Billy-Ball Daily: 2008-7-25

7/25/2008
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, July 25, 2008

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

Here’s a 25-fact roster for you.

Speaking of baseball…
1. Pete Runnels (1958) and Del Pratt (1922) hold the Red Sox record for most hits by a second baseman with 183. Dustin Pedroia has 135 hits which projects to 214 hits. Rogers Hornsby holds the record by a second baseman with 250 in 1922, when he hit .401 for the Cardinals. Nap Lajoie holds the AL record with 232 in 1901 for the Philadelphia Athletics.
2. Magglio Ordonez 13 homers and 57 RBIs, Ordonez must pick up the pace if he is to have more than 23 homers and 100 RBIs for the third consecutive season.
3. Massachusetts for Abreu – The Brockton Rox of the independent CanAm League picked up Dennis Abreu, younger brother of New York Yankees outfielder Bobby Abreu, last Friday from the Nashua Pride. Dennis is hitting .335 with 7 homers and 29 RBI, with 12 stolen bases.
4. Derek Jeter is seeing the ball a lot better in the daytime hitting .343 versus .251 at night.
5. IMHO – The fact that the A’s are 3-7 in their last 10 makes me think that the players are feeling like management thinks their season is over thanks to the recent strip-mining-like trades.
6. Coming into this season Boston’s Jon Lester had made 26 career starts and pitched a total of 144.1 innings over two years. Already this season alone he has made 21 starts and thrown 132.1 innings and has never pitched better.
7. Barry Zito has 12 losses so far, the Giants record for most losses in a season, since they moved to San Francisco, is 18 by Ray Sadecki in 1968.
8. Greg Maddux’s ERA away from Petco Park this season is 6.02; at home it’s 2.52. Maddux hasn’t won since May 10.
9. Daisuke Matsuzaka is now 11-1 and must start to being considered as a genuine Cy Young candidate. The last AL Cy Young winner who did not make the All-Star team was Johan Santana who was 7-6 in the first half of 2004 and was a remarkable 13-0 in the second half.
10. Only three players have ever had 50+ doubles and 40+ stolen bases in a season: Tris Speaker of the Red Sox in 1912 had 53 doubles and 52 steals; Alfonso Soriano in 2002 with the Yankees was 51 and 41; and, Craig Biggio with the Astros had 51 doubles and 50 steals in 1998. Brian Roberts of the Orioles right now has 38 doubles and 27 steals and is a strong candidate to join the club.
11. A.J. Burnett should be known as “The Decider” – he is 10-9 in 21 starts this season, gaining more decisions than anyone in baseball. The last two seasons, Burnett was 10-8.
12. Richie Sexson is now officially the tallest to wear #39 for the New York Yankees edging out Steve Hamilton by one inch. Sexson the City is 6’8″.
13. CC Sabathia leads the majors with 154 strikeouts, but leads neither the AL or the NL in strikeouts.
14. The Padres’ road ERA is 5.24, well above their home ERA of 3.63 and a factor in the club’s 15-34 win-loss record away from San Diego.
15. Carlos Marmol of the Cubs leads the majors with 22 holds.
16. The record for RBIs by a member of the Texas Rangers/Washington Senators is 157 held by Juan Gonzalez in 1998. Josh Hamilton with 98 will be making a serious run at him this year.
17. The current 10-game winning streak at home is the Yankees’ longest since Sept. 9, 1998, to April 14, 1999. The last time New York won 10 in a row at Yankee Stadium in a single season was July 26-Aug. 14, 1998.
18. The record for most strikeouts with 10 or fewer home runs is held by Delino DeShields who in 1991 with the Expos struck out 151 times with only 10 homers. The Twins’ Carlos Gomez has struck out 99 times so far this season with only five homers.
19. The White Sox’ Nick Swisher leads the majors averaging 4.47 pitches per plate appearance.
20. The Blue Jays lead the majors having hit into 105 double plays.
21. Rudy Seanez and Jaime Moyers are tied for the lead amongst active pitchers each having pitched in 46 different ballparks.
22. At 44, Randy Johnson is still averaging 8.49 strikeouts per 9 innings. What is even more amazing is that at the same age in 1991, Nolan Ryan was averaging 10.56 Ks per 9 innings.
23. Prior to their loss to the Mets on Thursday in which they fell into second place, the Phillies had been tied for or in sole possession of first place for 53 consecutive days (June 2-July24), which is their longest stretch since 2001, when they were in 1st place for 78 straight days (April 10-June 26).
24. The Mets are now 21-12 under Jerry Manuel. Including his stint with the White Sox, Manuel is 521-483.
25. On June 1, the day Big Papi went injured, the Red Sox were 35-24 (.593), one game behind the Rays. Today, they are 60-43 (.583), one-half game behind the Rays. They were 25-19 (.568) in his absence.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Top of the 2nd
LOOK WHO’S IN FIRST
Carlos Delgado hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the 8th inning and Oliver Perez stifled the Phillies again, helping the Mets earn a 3-1 victory that gave them sole possession of first place in the NL East. The Mets took two of three in the series after blowing a three-run lead in the 9th inning of the opener, putting them alone in first place for the first time since April 19.

New York got another dominant outing from Perez, who had a season-high 12 strikeouts and allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings. The left-hander is 1-0 with a 0.35 ERA in 26 innings against Philadelphia this year and has a 1.35 ERA over his last four starts overall.

“I’m very proud of the way this team bounced back after that game the other night,” said Manuel, who has managed New York to a 21-12 record since Willie Randolph was fired last month. “We’ve been resilient for a long period of time.”

Top of the 3rd
SWEEPS
Ryan Braun went 4-for-4 and hit his 26th home run of the season as Milwaukee topped the Cardinals 4-3 victory for the Brewers’ eighth straight win and complete a 7-0 road trip that included a four-game sweep of the Cardinals. Milwaukee has now hit a home run in a franchise-record 20 straight games. The Brewers have hit 31 home runs in their 20-game homer streak.The Brewers have won their last seven road games and have a major league-best 14-5 road mark since June 11. Milwaukee, which has won the last six games against the Cardinals, swept a series in St. Louis for first time since September 1999.

Braun has reached base in his last nine plate appearances. He went 14-for-29 on the trip with three homers. The Brewers have outscored their opponents 44-21 during the winning streak. The Brewers (59-43) are 16 games over .500 for the first time since the end of 1992 season when they finished 92-70.

Meanwhile, St. Louis has lost four straight games for the first time this season and has lost seven-of-eight games against Milwaukee. St. Louis will play 17 of its next 24 games on the road.

The Blue Jays kind of, sort of swept a doubleheader. A.J. Burnett registered his 11th victory a day after he pitched, and Toronto used a strong performance by its bullpen to beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-1 yesterday in the completion of their suspended game from Wednesday. Then Roy Halladay scattered seven hits over seven innings in a 7-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles in the regularly scheduled game. Halladay (12-7) allowed one run, struck out six and walked one. The right-hander took over the major-league lead in innings pitched (159 1-3) and lowered his ERA to 2.82.

Matt Cain pitched a four-hitter, Dave Roberts singled home a run in the 8th and the San Francisco Giants earned their first three-game home sweep of the season with a 1-0 win over the Washington Nationals. Cain (6-8), the hard-throwing right-hander who’s had his share of hard luck the past two seasons, retired his first 11 batters and didn’t issue a walk for the first time this year. After going 0-2 in his previous three starts, he struck out four in an efficient, 113-pitch performance to boost his strikeout total to 130. San Francisco took all seven games from the Nationals this year after sweeping a four-game set in Washington from June 6-9 — just the third time since 1900 the franchise has swept a season series of more than three games. San Francisco went 9-0 against Florida in 1998 and 6-0 versus the New York Mets in 2002.

Top of the 4th
YOU CAN’T SPELL CUBAN WITH OUT C-U-B
The Tribune Co. keeps the hope of baseball fans alive in the auction for the Cubs, Wrigley Field and related properties. The first bit of good news was that they shot down a preliminary bid for the team from the group led by front-runner Madison Dearborn Chairman John Canning. In addition to his local ties as head of a Chicago-based private-equity firm, he is a part-owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, which was formerly controlled by Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, an influential figure in gaining MLB approval of a Cubs sale. The severity has been seen by some of those who follow the sport’s behind-the-scenes politics as a sign that the once strong relationship between Selig and the franchise’s ownership may be fraying. Some, however, interpret the steep fine as less a message to Tribune Co. than to all franchises about adherence to MLB rules.

More importantly, among those who made the cut was entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Comcast SportsNet has learned that Cuban is the highest bidder to buy the Cubs at $1.3 billion.

Be still my beating heart.

The Cubs beat the Marlins last night 6-3 to become the first NL team to win 60 games this year. The last time the first NL team to 60 wins went on to win the World Series was 1995, when the Atlanta Braves beat the Cleveland Indians.

Top of the 5th
HIDEO NOMORE
Japanese right-hander Hideo Nomo has decided to call it quits after a career that included two no-hitters in the major leagues. No club has tried to acquire the 39-year-old’s services since he was released by the Kansas City Royals in late April. On April 10, Nomo made his first major league appearance in nearly three years.
He had a 123-109 record with a 4.24 ERA in 323 games in the majors with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Mets, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Detroit Tigers, the Boston Red Sox, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Royals. “I want to continue, but I don’t think I can deliver a professional-level performance anymore. I believe many clubs think the same way,” Nomo said last week.

“I still have a strong desire to continue playing but thinking only about my own feelings would only be of annoyance to the people around me.” And for those who have seen him pitch in recent years.

“I knew I had to make some kind of decision. I knew I had to let my fans know,” Nomo said.

His decision comes as a shock to me because I thought he retired five years ago.

Top of the 6th
BILLY-BALL-SITE-OF-THE-DAY
My dear friend and co-author, Jim Kaplan has a 25th anniversary retrospective of the George Brett Pine Tar incident. Like every single thing he writes, it’s outstanding. Check it out: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/baseball/mlb/07/24/kaplan.pinetar/index.html?eref=T1

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
AL
LA Angels of Anaheim at Baltimore Orioles, 7:05 pm
(L) Joe Saunders (12-5) vs. (L) Brian Burres (7-6)
Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers, 7:05 pm
(R) Gavin Floyd (10-6) vs. (L) Nate Robertson (6-8)
Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Indians, 7:05 pm
(R) Livan Hernandez (10-6) vs. (L) Cliff Lee (13-2)
New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox, 7:05 pm
(R) Joba Chamberlain (2-3) vs. (R) Josh Beckett (9-6)
Seattle Mariners at Toronto Blue Jays, 7:07 pm
(R) Miguel Batista (4-11) vs. (L) John Parrish (1-0)
Tampa Bay Rays at Kansas City Royals, 8:10 pm
(R) Edwin Jackson (5-7) vs. (R) Brian Bannister (7-8)
Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics, 10:05 pm
(R) Vicente Padilla (11-5) vs. (R) Sean Gallagher (1-0)

NL
Florida Marlins at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 pm
(R) Josh Johnson (0-0) vs. (R) Ryan Dempster (11-4)
Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies, 7:05 pm
(R) Jair Jurrjens (9-5) vs. (R) Kyle Kendrick (8-4)
San Diego Padres at Pittsburgh Pirates, 7:05 pm
(R) Cha Seung Baek (2-4) vs. (L) Zach Duke (4-7)
St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets, 7:10 pm
(R) Mitchell Boggs (3-1) vs. (R) Mike Pelfrey (8-6)
Colorado Rockies at Cincinnati Reds, 7:10 pm
(R) Aaron Cook (12-6) vs. (R) Edinson Volquez (12-3)
Houston Astros at Milwaukee Brewers, 8:05 pm
(L) Wandy Rodriguez (5-3) vs. (L) Manny Parra (9-2)
Arizona Diamondbacks at San Francisco Giants, 10:15 pm
(R) Dan Haren (9-5) vs. (L) Jonathan Sanchez (8-5)
Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers, 10:40 pm
(L) John Lannan (6-9) vs. (R) Chad Billingsley (9-9)

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
Goose Gossage will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame this Sunday. If you can’t get to Cooperstown you can watch the live telecast on ESPN Classic starting at 1:30 p.m.

Top of the 9th
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND
My new phrases of the week are, “Friend me on Facebook!” Or, “Link to me on LinkedIn.” Or, “Invade my space on MySpace.” Or, “Nayme me on Naymez.” Or, “Favrd me on Twitter.”

What the hell, just keep emailing, staying touch and supporting our efforts to be a great baseball community.

Thank you all for everything especially those of you who have made contributions to the Amazon Honor Fund. I am indeed honored.

Have a great and safe weekend. I’m at Fenway tonight to see the current Josh Beckett face the future Josh Beckett (Joba Chamberlain) so hold my calls.

See you Monday and BUY THE BOOK!

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.