Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)
FROM THE BILL CHUCK FILES…
By Baseball Newstalgist, Bill Chuck
NINE TO KNOW
April 24, 2009 – Here are nine things you need to know in order to talk baseball today.
1. Shades of Greg Briley – The last time the Mariners had a lead-off homer stand up for a 1-0 victory was when Greg Briley did it against Minnesota on June 19, 1992. Yesterday, Ichiro took James Shields’ second pitch deep and King Felix Hernandez threw seven brilliant innings, Seattle tops Tampa Bay, 1-0.
2. Count this Chad – Chad Billingsley is now 4-0 and he was outstanding in the process. He pitched three-hit ball into the 8th as the Dodgers shut out the Houston Astros, 2-0.
3. Insult to injury for the Phils – Prince Fielder knocked ace Cole Hamels out of the game with a line drive off his shoulder and the Milwaukee’s Dave Bush no hit the Phils for 7.1; the Brewers win 7-1.
4. Reds Ha-ring up a victory – Aaron Harang allowed just one unearned run in seven innings on the mound as the Reds topped Carlos Zambrano and Cubs, 7-1. Cincy won seven of 10 on their road trip.
5. Five straight for the Jays – Streaky teams don’t win divisions, consistent teams do. Don’t count consecutive games won, what matters are series. The Jays with their 5-2 victory over the Rangers yesterday have won five straight series to open the season. The last two teams to do that were the division-winning 2003 San Francisco Giants and the division-winning 2001 Seattle Mariners.
6. Cards sweep – The great Albert Pujols banged out two homers in St.Louis’ 12-8 victory over the Mets. In the three-game series, Mets starters allowed 16 earned in 14.2 innings in the series, a 9.82 ERA. Ouch!
7. In their last 10 games – The Dodgers are 8-2, while the Jays, BoSox, Marlins, Cards, and Reds are 7-3. On the flip side, The Rockies are 2-8, while the Rays, Rangers, A’s, Mets, and Nats are all 3-7.
8. Opening game is tonight – For many Bostonians the season doesn’t begin until the Yankees come to Fenway. Each team is 9-6, tied for second behind the Jays, but each team has plenty to worry about. In order to save time I’ll combine two of their biggest concerns: Chien-Ming Ortiz.
FROM THE BILL CHUCK FILES…
By Baseball Newstalgist, Bill Chuck
1. Jake Peavy threw 1,284.1 innings before allowing his first career grand slam homer this week to Edgar Renteria. Hall of Famer Jim Palmer threw 3,948 innings without giving up a granny.
2. In 17 Milwaukee starts last season, CC Sabathia gave up 24 earned runs, he’s over halfway there already; in four starts with the Yanks he’s given up 13 earned.
3. Lyle Overbay’s 88th lifetime homer on April 18, was the first walkoff of his major league career.
4. While Sidney Ponson went 4-1 in his last four starts with the Yankees last September, his ERA was 6.52, so it’s really not that surprising that he’s 0-2 with a 7.04 start with the Royals.
5. If you subtract that ugly July 25 game last season in which Brad Lidge gave up five runs in two innings against the Braves, the Phillies closer only surrendered 10 runs the entire 2008 season. In fact, from April 6 to July 22, Lidge only gave up six earned runs and the entire season only two homers. So far this season, he has given up seven earned runs and three homers.
6. Last season, Jeff Francoeur had 205 plate appearances with two outs and then he drove home 24 runs. Already this season, the more aggressive Francoeur has driven home 8 in his first 20 two-out plate appearances.
7. In 2007 and 2008, the Pirates threw two shutouts in each season. So far they have equaled that total with four, you can blame Joe Kerrigan.
8. Chien-Ming Wang is no stranger to giving up a lot of runs in a game. Last season in 15 starts he had games in which he gave up 8 runs, 7 runs, 6 runs (7 earned) and twice 5 runs.
9. Because of their shabby bullpen, I’m sure the Tribe will be tempted to bring Kerry Wood in early. Five times last season out of his 65 appearances, Wood pitched two innings and twice in the game following he surrendered runs.
10. In the first month of the season last year Jason Varitek hit .243 with three homers and seven RBI with 18 hits and 19 Ks.; so far this season he’s tracking in a similar fashion.
11. Jarrod Washburn is 3-0, his longest winning streak since he won six straight, April 17 – May 15, 2004.
12. Nick Markakis is one of baseball’s rising stars; last season he picked up his 18th RBI on May 14 in his 40th game, this year he did it in his 14th game on April 21.
13. Hitting in the hammock between Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez, Jayson Werth is ideally suited to keep innings alive as he hits into very few DPs; over the last two seasons he’s hit into two, three when you include this year’s.
14. While everybody is paying attention to the struggling David Ortiz power drought, but through 14 games Magglio Ordonez had 17 hits, all singles.
15. As Pudge Rodriguez creeps up on Pudge Fisk’s record for all-time games as a catcher, I-Rod is only four steals behind Carlton’s 128 for fifth place among catchers.
16. Barry Zito is one of nine pitchers with 123 wins and one of three of those who have under a hundred losses (Zito has 95), the other two are Tom Browning (123-90) and Mel Parnell (123-75).
17. Ian Kinsler definitely deserves more love, last year he hit .413 with runners in scoring position; this year through 13 games his RISP average is .500.
18. In the WYSIWYG category, Josh Beckett started the season with a 3.78 ERA for his career and he has a 3.79 for this season.
19. Last season, the AL had 24 team shutouts, already this year there have been 12. There have been 18 in the NL already compared with 30 all of last season.
20. Rich Harden came into this season averaging 9.0 strikeouts every 9 innings. So far this season, he’s averaging 15.6 per 9 innings.
Bill Chuck is the creator of Billy-Ball.com (www.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, published by ACTA Sports, and available worldwide.
Bill Chuck is available for radio appearances, and writing for print or the web: Bill@billy-ball.com or 617-566-2784.
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