A Miracle was born on this date; not Strasburg (although he was too)

I’m back! Yeah, I know you really didn’t notice I was gone but late Friday I took my iMac into the Apple shop and over the weekend they replaced my hard drive, on my computer not on me (although I’m looking into that as well). So I was without my computer for the weekend and it was frustrating, uncomfortable, and not at all liberating either in life activities or in my baseball world.

Watching a game and not being able to learn about stats, background/historical info and comparative data was a constant source of frustration to me. But what was even worse was not being able to expand and expound on what was going on, in various posts, was really hell-like.

You see I had access to my daughter’s laptop but not to my source material. I wasn’t able to grab the info that I like to be able to share with you. Aha! There it is. The sharing. As you guys know, particularly those of you who have been with me a good portion of the 10 years that I have been writing Billy-Ball, while I may not be the very best baseball writer out there, my quantity certainly almost compensates for any lack of quality. People ask me how I spew out (they use that word waaay too often) so much content each week and what they don’t realize is that if I actually got paid for my writing I would have no trouble producing even more content.

To me there is no shortage of things to write about and explore in baseball, which is probably why there is such a glut in the marketplace. They key is writing it well, with an edge, and with your facts straight. The pros, who we admire so greatly, do all three and do it well. The hacks ruin it for all of us.

So this weekend I was there tweeting on my iPhone so as to at least get something out (please feel free to follow me at BillyBall on Twitter) in a timely fashion but while I love Twitter for some things (breaking news, snarky comments) it is brutally boring for others (breaking news about your children, snarky comments about your children). In addition, Twitter conversations are simply hideous. Text one another or use email or if you really need to share something, use the damn phone that you are tweeting from.

Okay, having gotten that out of my system, here are nine (baseball) things that are on mind this morning (I’ll have more “stuff” popping up on Billy-Ball.com throughout the day so if you are reading this via a MailerMailer email (check the bottom of the email to see) cancel that and go to Billy-Ball.com and subscribe to the Google Feedburner email and that will keep you a little more updated):

1. Trade deadline is only 11 days away

The rumors should be getting even hotter and heavier as each day passes now. The usual suspects are ripe for plucking: Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Cleveland, Baltimore, plus Houston, Seattle, Arizona, and Milwaukee. The Cubs, Mariners, Athletics, Marlins, and Blue Jays are dead and should be looking to deal as well.

The vultures, listed in intradivisional order of need to deal, include the Dodgers, Padres, Giants and Rockies in the NL West. The Reds and Cardinals in the NL Central. The Mets, Phils, and Braves in the NL East. In the AL West, the Rangers are probably done after picking up the expected prize of the trading season in Cliff Lee and I really don’t understand the Angels other than to figure that they may have given up on this year and are waiting on Carl Crawford next season and beyond.  In the AL Central, the ChiSox, Twins and Tigers all have numerous needs and an equal desire to improve. Then there is the AL East where the Yankees could use another starting pitcher particularly since Andy Pettitte will most likely be out until the rosters expand in September and some more bullpen arms (yes, they do have the best record in baseball but those are troublesome areas), the Rays may do some dealing but only to bring in contracts that don’t extend beyond this season, and finally, the Red Sox who are already in the salary tax penalty situation and don’t seem obliged to get anything more than depth as they wait for their injured players to return.

There are many good sources in the media to catch the latest rumors, but there is no better site that is totally dedicated to the site than the aptly named MLBTradeRumors.com. Tim Dierkes is the writer and creator and does a terrific job for fans and the media.

2. I love walkoffs

Alberto Callaspo had walkoff RBI single with two outs in the 10th inning to give Kansas City a 5-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. The Royals had lost six straight. Blue Jays closer Kevin Gregg (0-4) attempting to defend a one run lead suffered his third blown save in 25 opportunities.

The announced attendance of 12,968 included 12,962 scouts.

3. Hamilton and Cabrera

IMHO we are seeing a terrific baseball season. Not only is it a year for pitchers and web gems, but we are seeing some honest, outstanding individual performances at the plate. Two of those who are having great seasons faced off against one another yesterday, Josh Hamilton and Miguel Cabrera. Hamilton and the Rangers prevailed as Nelson Cruz hit his 12th homer of the season in the 14th inning to give Texas an 8-6 win over the Tigers. The Rangers snapped an 11-game losing streak at Comerica Park and the Tigers lost their sixth straight overall.

Josh Hamilton went 4-for-6 and is hitting .397 (25 for 63) this month and .353 overall. Miguel Cabrera went 3-for-6, with a pair of homers to bring his season totals to .340 with 24 homers and 82 RBI.

The Tigers suffered a double loss in that their third baseman, Brandon Inge, is gone for 4-6 weeks after he broke a finger on his left hand as a result of being hit by a pitch from Scott Feldman.

4. I love walkoffs

"Wok Off" created by Jeff Garmel

There was a time when Ubaldo Jimenez was untouchable, infallible, un-score-upon-able, but it is a long season and those days have passed. On the other hand, he still doesn’t get beaten that frequently. Jimenez gave up four earned runs, six overall, in 5.1 innings to balloon his ERA to 2.38, but his record remained 15-1 as his Rockies and the Marlins battled until pinch-hitter Donnie Murphy hit a two-run, two out, walkoff homer as the Marlins topped the Rockies, 9-8. Colorado closer Huston Street (1-2) retired the first two in the 9th before he walked Dan Uggla and Murphy went deep in just his fourth at bat of the season.

Ubaldo now has a 6.39 ERA in his last five starts. Overall, his road is 1.60 and in his three no-decisions this season, his ERA is 9.00.

5. It is getting ugly in La-La Land

After getting swept in a four-game set in St. Louis, the Dodgers lost their fifth in a row last night falling to the Giants, 5-2. The Dodgers have now lost seven of their last 11 and have fallen season-high (low?)-tying six games behind the Padres.

Nate Schierholtz hit a two-run homer as San Francisco picked up its fourth win in five games since the All-Star break. Madison Bumgarner (3-2) allowed two runs and six hits in 5.2 innings to earn the win. Brian Wilson earned his NL leading 26th save.

6. McCarver said something and somebody actually listened

Tim McCarver now says he was wrong in comparing Joe Torre‘s treatment after his departure from the Yankees to how Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union under Josef Stalin treated generals who had fallen out of favor.still believes the New York Yankees didn’t treat Joe Torre fairly after he left the team. This past Saturday, on the the Fox game of the week, McCarver blasted the Yankees during saying the team had “airbrushed” Torre out of its history, and compared that treatment to how Nazi and Soviet leaders dealt with generals when they became dissatisfied with their performance.

According to the New York Daily News, McCarver said, “Although my analogy was inappropriate, in my opinion the underlying point remains true. That Yankee management — not the players, they have embraced Joe Torre and always will — has erased Joe Torre from their history, for the most part.”

The Anti-Defamation League, which advocates against anti-Semitism and bigotry, also felt McCarver went too far. They neglected to add that most people tune out McCarver in the hope that they can enjoy the ballgame.

7. A Miracle was born

When does a miracle begin? This is not so much an unanswerable theological question but a baseball question with an answer. On July 18, 1951, the New York Giants third baseman Hank Thompson was in a slump and hitting .239. On top of that, he had been spiked and the Giants needed a replacement. Sitting on the bench was an outfielder who had lost his job to the rookie Willie Mays. Now this guy had some infield experience and after he took over third base on July 20, 1951, he hit .357 the rest of the season and limited Thompson to just 17 at bats. The new third baseman’s name was Bobby Thomson who ended up hitting the “Shot that was Heard ‘Round the World,” giving the Giants the 1951 pennant and creating was known as “the Miracle of Coogan’s Bluff.”

Talk about walkoffs! Bobby Thompson’s Shot Heard ‘Round the World

8. Happy Strasbirthday

The kid is 22 today and Stephen Strasburg is hype worthy. In case you lost track, he is 4-2 with a 2.03 ERA and a 1.027 WHIP. He has struck out 68 is 48.2 innings and has walked 14 (that is a 4.86 strikeout-to-walk ratio). He is 2-1 at home and on the road and has a 2.03 ERA at home and 2.04 on the road. Righties are hitting .175 against him and lefties, .241, and .205 overall. His ERA in wins 1.48, and when the kid loses he still pitches well with a 2.92 ERA. When Strasburg falls behind, batters hit .286 against him, but when he gets ahead on the count, they only hit .133.

Here is wishing him many years of health and success and for the Nationals to use him wisely.

9. Today


Rays (Matt Garza) at Orioles (Jake Arrieta), 7:05

Rangers (Tommy Hunter) at Tigers (Armando Galarraga), 7:05

Angels (Sean O’Sullivan) at Yankees (Phil Hughes), 7:05

Blue Jays (Jesse Litsch) at Royals (Anthony Lerew), 8:10

Indians (Justin Masterson) at Twins (Kevin Slowey), 8:10

Red Sox (Tim Wakefield) at A’s (Dallas Braden), 10:05

White Sox (John Danks) at Mariners (Doug Fister), 10:10


Brewers (David Bush) at Pirates (Brad Lincoln), 7:05

Padres (Wade LeBlanc) at Braves (Jair Jurrjens), 7:10

Nationals (Luis Atilano) at Reds (Mike Leake), 7:10

Rockies (Jeff Francis) at Marlins (Nate Robertson), 7:10

Astros (Wesley Wright) at Cubs (Ryan Dempster), 8:05

Phillies (Jamie Moyer) at Cardinals (Chris Carpenter), 8:15

Mets (R.A. Dickey) at Diamondbacks (Barry Enright), 9:40

Giants (Tim Lincecum) at Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw), 10:10