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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Baseball Notebook

It looked like a typical ending to a Reds game last night with the Reds trailing 3-2 entering the bottom of the ninth inning. Ken Griffey Jr. wrote a different ending to the usual scenario by hitting a two run walkoff homer that gave the Reds a 4-3 win over the Pirates. Even more important the homer lifted the Reds out of last place to a one point lead over the Pirates. The Reds are only a game and a half behind the fourth place Astros in the NL Central.

Rays Defeat Red Sox 5-4
Upton, Gross Hit Homers

The Tampa Bay Rays took a 5-4 win over the Boston Red Sox as they stretched their lead over the Red Sox to a game and a half. James Shields 6-5 outpitched Justin Masterson 4-2 and is 2-2 against the Red Sox this season.

I have to admit I was not too enamored with the Rays trading for Gabe Gross but it has turned out to be a good move for the Rays and for Gross. In 43 at bats with the Brewers Gross hit .209 with no homers and 6 RBI's. In 127 at bats with the Rays Gross has hit 6 homers and drove in 20 runs and is slugging .449 after slugging .279 with the Brewers. B.J. Upton also homered for the Rays.

Willy Aybar may not have done anything spectacular while filling in for Carlos Pena but is hitting .264 and has a respectable .361 on base percentage and has more walks than strikeouts. The depth of this team is really showing with the loss of Pena not being that noticeable. This is a solid team and I expect them to be in the playoffs in 2008.
Around the Bases

Mike Mussina 10-6 had a quality start yesterday against the Rangers but the Yankees offense could only manage four hits off of Rangers pitching. Scott Feldman 2-3 won for the first time since May 9th. He had 2 losses and 6 no decisions since his last win. Alex Rodriguez hit his 16th homer of the season which moved him into a five way tie for fourth place in AL behind league leaders Josh Hamilton, Grady Sizemore and Carlos Quentin. He has 44 RBI's which is 36 behind AL leader Hamilton who has 80. 22 American Leaguers have more RBI's than Rodriguez this season.

The White Sox jumped out to a 8-1 lead and then hung on to win 9-7 as they defeated the Indians in a AL Central contest. Jim Thome hit his 16th homer and the 523rd of his career. If Thome hits 600 homers he should strengthen his chance for the Hall of Fame even though he needs 1019 more hits to reach 3000 hits and with him turning 38 in August that is very unlikely.

Nick Swisher ended his best month of the season with a grand slam homer and drove in 5 runs giving him 7 homers and 23 RBI's for the month after having only one homer and 6 RBI's in May and hitting .176. He hit .315 in June and slugged .630. Gavin Floyd 9-4 is making a bid for the AL comeback player of the year after having a 1-5 record in 2007. The White Sox win coupled with the Tigers defeat of the Twins yesterday moved the White Sox to 2 1/2 games ahead of the Twins.

Tonights game will feature John Danks 5-4 who has allowed a total of one run in his last 3 starts encompassing 18 innings. Danks will be facing Cliff Lee 11-1 who lost only once in the first half of the season and is second in AL in ERA with a 2.34 and Danks is third with a 2.62 ERA.

The Tigers won their 6th in a row as they moved to within 2 1/2 games of the second place Twins in the AL Central....Rays are 7-3 in their last ten games while the Yankees, Orioles and Red Sox are 4-6 in their last ten games....Brewers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning but lost to the Diamondbacks 6-3 with Dave Bush 4-8 reminding Brewers fans of how much they miss Yovani Gallardo who hasn't pitched May 1st.

Greg Smith 5-6 of the A's is 11th in the AL in ERA with a 3.44 mark among pitchers with enough innings pitch to qualify for the lead. The A's made a wise decision to move Justin Duchscherer to the starting rotation. He has far exceeded their expectations and he is only pitcher in majors with an ERA of under 2.00 with a 1.99 ERA.

Tonight's Top Pitching Matchups

The best pitching matchup of the day should be when Cliff Lee 11-1 takes the mound against John Danks 5-4. Lee is 2nd in ERA in AL with 2.34 mark while Danks is 3rd with a 2.64 ERA....In a game that the matchup is not that great but it is a very important start for Edinson Volquez 10-3. After having his worst start of the season against the Blue Jays when he gave up 5 runs and 6 hits in 4 innings and struck out no batters this game could be crucial for Volquez to get back on the winning track. Confidence is a pitcher's best friend along with double plays and if Volquez loses the confidence he had before the bad start last week he could see a reversal of fortune in the second half of the 2008 season. Zach Duke 4-5 will be his opponent tonight.

Rich Harden 5-0 will face the Angels and Ervin Santana 9-3 in a very important game for the A's who need to stay close to the Angels....

Who Would Have Thought?.....

That the Rays would have a 50-32 record on July 1st and a game and a half ahead in the AL East over the Red Sox after having a 33-47 record last July 1st and 16 games behind those same Red Sox....That the 49-32 first place Indians on July 1st last season would be the last place Indians of this year on the same date with a 37-46 record and 10 1/2 games behind the first place White Sox.

That Barry Zito, Aaron Harang, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz would have only 12 wins between them at the halfway mark of the season with Brandon Webb winning 12 games by himself this season....That Carlos Quentin who hit .214 and hit 5 homers and drove in 31 runs in 2007 would in half a season with the White Sox have 19 homers, 61 RBI's and hit .284 in only 56 more at bats....That Kyle Lohse would have a 10-2 record after not having a winning season since 2003 and a 32-48 record since the start of the 2004 season.

That Josh Hamilton in half a season has equaled his total of 19 homers last season and has 33 more RBI's in only 29 more at bats than last season and that with 102 hits could have a 200 hit season after having only 87 hits in all of last season....That Dan Uggla who had 31 homers and 88 RBI's in a full season would have 23 homers and 58 RBI's at the halfway mark of the 2008 season....That Chase Utley's 23 homers this season is one more than he hit all of last season.

That Tim Lincecum would be leading the NL in strikeouts with 114 at halfway mark after having 150 all of last season....That Cliff Lee would be 11-1 after a 5-8 season last year. The Indians even sent Lee to the minors last season he was pitching so badly. His 2007 ERA of 6.29 would be almost four runs per game lower this season with a 2.34 ERA good for second in the AL behind Justin Duchscherer who has the only sub 2.00 ERA this season with a 1.91 mark.

That Cristian Guzman would be leading the majors in hits with 112 hits after having 57 all of ast season....That Ian Kinsler who had 127 hits last season already has 111 this season....That Jose Guillen had 28 doubles in 593 at bats last season has 28 doubles in only 324 at bats this season....That Ryan Braun had 7 homers and 25 RBI's at the end of June last season but has 20 homers and 58 RBI's at the end of June this season and finished last season with 34 homers and 97 RBI's.

That Chipper Jones would be leading the NL in batting average with a .394 mark while the AL leaders Hideki Matsui and Joe Mauer are hitting .323 which 71 points lower than Jones. That despite the wide lead in batting average the NL has only 13 hitters hitting over .300 while the AL has 18 hitters hitting over .300.

That the Rangers lead the majors in runs with 458 while the Nationals are the worst with only 305 runs....That the Marlins lead the majors in homers with 119 while the Giants and Dodgers are last with 53 each....That the Rays lead the majors in stolen bases with 88 in 82 games while the Pirates have 23 in 82 games.

That Barry Zito is 16th among Giants pitchers this year in ERA with a 5.99 ERA and that he had 131 strikeouts to 81 walks last season but this season has 53 walks to 50 strikeouts and that his two wins this month came against last place Indians and Nationals. Despite his problems this season he has given up only 3 homers in his last 9 starts which encompasses 45 innings. Zito has not pitched 7 complete innings yet this season.


Crackajg said...

Woop woop! Great stuff per usual, N.O.

Crackajg said...

I think you should take all the Baseball Notebooks for this year and put them all in one book. Each one summarizes all of the games so nicely, it would be awesome to read in a book for a whole season.

Andrew Godfrey said...

Thanks Crackajg...This was an attempt to do recaps without actually doing recaps and it didn't work so am going to stop doing recaps except of the better games since it takes over 3 hours to do recaps of 15 games a day.

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