Nation STATion: Talking baseball . . . to myself

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Nation STATion: Talking baseball . . . to myself

By Bill Chuck
Special to CSNNE.com

I talk to myself.

There, I admitted it. Does it make me feel any better? No, not really. Ive said it to myself numerous times.

You see when you write baseball like I do, often seven days a week, you need to stay fresh, innovative -- okay, different. Writing about stats too often can be dull, dreary or maniacal. I believe that stats can be interesting and can tell stories. It all depends on what questions they ask or answer.

And thats when I start talking to myself. I ask myself questions that I find interesting based on what goes on in the current baseball scene. Then, I try to think about the questions that you would enjoy reading about as well.

Here is a typical conversation I had with myself.

Hard to believe that the old guy is proving to be one of the rocks of the team. Thank goodness for Tim Wakefield, huh? That was another really steady, innings-eating performance last night. Wake now is 5-3 and has 198 wins, heres my question to you, Bill: How many different teams has Wake beaten?" Tim Wakefield has beaten 27 out of the 30 MLB teams. He has a 0-0 record against the Astros in two starts and 0-1 record in two starts against the Pirates. The only team he has never faced is his Sox. Hes won 21 games against the Rays and now18 against the Jays and 17 against the Tigers.

"Well, it may have been unnerving again, but Jonathan Papelbon picked up another save last night. He now has 19 saves on the season. Who is the Sox all-time leader in 20 save seasons?"
I guess we are going to have to proclaim Pap as the greatest reliever in Sox history. He leads the club with 207 saves all-time and his next save will give him six seasons of at least 20 saves. Dick Radatz (104 saves) had four seasons, Jeff Reardon (88 saves) three and Derek Lowe (85 saves), Lee Smith (58 saves) and Bob Stanley (132 saves) had two each.

"Derek Jeter picked up a double last night in the Yanks loss to Cleveland. He needs three hits to get to 3,000 and hopefully will do it this weekend against Tampa so we dont have to hear about the chase after the All-Star break. Nobody should begrudge the great Yankee, Derek Jeter, getting his 3,000 hits. He has been a role model and a great representative for the game of baseball. But I was wondering: Which team has given up the most of Jeters hits?"
If you guessed Boston . . . Youre wrong! The Orioles have given up 303 hits. The Sox have surrendered 286, one more than the Blue Jays.
"Okay, Bill you have me interested in 3,000 hits now. The last member of the Sox to reach the 3000-hit mark was the Sox captain Carl Yastrzemski. Who did Yaz pick up his 3000th hit against?"
If you said the Yankees . . . Youre right! The date was Sept. 12, 1979 and it was a ground ball just out of the reach of Yankee second baseman Willie Randolph with two outs and no one on in the bottom of the 9th inning of a 9-2 loss. Yaz became the 15th major leaguer to reach the milestone. Derek Jeter will be the 28th member of the club. By the way, even the great ones feel the pressure. Prior to the big hit, Yaz had been 0-for-10, 1-for-18 and 13-for-78.

"Lance Berkman is having a terrific career revival with the Cardinals. Hes hitting .290 and Tuesday night, the Big Puma hit his 23rd homer of the season and the 350th of his career, tying him with Chili Davis for fourth on the all-time homer run list for switch-hitters. Do you know who the top five Red Sox switch-hitter home run hitters are?"
I didnt, but I do now:1. Jason Varitek 1872. Reggie Smith 1493. Reggie Jefferson 504. Carl Everett 485. Bill Mueller 41
"It was weird not having Adrian Gonzalez in the lineup last night. Prince Fielder played for the Brewers yesterday against the D-Backs. And, why do you care? Well, now since the start of the 2006 season Fielder has played in 885 games and Gonzo has played in 884. (Okay, that is a tad maniacal to be tracking that.) Numbers cant measure how much we love Adrian Gonzalez. He is my clear choice for the first-half AL MVP (yours too, I presume). He is hitting .348 with 16 homers and 75 RBI. The question here is what kind of numbers does Gonzo have to put up to be the Sox leader in the Triple Crown categories since 2000?"
In 2000, Nomar Garciaparra hit .372. In 2002, Manny hit .349. In 2006, David Ortiz hit 54 homers. In 2005, Big Papi hit 47. In 2005, Ortiz had 148 RBI and Manny had 145.

"Ill withhold comment on those last two categories other than to say, I would love to see A-Gon reach the 50150 mark.

There was another rain delay last night, this one was a brief 40 minutes. I wonder what other people do during these breaks in the action. I know, when Im not at the park talking over the music that attempts to drown out conversation, I surf other games. I also try to think of other little statistical nuggets that are interesting. So, heres my final question: What do these pitchers have in common: Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter, Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins, Jack Morris, Mike Norris, Jim Perry, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Matt Keough?"

They are the pitchers who gave up Jerry Remys seven career homers.

"Good one. By the way, did you ever notice that the RemDawg never talks about what it was like to face Dennis Eckersley? Maybe its because Jerry was 1-for-14 against the Hall of Famer. Remy did a lot better against another HOF-er, Goose Gossage, hitting .345 (10-29).

Okay Bill, thanks for your time.

Thank you, Bill. Its been a pleasure as always. See you next week.

And, Ill see you next week.

Bonus Stat

According tohttp:www.hittrackeronline.com here are the true distances of the six Sox homers Thursday night against the Orioles pitchers:
Ortiz - 424 feet
Gonzo - 421 feet
Pedey - 418 feet
Reddick - 413 feet
Jacoby - 405 feet
Salty - 388 feet

That's almost half a mile (.467), the equivalent of walking from Yawkey Way and Van Ness to Beacon and Park Drive.

Neumeier: Clay Buchholz could be important for Red Sox down the stretch

Neumeier: Clay Buchholz could be important for Red Sox down the stretch

Bob Neumeier explains why he thinks Clay Buchholz will ultimately end up being key for the Boston Red Sox down the stretch even if it is just a bullpen role.

Sandoval happy to return to the field after shoulder surgery

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Sandoval happy to return to the field after shoulder surgery

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- For the first time in months, Pablo Sandoval met up with his Red Sox teammates Wednesday, breaking from his rehab program two hours away in Fort Myers.

Sandoval, who underwent shoulder surgery in April to repair a torn labrum, has been working out six days per week at the club's spring training complex and appeared noticeably lighter.

"I just starting taking ground balls two days ago,'' said Sandoval. "I feel a little better. I'm happy to be back here with my teammates and happy that I'm starting to work in the field.'' 

Sandoval said his surgically repaired left shoulder is "not back to normal, but it's feeling a lot better. I've started doing a lot of things in the field -- ground balls, playing catch, handling the ball, working out.''

He plans to see Dr. James Andrews soon, and hopes to get clearance to start swinging a bat.

Sandoval appeared to make some veiled references to his weight and conditioning, saying "you learn a lot. You learn from all the mistakes you make, all the things in the past. I have good people around me, supporting me every single day.''

He added that he feels "way different'' than he did in spring training.

"Now that I've learned my lesson,'' he said, "I can do a better job out there. Everything out there is not easy. You have to work hard to learn all the things you were doing wrong. I'll keep working hard and do everything I can to be a better person on the field and off the field.''

As he grinds through conditioning and rehab, Sandoval said he's motivated by "my little boy (Leon). Every time I wake up, I want to do everything for (him), so he can see me back on the field, playing baseball.''

He deflected a question when asked what role he envisioned for himself next February at the start of spring training.

"Whatever,'' he said. "I'm just going to do best that I can. I just want to prepare myself to be better next year.''

Sandoval met with John Farrell Wednesday afternoon.

"He's in good spirits,'' Farrell said. "I think he feels good with all the work he's done. To date, he's done a good job with what he's been capable of doing. The one thing that's clear in getting to know Pablo, I see a guy who's got a lot of pride. Maybe things haven't worked out the way he anticipated through the first two years.

"But it's clear through my conversation with him that he's motivated, he feels like he's got a lot to prove. And I think when you combine his ability with the drive and motivation, this has got a chance to prove to be a productive player here in Boston.''

Meanwhile, Sandoval acknowledged that the Red Sox had not seen him at his best in his two seasons with the club.

"I know that I can prove more and do a better job out there,'' he said. "Things happen for a reason. I'm happy, but I'm not satisfied with the things I'm doing. I'm just going to keep working hard, continue my rehab and be better for next year.''

Sandoval said he misses the game, but watches the Red Sox on TV "every single day.''

"This (time down) is a bonus for me,'' he said. "I want to play, but at the same time, I (get) to see my baby growing up.''