27 baseball items for August 27

  1. Happy 40th birthday to Jim Thome who turns 40 today. Big Jim hit his 582nd homer yesterday. His 18th homer of the season matched Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel for the Twins team lead.
  2. Triple Crown watch – Albert Pujols hit his 34th homer of the season and the 400th home run of his career last night. He also hit his 30th double of the season and the 417th of his career going 2-for-4 with three runs scored and one driven in. He now trails Joey Votto in the batting race .321 to .326. He leads Votto and Adam Dunn in homers, 34 to 31. And, he leads Votto in RBI, 93 to 90.
  3. Albert Pujols is now the 47th major league player to reach 400 homers, the 33rd to have 400+ homers and 400+ doubles, and the 25th with the homers, doubles and at least 70 stolen bases (he has 73). He is the only one to accomplish these feats with under 650 strikeouts (he has 627). With 1,200-plus RBI and a career batting average of .332, Albert is one of five players in MLB history to have 400 homers, 1,200 RBIs and a .330 average. Pujols has a lifetime .333 average.
  4. Ian Desmond hit a walkoff single the 13th inning and Washington topped the Cardinals, 11-10.
  5. Joe Girardi has a three-year deal worth $7.5 million to manage the Yankees, which ends after this season. Joe, don’t even think about the Cubs. Never take a job like that for the money.
  6. The Padres are now 76-49. Last year on this date they were 54-75 on their way to a 75-87 season.
  7. The Dodgers completed their sweep of the Brewers yesterday; it was the fifth time they were swept at home this season.
  8. It will be interesting to see who signs Brad Hawpe after he clears waivers today. The Red Sox, Rays and Rangers are all supposedly interested in the outfielder who has hit .255 with 7 homers and 37 RBI in 300 plate appearances for the Rockies this season.
  9. More bad news for the Mets, and I’m not talking about the oblique injury suffered by Jose Reyes. Miserable pitcher Oliver Perez told ESPN.com, “I want to be back here. I want to have a championship because I know the fans want it and I want it, too.” Perez was given a three-year, $36 million contract prior to the 2009 season, and since then has gone 3-8 with a 6.77 ERA in 109 innings.
  10. Lee May in 1979 was the last Reds first baseman to hit 30+ homers before Joey Votto. May hit 39 that season, Votto has 31 this year.
  11. The Pirates have won two in a row making it their second longest winning streak of the season; their longest is three.
  12. No matter how you spell the name – Jhonny Peralta said he hopes the Tigers keep him for next year by exercising a $7-million option year on Peralta’s contract. Peralta homered in a 6-1 win over Toronto last night, and in less than a month with the Tigers, he has hit six homers. Those Johnnies love playing in Detroit.
  13. Every team in the AL East has lost one in a row and every team in the AL Central has won one in a row.
  14. Andy Pettitte will toss in the bullpen today and test his strained left groin. The lefthander has been on the disabled list since July 19.
  15. The Cubs have used 15 rookies this season, not including their new interim manager Mike Quade.
  16. The Astros completed a four-game sweep of the Phillies last night in Philly. The last time the Phillies were swept in a four-game home series was 2002, when the Mets swept them from Sept. 6-9. The Houstonians are the only NL team with a winning record (30-16) against Philadelphia since 2004.
  17. Wandy Rodriguez is now is 7-2 with a 1.79 ERA since June 24.
  18. Granted the Arizona Diamondbacks are one of the worst teams in baseball, but pennant fever has not struck beautiful San Diego. The average of 21,020 for the past two nights at Petco was better than the season average of only two teams in the National League, Pittsburgh and Florida, and is 5,500 below the Padres’ season average. Overall, the Padres rank fourth from the bottom in National League attendance.
  19. Manny Ramirez, who hit the waiver wire yesterday, wants a one-year extension to waive his no-trade clause, a source tells Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
  20. After losing to the Twins last night, Cliff Lee is now 2-5 in his 10 starts for Texas and his ERA is 8.39 over his last four starts, as he has given up 23 runs and 34 hits in 24 2/3 innings to hike his overall ERA from 2.44 to 3.26.
  21. The Brewers are 16-29 in day games, 7-14 on the road and 9-15 at Miller Park.
  22. The White Sox behind Edwin Jackson beat the Orioles, 8-0. It was their first series victory since they took three of four at Detroit from Aug. 3-5. They had lost seven of their last 10 games and 11 of 16 overall. They ended a streak of five consecutive series losses, and remain 3½ games behind the AL Central-leading Twins.
  23. Congratulations to Sean Forman and the Sports-Reference family of sites for being named to TIME Magazine’s list of the 50 Best Websites for 2010. There is no more valuable site for my work than Baseball-Reference.com and Sean is constantly making a great site better.
  24. Every dog has its day and it was “Puppypalooza Night” last night in Cleveland. The crowd of 11,826 included 269 canines, as the Indians topped the Athletics, 3-2.
  25. Houston faces the Mets tonight in a meaningless series. These two expansion teams entered the NL at the same time and have played 552 games with the Colt .45s/Astros having won 300 games.
  26. The Rays, who host the Red Sox this weekend, are 19-5 at the Trop since the start of July. That’s the best record in the major leagues during that stretch.
  27. Now you don’t have to get me a present for my birthday on Monday, but I would really appreciate it if when you shop on Amazon.com you enter through the portal on Billy-Ball.com. When you make an Amazon purchase, through Billy-Ball, your low price remains the same but I get a piece of the action.

Have a great weekend! Much more throughout the weekend will be posted on Billy-Ball.com.