Billy-Ball Daily: 2008-8-15

8/15/2008
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

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

Here’s a 25-fact roster for you.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Speaking of baseball…
1. Jason Bay leads the majors with most stolen bases this season without being caught stealing with 9.
2. Former Notre Dame wide receiver Jeff Samardzija, a starter all season in the minors, as a reliever for the Cubs he has an ERA of 1.32, a WHIP of 0.88 and has held opponents to a .150 in 13.2 innings.
3. Babe Ruth died August 16, 1948.
4. The Brewers 34 road wins have already surpassed their total from all of last season when they went 32-49 (.395).
5. Carsten Charles Sabathia and Ben Sheets are tied for the NL lead in complete games with 4 and CC, Ben Sheets, Cole Hamel and Hiroki Kuroda are tied for the NL lead in shutouts with 2.
6. Just in case you need to win a beer – Stan Javier, hit the first interleague homer when as a San Francisco Giant he belted a shot off of Texas Rangers pitcher Darren Oliver in the 3rd inning of the first official regular season interleague game, played on June 12, 1997. The Giants won 4-3.
7. Speaking of which – On May 15, 1989 while playing for the Milwaukee Brewers, Terry Francona, the current Red Sox manager, made his last and only pitching appearance facing the Oakland A’s who were winning 12-2. Terry retired the side in order, striking out Stan Javier to end his one inning.
8. Brandon Webb, Dan Haren, Tim Lincecum, and Johan Santana, are tied for the NL lead in Quality Starts. They have 17, 12, 12, and 10 wins respectively. (Through Wednesday)
9. The Twins Kevin Slowey is one of the keys to the Twins success. Even though he is just 9-8 his WHIP is 1.08, the same as Cliff Lee’s.
10. Through Wednesday, the combined averages of Bengie, Yadier, Jose Molina is .266 with 5 homers and 41 RBI.
11. The right-hand hitting Jason Bay hit .190 against lefties this season as a Pirate, but .333 with the Red Sox.
12. The Milwaukee Brewers haven’t been in the post-season since Ronald Reagan was President (1982).
13. On August 17, 1920, Cleveland shortstop Ray Chapman died as a result of being hit by a pitch thrown by Yankee Carl Mays. It’s the last and only on-field fatality in major league history.
14. Mike Mussina has at best eight more starts to pick up five more wins to become a 20-game winner for the first time.
15. The Marlins lead the majors in strikeouts, by a lot.
16. At this point it appears that Barry B*nds, Sammy S*sa, Roger Cl*m*ns, Curt Schilling, Craig Biggio, Kenny Loften, and Mike Piazza, amongst others, will all be first-timers on the Hall of Fame ballot at the same time; now that should be interesting.
17. The Ichiro race is on – Ichiro has 42 games to get 45 hits in order reach the 200 he’s had every season in the bigs.
18. Last year Mets shortstop Jose Reyes hit .307 in the first half of the season and his .251 batting average was a big part of the Mets collapse in the second half. This season he was .302 in the first half and is hitting .308 since the break.
19. In case you didn’t notice – Dustin Pedroa is leading the AL in hitting with a .323 batting average. He’s followed by Johnny Damon, who’s hitting .322. The last time Johnny ended a season with that high an average was in 2000, his last season with the Royals, when he hit .327.
20. The Jays A.J. Burnett has 15 wins already, three more than he has ever had in a season.
21. The Brewers have 35 come from behind wins.
22. Colorado’s Willy Taveras has 53 steals, tying Eric Young’s single-season franchise record set in 1996.
23. The 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates were the last and only team to lead the league in errors (224) and win the World Series. Texas and Florida are hoping to repeat the feat this season.
24. Greg Dobbs is 21-51 for a .412 average to lead the majors in pinch-hitting. He’s had two homers as well.
25. Sour Analyst is an anagram of Tony LaRussa.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Top of the 2nd
SWEEPS
GRRR…
I won’t lie, Daisuke Matsuzaka makes me crazy. If there is a pitcher who can ruin a game for me, this is the guy. On the hand, after he pitched seven shutout innings against the insane hitting machine known as the Texas Rangers, I can only bow in awe. The Red Sox completed their decimation of Texas “paitching” last night with a 10-0 win, the Sox’ league-leading 12th shutout. While he was in there Dice-K allowed 11 baserunners on six hits and five walks and held the Rangers hitless in four at-bats with runners in scoring position and allowed only two runners to advance past second base. Opponents are now 0-for-12 against him with the bases loaded. Matsuzaka’s 14-2 record trails only Bob Stanley’s 15-2 mark in 1978 for best Sox winning percentage among pitchers with at least 15 decisions.

CUBS WIN
The Cubbies finished off their sweep of the Braves despite Mark Kotsay hitting for the cycle in losing cause. Aramis Ramirez (he later left the game with a bruised left hip) and Alfonso Soriano hit home runs as the Cubs beat Atlanta and Tom Glavine, 11-7. Glavine (2-4) gave up seven hits and seven runs in four innings in his first start since June 10 in his return from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Glavine walked four batters and had three strikeouts. Not only did Chicago a sweep the series, they swept the season from the Braves for the first time since the rivalry between the franchises began in 1876. In these three games, the Cubs outscored the Braves 29-9 to run their road winning streak to eight games, their longest road winning streak since 12 straight wins away from Wrigley Field in 1945.

DODGERS SWEEP AND MANNY GETS A TRIM
The last time the Dodgers had a four-game sweep of the Phillies was in the Sandy Koufax era in July, 1962, the inaugural season at Dodger Stadium. He’s not Sandy, but Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda pitched seven Koufax-like innings as he improved to 5-1 at home with the 3-1 win. Kuroda (7-8) walked none and struck out seven and has given up just three runs and 14 hits in 22 1/3 innings in his last three outings. Matt Kemp hits his 14th homer of the year and his 11th at home in Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers hadn’t swept a four-game series since July, 2004 in Arizona and hadn’t done so in Los Angeles since June 1995 against the San Francisco Giants. Philadelphia has lost five of its last seven games. “One inch, half an inch,” Ramirez said. I’ll let you figure out what he’s talking about. Samson went 0 for 3.

WASHINGTON PLAYS TO THEIR POTENTIAL
Brian Schneider and Carlos Delgado homered to help the Mets beat the Nationals 9-3 and finish a three-game sweep and taking over first place in the NL East. The Mets held the Nationals to six runs in the three-game series and Washington never led. Washington has lost seven straight.

SWEEP AND BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK AND HIT AGAIN
The Chicago White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 9-2 completing a three-game sweep. In the process , Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez and Juan Uribe went back-to-back-to-, er…all homered consecutively. The White Sox lead the majors with 172 homers this season and Carlos Quentin, who leads the league with 32 homers, was hit by a pitch in the 1st inning, the sixth straight game he’s been hit. He leads the majors with 20 HBP.

THE BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACKERS
2008 White Sox v Royals J. Thome, P. Konerko, A. Ramirez, J. Uribe
2007 Red Sox v Yankees M. Ramirez, J. D.Drew, M. Lowell, J. Varitek
2006 Dodgers v Padres J. Kent, J.D. Drew, R. Martin, M. Anderson
1964 Twins v A’s T. Oliva, B. Allison, J. Hall, H. Killebrew
1963 Indians v Angels W. Held, P. Ramos, Tito Francona, L. Brown
1961 Braves v Reds E. Mathews, H. Aaron, J. Adcock, F. Thomas

ASTROS SWEEP AGAIN
The Houston Astros completed their sweep of the Giants yesterday 7-4 giving the `Stros a four-game sweep and their eighth straight win. Houston has won 16 of 20 and moved three games over .500 for first time since June 3.

Top of the 3rd
IN OTHER ACTION…
* Dan Haren (13-6) pitched eight strong innings giving up one run while striking out nine Rockies in the D-Backs 6-2 victory.
* Carlos Pena’s 23rd home run in the top of the 12th helped the Rays to their seventh win in their last nine games as they topped the A’s, 7-6. A’s rookie Brad Ziegler allowed his first run of the season, ending a streak of 39 innings. It was the second-longest streak by a rookie since 1900 and tied for the longest single season streak by a reliever (Al Benton, 1939). His ERA is now 0.22. Tampa Bay closer Troy Percival left the game in the 9th after spraining his right knee while trying to field a sacrifice bunt. Oakland is now 4-21 since the All-Star break.
* Jake Peavy outdueled Ben Sheets and the Padres stopped the Brewers eight game winning streak, 3-2. Peavy (9-8) allowed one run and four hits and lowered his ERA to 2.61 to take over the NL lead from San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum (2.67). San Diego reached Sheets (11-6) for three runs in the 7th after the Brewers scored in the top half against Peavy. Trevor Hoffman allowed Mike Cameron’s 20th homer before finishing for career save No. 550, and his 26th in 29 chances this season.
* Ryan Ludwick hit a two-run homer and a run-scoring double and Todd Wellemeyer pitched three-hit ball into the 8th and the Cardinals took 3 of 4 as they beat the Florida Marlins. 3-0. The Marlins were shut out for the eighth time this season and third time in the past nine games.

Top of the 4th
INSTANT REPLAY, INSTANT REPLAY
Old Man Selig said that he has visited the so-called “war room” in New York where officials would review video feeds of disputed home runs. “We’ve spent a lot of time doing a lot of wiring of ballparks, doing a lot of checking,” Selig said. “Let’s just say my confidence is growing.”

Here’s how it would work:

* Managers won’t have a say about when replay is used. Umpires will use replay only when they think it’s needed.
* Replays would be used only to determine whether a ball leaving the field is fair or foul, or whether it actually went over the fence. It would not be used on close plays on the bases, or to determine balls and strikes.
* A central office in New York will view replays. An official at the office will be notified by the on-site crew chief when a play needs to be reviewed. The official will watch the replay, then relay his view back to the park, but the crew chief will have the final say.
* There also will be a viewing station at every park (above the urinals?). According to a source, making sure technology is in place at all 30 parks is one reason the system was not implemented by August 1, which was the target date at one time.
* The plan for replay has to be approved by the players association and the umpires union.

Top of the 5th
THE MOST LOYAL FANS?
According to a Forbes magazine study, baseball’s most loyal fans can be found at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Forbes formula is based on which fans show up regardless of their team’s winning percentage and the ticket prices they pay to do so.
The Rangers’ attendance has been the steadiest during the time frame (starting in 1991) the study covered.

Rangers’ catcher Gerald Laird said he’d rather have a devoted core of fans than the fair-weather variety who might show up in droves but only during the good years. Is he talking about Karen Varitek?

Top of the 6th
BILLY-BALL-SITE-OF-THE-DAY
Prolebrity (a mix of the words ‘pro’ and ‘celebrity’) is a sports community where pro athletes can express viewpoints, publicize their businesses, charities & events and connect with other athletes, fans & business opportunities. It’s our site of the day – http://www.prolebrity.com/

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
AL
Baltimore Orioles at Detroit Tigers, 7:05 pm
(L) Chris Waters (1-0) vs. (L) Nate Robertson (7-8)
LA Angels of Anaheim at Cleveland Indians, 7:05 pm
(R) Jered Weaver (10-9) vs. (L) Cliff Lee (16-2)
Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees, 7:05 pm
(R) Gil Meche (10-9) vs. (L) Andy Pettitte (12-9)
Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox, 7:05 pm
(R) Roy Halladay (13-9) vs. (R) Paul Byrd (7-10)
Tampa Bay Rays at Texas Rangers, 8:05 pm
(R) Matt Garza (9-7) vs. (R) Kevin Millwood (6-6)
Seattle Mariners at Minnesota Twins, 8:10 pm
(R) Carlos Silva (4-13) vs. (L) Francisco Liriano (2-3)
Chicago White Sox at Oakland Athletics, 10:05 pm
(R) Gavin Floyd (12-6) vs. (L) Dallas Braden (3-2)

NL
New York Mets at Pittsburgh Pirates, 7:05 pm
(R) Mike Pelfrey (10-8) vs. (R) Jason Davis (1-1)
Chicago Cubs at Florida Marlins, 7:10 pm
(R) Carlos Zambrano (12-5) vs. (R) Josh Johnson (3-0)
St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds, 7:10 pm
(R) Brad Thompson (4-2) vs. (R) Bronson Arroyo (10-9)
San Francisco Giants at Atlanta Braves, 7:35 pm
(R) Matt Cain (7-9) vs. (R) Jair Jurrjens (11-7)
Colorado Rockies at Washington Nationals, 7:35 pm
(L) Jorge De La Rosa (5-6) vs. (R) Tim Redding (8-7)
Arizona Diamondbacks at Houston Astros, 8:05 pm
(R) Brandon Webb (17-4) vs. (L) Wandy Rodriguez (7-4)
Philadelphia Phillies at San Diego Padres, 10:05 pm
(L) Jamie Moyer (10-7) vs. (R) Greg Maddux (6-8)
Milwaukee Brewers at Los Angeles Dodgers, 10:40 pm
(L) Manny Parra (9-5) vs. (R) Chad Billingsley (11-9)

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
Prior to Mark Kotsay, Albert Hall was the only Atlanta Brave to hit for the cycle. He did it on Sept. 23, 1987, against Houston.

Top of the 9th
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND EVERYONE
Yet another Phelpsian week here in Billy-Ball country. Lots and lots of fun.

I want to thank Justin Hull Justin Hull,
the terrific afternoon host on
AM 1570 The Score – “The Home Stretch” in Appleton, WI for having on his airwaves again yesterday; it is a favorite Billy-Ball destination.

I also want to thank all of you who have written this week and even called. I want to remind you that you can IM me at Billyballdotcom using AIM.

Have fun, be safe and buy the book!

See you Monday.

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.