Billy-Ball Daily: 2008-8-25

8/25/2008
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

Monday, August 25, 2008

Top of the 1st
TIME FOR TIM
Okay, I admit it; I haven’t shown enough love and respect to the season that Tim Lincecum, the ace of the San Francisco Giants is having. If Brandon Webb weren’t getting all the publicity, Lincecum would be getting the noise he deserves for the Cy Young Award. As Padres pitcher Chris Young mentioned this past week after Tim buried San Diego, “His 95 looks like 100 from the dugout,” Young said. “He’s got the best fastball I’ve seen.” Add to that command of his changeups, curveballs and cut fastballs and you quickly become a Lincecum believer.

My eyes really opened as I read Andrew Baggarly’s blog comparing the two pitchers. Bags is the beat reporter for the Giants and has been lucky enough to see Lincecum all season long.

Webb has 19 victories and is 6-0 in his last six starts, with 1.60 ERA in that stretch. He is great, no question. Webb’s Batting Average Against with runners in scoring position is a dominating .192, Lincecum’s is .150, the best in the majors.

Lincecum has 14 wins for a team that trails Arizona by 10 games. The Giants bullpen has blown five of Lincecum’s wins while Arizona’s bullpen has blown just one of Webb’s wins.

Here are a few more considerations:
* Webb has 153 K’s, he’s walked 45, has a WHIP of 1.10, a 2.74 ERA, a BAA of .231.
* Lincecum leads the majors with 200 strikeouts, he’s walked 67 and has a WHIP of 1.19, an NL leading 2.48 ERA, and a BAA of .223.
* Webb has three complete games (one shutout).
* Lincecum still hasn’t completed a game in his career.
* Webb has been knocked out twice before five innings.
* Lincecum also has failed to complete five innings twice, however, one was a rain-delayed game in which he actually came in as a reliever and the other was a line-drive-off-the-knee game in Houston.
* Webb has completed seven innings 16 times, 15 for Lincecum.
* They’ve both got 21 quality starts.
* One of my readers, a Giants fan, points out that if Tim does lead the NL in K’s he will be the first Giant in 64 years since Bill Voiselle whiffed 161 in 1944.

My good friend Alex Bok is always touting Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Red Sox pitcher as a Cy Young Award candidate. If I haven’t made this clear, I find Dice-K, the most annoyingly successful pitcher in baseball and find his games torturous to watch. But out of respect to Alex, I’ll bring him into the Lincecum discussion as an additional frame of reference.

Matsuzaka (15-2) has started 23 games this season and has a 2.98 ERA.
Lincecum (14-3) has started 26 games this season and has a 2.48 ERA.

Matsuzaka has thrown 132.2 innings
Lincecum has thrown 177.2 innings

Matsuzaka is 8-2 at home with a 3.28 ERA.
Lincecum is 5-2 at home with a 3.07 ERA.

Matsuzaka is 7-0 on the road with 2.67 ERA.
Lincecum is 9-1 on the road with 1.98 ERA.

Matsuzaka has given up 105 hits, has walked 78, and hit 5 batters. He has struck out 117.
Lincecum has given up 144 hits, has walked 67, and hit 4 batters. He has struck out 200.

Matsuzaka has a WHIP of 1.38.
Lincecum has a WHIP of 1.19.

Matsuzaka has made 11 quality starts.
Lincecum has made 21 quality starts.

Matsuzaka has faced 41 batters this season from the 7th inning on.
Lincecum has faced 96 batters this season from the 7th inning on.

Batters facing Matsuzaka with Runners in Scoring Position are hitting .189.
Batters facing Lincecum with 2 out and RISP are hitting .150.

Batters facing Matsuzaka with 2 out and RISP are hitting .158.
Batters facing Lincecum with 2 out and RISP are hitting .194.

Matsuzaka’s Red Sox are 75-55; Dice-K has won 20% of the Sox games
Lincecum’s Giants are 58-72; Lincecum has won 24% of the Giants games.

Case closed.

We have another month and while Bandon Webb may have more wins, the pitcher to watch may be Tim Lincecum, who I have finally given his due.

Top of the 2nd
WALKOFFS
In a post-season preview, the Tampa Bay Rays took two of three from the White Sox this weekend, but they may look back at this Sunday and realize this was a sweep that should have happened. After Rocco Baldelli hit his second homer in three days and a Carlos Pena double gave Tampa Bay a 5-4 lead 7th, for the first time this season, the Rays lost a game when leading entering the 9th inning (they were 69-0). Chicago tied it at 5 in the 9th when Ken Griffey Jr. hit a one-out double and pinch-hitter Paul Konerko hit a two-out single off fill-in closer Dan Wheeler, subbing for injured closer Troy Percival. The throw home from Ben Zobrist arrived in plenty of time but bounced off catcher Shawn Riggans, allowing pinch-runner Brian Anderson to score the tying run. In the 10th, A.J. Pierzynski was involved in a very strange rundown, between second and third, that was a mess because of very poor umpiring by Doug Eddings. Pierzynski led off the 10th with a single against Jason Hammel (4-4), then tagged up and went to second when center fielder B.J. Upton casually flipped the ball in (B.J. being B.J.?). Jermaine Dye sent a grounder toward shortstop, and the rundown began seemingly ending when Pierzynski was get tagged out by Rays third baseman Willy Aybar after falling. However, Eddings signaled safe calling interference on Aybar. Replays showed that Pierzynski initiated the contact, hitting with his left elbow before falling to the ground. “As a runner, you’re allowed to do that,” third-base umpire Ted Barrett said. “What Doug ruled at second base was, even though A.J. did kind of stick his arm out to make contact, Aybar was still in his way. So A.J., if he would have turned, he wouldn’t have been able to continue on to third. So after making the throw, Aybar is no longer in the act of fielding and he can’t obstruct the runner, which is what Doug ruled happened. And in a rundown, even though A.J. was going back to second, the rule of obstruction during a rundown is he gets his next advanced base and that’s why he was rewarded third base. “If Aybar’s got the ball, there’s no obstruction,” Barrett said. “You protect the fielder when he’s in the act of fielding. Once that ball’s released and out of his hand, he has to vacate.” Baloney! Pierzynski was awarded third. Hammel intentionally walked Thome before Alexei Ramirez, who now has 15 RBIs in his last seven games and has a 10-game hit streak, singled to right for the walkoff victory.

In what both teams are hoping will be a post-season preview, Pedro Feliz hit a tying RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the 9th and then slammed a game-winning, three-run homer in the 11th to give the Philadelphia Phillies a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was Feliz’ second career walk-off home run and first since 2003. Jimmy Rollins went 0-for-5, dropping him to 4-for-46 (.087) since calling Philadelphia fans “front-runners” in a television interview. He’s hitting .255. Philadelphia has won seven of nine, including three in a row over the Dodgers who have lost five of its last six and five straight on the road. The Dodgers are now 11-11 since acquiring Manny.

It was J.J. Hardy Bobblehead Day in Milwaukee’s patience and he (Hardy, not the Bobblehead) came through with his second career walk-off hit and his first since 2005 as the Milwaukee Brewers beat Pittsburgh 4-3 in 12 innings for their 12th straight home win over the Pirates and their 23rd win in their last at-bat and ninth series sweep this season. The Brewers improved to an MLB-best 25-11 in one-run games. CC Sabathia got a no-decision but Milwaukee is now 9-1 in games he started. It was the 21st straight sellout in Milwaukee; the Brewers have sold out every game since the Sabathia trade.

Omar Quintanilla hit a walkoff homer with one out in the 12th as the Colorado Rockies took advantage of five Cincinnati errors to beat the Reds, 4-3,

SWEEPS
Milwaukee
The Yankees swept the Orioles at Camden Yards for the first time since 2004 as Robinson Cano hit a 7th inning tiebreaking homer after New York blew a five-run lead, and the Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles, 8-7. Mariano Rivera, the sixth New York pitcher, got four outs to earn his 31st save, three in the series sweep. New York is 8-7 against Baltimore. The Yankees haven’t lost a season series to the Orioles since 1997. New York registered its 38th come-from-behind win of the year, tied with Detroit for most in the majors. Eleven of the Yanks’ last 13 wins have been come-from-behind victories, a statistic that might indicate more weakness than strength.

Franklin Gutierrez’s 9th inning tiebreaking single sent the Indians past Texas 4-3 for their season-high seventh straight win and a three-game sweep of the over-heated Rangers. The Rangers (63-68) lost for the 14th time in 17 games to fall five games under .500 for the first time since May 7.

Kevin Correia celebrated his 28th birthday by scattered seven hits over six innings, Bengie Molina homered and tied a career high with five RBIs and San Francisco beat the San Diego Padres 7-4 yesterday to complete a three-game sweep. The Giants improved to 7-1 in their last eight series.

Top of the 3rd
SERIES WINS
The Chicago Cubs won their eighth consecutive series for the first time since 1937 by beating the Washington Nationals this weekend. I guess what’s surprising is that the Nats won even one game. Yesterday, Rich Harden moved to 4-1 in his eight starts with the Cubs and recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts in a 6-1 win over Washington. Mark DeRosa homered for the fourth straight game, the first Cub to do it since Fred McGriff in 2001. DeRosa extended his career-high marks in homers and RBIs (77). He’s hitting .390 with seven homers and 22 RBIs over his last 17 games. Harden has a 1.47 ERA since his July 8 trade from Oakland. In 89 starts with Oakland, Rich Harden struck out 10 or more batters twice. In eight starts with the Cubs, he’s done it five times. The Nationals have lost 14 of 16.

The Red Sox put a serious hurt into the slim post-season hopes of the Toronto Blue jays by topping them 6-5 yesterday in 11 innings and winning the series two games to one. Jed Lowrie won it with his second career homer. Lowrie doesn’t have to worry about being sent down to the minors, as he was after his last homer on May 10, as he plays short or third on regular basis since both Julio Lugo and Mike Lowell are on the DL. Coco Crisp and Dustin Pedroia also homered for Boston. Jonathan Papelbon (5-3) worked two scoreless innings and Manny Delcarmen closed it out for his second career save and first this season. Boston starter Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings. He walked only one (intentionally) and struck out eight. Toronto starter A.J. Burnett, who had won six straight starts and 10 of 12, allowed five runs and seven hits in seven innings. He walked three and struck out seven. The Red Sox have won 11 of 16 on the road, 8 of 12 overall, and are 4-7 vs. the Blue Jays this season (2-4 at Rogers Centre).

In what each team is a post-season preview, the Marlins defeated the Diamondbacks yesterday 5-2 for their seventh win in nine games this season against Arizona. Ricky Nolasco (13-7) allowed three hits and struck out 10 over 7 1/3 innings and did not walk a batter five days after throwing a two-hit shutout in San Francisco. The right-hander walked one and struck out 11 against the Giants. Over his past four starts, he has struck out 43 and walked only three. He is 3-0 against the Diamondbacks this season and 4-0 in his career against Arizona. Sen. John McCain left one of his numerous homes and sat in the front row next to Diamondbacks general partner and CEO Jeff Moorad. Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Misty May-Treanor threw out the ceremonial first pitch to her husband, Marlins catcher Matt Treanor.

Albert Pujols reminded the Atlanta Braves this weekend why he is the best player in baseball as the Cards took two of three from the Braves. Yesterday, Albert Pujols hit his 28th homer and singled his first two at-bats, giving him eight hits and eight RBIs in 10 weekend chances, and led St. Louis to a 6-3 victory over Atlanta. Pujols finished at .523 in seven games against the Braves with three homers and 15 RBIs, and is a .372 career hitter against them. Pujols is now hitting .359 after going 2-for-2 with his major league-leading 29th and 30th intentional walks, plus a third unintentional walk. Chipper Jones still leads the league in batting at .3594. Pujols is batting .563 during an eight-game hitting streak with three homers and has 87 RBIs, closing in on his eighth straight 100-RBI season to begin his career, with 37 RBIs in 36 games since the All-Star break. The Braves have dropped 12 of 14 while St. Louis matched its season-best of 14 games above .500 (73-59). The Cardinals won the season series 5-2, outscoring the Braves 59-31.

Top of the 4th
SPLIT
The Angels salvaged a split of their four-game set with the Twins as Vladimir Guerrero tied the score with an 8th inning RBI triple and, two batters later, Gary Matthews Jr. drove him in with another triple hit, helping the Angels win, 5-3 in what very well may be a post-season preview. Mark Teixeira his third home run of the series and seventh in 23 games since joining the AL West leaders in a trade with Atlanta on July 29. Jose Arredondo (6-1) pitched a perfect 8th for the win and Francisco Rodriguez got three outs to put him within seven saves of Bobby Thigpen’s single-season record. K-Rod is the fastest player to reach 50 saves in a season in MLB history reaching it in his 129th game. Eric Gagne had reached it in the Dodgers 143rd game in 2003. AL batting leader Joe Mauer extended his career-best hitting streak to 16 games with a single.

STILL PENDING
Brad Ausmus led off the 10th with his second homer of the year, three batters later Darin Erstad hit his third of the season and Houston rallied against New York’s unreliable bullpen for a 6-4 win. Hunter Pence hit his 18th home run, surpassing his total (17) of last season.Carlos Beltran hit two home runs, his 24th career multi-homer game but just his second of the season. Beltran had hit only two homers since the All-Star break. LaTroy Hawkins (2-0) worked a 1-2-3 9th and has not given up a run in 10 outings since Houston acquired him in a trade with the Yankees on July 30. He had a 5.71 ERA with New York. Jose Valverde pitched a perfect 10th for his 33rd save in 39 tries. The Mets dropped back-to-back games for the first time since Aug. 10 and 11 against the Marlins and Pirates. The Astros have taken two of the first three games in this four game series and the Mets are now 1-5 against Houston this season.

Top of the 5th
SEARCHING FOR OUTFIELD HELP IN THE OFF-SEASON?
These outfielders (with their Opening Day 2009 ages) are eligible for free agency after the 2008 season:

LEFT FIELDERS
Moises Alou (42)
Garret Anderson* (37)
Milton Bradley (31)
Emil Brown (34)
Pat Burrell (32)
Adam Dunn (29)
Cliff Floyd* (36)
Luis Gonzalez (41)
Raul Ibanez (36)
Kevin Mench (31)
Jason Michaels* (32)
Craig Monroe (32)
Jay Payton (36)
Wily Mo Pena* (27)
Manny Ramirez* (36)
Juan Rivera (29)

CENTER FIELDERS
Rocco Baldelli (27)
Mike Cameron* (36)
Jim Edmonds (38)
Mark Kotsay (33)
Corey Patterson (29)

RIGHT FIELDERS
Bobby Abreu (35)
Casey Blake (35)
Cliff Floyd* (36)
Brian Giles* (38)
Ken Griffey Jr.* (39)
Vladimir Guerrero* (33)
Bobby Kielty (32)
Brad Wilkerson (31)
* Club option for 2009

Top of the 6th
BILLY-BALL-BLOG-OF-THE-DAY
Check out the great typo found by Danny Hocking on this fun site: http://www.uniwatchblog.com/2008/08/25/land-of-1000-laeks/

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
AL
Chicago White Sox at Baltimore Orioles, 7:05 pm
(L) Clayton Richard (1-2) vs. (L) Chris Waters (2-0)
Sox need to beat this fading team.
Cleveland Indians at Detroit Tigers, 7:05 pm
(L) Zach Jackson (0-0) vs. (R) Armando Galarraga (12-4)
These teams thought they would be battling for the division, not for .500.
Texas Rangers at Kansas City Royals, 8:10 pm
(R) Scott Feldman (4-5) vs. (R) Gil Meche (10-9)
Who cares?
Oakland Athletics at LA Angels of Anaheim, 10:05 pm
(L) Dallas Braden (3-3) vs. (R) Jered Weaver (10-9)
A’s quit in July.
Minnesota Twins at Seattle Mariners, 10:10 pm
(L) Francisco Liriano (4-3) vs. (R) R.A. Dickey (3-8)
Mariners can win all their remaining games and still finishing under .500

NL
Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates, 7:05 pm
(L) Ted Lilly (12-7) vs. (R) Jeff Karstens (2-2)
Cubs need to beat this fading team.
Los Angeles Dodgers at Philadelphia Phillies, 7:05 pm
(R) Chad Billingsley (12-9) vs. (R) Brett Myers (6-10)
Both teams need to win
Houston Astros at New York Mets, 7:10 pm
(R) Brian Moehler (9-4) vs. (R) Mike Pelfrey (12-8)
Astros still think they have a shot
Arizona Diamondbacks at San Diego Padres, 10:05 pm
(R) Dan Haren (14-6) vs. (R) Jake Peavy (9-9)
Padres can win all their remaining games and still finishing under .500
Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants, 10:15 pm
(L) Jeff Francis (3-8) vs. (R) Matt Cain (8-9)
Who cares?
Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
Mariners pitchers have allowed at least one home run in 15 consecutive games.

Top of the 9th
YANKEE STADIUM BY THE NUMBERS
10 – Mickey Mantle homered from both sides of the plate in the same game 10 times.
11 – On June 3, 2003, the Yankees named Derek Jeter their 11th captain.
12 – Billy Martin’s rookie uniform number.
13 – Home plate was moved 13 feet forward in 1924, to eliminate the “bloody angle” in the right field corner
14 – Yogi Berra stayed away from Yankee Stadium for 14 years, unhappy with the treatment he had received from George Steinbrenner.
15 – Bob Sheppard’s per game earning in 1951 when he began working for the Yankees was $15.00.
16 – Whitey Ford’s number retired in 1974.
17 – In August 1989, Bucky Dent replaced Dallas Green as manager making it the 17th managerial shift since George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees in 1973. Dent wore uniform #17.
18 – Joe DiMaggio’s original uniform, number given to him by equipment manager Pete Sheehy and later changed to 5 for historical significance reasons, Ruth wore number 3 and Gehrig 4.
19 – Whitey Ford’s rookie uniform number.
20 – Roger Clemens went 20-3 in 2001 to win the Cy Young Award for the sixth time and first as a Yankee.
21 – Paul O’Neill’s number. Since O’Neill retired after the 2001 World Series, no Yankee has worn that number.
22 – September 1, 2004 – the Yankees lost to the Indians, 22-0. They also surrendered 22 hits.
23 – Don Mattingly’s number retired, August 31, 1997.
24 – In 1927, 24 of Lou Gehrig’s 47 home runs were hit at Stadium.
25 – Uniform number selected by Jason Giambi upon his signing with New York. The significance: the digits add up to 7, the number worn by Giambi’s dad’s idol, Mickey Mantle.
26 – Yankee championships
27 – The number chosen by Yankee manager Joe Girardi representing his goal for a 27th championship.
28 – Of the 60 record-setting home runs hit by Babe Ruth in 1927, 28 of them were hit at Yankee Stadium.
29 – Of the 61 home runs hit by Roger Maris in 1961, 29 were hit at Yankee Stadium.
30 – The number worn by Jim Turner, Eddie Lopat, Bobby Schantz, and Mel Stottlemyre when they pitched for the Yanks

Adapted from the Harvey Frommer’s new book –
REMEMBERING YANKE STADIUM: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOUSE THAT RUTH BUILT (The Definitive Book, September 2008) that will be published in September.

You can meet Harvey:
* September 3 7:30 PM BARNES AND NOBLE, 396 Ave. Americas NY (8th St.)
* September 4th, 7:45 PM VARSITY LETTERS 302 Broome St. (between Forsyth and Eldridge) NYC
* September 5th, 7pm Friday BOOK REVUE 313 New York Avenue Huntington, NY 631-271-1442
* Sept. 20, 2008 / 7 p.m. NORTHSHIRE BOOKSTORE 4869 Main Street Manchester Center, VT
* September 26 2-3pm Friday/FALL FOR THE BOOK FESTIVAL GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY Fairfax, VA
* October 10 7:00PM Friday, BORDERS 59th St & Park Avenue NYC
* October 11th. DARTMOUTH BOOKSTORE , Hanover, NH (afternoon)
* October 21 Lord & Taylor Manhasset, Long Island
* October 24, 25, ST. PETE TIMES FESTIVAL OF READING, Tampa Bay, Florida
* November 8, 2008 Saturday 11:30 AM BOOKS AND GREETINGS 271 Livingston Street, Northvale, NJ 07647

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.