Billy-Ball Daily: 2008-8-27

8/27/2008
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

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Top of the 1st
UNDER THE RADAR
As you hear the “gentle sounds of the carousel” under the boardwalk, just remember there is more to baseball than meets the bat. Don’t just look at the standings, check out the battles that float under the radar.

THE BATTLE OF JOE
Girardi versus Torre versus Lieberman. Getting very close to calling it a tie. They all appear to be losers.

THE BATTLE OF THE LAST YEAR STADIUMS
Spectacular new book about Yankee Stadiums by Harvey Frommer entitled “Remembering Yankee Stadium” will be out soon. As for Shea Stadium, just check Expedia.com, they’re running a special section on American Airline flights entitled, “Over The Years, Over Shea.”

THE TODDLIN’ TOWN VS. THE SECOND CITY
Get ready to hear lots of Frank Sinatra songs this post-season and “Saturday in the Park.” The last time the Cubs had the best record in baseball was in 1908. What a difference a century makes.

BUDWEISER VS. MILLER
Who will grab the NL Wild Card? The Busch St. Louis Cardinals or the Millerwaukee Brewers. Let’s wait and CC.

THE BATTLE FOR FLORIDA
Tampa Bay is 26th in the majors in attendance and the Marlins are 30th and last in drawing fins. The only way these ballclubs get a full house is if Charlie Crist declares a state of emergency as the result of Tropical Storm Fay and evacuates everybody to the stadiums.

THE BIGGEST LOSERS
The Mariners and the Padres can’t even win this competition, Washington houses the biggest losers, but that will change January 20th, won’t it gang?

THE UPTON BROTHERS
The Upton Brothers sound like a country band that should be singing “Counting Flowers on the Wall.” Hey maybe that’s what Tampa Bay’s B.J. is doing instead of running the bases.

THE DREW BROTHERS
The only thing that older brother Nancy does better than Stephen is sit out games.

MANNY VERSUS BAY
On August 1, the Red Sox were 62-48. On August 27, the Red Sox are 76-55.
On August 1, the Dodgers were 54-55. On August 27, the Dodgers are 65-67.
On August 1, the Pirates were 51-58. On August 27, the Pirates are 57-75.

INSTANT REPLAY VERSUS THE UMPIRES
Major League Baseball is using Pittsburgh’s PNC Park as a demonstration site for the new technology today. This means that we get to see the Pirates lose over and over and over.

THE REDS VS. THEIR FANS
Bob Castellini and Walt Jocketty wrote to season-ticket holders explaining the trades of Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn. In essence it said, “we don’t need those guys to lose, we can lose with or without them. And, may we remind you, we still have Corey Patterson”

PHIL HUGHES VERSUS IAN KENNEDY VERSUS CLAY BUCHHOLTZ
Do we count their minor league records too?

$100 MILLION PAYROLL VERSUS 100 LOSSES
Seattle is winning!

DETROIT TIGERS VERSUS 1,000 RUNS
For those of you had picked the Tigers to generate a 1,000 runs, don’t worry their pitching staff still might do it.

WHIFFING VS. WHIFFING
Tim Lincecum has struck out more batters than Ryan Howard has struck, but I figure Howard plays everyday so he can still catch up.

JULIO LUGO VS. JED LOWRIE
Does the name Wally Pipp strike a familiar note?

JASON GIAMBI VERSUS THE MUSTACHE
After seven seasons, the next time Jason Giambi says “he’s sorry,” Yankee fans everywhere will know what he’s referring to.

BOBBY COX VS HIS LEGACY
Cox is considering announcing his retirement at the conclusion of the 2005 season.

THE BATTLE OF THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE
Oakland A’s fans are now pushing Giants fan as they seek to jump first.

BRANDON WEBB VERSUS BARRY ZITO
Webb is 19-5 and Zito is 8-15, but with a little less effort I think Zito can catch him.

ROE V WADE
Preacher Roe versus Ed Wade?
Abort. Abort. Abort.

Top of the 2nd
WALKOFFS
IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA
The Mets should be so proud, they blew a seven-run lead for the fourth time in franchise history while the Phillies bounced back from a 7-0 deficit for the first time since 2000. You have to give the Mets some credit though, the Phils didn’t get the 8-7 win until Chris Coste’s walkoff RBI single in the bottom of the 13th inning. Ryan Howard hit his league-leading 35th homer and Jimmy Rollins was 5-for-7 with a two-run shot homer as the Phils won for the ninth time in 11 games. Pedro Martinez was the Mets starter but the Mets bullpen blew their 22 save of the season. Philadelphia moved into first place by a half-game ahead of the Mets. Unbelievable.

IT’S ALWAYS HUMID IN ATLANTA
Yunel Escobar’s walkoff single capped a four-run 9th inning against Florida closer Kevin Gregg to give the Atlanta Braves a 10-9 victory over the Marlins. Unfathomable.

WAITH FOR THE EIGHTH
You learn so much about teams as you watch the 8th inning. For example, I learned last night as I watched the Cubs score seven times in the 8th, that Craig Hansen will never be a good relief pitcher until he gets over his fear of pitching with runners on base. Needless to say, the Cubbies beat the Buccos last night, 14-9 let by Geovany Soto’s seven RBIs , the most in game by a Cubs catcher since Barry Foote’s eight in a 1980 game. He also became the first rookie catcher to hit 20 homers in a season since Mike Piazza in 1993. In the 8th, Pirates reliever Craig Hansen (0-2) walked in the tying and go-ahead runs while walking three consecutive batters and Soto hit his second bases-loaded double in a span of five innings. The Cubs won their fourth in a row to move 32 games above .500 for the first time since they were 90-58 on Sept. 15, 1984. The Cubs have won 17 of 23 in August.

THEY NEVER SHOULD TRIMMED MANNY’S LOCKS
After losing last night to Washington 2-1, the Dodgers have lost seven of eight and are 0-5 midway through a 10-game road trip. They have dropped a season-high seven straight road games.

THE BREWS CRUISE
The Brewers moved 22 games above .500 for the first time since they were 92-70 in 1992 as they buried the Cardinals, 12-0. Ben Sheets beat the Cardinals for the first time since May 1, 2007, and first time on the road since Oct. 2, 2004. He is now 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA against them in three starts this season. Ryan Braun was 3-for-5 with a two-run homer and Prince Fielder had three hits and two RBIs for the Brewers, who have won seven straight over the Cardinals and are 10-4 overall against them this season. Braun is now batting .491 with seven homers and 13 RBIs against St. Louis this season.

FRIAR JOCKERS
Brandon Webb (19-5) lost in his first bid to become the NL’s first 20-game winner since 2005 with one of his few bad outings, allowing six runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings as the San Diego Padres rolled to a 9-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Brandon Webb to get 20 wins. Webb’s ERA rose from 2.74 to 2.96. Arizona’s Adam Dunn walked three times to raise his major league-leading total to 99.

Top of the 3rd
JAYS MAKE RAYS BLUE
Somebody better tell the Blue Jays they are out of it because they are playing playoff style baseball. Last night, they topped the Rays 6-2 as Roy Halladay, in his fourth try, beat Tampa Bay for the first time this season. Halladay, who struck out seven, is 4-1 with a 1.96 ERA over his last five starts. Vernon Wells homered and had three RBIs and is hitting .643 with four homers and nine RBIs over his last three games. Tampa Bay has lost consecutive games for just the second time since the All-Star break. Tampa Bay is an AL-best 47-19 at home this season which probably accounts for the attendance of 13,478.

A-ROD A-MESS
You could tell this was a big game for the Yankees because facing the rival Boston Red Sox, Alex Rodriguez was 0 for 5, including two strike outs and grounding into two double plays as Boston defeated the Yankees, 7-3. This clearly was as close as Yankee fans will get to actually watching their team in the post-season this year.

NICK SWISHER IS AN OXYMORON
Gavin Floyd pitched eight innings of four-hit ball, Nick Swisher homered, and Orlando Cabrera went 4-for-5 with two RBIs as the Chicago White Sox topped the Orioles, 8-3. Chicago had nine extra-base hits, including a season high-tying seven doubles. Even Ken Griffey Jr. joined the fun going 2-for-4 with an RBI in his 2,500th career game. Floyd (14-6) allowed two runs, struck out four and walked one for the first-place White Sox, who have won eight of 10 to move a season-high 20 games over .500 (76-56). The Baltimore Orioles have lost five straight.

THE TWINS WILL BE VOTING FOR OBAMA
The Minnesota Twins are now 2-4 on their 14-game Republican National Convention induced road trip after the Mariners’ 3-2 victory. It was the Twins’ fourth consecutive loss. The latest two losses have come against the AL’s worst team, which had lost eight of nine games before Minnesota arrived. Now the Mariners have a three-game winning streak, tying their season high.

Top of the 4th
ON THIS DATE
On August 26, 1992, Mets traded David Cone to the Blue Jays in exchange for Jeff Kent and Ryan Thompson. Cone, who led the NL in strikeouts the past two seasons, left the Mets with 214 strikeouts. On October 2, the final day of the season, John Smoltz struck out Andy Benes of the Padres to give him 215 on the year. Cone would have been the first NL pitcher in 50 years to lead in strikeouts for three consecutive years.

Top of the 5th
10 YEARS AFTER
Here are the first round draft selections from 1998:
# Selected By Name Position College or Hometown
1. Phillies Pat Burrell 1B University of Miami
2. Athletics Mark Mulder LHP Michigan State University
3. Cubs Corey Patterson OF Harrison High School
4. Royals Jeff Austin RHP Stanford University
5. Cardinals J.D. Drew OF Tallahassee, Florida
6. Twins Ryan Mills LHP Arizona State University
7. Reds Austin Kearns RF Lafayette High School
8. Blue Jays Felipe Lopez SS Lake Brantley High School
9. Padres Sean Burroughs 3B Wilson High School
10. Rangers Carlos Pena 1B Northeastern University
11. Expos Josh McKinley SS Malvern Prepatory School
12. Red Sox Jeff Everett SS University of S. Carolina
13. Brewers J.M. Gold RHP Toms River North HS
14. Tigers Jeff Weaver RHP Cal State Univ, Fresno
15. Pirates Clinton Johnston LHP Vanderbilt University
16. White Sox Robert Wells RHP Baylor University
17. Astros Brad Lidge RHP University of Notre Dame
18. Angels Seth Etherton RHP University of Southern Cal
19. Giants Tony Torcato 3B Woodland, CA
20. Indians C.C. Sabathia LHP Vallejo, CA
21. Mets Jason Tyner CF Texas A&M University
22. Mariners Matthew Thornton LHP Centreville, MI
23. Dodgers Bubba Crosby CF Rice University
24. Yankees Andrew Brown OF Richmond, IN
25. Giants Nate Bump RHP Penn State University
26. Orioles Rick Elder OF Marietta, GA
27. Marlins Chip Ambres OF Beaumont, TX
28. Rockies Matt Roney RHP Edmond, OK
29. Giants Arturo McDowell OF Jackson, MS
30. Royals Matt Burch RHP Virginia Commonwealth U

The chart needs really very little comment, but Giants and Royals fans should note you had multiple selections and whiffed on them all. It also appears that Phils are the only team that still has their selection.

Top of the 6th
BILLY-BALL-SITE-OF-THE-DAY
It’s the Joe Torre blog, found at http://joetorre.mlblogs.com/

Not surprisingly, Joe really doesn’t write it. It’s connected to an ad campaign he does. “They wrote it and I checked it over,” Torre said. “It’s all tongue-in-cheek stuff.”

That doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it.

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
AL
Minnesota Twins at Seattle Mariners, 4:40 pm
(L) Glen Perkins (11-3) vs. (L) Ryan Feierabend (0-1)
Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees, 7:05 pm
(R) Paul Byrd (8-11) vs. (R) Sidney Ponson (7-4)
Chicago White Sox at Baltimore Orioles, 7:05 pm
(L) John Danks (10-6) vs. (R) Radhames Liz (4-3)
Cleveland Indians at Detroit Tigers, 7:05 pm
(R) Fausto Carmona (6-5) vs. (R) Justin Verlander (10-13)
Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays, 7:10 pm
(L) David Purcey (2-4) vs. (R) Matt Garza (10-7)
Texas Rangers at Kansas City Royals, 8:10 pm
(L) Matt Harrison (5-3) vs. (R) Brian Bannister (7-13)
Oakland Athletics at LA Angels of Anaheim, 10:05 pm
(L) Gio Gonzalez (1-2) vs. (L) Joe Saunders (14-6)

NL
Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates, 12:35 pm
(R) Jason Marquis (8-7) vs. (L) Zach Duke (4-12)
Arizona Diamondbacks at San Diego Padres, 3:35 pm
(L) Randy Johnson (10-9) vs. (R) Cha Seung Baek (4-8)
New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies, 7:05 pm
(L) Johan Santana (12-7) vs. (R) Kyle Kendrick (11-7)
Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals, 7:10 pm
(R) Greg Maddux (6-10) vs. (R) Tim Redding (8-8)
Florida Marlins at Atlanta Braves, 7:10 pm
(R) Josh Johnson (3-0) vs. (L) Mike Hampton (2-1)
Cincinnati Reds at Houston Astros, 8:05 pm
(R) Josh Fogg (2-6) vs. (R) Roy Oswalt (11-9)
Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals, 8:15 pm
(L) Manny Parra (10-6) vs. (R) Adam Wainwright (7-3)
Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants, 10:15 pm
(R) Livan Hernandez (1-2) vs. (R) Tim Lincecum (14-3)
Livan Hernandez has allowed 224 hits in 152 innings this season, including 25 hits in 12 1/3 innings in three starts with the Rockies.

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
Cliff Lee picked up his American League-leading 19th win last night in the Cleveland Indians’ ninth straight victory, 10-4 over the Detroit Tigers.

Top of the 9th
THE BLOMBERG REPORT
Ron Blomberg , who celebrated his 60th birthday on Saturday, was the first official designated hitter on April 6, 1973. He recently told Newsday’s Jim Baumbach, “I jumped in the Hall of Fame through the back door rather than the front door, and I’m just fine with that, because this is something they can never take away from me. The DH, whether you like or don’t like it, it’s always going to be there.”

“I screwed up the game of baseball in ’73,” he said. “Who ever thought in ’73 that 35 years later the DH would still be in existence? Everybody said it was a gimmick. Nobody thought it would stick.”

Blomberg is looking forward to 2010 when career DH Edgar Martinez is eligible for the Hall of Fame. “For so many years people thought a relief pitcher would never be in the Hall of Fame,” he said. “Bruce Sutter and then Goose getting in this year, that’s a good sign. I think Edgar Martinez will get in.”

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.