Billy-Ball Daily: 2008-7-11

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, July 11, 2008

Top of the 1st
By Baseball Newstalgist, Bill Chuck

Here’s a 25-fact roster for you.

Speaking of baseball…
1. In the 12 meetings between the BoSox and the Rays this season, the Rays are hitting .224, they’re 6-0 in Tampa hitting .217 and 0-6 at Fenway, hitting .229.
2. The Diamondbacks: After winning 20 of 28 games in April, went 11-17 in May, 10-16 in June and are 4-5 this month.
3. Chipper Jones is really like a fine wine, aging very well. He’s been a big league regular since 1995 and last year he hit for his highest average, .337 and this year after being hampered with injuries is “down” to .375.
4. The Marlins’ Scott Olson has never thrown a complete game. That’s 87 starts and counting. In fact, the last complete game thrown by any Marlins pitcher was September 16, 2006, through Thursday, that’s 268 games.
5. Through Thursday, Ichiro Suzuki’s last 34 hits have all been singles, and he’s gone a career-long 115 plate appearances without an extra-base hit.
6. CC Sabathia is excited about his opportunities on the mound for Milwaukee as well as at the plate, but he’ll have to wait for another NL season to match the feats of the Washington Senators Hall of Famer, Walter Johnson. Sabathia is 7-8 this season and the career .286 hitter is 1 for (.200). In 1925, Johnson, not only was 20-7 on the mound, but he hit.433 for the season.
7. In Thursday’s Cubs/Reds game, Cincinnati homered in six straight innings – the last time that happened was when the Reds hit homers in seven straight innings Sept. 4, 1999, in Philly. They set a team record with nine home runs overall in that game.
8. The International League announced Monday that Rochester pitcher Francisco Liriano has been named the League’s Pitcher-of-the-Week for the period from June 30-July 6.
9. Hit or Missers – The Reds’ Adam Dunn: 64 hits with 24 homers and 96 Ks. Ryan Howard: 82 hits with 27 homers and 125 Ks.
10. Speaking about Dunn, I think Mets left fielder Moises Alou is done. He has a torn left hamstring that will probably mean the end of his season and his 17-season career. In 1996, Moises made the last regular season out at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. His father, Felipe, was the first Brave to bat there.
11. Blue Jays pitcher A.J. Burnett has clause in his contract that Burnett that enables, if he chooses, to wipe out the last two years of his contract, which pay him $12-million a season, and choose free agency at the end of this 2008 season.
12. When the season started I’ll bet you never guessed that the Tigers would have only one All-Star and it would be Carlos Guillen, who’s only hitting .284.
13. This is the 10th anniversary of the All-Star slugfest at Coors Field in Denver. This was prior to the humidor and the game was won by the AL, 13-8. The 21 combined runs are an All-Star Game record. The AL tied the All-Star Game record for most runs by one club and most hits, 19, including a record 16 singles (the NL had 10 singles for a record 26 combined). The teams combined for a record 31 hits and set a record by scoring in 10 half-innings. The game took a tidy 3 hours and 38 minutes.
14. Since the All-Star Game “counted” starting in 2003, home field advantage hasn’t meant very much. The last World Series to go seven games was in 2002 when the Angels beat the Giants.
15. Here’s an All-Star outfield – three players who have played in the most All-Star Games (24) are Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Stan Musial.
16. Speaking about Stan “The Man” Musial, he holds the all-time All-Star homer record with six. Alfonso Soriano, who had to bow out with an injury this year, is the active leader with three.
17. Third baseman Willie Jones of the 1950 Philadelphia Phillies holds an All-Star Game record that will probably never be broken. In that game he had seven at bats going 1-7 playing all 14 innings as the lead-off batter in the NL 4-3 victory.
18. Lefty Gomez is the only three game winner in All-Star Game history.
19. Don Drysdale is the all-time All-Star strikeout leader whiffing 19 American Leaguers in 19 and a third innings.
20. Seattle catcher Jamie Burke pitching against the Tigers last Sunday brings to mind Colorado catcher Brent Mayne who made his last and only pitching appearance against the Braves on August 22, 2000. Mayne entered in the top of the 12th and gave up a hit, a walk, a wild pitch and no runs. He won when Adam Melhuse pinch-hit for him and singled to drive home the winning run.
21. Learned the word “aptonym” the other day, a name that describes what you do – as in Gary Glover, Nick Swisher, A-Rod.
22. Talk about loving the home cooking – Edgar Renteria is hitting .304 at home, but only .208 on the road.
23. I’ll tell you what’s insane, the pitching of Justin Duchscherer. In 101 innings the A’s ace has surrendered just 66 hits and 21 walks for a WHIP of 0.86.
24. Richie Sexson being released makes me think of Dave Kingman (another really tall guy with an attitude). Kingman always hurt his teams as in Kingman hit .219 as a Met, but hit .303 against them
25. On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Coliseum honored Walter O’Malley, who moved the Brooklyn Dodgers west in 1958 to play at the Coliseum until Dodger Stadium opened in 1962 with a plaque. I hope in the near future the plaque is moved to Newark.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Top of the 2nd
You know, on my list of disappointing teams, AL version, this season, after the Tribe and the M’s come the Jays. This is a team that if their players didn’t end up on the DL naturally they would shoot themselves in the foot and become disabled that way. In any case, I can finally report that the Jays finished off the Orioles yesterday to complete a rare successful sweep.

This is a team that until Tuesday had not had a walkoff victory in 2008. In Tuesday’s game they were trailing 6-2 going to the bottom of the 7th; not a good sign for a team that was 1-27 when trailing by as many as three runs, but Toronto scored four in the 7th to tie the game and then took advantage of a pair of errors in the 9th, including Scott Rolen’s grounder through the legs of Freddie Bynum, giving Toronto it’s first walk-off win this season.

Wednesday, they managed to hang on and defeat the O’s 9-8, making them 14-21 in one-run games.

Before yesterday’s game, they were 0-35 in games in which they trailed after seven innings. Yesterday they trailed 3-2 after seven and then 5-2 going to the bottom of the 8th. The Jays scored twice in the 8th and two more times in the 9th to beat Baltimore 6-5, completing a three-game sweep that featured two wins in their final at-bat and three one-run victories to improve that record to 15-21.

I still think the key for this team is to drop their first name…it worked for the Rays.

Top of the 3rd
Ben Francisco had a career-high four RBIs and hit one of Cleveland’s four home runs as the Indians snapped a 10-game losing streak with a 13-2 victory over Tampa Bay. The 13 runs allowed were the most allowed by the Rays all season and brought the Rays their fourth straight defeat. Tampa lost for the 10th straight time in Cleveland. Tampa Bay last won at the Indians’ home on Sept. 29, 2005, when Lou Piniella was manager. The Rays’ 26-56 record overall against Cleveland is their worst against any opponent.

The Rays are trying to be the fourth team to be in first place at the All-Star break one year after having the majors’ worst record, joining the 1989 Orioles and 2001 Cubs and Phillies.

Top of the 4th
Tampa Bay’s rookie third baseman Evan Longoria and Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Corey Hart were elected All-Stars by fans in Internet balloting that finally ended yesterday.

Longoria received 9 million votes for the AL spot and was followed by Jermaine Dye of the Chicago White Sox, Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees, Brian Roberts of the Baltimore Orioles and Jose Guillen of the Kansas City Royals.

Hart got 8 million votes and was followed by the New York Mets’ David Wright, Philadelphia Phillies’ Pat Burrell, San Francisco Giants’ Aaron Rowand and Houston Astros’ Carlos Lee.

I learned in a press briefing yesterday with Terry Francona and Clint Hurdle that Colorado Rockies’ Matt Holliday, originally selected as a reserve, will replace injured Alfonso Soriano in the starting lineup. Hurdle indicated yesterday that he would strongly look at the runners-up to Hart in deciding on a replacement for Soriano’s roster spot.

Top of the 5th
Former New York Mets general manager Steve Phillips, an ESPN analyst, on the All-Star game’s declining intensity, “To a certain degree, interleague play has kind of diluted that feeling of playing against the other league because, you know, they’re kind of used to doing it,” he said. “And I think the other thing is free agency. I mean, players now look at themselves as major league players, not American League guys and National League guys, because, you know, from one year to the next, they may be flipping from one league to the other league.”

Top of the 6th
In August 1979, Thurman Munson died in the crash of his airplane just short of the runway at Akron-Canton Airport. About three months ago, Diana Munson, Munson’s widow decided to hire an auctioneer to sell much of what Munson had amassed before his death in a plane crash in 1979, like his high school letterman’s sweater patches, his rookie contracts and his World Series rings as the Yankees’ star catcher and captain.

The auction will take place Monday and Tuesday during Major League Baseball’s All-Star Fan Fest at the Javits Center in Manhattan. Money from the auction, Munson said, will help finance the college educations of her seven grandchildren.

The Munson collection includes items with price estimates of a few hundred dollars (his All-Star commemorative bats, Cadillac license plates and a nylon Yankees traveling suitcase) to tens of thousands of dollars (his 1976 American League Most Valuable Player Award, one of his last home uniforms and his 1976 A.L. championship ring).

“I want Thurman’s life to be a celebration,” Diane Munson said, “I want people to look at how he lived, not how he died. He has the most amazing fans; loyal, fantastic fans who still love him and still wear his jersey.”

Here is a slideshow of some the items to be auctioned:

Top of the 7th
Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox, 7:05 pm
(L) Brian Burres (6-5) vs. (R) Clay Buchholz (2-3)
Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers, 7:05 pm
(L) Glen Perkins (5-2) vs. (R) Armando Galarraga (7-2)
Tampa Bay Rays at Cleveland Indians, 7:05 pm
(R) James Shields (7-5) vs. (L) Cliff Lee (11-2)
New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays, 7:07 pm
(R) Joba Chamberlain (2-2) vs. (R) Roy Halladay (10-6)
Chicago White Sox at Texas Rangers, 8:05 pm
(R) Gavin Floyd (10-4) vs. (R) Luis Mendoza (1-3)
Seattle Mariners at Kansas City Royals, 8:10 pm
(R) Felix Hernandez (6-5) vs. (R) Luke Hochevar (5-7)
LA Angels of Anaheim at Oakland Athletics, 10:05 pm
(R) Jon Garland (8-5) vs. (R) Sean Gallagher (0-0)

San Francisco Giants at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 pm
(R) Matt Cain (5-7) vs. (R) Jason Marquis (6-5)
St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates, 7:05 pm
(R) Kyle Lohse (10-2) vs. (L) Zach Duke (4-5)
Arizona Diamondbacks at Philadelphia Phillies, 7:05 pm
(L) Doug Davis (3-4) vs. (R) Kyle Kendrick (8-3)
Colorado Rockies at New York Mets, 7:10 pm
(R) Aaron Cook (11-6) vs. (L) Oliver Perez (6-5)
Houston Astros at Washington Nationals, 7:35 pm
(R) Roy Oswalt (7-8) vs. (R) Tim Redding (6-3)
Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers, 8:05 pm
(R) Josh Fogg (1-2) vs. (L) Manny Parra (8-2)
Atlanta Braves at San Diego Padres, 10:05 pm
(L) Jo-Jo Reyes (3-7) vs. (R) Jake Peavy (6-5)
Florida Marlins at Los Angeles Dodgers, 10:40 pm
(R) Chris Volstad (1-0) vs. (L) Eric Stults (2-1)

Top of the 8th
Justin Morneau matched a career high with five hits, helping the Twins end a three-game losing streak topping Detroit, 7-6 in 11 innings. Detroit, which had won its previous three games, was trying to move three games over .500 for the first time since its 24-36 start.

Top of the 9th
If you are around the radio this weekend, tomorrow, from 11:30 am -11:45 am I’ll be on “The Line Drive” show, hosted by David Jenkins on WDEF-AM in Chattanooga, TN. Then on Sunday afternoon around 2:10, I’ll be on WCCO-AM in Minneapolis, MN on the “Sports Sunday Afternoon” show, hosted by Steve Thomson and Eric Nelson. Also Sunday evening around 9:15 I’ll be on Mike Silva’s show on AM1240-WGBB, Long Island’s oldest radio station.

On Monday morning, July 14th, you can hear me at 8:40 on WOCM-FM in Ocean City, MD on the “Rude Awakening” show, hosted by Dave “Bull Dog” Rothner. Then again at 11:15am on WNPV-AM in Philly on the “Comment Please” show, hosted by Darryl Berger.

As per usual, I will be right back here Monday morning writing about the sport we love as we enter the All-Star break.

I hope you have an All-Star weekend!

Hey! 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.