Billy-Ball Daily: 2008-6-6

6/6/2008
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, June 6, 2008

Top of the 1st
SPEAKING OF BASEBALL…
By Baseball Newstalgist, Bill Chuck

Speaking of baseball…

* Philadelphia outfielder Geoff Jenkins has played in more games (1,287) than any active player without appearing in Yankee Stadium.
* Speaking of closing ballparks, Shea Stadium is the fifth-oldest stadium in baseball behind Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Yankee Stadium and Dodger Stadium.
* Speaking of Yankee Stadium, Derek Jeter now has 2,416 career hits, passing Mickey Mantle for sole possession of third place on the Yankees’ all-time list. Mantle had held on to third place since April 30, 1967 when he passed Joe DiMaggio for the third spot. Babe Ruth is second with 2,518 hits, Lou Gehrig leads all Yankee players with 2,721 hits.
* Speaking of the Yankees, Mariano Rivera is 15-for-15 in save opportunities this season, his best start to any season (he converted his first 12 chances in 2004). Rivera has not been scored upon in a save situation this season
* Speaking of bullpens, Twins reliever Dennys Reyes should be nicknamed “Cannon,” not because of his fastball but because of his resemblance to William Conrad with played the title role in the “Cannon” TV series of the 70s.
* Speaking of the Twins, their pitchers Boof Bonser, Brian Bass and Juan Rincon all are out of options which mean none will be sent to the minors to get more work and which is why Boof was sent to the bullpen to start June.
* Speaking of May, it’s the only month in Oakland history in which the A’s have a losing record (545-565, .491).
* But speaking of June, the Dodgers have not had a winning month of June since 2003. They were 11-15 in 2006, 11-16 in 2005 and 12-14 in 2004 after going 14-11 in June 2003.
* Speaking of the Dodgers, Derek Lowe is one of three players with at least 10 years of major league service who had never been placed on the DL along with Brad Ausmus and Livan Hernandez.
* Speaking of the Dodgers and the DL, Nomar Garciaparra said that the results from his tests revealed a circulation problem in his legs. More tests will be done to figure out the exact cause of the ailment that has him on the 60-day disabled list. Garciaparra said the latest rounds of tests revealed that his legs are not getting enough blood flow, but doctors have failed to pinpoint the reason. He said blood clots and anything life-threatening have been ruled out.
* Speaking of the DL, according to manager Bruce Bochy, left-hander Noah Lowry might not pitch again for the Giants this season. Lowry has not thrown since April 30 after a flare-up of a nerve injury in his left forearm and has just been moved to the 60-day DL. The 27-year-old had surgery on that arm during spring training.
* Speaking of the Giants, they have 129 doubles this season which trails only the Cubs in NL who have 139.
* Speaking of doubles, Dan Uggla has 21 doubles on the season, already the fourth-highest total by a Marlins second baseman, but he has a long way to go to catch Charley Gehringer who has the most doubles by second baseman with 60 in 1936 with the Tigers. In 1931, Red Sox outfielder Earl Webb set the major league record with 67 doubles.
* Speaking of second basemen, the Padres’ Tadahito Iguchi is the only regular second sacker in the National League without an error this season and he’s headed to the DL with a right shoulder separation that will sideline him for at least four weeks.
* Speaking again of Florida, the only Marlin ever voted to start the All-Star Game was third baseman Gary Sheffield in 1993, starting for the Marlins just three weeks after he was traded to Florida from San Diego. To date, Hanley Ramirez leads all NL shortstops with 418,197 votes compared to 410,553 for Houston’s Miguel Tejada.
* Speaking of the All-Star game, this is the 79th and the fourth held at Yankee Stadium and the eighth in New York City. The Yankees previously hosted the All-Star Game in 1939, 1960 and 1977; the Polo Grounds held the game in 1934 and 1942; Ebbets Field was the site in 1949; and Shea Stadium hosted the 1964 game.
* Speaking of Shea, the Mets’ David Wright is the only major leaguer to play every inning of every game this season.
* Speaking of the Mets, now that Pedro Martinez is back in the rotation, joining Johan Santana, they become only the fourth team with a pair of multiple Cy Young winners as teammates. The only other teams that had two multiple winners were the 1999-2002 Braves (Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine), the 2001 Red Sox (Pedro and Bret Saberhagen), and the 2005- 2007 Mets (Pedro and Glavine).
* Speaking of the BoSox, the American League East is tough from top to bottom. Perhaps the most underrated team are the Blue Jays who se starters lead the AL with a 3.53 ERA and whose bullpen is second to the White Sox (2.80) with a 2.91 ERA.
* Speaking of the AL East, looking at the playing career of their managers: Terry Francona of the Sox hit a lifetime .274, with 16 homers and 143 RBI. Joe Girardi of the Yanks was a lifetime .267 hitter with 36 homers and 422 RBI. John Gibbons had 50 at bats in the majors, hitting .220 with one homer and two RBI. Joe Maddon of the Rays and Dave Trembley of the O’s never played in the majors,
* Speaking of managers, the Nationals Manny Acta at 39 is baseball’s youngest manager followed by the 40-year old Eric Wedge of Cleveland and the Yanks Joe Girardi who is 43.
* Speaking of 40-year olds, the Marlins’ 40-year old, Luis Gonzalez has 350 career home runs, tied for with Chili Davis for 77th on the all-time list. He has 342 homers as a left fielder, third all-time behind Barry B*nds (725) and Ted Williams (477).
* Speaking of B*nds, 10-0 – That’s the record of the team of investigators and prosecutors who have gained convictions in all of the BALCO cases.

Speaking of baseball, enjoy the games this weekend!

Top of the 2nd
REASON TO FEEL CHIPPER
Atlanta’sl Chipper Jones hit his 400th career home run and finished with four hits in the Braves’ 7-5 victory over the Florida Marlins. Jones raised his major league-leading season batting average to .418 as he became the third switch-hitter to reach 400 home runs, following Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle (536) and Eddie Murray (504). His 400 homers enabled Jones to pass Al Kaline and Andres Galarraga and move into 43rd place on the all time home run list.

Top of the 3rd
WALKOFFS, LAST LICKS AND FINAL OUTS
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last player to hit a walk-off, pinch-hit homer on an 0-2 count was Blue Jays catcher Gregg Zaun, who was with the Houston Astros when he performed the feat on June 27, 2002. Then came Giambi.

The Blue Jays were leading 8-6 with tow outs in the 9th inning yesterday at Yankee Stadium and they had their closer B.J. Ryan on the mound. Alex Rodriguez then bounced a seeing-eye single through the left side of the infield, his first hit in nine at-bats against Ryan. Then, following the defensive indifference (which really ticks me off) that allowed A-Rod to go to second, Hideki Matsui, 2-for-21 with seven strikeouts against Ryan, singled in Rodriguez to make it 8-7. Up steps Jason Giambi, 2-for-14 against Ryan and quickly down 0-2 after a pair of sliders that he later said “you just couldn’t do anything with. Then, came the third slider. See ya!

Ryan is 1-2 and has blown six of 10 career save opportunities against the Yankees. Giambi’s pinch-hit, two-run home run was his fourth career walk-off homer and his first since June 15, 2005 and it gave the Yankees a 9-8 win. Over their past five games, the Blue Jays bullpen has given up nine earned runs, seven walks and 20 hits in 12 innings.

In other walk-off news, after stranding 12 runners through eight innings, the San Diego Padres were not to be denied in the 9th. Okay, the Mets weren’t going to let the Padres fans go home unhappy. Mets’ reliever Scott Schoeneweis hit Paul McAnulty with a pitch to drive in the winning run with the bases loaded in the 9th inning, giving San Diego a 2-1 walkoff win over the New York Mets. Schoeneweis (0-2) hit McAnulty with a first-pitch fastball in the right shoulder after three walks in the inning to score pinch hitter Scott Hairston and give the Padres their second straight win.

Top of the 4th
PLEASE NO MORE “BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM”
You know I love punny headlines, but there is no correlation between the first overall selection in the First-Year Player Draft, Tim Beckham and the soccer dude who is married to the Spice Girl.

Tim Beckham, is a talented high school shortstop from Griffin, Ga., and recognized as one of the best pure athletes in the draft and labeled a legitimate five-tool player. He established himself as the top prep prospect in the nation with solid performances at last summer’s high school showcase events and hit .482 with six homers, 13 doubles, 41 RBIs and 23 stolen bases as a senior.

More on the draft next week.

Top of the 5th
ANOTHER GOOD NIGHT FOR CHICAGO
Kosuke Fukudome opened the scoring for the Cubs last night with a solo homer and drove in the eventual game-winner with a one-out single in the 9th against the Dodgers’ All-Star closer, Takashi Saito, leading the Cubs to a 5-4 victory. The Cubs have won 10 of 11 and lead the majors with a 39-22 record, their best start since 1977 when they had an identical record. They are 17-3 against NL West teams. The Dodgers have lost 11 of 14.

The news from the other side of town was equally as good as Jose Contreras won his fourth straight decision and Jim Thome homered as the Chicago White Sox beat Kansas City 6-2 to complete a three-game sweep. Contreras (6-3) allowed one run and four hits in seven innings. He hasn’t lost since May 4 and is 4-0 with 1.50 ERA in his last six starts. The White Sox (33-26) lead Minnesota by 2 1/2 games in the AL Central.

The Royals (23-37) lost their 11th straight road game, one shy of the franchise record, and have dropped 15 of 17 overall.

Top of the 6th
BILLY-BALL-SITE-OF-THE-DAY
If you didn’t see the basebrawl in the Red Sox 7-1 win over the Rays, don’t say that Billy-Ball deprived you: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=280605102

And here’s Coco’s post-game reaction: http://www.nesn.com/content/videocenter/default.aspx?videoid=1068@nesn.dayport.com&navCatId=18

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
AL
Mariners (Felix Hernandez) at Red Sox (Bartolo Colon), 7:05
Indians (Paul Byrd) at Tigers (Justin Verlander), 7:05
Royals (Kyle Davies) at Yankees (Darrell Rasner), 7:05
Orioles (Brian Burres) at Blue Jays (Shaun Marcum), 7:07
Rays (Scott Kazmir) at Rangers (Vicente Padilla), 8:05
Twins (Nick Blackburn) at White Sox (Javier Vazquez), 8:11
Angels (John Lackey) at A’s (Joe Blanton), 10:05

NL
Diamondbacks (Brandon Webb) at Pirates (Ian Snell), 7:05
Reds (Johnny Cueto) at Marlins (Andrew Miller), 7:10
Phillies (Jamie Moyer) at Braves (Tim Hudson), 7:30
Giants (Tim Lincecum) at Nationals (Jay Bergmann), 7:35
Cardinals (Braden Looper) at Astros (Brian Moehler), 8:05
Brewers (Ben Sheets) at Rockies (Ubaldo Jimenez), 9:05
Mets (Johan Santana) at Padres (Randy Wolf), 10:05
Cubs (Sean Gallagher) at Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda), 10:40

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
No team in the NL West has a winning record against either the NL East or NL Central, and all five teams have losing records on the road.

Top of the 9th
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND EVERYONE
Thank you all for your feedback as usual – this has indeed been a fun week and we have much more to come next week.

Enjoy your weekend and BUY THE BOOK!

Bottom of the 9th
THERE’S ONLY 10 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.