Speaking of second basemen, the Marlins Dan Uggla, with 23 home runs, is one of only two second basemen in ML history with 20+ homers in each of his first three ML seasons. The other is Joe Gordon who had four straight (1938-41) to start his career with the NY Yankees.
23. The Reds, Astros, Mets, Giants and Marlins don’t have a complete game this season. Last season, the Rangers, Nationals and Marlins didn’t have a complete game. The Marlins haven’t thrown a complete game since Anibal Sanchez went the distance Sept. 16, 2006, a stretch of 254 consecutive games heading into Friday’s action. The Washington Nationals set the major league record for consecutive games without a complete game with 261 before Jason Bergmann threw one May 31.
24. The Cubs Ryan Dempster is 9-0 at Wrigley with a 2.72 ERA and away from home is 0-2 with a 2.48 ERA.
25. There has been no reason to vote for All-Stars until today. Now is when you should cast your 25 votes, you have until July 2.

Have a great weekend everyone

Top of the 2nd
The Rays are getting dangerously stronger. Yesterday, on a humid afternoon in Miami, Matt Garza pitched a one-hitter, allowing only Hanley Ramirez’s home run leading off the 7th and the Tampa Bay defeated the Florida Marlins 6-1 to complete a three-game sweep. Garza (6-4) struck out 10 and walked one in his first complete game in 38 major-league starts. Evan Longoria homered and had three hits for the Devil Rays, who swept their slumping rivals for just the second time. The Marlins have gone 5-10 in interleague play this season and will have only their third losing season against the AL. The Marlins are 110-91 in interleague play, best among NL teams.

Top of the 3rd
The Minnesota Twins completed their sweep of the San Diego Padres yesterday by overcoming a three-run deficit for the second game in a row, then holding on for a 4-3 win. The Friars suffered their fifth consecutive defeat and ninth in 10 games and are now 3-12 against the AL. The Twins, on the other hand, have won nine straight, 12 of 14 and are 12-3 in interleague play.

The Twins have outscored their opponents 56-19 during the nine-game winning streak, and their starters are 8-0 with a 2.17 ERA. It’s their longest winning streak since taking 11 straight from June 22-July 3, 2006.

Top of the 4th
Cliff Lee struck out a career-high 11 over eight innings, and the Indians avoided a three-game sweep by the San Francisco Giants with a 4-1 win. Lee (11-1) is tied with Arizona’s Brandon Webb and Joe Saunders of the Los Angeles Angels for the major league lead in wins.

Eight of Lee’s wins have come after Cleveland losses, one halting a seven-game streak. He has ended three-game slides four times. Lee has allowed two or fewer runs in 11 of his 15 starts this season. He improved to 11-2 in his career in interleague play.

Top of the 5th
I hate that guy who watching a magician and immediately tells you how the trick is performed. Well, gang today I am “that guy” in regard to the ‘Ball Girl’ video that everybody is talking about.

The video clip of the girl climbing the left field wall to make a remarkable catch is a brilliant example of “viral” marketing. Basically it’s an ad for Gatorade, but without actually mentioning the company. With viral video, marketers try to create a pop culture buzz that eventually becomes associated with a product.

Viral videos are passed along via e-mail and shared on personal profiles at social sites like Facebook and MySpace. But they achieve must-see status at YouTube, the Web’s leading video site.

“Ball Girl” was posted on YouTube by a filmmaker affiliated with Element 79 Partners, the Chicago ad agency that created the spot. Element 79 has done Gatorade ads since 2002.

The original Ball Girl post had a clear reference to Gatorade in the text describing the video. But the video was copied and shared several times over without mentioning the Gatorade connection. When the ball girl sits down after the amazing catch, there’s a bottle of Gatorade near her feet.

I was posted as the video of the day on Billy-Ball on Wednesday with these words:

Is this the catch of the year or is it fake?

You make the call, but choose the latter.

Top of the 6th
Let’s give a little love to the Mets and their fans – Here’s your site of the day:

Top of the 7th
New York Mets at New York Yankees, 2:05 pm
(R) Mike Pelfrey (4-6) vs. (R) Dan Giese (1-2)
Chicago Cubs at Chicago White Sox, 4:05 pm
(R) Ryan Dempster (9-2) vs. (R) Jose Contreras (6-6)
Cincinnati Reds at Cleveland Indians, 7:05 pm
(R) Daryl Thompson (0-0) vs. (L) C.C. Sabathia (5-8)
Colorado Rockies at Detroit Tigers, 7:05 pm
(R) Ubaldo Jimenez (2-7) vs. (R) Eddie Bonine (1-0)
Tampa Bay Rays at Pittsburgh Pirates, 7:05 pm
(L) Scott Kazmir (6-3) vs. (R) Jimmy Barthmaier (0-0)
Atlanta Braves at Toronto Blue Jays, 7:07 pm
(R) Jair Jurrjens (7-3) vs. (R) Dustin McGowan (6-5)
Baltimore Orioles at Washington Nationals, 7:35 pm
(R) Daniel Cabrera (5-3) vs. (L) Odalis Perez (2-5)
Philadelphia Phillies at Texas Rangers, 8:05 pm
(R) Brett Myers (3-9) vs. (L) Kason Gabbard (2-3)
Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros, 8:05 pm
(R) Daisuke Matsuzaka (8-1) vs. (R) Runelvys Hernandez (0-0)
St. Louis Cardinals at Kansas City Royals, 8:10 pm
(R) Joel Pineiro (2-3) vs. (R) Gil Meche (5-8)
Milwaukee Brewers at Minnesota Twins, 8:10 pm
(R) Seth McClung (5-3) vs. (R) Nick Blackburn (6-4)
New York Yankees at New York Mets, 8:10 pm
(R) Sidney Ponson (4-1) vs. (R) Pedro Martinez (2-1)
San Francisco Giants at Oakland Athletics, 10:05 pm
(R) Kevin Correia (1-5) vs. (L) Dana Eveland (5-5)
Seattle Mariners at San Diego Padres, 10:05 pm
(L) Jarrod Washburn (2-7) vs. (L) Randy Wolf (5-6)
LA Angels of Anaheim at Los Angeles Dodgers, 10:40 pm
(L) Joe Saunders (11-3) vs. (R) Chan Ho Park (2-2)

Arizona Diamondbacks at Florida Marlins, 7:10 pm
(R) Micah Owings (6-6) vs. (R) Ricky Nolasco (7-4)

Top of the 8th
The Rockies are 32-47.
The Indians are 36-43.
The Orioles are 40-37.

Colorado is 8 games back in the awful NL West
Cleveland is 7.5 games back in the mediocre AL Central.
Baltimore is 7 games back in the outstanding AL East.

Top of the 9th
I hope you all enjoyed this week as much I did. Lots of a good stuff going on as we head towards July. So, I thank you for all the emails, and I encourage you: Write me!

Happy birthday Terry Guiney! It truly is an honor and a pleasure to know you.

Have fun this weekend and try to watch some baseball.

Oh yeah, don’t forget to buy the book.

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.