Billy-Ball Daily: 2008-8-28

8/28/2008
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, August 28, 2008

Top of the 1st
IT A HAPPENINGS MONTH
For those of you old enough to remember or if you simply have bad taste in classic bubblegum music, you might remember a song by The Happenings entitled “See You in September.”

Sing that (to yourselves) as you take a look at Part 1 of my look at some of the wild and wacky September moments:
1, 2007 – Clay Buchholz of the Boston Red Sox pitches a 10-0 no-hitter over the Baltimore Orioles in his second career start. He is the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in his first or second start since Wilson Alvarez did so in 1991. One year later, Buchholz will cleaning out his Portland (AA) locker.
2, 1932 – Lew Krausse, Sr. of the A’s shuts out the Red Sox, 15-0. Five days later Krausse will injure his arm in an exhibition game and at 20 years old, his big league career is over. In 1961, Lew Krausse, Jr. pitches a shutout for the KC A’s in his major league debut, giving the Krausses (father and son) back-to-back shutouts twenty-nine years apart.
3, 1922 – In the 2nd inning with Phillies runners on 1B and 2B Jimmy Smith pops up and the infield fly rule is called. Although Smith is called out, the Giants’ Frankie Frisch fails to catch the ball, and the runners take off. Giants right fielder Ross Youngs picks the ball up and the relay catches runner Cliff Lee at third for out #2. Third baseman Heinie Groh’s throw and relay catch Sam Leslie at first for the triple play.
4, 1978 – It’s the Pirates’ Dorian Boyland first major league at bat and he has a 1-2 count on him when the Mets make a pitching change sending in Kevin Kobel to replace Skip Lockwood on the mound. In response, the Bucs send Rennie Stennett in to pinch-hit for Boyland. Stennett takes a called third strike. The strikeout is charged to Boyland, watching the completion of his historic at bat from the bench.
5, 1978 – With the bases loaded, and the Twins Dan Ford on third, Bombo Rivera singles. Ford backpedals homeward, signaling Jose Morales to follow him home. Morales arrives there ahead of Ford, who is out for being passed on the bases. The Twins eventually lose to the White Sox, 4-3.
6, 1973 – Alou, you must be going. On this day the Yankees sell Felipe Alou to the Expos and send brother Matty to the Cardinals.
7, 1935 – The Cleveland Indians are leading the Red Sox, 5-3 in the bottom of the 9th and the Tribe brings in Oral Hildebrand to pitch to Joe Cronin. Cronin lines his first pitch off the side of the head of Cleveland third baseman Odell Hale. The ball caroms to shortstop Bill Knickerbocker, who catches it in the air and throws to second baseman Roy Hughes doubling up Billy Werber, who throws to first baseman Hal Trosky to get Mel Almada to finish off a game-ending triple play. That’s 5-6-4-3 if you’re scoring.
8, 1965 – The A’s Bert Campaneris plays all nine positions against the Angels in a promotion to hype poor attendance at Kansas City. When Campy takes the mound in the 8th inning, the first batter he faces is his cousin Jose Cardenal, who pops out. Campy allows one run, and leaves the game in the 9th after a collision with Angels C Ed Kirkpatrick at home plate when Campy is catching.
9, 1992 – Brewer owner Bud Selig is selected by the owners to serve as acting baseball commissioner until a permanent successor can be found. Almost six years later baseball names a permanent commissioner – Bud Selig.
10, 1963 – Stan Musial hits the 474th of his career, in his first at bat as a grandfather. Bob Gibson blanks the Cubs. Stan The Man ends his career with 475 homers.
11, 1966 – John Miller becomes the first Yankee to ever hit a homer in his first major league at bat. On September 23, 1969, Miller, now playing for the Dodgers, gets his second career homer…in his last major league at bat. He is the last and only player to homer in his first and last at bats.
12, 1976 – Designated Hitter Minnie Minoso singles for the White Sox against the Angels Sid Monge. At 53, Minoso is the oldest ever to collect a hit in the ML.
13, 1909 – Ty Cobb clinches the AL home run title with his 9th round-tripper. It is an inside-the-park drive against the Browns. In fact, all his nine home runs this season are inside-the-park. He is the last and only player in this century to lead in home runs without hitting one out of the park.
14, 1986 – The Giants catcher Bob Brenly substituting at third base, ties a major-league record by committing four errors in the 4th inning against the Braves who score four unearned runs. Brenly atones for his errors with a homer in the 5th, a two run single in the 7th, and a two out walkoff home run in the bottom of the 9th off of Paul Assenmacher. The Giants win, 7-6.
15, 1950 – At Ebbets Field, Cardinal starter, Cloyd Boyer, hurts his arm while warming up and is replaced by Red Munger. Munger goes the distance beating the Dodgers, 6-2, getting credit for a complete game, but not for a game started.

We’ll have the second half of September next Thursday.

Top of the 2nd
SWEEPS

THE CUBS, WE UNDERSTAND…
The Cubs are now 33 games over .500 for the first time since they were 98-56 at the end of the 1945 season thanks to victory yesterday over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Jason Marquis shut down Pittsburgh’s batters and Chicago scored twice in the 7th inning to top the Pirates, 2-0. The Cubs have won 13 of their last 14 road games. The Pirates lost their season-high seventh in a row and 11th in 13 games and is 7-18 since trading Jason Bay to Boston on July 31.

BUT THE PADRES?
Arizona had Dan Haren, Brandon Webb and Randy Johnson starting in succession against the Padres, a team that began the week with the third-worst record in the majors. Guess what? The Padres swept. Yesterday, the Big Unit had thrown just 84 pitches and led 4-0 entering the 7th, but with one out in the inning, San Diego’s Jody Gerut tripled, Edgar Gonzalez singled, and Nick Hundley smashed a two-run home run, and the lead was down to 4-3.Then in the 8th facing reliever Chad Qualls, Brian Giles led off the inning with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored the tying run on Chase Headley’s single to right. With Gerut at the plate, Headley stole second, and Gerut, ripped a Qualls slider into right field to drive home what proved to be the winning run in the 5-4 victory. Gerut was 3-for-4 which made him 16 for 37 (.432) against Arizona this season. Randy Johnson had two hits, one of which drove in a run. It was his eighth career multi-hit game and first since Sept. 14, 2003.

Top of the 3rd
FLUSH WITH EXCITEMENT
Watching the Rays finish off the Jays last night 1-0, I must say it is truly getting exciting watching this team play. Matt Garza and two relievers combined on a six-hitter and Carlos Pena homered in the Rays’ first 1-0 win of the season. Garza (11-7) allowed six hits and three walks with five strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings for the Rays. Grant Balfour got the final out in the 8th before Dan Wheeler pitched the 9th for his ninth save in 11 chances. Pena’s homer was his 27th of the season, sixth over his past 13 games, and 13th since the All-Star break. Blue Jays rookie David Purcey pitched brilliantly in the loss giving up just up five hits and string out a career-high 11 in eight innings for his first career complete game. Purcey tied the Blue Jays’ rookie mark for strikeouts. He is the fourth pitcher to do it, and the first since Dave Bush had 11 on Oct. 1, 2004, against the Yankees. Tampa Bay has 12 shutouts, tied for the most in MLB. The only bad news for the Rays was the announced attendance was just 12,678, the fifth straight Rays’ home game with a crowd under 20,000.

JUST FLUSH
The Yankees season is in the toilet and the only question now is whether the team or the stadium will be officially eliminated first. Last night, Jason Bay drove in four runs, Dustin Pedroia hit a grand slam and Boston embarrassed the Yankees, 11-3. Dustin Pedroia is the only Red Sox second baseman to hit a grand slam against the Yankees in the last 50 years. Paul Byrd started for the Red Sox in his third start since being acquired on waivers from Cleveland. Byrd (9-11) has won six of his last seven starts following a five-game losing streak. The Yanks who could have claimed Byrd and opted not to started Sidney Ponson who fell to 3-13 in his career vs. Boston, the third-worst record (.188) against the Red Sox (min. 15 decisions). Ponson (7-5) lasted 4 2/3 innings and now has a 6.95 ERA in 22 starts against the Red Sox. Peter Abraham reports that on his way out of the Stadium last night, Hank Steinbrenner was blunt, “All I can think about is this game at this point. We’ll see what happens tomorrow, but the bottom line is they sucked,” he said.

8TH INNING MAGIC
FOR THE TWINS…
Minnesota’s Denard Span drove in two runs early and then threw out the potential tying run at the plate in the bottom of the 8th as the Twins beat the AL-worst Seattle Mariners 6-5, snapping Minnesota’s losing streak at four. The Twins scored three runs in the top of the 8th to take the lead. Joe Nathan then worked the 9th for his 36th save in 40 chances, giving Minnesota just its fifth win this season when trailing after seven innings.

AND FOR THE METS…
Daniel Murphy hit a tiebreaking double after Carlos Delgado’s second solo homer had tied the game in the 8th and the Mets beat Philadelphia, 6-3. It was Delgado’s fifth multi-home run game of the season. Ryan Howard hit a two-run homer and Jayson Werth homered for the Phillies. Johan Santana had nothing to show for another quality start. He gave up three runs and five hits in six innings, striking out six. It was the 13th time Santana gave up three earned runs or fewer and didn’t get a win. He has a 2.70 ERA, second-best in the NL.

IN THE CARDS
The Cardinals’ four-run rally in the 8th inning was the key last night to their 5-3 victory over the Brewers. Ryan Franklin (5-5) worked a scoreless 8th and rookie Chris Perez finished for his sixth save in seven chances with three strikeouts in the 9th. Perez is 6-for-6 since being recalled from Triple-A Memphis in early August to replace Jason Isringhausen as the closer. The Cardinals’ fourth win in six games snapped the Brewers’ five-game winning streak. The Brewers took the season series 10-5 and had won seven in a row against the Cardinals and six in a row at Busch Stadium.

THE BRAVES SLEEP WITH THE FISH
Josh Johnson threw a four-hitter for his first career complete game, and the Florida Marlins beat the Atlanta Braves, 4-1. Johnson (4-0) , who returned July 10 for his first start since Tommy John surgery last August, struck out eight and walked three to improve to 3-0 with a 2.58 ERA in six starts on the road this season. Hanley Ramirez had a two-run single and Dan Uggla hit his 28th homer for the Marlins, who have won three of five. The Braves have lost 13 of 16.

OH, THE O’S ARE STILL PLAYING
The Orioles snapped a five-game losing streak and won for just the second time in their last 10 home games topping the White Sox, 11-3. The Orioles scored 10+ runs for the 14th time this season; they did it eight times in 2007. Baltimore is 13-1 when scoring at least 10 runs.

TIM TIME
Tim Lincecum and the San Francisco Giants avoided a three-game sweep with a 4-1 win over the Colorado Rockies. Lincecum (15-3) struck out 10 to boost his majors-leading strikeout total to 210 and he owns the 10th highest season strikeout total in San Francisco history. Lincecum lowered his ERA from 2.48 to 2.43, tied for best in the big leagues with Cleveland’s Cliff Lee. Lee and Lincecum both have allowed 50 earned runs in 185 1/3 innings. Lincecum won three straight starts for the first time since April and won his fourth consecutive decision, improving to 13-2 in 22 starts following San Francisco losses. Lincecum allowed five hits and walked three in 7 2/3 innings. Lincecum had his seventh 10-strikeout game this season, tied for third-most in San Francisco history, and ninth of his career. Brian Wilson worked the 9th for his NL-best 36th save in 39 opportunities.

Top of the 4th
OH, SCOTT
Scott Boras tickles me in a way that if my wife tickled me that way I would say, “Stop it, it’s really annoying!”

The latest foray in Boras quest to redefine baseball in his own image concerns Pedro Alvarez, the No. 2 pick in June amateur draft, who was placed on Major League Baseball’s restricted list after Boras agent claimed the contract Alvarez agreed to with the Pittsburgh Pirates minutes before the Aug. 15 signing deadline is not valid.
Alvarez, the Vanderbilt third baseman, agreed to a minor league deal with a $6 million signing bonus, and Alvarez has declined to sign the contract, the team said. Boras told the Pirates that Alvarez would not report unless the deal was renegotiated, the team said. He also claimed the agreement was reached after the midnight deadline for draft picks to sign on Aug. 15, according to the Pirates.
“In fact, the contract between the Kansas City Royals and Eric Hosmer, another Boras client, was submitted to the office of the commissioner after our contract with Pedro was submitted,” Coonelly said. “Mr. Boras is apparently satisfied with the $6 million bonus that he secured for Mr. Hosmer and has not challenged the validity of that contract. Mr. Boras has been informed that if he pursues a claim that our contract with Pedro was not timely, he puts Eric Hosmer’s contract with Kansas City in jeopardy.”
Alvarez and Hosmer agreed to $6 million signing bonuses, No. 5 pick Buster Posey got an agreement with a $6.2 million signing bonus from the San Francisco Giants.What it comes down to is that Alvarez asked the Pirates for $6 million and he got it, but Boras wanted to negotiate for more and claims he didn’t have that chance.
Top of the 5th
FATHER-SON OFF-DAY
Jim Thome will spend the off-day today with his father Chuck heading to Cooperstown, N.Y., to deliver the ball he hit for his 500th career home run to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Thome started retrieving balls from the home runs that placed him among top players a few years ago, “That’s why the father-and-son moment is going to be one of the most special trips we’ll ever take together,” Thome said of the off-day journey with his father.

Thome named the ball, “Buddy.”

Top of the 6th
BILLY-BALL-BLOG-OF-THE-DAY
Here’s a blog that fun and funny, and actually has some info in it – It’s called Big League Stew and its edited by Kevin Kaduk. Here’s an example from David Brown one of his correspondents – in an interview with Phillies star, Cole Hamel, Brown asks:

There’s a sculpture of Steve Carlton outside the ballpark. When you saw that Lefty was 10 feet tall, did you think, “Holy cow, no wonder he had 4,000 strikeouts”?

Discover the answer and enjoy the Stew found at http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
AL
Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees, 1:05 pm
(L) Jon Lester (12-5) vs. (R) Mike Mussina (16-7)
Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays, 7:10 pm
(R) Jesse Litsch (9-7) vs. (R) Edwin Jackson (10-8)
Minnesota Twins at Oakland Athletics, 10:05 pm
(R) Nick Blackburn (9-8) vs. (L) Dana Eveland (8-8)
Texas Rangers at LA Angels of Anaheim, 10:05 pm
(R) Brandon McCarthy (0-0) vs. (R) Jon Garland (11-8)

NL
Cincinnati Reds at Houston Astros, 2:05 pm
(R) Aaron Harang (4-13) vs. (R) Brandon Backe (8-12)
Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals, 7:10 pm
(L) Clayton Kershaw (2-4) vs. (L) John Lannan (7-12)
Florida Marlins at Atlanta Braves, 7:10 pm
(R) Anibal Sanchez (2-2) vs. (R) Charlie Morton (3-8)
Philadelphia Phillies at Chicago Cubs, 8:05 pm
(L) Cole Hamels (11-8) vs. (R) Ryan Dempster (15-5)

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
At 15-11, the Giants guaranteed their first winning month since August 2007.

Top of the 9th
JAY- IT’S BILL@BILLY-BALL.COM
Just two months after the Chicago Sun-Times gave him a three-year contract extension, star sports columnist Jay Mariotti has quit. Mariotti, one of just two sportswriters the Sun-Times sent to the Beijing Olympics, told Jim Kirk of the rival Chicago Tribune that he had concluded while in China there was no future in newspapers. Sportswriting has become “entirely a Web site business. There were not a lot of newspapers there,” he told Kirk, according to the report in Wednesday’s Tribune.

Mariotti said he had no particular plans, but had been in contact with “a lot” of Web sites. 

In addition to his columns, Mariotti has been a regular on ESPN’s cable talk show “Around the Horn.” Mariotti began his column at the Sun-Times in 1991. 


Jay, you are welcome to join me on Billy-Ball.com

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.