Billy-Ball Daily: 2008-8-29

Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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By Baseball Newstalgist, Bill Chuck

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Top of the 1st
By Baseball Newstalgist, Bill Chuck

Here’s a 25-fact roster for you.

Friday, August 29, 2008

1. In regard to instant replay, the 1996 Orioles have asked Bud Selig to define “instant.”
2. In 1992, the Pirates last winning season, the average price of gas was 95 cents a gallon.
3. Nobody but asked me but Akinori Iwamura is one of the real heroes of this Rays team making the transition from 120 games at third last season to 125+ game at second this season.
4. Tim Lincecum is the 36th active pitcher with 200+ strikeouts. These pitchers have done it 86 times led by Randy Johnson who has done it 13 times. The Big Unit also has the highest season total of all active pitchers; Johnson struck out 372 in 2001.
5. With Curt Schilling on his way to retirement and Shaun Chacon waived, there are no active big leaguers that were born in Alaska.
6. The White Sox’ Jim Thome needs only 78 plate appearances to reach 1,100 over two seasons, which would guarantee his 2009 contract.
7. Since July 3, the Yankees are 5-11 in series openers.
8. The average WHIP for starting pitchers in the AL is 1.39.
9. Is the end of the season the end of the road for Frank Thomas and Todd Jones?
10. There has never been a major leaguer named Barack, Obama, McCain, Biden, or Romney.
11. This season Mark Kotsay became the first member of the Braves to hit for the cycle since Albert Hall on September 23, 1987, the year the Braves finished 69-92, which seems to indicate that the team must do poorly for a player to hit for the cycle.
12. In 1935, NY Giants’ pitcher Freddie Fitzsimmons had a won-lost record of 4-8 with a 4.02 ERA (the league ERA was 3.86). That season, Fat Freddie joined Cy Blanton of Pittsburgh, Larry French of the Cubs, and Van Lingle Mungo and Jim Weaver of the Dodgers in leading the National League in shutouts…with four. Every game Freddie won in 1935 was a shutout.
13. J.D.’s full name is David Jonathan Drew, no joke or as he says, “joke no.”
14. The Mets lead the majors with 114 runs in the 1st inning.
15. Ernie Banks played over 2,500 games, but now with over 2,000 games under his belt, and little or no chance this season, Alex Rodriguez might be ready to assume the title of “Greatest player to never play in the World Series.”
16. No San Francisco Giant pitcher has ever lost 20 games. Ray Sadecki had 18 in 1968. Barry Zito has 15.
17. Five infielders are approaching milestones in doubles, Mark Loretta has 299, Rich Aurilia has 298, Jimmy Rollins has 298, Jack Wilson has 199, and Casey Blake has 198.
18. The Rangers, Pirates, Indians, Rockies, Orioles, and Tigers have completed the most DPs and none are post-season contenders. On the other hand, the Cubs, Mets, Marlins, and the Diamondbacks have the fewest double plays and are all battling to play in October.
19. File this under, “You don’t need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” Dept.: Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston likes playing indoor baseball, “Actually, I think all teams should have domes. Wouldn’t have the rainouts. That’s what I believe.”
20. The Giants have set a franchise record with 15 rookies making their debuts, one more than the 1926 New York Giants. It’s the most in the majors since the 1954 Philadelphia Athletics, who also had 15
21. On July 7, the Indians traded CC Sabathia to Milwaukee. Since the deal, the Brewers are 27-6 while the Indians are 28-16.
22. The Boston Red Sox will tie the MLB record for most consecutive sellouts with 455 on 9/3 against the Orioles.
23. Melky Cabrera was 13-for-34 (.382) in his first nine games at Scranton
24. Brandon Knight was 1-0 with a 5.91 ERA for the US Olympic team. In July, when Knight pitched for the Mets, he became one of five major leaguers whose career consisted entirely of playing for the Mets and the Yankees (he played for the Yanks in 2002). The most famous of the five Yankets was Yogi Berra.
25. Clifton Phifer Lee, Adam P. Wainwright, Marlon Jerrard Byrd, Frank Edwin McGraw Jr., Theodore Samuel Williams, Hazen Shirley Cuyler, and Billy Hyphen Ball all share the same August 30th birthday.

Have a great weekend every one, see you in September!

Top of the 2nd
Jason Giambi’s walkoff single to center field lifted the Yankees over the Red Sox, 3-2, salvaging the finale of the last regular-season series between the team at the current Yankee Stadium. Xavier Nady opened the 9th with a single up the middle off reliever Justin Masterson and was replaced by pinch-runner Brett Gardner who stole second base to move the winning run into scoring position. After an intentional walk to Hideki Matsui, and an unintentional walk to Ivan Rodriguez, Giambi ripped a single off closer Jonathan Papelbon, scoring Gardner with the winning run. Giambi entered the game in 7th inning and pinch-hit a tying two-run homer off Hideki Okajima. Starting pitcher Mike Mussina held the Red Sox to two runs through seven innings. He scattered five hits, walked two and struck out six. For the Sox, Jon Lester struck out eight and walked none over 6 2/3 five-hit innings. Mariano Rivera picked up the victory. The game was the 773rd between the Yankees and the Red Sox played at Yankee Stadium; New York won the all-time series, with four ties.

Of much greater concern for the Sox is the fact that Josh Beckett was scratched again from a scheduled start tonight and the staff ace plans to have his ailing right elbow examined by Dr. James Andrews in Alabama today. These are not usually social calls and while Red Sox manager Terry Francona characterized the visit as a precaution, you can’t help but wonder about Beckett’s elbow. Here’s the deal, if there is nothing, or little wrong, rest will cure it. If there is something there, elbows are serious and you don’t like to hear “ulnar nerve” bandied about. “I think the best word I can use is we’re just trying to get some closure,” Francona said. This story is far from closure.

Pinch-hitter Kurt Suzuki hit a walkoff double with one out and the A’s beat the Minnesota Twins 3-2 to win back-to-back games for first time since July 10-11. Joey Devine (4-0) pitched the eighth to pick up the victory for the A’s, who went 40 games without a winning streak. Suzuki’s double marked Oakland’s ninth walkoff hit of the season and just the 11th victory since the All-Star break for the (H)Apless’s.

The Washington Nationals completed their sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday, 11-2.

Let that sink in a little.

Cristian Guzman hit for the cycle.

Let that sink in a little.

The Dodgers have lost seven straight, and their nine consecutive road losses are the most since dropping 11 in a row in June 1992. The Nationals earned their first series sweep of Los Angeles since long before the move to Washington — the last came on the Montreal Expos’ homestand from Aug. 4-6, 1998. Guzman’s cycle was the eighth in franchise history, by seven different players. Brad Wilkerson had a cycle as a National and a Montreal Expo.

Top of the 3rd
On manager Lou Piniella’ 65th birthday, Aramis Ramirez gave him a gift in the 8th inning with a grand slam as the Chicago Cubs rallied for five runs to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-4 for their sixth straight win and moved the team to 34 games over .500.
Ramirez now has 99 RBIs. He already has five 100-RBI seasons in his career. He also has eight career grand slams.

Edwin Jackson took a shutout into the eighth inning, Cliff Floyd and Willy Aybar each homered, and the Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 last night to guarantee they will finish no worse than .500 for the first time in franchise history. Tampa Bay, 81-51 and an AL-best 49-19 at home, took two of three from Toronto and is 11-0-1 in series play since the All-Star break. Jackson (11-8) gave up one run and six hits over seven-plus innings in winning for the sixth time in his last seven starts. Dan Wheeler pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 12 opportunities. The bad news is that the announced attendance was 14,039, making it the sixth consecutive Rays’ home game with a turnout under 20,000. I was on the radio yesterday in Tampa suggesting that people should have been evacuated from Tropical Storm Fay and sent to a Rays game. Rays closer Troy Percival (right knee) threw 39 pitches in batting practice and could be activated from the 15-day disabled list by early next week. Rays 3B Evan Longoria (right wrist) has started a throwing program and hopes to return September 2. Toronto designated DH-OF Matt Stairs for assignment after the game and purchased the contract of OF Travis Snider from Triple-A Syracuse. Stairs expects to be traded to be traded to a “contender” by Saturday.

Brian McCann hit a three-run homer to lead Atlanta over the slumping Marlins, 4-2. The Marlins are 10-15 in August and haven’t won two games in a row this month. Winning pitcher Charlie Morton (4-8) had been 0-6 with an 8.18 ERA this season at Turner Field, but the rookie right-hander went six innings and allowed only four hits.

Top of the 4th
Last Friday night, the Yanks beat the Orioles highlighted by Bobby Abreu’s career high five hits. Abreu was already a hero that night. Abreu had followed the kids on the team from Venezuela during the Little League World Series and was amazed at how many of the boys said that he was their favorite player.

“It makes you feel good,” Abreu said. “Those kids represented our country great and I was proud of them.”

When Venezuela was eliminated in the international bracket last Thursday, Abreu started making some telephone calls. By the time he was finished, he had arranged a bus to bring the entire team and their coaches to Camden Yards for the game against the Orioles. He made sure that the 14 players from the Coquivacoa Little League in Maracaibo got seats, all the food they could eat and were on the field for batting practice.

“Why not give them a surprise?” Abreu said.

“Bobby is a legend in Venezuela,” said Freddy Moran, the head coach of the team. “What he did for those kids, they will never forget it.”

“When you see the smiles on the faces of the little kids, that’s an important thing,” he said. “It’s a beautiful day.”
When Al Bumbry learned he was being inducted into the Red Wings Hall of Fame, he had one thought.

“I didn’t know the Rochester Red Wings had a Hall of Fame,” he said. “But when I found out who was in there, a lot of people I played with and under, I felt proud to be included.”

Bumbry joins former Orioles teammates Bobby Grich, Don Baylor, Mike Flanagan, Mike Boddicker, Cal Ripken Jr. and Dennis Martinez and managers Joe Altobelli and Earl Weaver as Wings inductees.

Top of the 5th
While we probably won’t see catcher Matt Wieters playing for the Orioles this September, don’t be surprised if you see him sometime next season on the big club. Wieters is a 22-year old switch hitter who as the team’s No. 1 draft pick last year signed the largest bonus in Orioles history. At Single-A Frederick this season, Wieters hit .345 with 15 home runs and 40 RBIs in 69 games and most recently with the Double A Eastern League Baysox, Weiters has hit .352 with nine home runs and 43 RBIs in 49 games while deftly handling the pitching staffs for both teams.

Top of the 6th
Looking for something a little different, I found this site: and I like the pictures.

Top of the 7th
Chicago White Sox at Boston Red Sox, 7:05 pm
(R) Javier Vazquez (10-11) vs. (R) Dice-K instead of Josh Beckett
Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers, 7:05 pm
(R) Kyle Davies (5-5) vs. (R) Zach Miner (7-4)
Seattle Mariners at Cleveland Indians, 7:05 pm
(R) Felix Hernandez (8-8) vs. (L) Jeremy Sowers (2-6)
Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees, 7:05 pm
(R) A.J. Burnett (16-9) vs. (R) Carl Pavano (1-0)
Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays, 7:10 pm
(R) Jeremy Guthrie (10-10) vs. (L) Scott Kazmir (9-6)
Minnesota Twins at Oakland Athletics, 10:05 pm
(R) Kevin Slowey (10-8) vs. (L) Dan Meyer (0-2)
Texas Rangers at LA Angels of Anaheim, 10:05 pm
(R) Dustin Nippert (1-3) vs. (R) Ervin Santana (13-5)

Philadelphia Phillies at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 pm
(R) Joe Blanton (1-0) vs. (R) Rich Harden (4-1)
Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates, 7:05 pm
(R) Dave Bush (8-9) vs. (L) Tom Gorzelanny (6-8)
New York Mets at Florida Marlins, 7:10 pm
(L) Oliver Perez (9-7) vs. (R) Chris Volstad (4-3)
San Francisco Giants at Cincinnati Reds, 7:10 pm
(L) Barry Zito (8-15) vs. (R) Edinson Volquez (15-5)
Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals, 7:35 pm
(R) Jorge Campillo (7-6) vs. (L) Odalis Perez (5-10)
St. Louis Cardinals at Houston Astros, 8:05 pm
(R) Kyle Lohse (13-6) vs. (L) Randy Wolf (8-11)
Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks, 9:40 pm
(R) Hiroki Kuroda (7-9) vs. (L) Doug Davis (5-8)
Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres, 10:05 pm
(R) Aaron Cook (15-8) vs. (R) Dirk Hayhurst (0-0)

Top of the 8th
Yesterday, was the first day in which instant replay was used for boundary calls. There were no questionable calls so the reviewers watched “Family Guy” reruns.

Top of the 9th
I am soooo very glad to have a loooong weekend and I hope you are tooooo. Thank you as always for all your kind emails and good wishes this week.

When I next join you on Tuesday, we are down to the last weeks of the season, so send story ideas, nuggets of info and other treasures and I will see if I can get them in.

I am so looking forward to the arrival of my daughter from NYC and I hope you all have fun with your families as well.

All the best,


P.S.: Hey, happy birthday back to you, Albert Yost.

Bottom of the 9th
Bill Chuck is the creator of 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, or order directly from Acta Sports, or from your favorite bookstore worldwide.

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