Billy-Ball Daily: 2008-7-17

7/17/2008
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

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Top of the 1st
THE STANDINGS AND FALLINGS AT THE BREAK
Just so you know where we are and where we’re going.

American League
East W L Pct GB Streak
Boston Red Sox 57 40 .588 — Won 2 Deep and deeper. Great mix of young and old but will the bullpen let them down?
Tampa Bay Rays 55 39 .585 0.5 Lost 7 The story of the year thus far – but NOW is when the pressure starts.
New York Yankees 50 45 .526 6.0 Lost 1 All and all they did all right but the next month will tell us much more
Toronto Blue Jays 47 48 .495 9.0 Won 1 Will A.J. Burnett drop the periods when he’s traded?
Baltimore Orioles 45 48 .484 10.0 Lost 2 Good season for Dave Trembley – this team is far from awful and in another division could be a genuine 3rd place team.

Central W L Pct GB Streak
Chicago White Sox 54 40 .574 — Lost 1 Carlos Quentin makes the White Sox a very good club.
Minnesota Twins 53 42 .558 1.5 Lost 1 Ron Gardenhire rules! Francisco Liriano will back very soon.
Detroit Tigers 47 47 .500 7.0 Won 1 “I don’t care too much for money, cause money can’t buy me love” or a pennant
Kansas City Royals 43 53 .448 12.0 Lost 1 Improving to the point where they are on their way to mediocrity
Cleveland Indians 41 53 .436 13.0 Won 4 Trivia Question: Can anybody remember who was in the ALCS last year against the BoSox.

West W L Pct GB Streak
Los Angeles Angels 57 38 .600 — Won 2 When people talk about the best team in baseball, why are the Halos always forgotten?
Oakland Athletics 51 44 .537 6.0 Lost 2 Always using their Beane.
Texas Rangers 50 46 .521 7.5 Won 1 Now if Hamilton, Kinsler and Young could pitch as well….
Seattle Mariners 37 58 .389 20.0 Won 1 Changing their names to the Submariners would be accurate.

National League
East W L Pct GB Streak
Philadelphia Phillies 52 44 .542 — Won 1 Their rotation needs to be more than Cole Hamels and some other guys.
New York Mets 51 44 .537 0.5 Won 9 The winning streak is no flukedome. They need another outfielder.
Florida Marlins 50 45 .526 1.5 Lost 1 Don’t count this team out. Be nice to Dan Uggla.
Atlanta Braves 45 50 .474 6.5 Won 2 Mark Teixeira to the Red Sox?
Washington Nationals 36 60 .375 16.0 Lost 2 Gen. Petraeus tells Washington to surrender. Good thing no one’s watching.

Central W L Pct GB Streak
Chicago Cubs 57 38 .600 — Lost 1 The best of the NL but they will still make deals to get better. Heading for the Series.
St. Louis Cardinals 53 43 .552 4.5 Won 1 There’s a brilliant mind behind those sunglasses. LaRussa is LaMotivator.
Milwaukee Brewers 52 43 .547 5.0 Won 1 CC to their trade, senor. No bull(pen)!
Cincinnati Reds 46 50 .479 11.5 Lost 1 They’re on the road to nowhere. Griffey’s Reds swan song.
Pittsburgh Pirates 44 50 .468 12.5 Lost 1 The streak will live! For many teams the X factor will be who gets Nady.
Houston Astros 44 51 .463 13.0 Won 2 The worst team in Texas.

Worst W L Pct GB Streak
Arizona Diamondbacks 47 48 .495 — Lost 1 The D-Backs love interdivision games. They’re best against the Worst.
Los Angeles Dodgers 46 49 .484 1.0 Won 1 A .500 record may be enough to win this awful division, But L.A. could finish short(stop).
San Francisco Giants 40 55 .421 7.0 Won 1 Not as close to the top as their record indicates.
Colorado Rockies 39 57 .406 8.5 Lost 4 Trivia Question: Can anybody remember who was in the Series last year against the BoSox.
San Diego Padres 37 58 .389 10.0 Those camouflage uniforms can’t disguise that they are a lousy team.

Top of the 2nd
HERE’S ANOTHER MAJOR EVENT YOUR KIDS WON’T SEE
Yankee Stadium’s regular-season finale will be a Sunday night game. The Yankees’ Sept. 21 game against the Baltimore Orioles has been scheduled for 8:05 p.m. and will be televised nationally by ESPN or ESPN2 as part of their Sunday night package.

Why the Yanks are ending on the road is a big mystery too.

Top of the 3rd
IT DOESN’T SOUND LIKE HE’S GOING ANYWHERE
Despite chatter of Roy Halladay to the Phils, it certainly doesn’t sound as if he’s going anywhere.”He’s the Derek Jeter of our organization because he epitomizes everything you want in a player on and off the field,” Paul Godfrey, the Blue Jays president and chief executive officer said yesterday.

Monday, Halladay had expressed a growing sense of frustration with the organization’s inability to get over the hump and win the American League East Division. “The question that was asked was, ‘Is winning a priority to you?’ And obviously my answer to that is yes,” Halladay said. “I’ve always said right from the beginning I’d rather win in Toronto than anywhere else. Honestly, it’s something that I’ve never contemplated.
“He’s a role model. To be quite honest, the things he said [Monday] were just Roy expressing the opinions and concerns he, I and a lot of people have with respect to the way the club has functioned in the last few years.” Godfrey said. “It’s not for lack of money. It’s not for lack of trying. But you don’t want Roy Halladay to ever think there’s no hope of winning in Toronto.”

I hope that’s not a vote of confidence.

Top of the 4th
MANNY BEING MANNY (NOT EXACTLY A COMPLIMNET)
Manny Ramirez touched hopes that the Red Sox would inform him at the end of the season what its plans are going forward regarding the outfielder.

Here’s the report from yesterday’s Boston Herald:
“I want no more (expletive) where they tell you one thing and behind your back they do another thing,” Manny told The Herald. “I think I’ve earned that respect, for a team to sit down with me and tell me this is what we want, this is what we want to do.”

Henry responded via e-mail to Ramirez’ statement, “I find remarks that we have been anything other than completely straightforward to be personally offensive,” Henry wrote. “Manny has been a crucial part of two world championships. I do not believe we would have won either without him. He has never played a more important role than he has thus far this year.”

The Red Sox hold two one-year team options for $20 million apiece on Ramirez, who turned 36 on May 30. The left fielder is hitting .293 with 18 home runs, two shy of his total from a year ago.

Top of the 5th
PCL WINS
A.J. Ellis hit a two-run double to cap a 9th inning rally by the Pacific Coast League and it held off the International League 6-5 in the Triple-A All-Star game last night in Louisville. The teams combined for an All-Star record 23 strikeouts.

Eric McCutchen, named the IL player of the game, finished with two hits and Joe Thurston added three for the IL. Matt Brown, the PCL player of the game, had two hits and an RBI. The win snapped a two-game losing streak by the PCL to its rival league to the east.

THE NORTH BEATS THE SOUTH
New Britain’s Luke Hughes hit a three-run homer in the 6th inning and Joseph Martinez of the Connecticut Defenders got the win as the Northern Division defeated the Southern Division 5-3 in the Eastern League All-Star Game in Manchester, NH last night.

Hughes, the only player not to hit a home run in the pregame home run derby, turned on a 3-and-1 fastball and sent it over the left-center field wall, scoring Trenton’s Austin Jackson and Chris Malec to give the North a 4-2 lead.

Yankees prospect Jason Jones of the Trenton Thunder got the start. He struck out three, walked one and gave up a single.

Connecticut’s Justin Hedrick was the first pitcher in relief, retiring all three Southern Division batters he faced in the second inning. Martinez pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit.

New Britain infielder Steve Tolleson was a late scratch because of a bruised finger. Pitcher Ryan Mullins was unavailable.

Reading’s Greg Golson and Erie’s Ryan Roberson each homered for the Southern Division. Roberson finished with two RBI.

New Hampshire outfielder Travis Snider, the No. 1 prospect in Toronto’s farm system by Baseball America, won the home run derby with 20, including 10 in the second round. Bowie’s Luis Montanez finished second with 13.

Top of the 6th
BILLY-BALL-SITE-OF-THE-DAY
Here is the official site of Minor League Baseball:
http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/index.jsp?cid=milb

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
AL
Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles, 7:05 pm
(L) Kenny Rogers (6-6) vs. (L) Garrett Olson (6-4)

NL
New York Mets at Cincinnati Reds, 7:10 pm
(L) Johan Santana (8-7) vs. (R) Johnny Cueto (7-9)
San Diego Padres at St. Louis Cardinals, 8:15 pm
(R) Jake Peavy (7-5) vs. (R) Kyle Lohse (11-2)
Pittsburgh Pirates at Colorado Rockies, 9:05 pm – can’t wait to watch this one.
(L) Paul Maholm (6-5) vs. (R) Ubaldo Jimenez (4-9)

Everybody else gets another day of rest.

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
Entering games of July 11, the Pirates outfield of Jason Bay, Nate McLouth and Xavier Nady had more home runs (47-44), more RBIs (163-141) and a higher combined batting average (.297-.285) than the three outfielders voted to start for the NL in the All-Star Game.

Top of the 9th
OH, THE PEOPLE YOU SEE!
Walking around Brookline yesterday I ran into Beau Mills and his sisters. This really nice family are the brood of Rhonda and Boston Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills. Beau has the makings of star. This season for the Kinston Indians Beau is hitting .278 with 15 homers and 60 RBI.

Then last night, while at the Eastern League All-Star Game I ran into Bill Lee and as always the “Spaceman” was fun, charming and entertaining.

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.

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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.