Flintoff & Dunn's NEWS ARCHIVE
JULY 2008

It is intended that this page will maintain a historical record of previous news published on this site. From time to time we will archive old or outdated news on our "WHAT'S NEW" & "AUSSIES IN THE US LEAGUES" pages. It may interest some people to read the developments in chronological order right here.

ARCHIVED NEWS FROM JULY 2008 BEGINS BELOW:

ARCHIVE
JULY 2008

To make things easier for our loyal suscribers we will adopt a new format of
providing news involving
AUSTRALIAN Players in yellow text, while 
news about former AMLB IMPORT Players will be in white text.

 

  31 JULY 2008 - BALFOUR HOLDS AGAINST BLUE JAYS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Grant Balfour


Ryan Langerhans

 

Australia’s GRANT BALFOUR collected his third hold of the season when he helped his Tampa Bay Rays to close out the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 today. ‘Balf’ was virtually untouchable again with 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 2k (1.26ERA) after replacing J.C Howell to pitch the vital seventh inning of the game. He had Alex Rios fly out to right field before winning the battles decisively over both Lyle Overbay and Matt Stairs who fanned at Balfour’s vicious fastballs.

Helping the Kansas City Royals to squeak a 4-3 win over the Oakland Athletics after 10 innings was lefty reliever RON MAHAY (Gold Coast Cougars 1996) who pitched a typically steady 1.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 0k (1.75ERA). This follows after Mahay earned his 18th hold of the season with a typically stress-free 1.0ip 0h 0er 1bb 0k in KC’s 5-2 win over the A’s the previous day.

RYAN LANGERHANS (IBLA Internationals 2001) pinch hit with 1-1 (.283) and PAUL LoDUCA (Adelaide Giants 1995) batted 0-4 (.230) for the Washington Nationals in their 5-8 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. Not able to do enough to prevent the Nationals from losing a tight one to the Phillies yesterday LoDuca batted 1-2 and was hit by a pitch while Langerhans who did his job with a pinch hit sacrifice bunt.

… and from other MLB action yesterday:

MATT HERGES (Adelaide Giants 1999) is not having such a great spell lately and it only got worse yesterday when he was saddled with his third loss of the season and his fifth blown save when his Colorado Rockies were overrun 4-6 by the plucky Pittsburgh Pirates. Matt pitched and ineffective 1.0ip 2h 2er 1bb 0k to see his season record slide to 3-4, 4.76ERA.

  29 JULY 2008 - BALFOUR CLOSES IN LOSS AT TORONTO!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Grant Balfour

 

Once again, Aussie rocket-launcher GRANT BALFOUR did all that he could to give his Tampa Bay Rays one last fighting chance in what would end up as a 1-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. ‘Balf’ relieved starter James Shields with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning and a runner on third base but he left him stranded by getting Marco Scutaro to pop up to the second baseman and Alex Rios to line out to right field. He further reduced his miniscule ERA with 0.2ip 0h 0er 0bb 0k (1.30ERA) today.

In terms of running hot, backup utility GEOFF BLUM (Hunter Eagles 1995) is positively scalding for the Houston Astros with his third home run in two days and his ninth of the season coming in today’s tight 5-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds. Blum finished with 2-3 (.232) and three HUGE game-winning RBI’s.

MATT HERGES (Adelaide Giants 1999) pitched 1.0ip 2h 1er 0bb 0k (4.50ERA) for the Colorado Rockies in their 4-8 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

  28 JULY 2008 - GEOFF BLUM HOMERS TWICE FOR HOUSTON!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Geoff Blum

 

Perennial utility player and highly regarded bench player GEOFF BLUM (Hunter Eagles 1995) had one of his finest ever days in the US major leagues today when he “went yard” twice and drove in four big RBI’s for the Houston Astros in their 11-6 victory over the hot Milwaukee Brewers. Blum batted 2-5 (.224) including a walk, while thumping home runs numbers seven and eight for the season. His pitching team mate CHAD PARONTO (Perth Heat 1998) closed the final two frames with 2.0ip 1h 1er 0bb 2k (3.48ERA).

GARY MATTHEWS JNR. (Brisbane Bandits 1997) batted 1-3 (.234) with a walk for the Los Angeles Angels who took a rare 2-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

Specialist lefty reliever RON MAHAY (Gold Coast Cougars 1996) earned his 17th hold of the season after pitching another strong 2.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 1k (1.81ERA) for the Kansas City Royals in their 6-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

  27 JULY 2008 - GRANT BALFOUR EARNS SECOND HOLD!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Grant Balfour

 

 

Aussie destroyer GRANT BALFOUR was in action again, helping his Tampa Bay Rays to earn a solid 5-3 win over the Kansas City Royals with his second hold of the year. This time Grant relieved Rays’ starter Edwin Jackson with one on and none out in the bottom of the sixth inning. He nailed down the sixth with David DeJesus lining out to the third baseman, Mike Aviles striking out on a foul tip and evergreen Mark Grudzielanek flailing at a 96mph missile. Returning to start the seventh, he had Jose Guillen struck out swinging at another 96mph heater before Alex Gordon battled eight sizzling fastballs for a one-out walk. ‘Balf’ was replaced by J.C Howell after getting Billy Butler to fly out to centre field for his impressive 1.2ip 0h 0er 1bb 3k (1.33ERA).

Helping the Colorado Rockies to post a 6-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds was MATT HERGES (Adelaide Giants 1999) who closed the game with a hardly uneventful 1.0ip 3h 1er 0bb 1k (4.41ERA).

GEOFF BLUM (Hunter Eagles 1995) batted 1-3 (.219) after making a rare start as the Houston Astros third baseman in their 4-6 defeat by the Milwaukee Brewers.

  25 JULY 2008 - BALFOUR RELIVES AGAINST ROYALS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Grant Balfour

 

 

 

 


Gary Matthews

 

Australian GRANT BALFOUR was his typical “model of efficiency” again today while pitching 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 1k (1.42ERA) for the Tampa Bay Rays in their 2-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals. Grant kept his team in the game by posting another scoreless inning of relief with eight of only ten pitches thrown for strikes after he took over from J.C Howell to start the bottom of the seventh. He began by getting veteran Mark Grudzielanek to fly out to right field with a nasty slider, before vanquishing Jose Guillen and Alex Gordon with a steady diet of 95mph fastballs. Guillen was struck out whiffing and Gordon flied out to right field. 
In the same game RON MAHAY (Gold Coast Cougars 1996) pitched 1.0ip 1h 1er 0bb 0k (1.88ERA) in relief for KC.

… and from other recent major league games:

Texas Rangers veteran starter KEVIN MILLWOOD (Melbourne Monarchs 1997) has long been recognised as a reliable “inning eater” in the major leagues, even when he may have battled from time to time. However, his brief 1.2ip 2h 3er 2bb 3k (5.40ERA) start in today’s 8-10 loss to the Chicago White Sox must be one of his earliest departures from the mound in a long and very respectable career.

RON MAHAY (Gold Coast Cougars 1996) managed to work around a shaky 1.0ip 2h 0er 1bb 1k (1.74ERA) to mop up the final inning of his Kansas City Royals 1-7 defeat by the Detroit Tigers.

GARY MATTHEWS JNR. (Brisbane Bandits 1997) was just one of the players to enjoy an eventful game during his Los Angeles Angels wild 14-11 win over the Cleveland Indians. Gary batted a modest 1-3 (.233), but he also walked twice, scored twice and he drove in two runs!

Professional bench warmer GEOFF BLUM (Hunter Eagles 1995) pinch hit with 1-1 (.217) plus a RBI for the Houston Astros in their 7-8 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the previous 2-8 loss to the ‘Bucs’ Blum batted 0-0 with a walk, while his bullpen team mate CHAD PARONTO (Perth Heat 1998) pitched a relatively tidy 1.1ip 0h 0er 0bb 0k (3.24ERA).

In another recent game a couple of AMLB “old boys” were in action for the Washington Nationals who went down 3-6 to the San Francisco Giants. Lifetime catcher PAUL LoDUCA (Adelaide Giants 1995) started at left field for the ‘Nats’ while batting 2-4 (.239) with two RBI’s. He was replaced late in the game by natural outfielder RYAN LANGERHANS (IBLA Internationals 2001) who pinch hit with 0-1 (.261).

  22 JULY 2008 - BALFOUR BLITZES ATHLETICS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Grant Balfour

 

Tampa Bay Rays' hard-throwing Australian reliever GRANT BALFOUR was his typical dominant self today, with yet another overpowering scoreless inning added to his fabulous statistics this season. ‘Balf’ pitched 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 0k (1.48ERA) during a 4-0 shutout win over the Oakland Athletics after relieving ace All-Star Scott Kazmir to pitch the eighth inning. His powerless victims on this occasion were Brooks Conrad, who flied out to left field, before Mark Ellis grounded out to the third baseman and Kurt Suzuki grounded out to the second baseman. As usual, Grant was touching 96mph with his predominant fastball attack, while throwing eleven of his fifteen total pitches for strikes!

Backup catcher DAVID ROSS (MLB All-Stars 2001) was effective on offence again today for the Cincinnati Reds, batting 1-2 (.261) with a run scored and two walks, even though his team was defeated 4-6 by the San Diego Padres.

MATT HERGES (Adelaide Giants 1999) was just one of the Colorado Rockies pitchers to take some nasty medicine today during their wild 10-16 loss to an unusually rampant Los Angeles Dodgers. Herges was not the worst of the ‘Rox’ throwers today with his 1.0ip 3h 4er 1bb 0k (4.31ERA).

  21 JULY 2008 - BALFOUR SAVES & ROWLAND-SMITH ALSO GOOD!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Grant Balfour

 
Ryan R-Smith

 


Ron Mahay

 


Ryan Langerhans

 

Firstly, going back to Saturday following the All-Star break, Aussie fireballer GRANT BALFOUR was his scorching hot self again while collecting his fourth save of the year for the Tampa Bay Rays in their narrow 2-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. ‘Balf’ was the man for the pressure job once again after replacing J.C Howell with two out and a runner perched on third in the top of the eighth inning. His first task was to strand the runner by having the hard-hitting Alex Rios struck out swinging at a 95mph heater after been fed a steady diet of seven straight fastballs. Back to polish off the job in the ninth Grant had Matt Stairs called out on strikes, Rod Barajas popped out to third base and Lyle Overbay struck out fanning at another 95mph bullet. Balfour’s impressive line was 1.1ip 0h 0er 0bb 3k (1.54ERA).

Australia’s RYAN ROWLAND-SMITH was asked to display his versatility once again yesterday, this time pitching as the “long man” out of the bullpen for the Seattle Mariners during their 6-9 defeat by the Cleveland Indians. Ryan had the always unenviable job of trying to put the brakes on a runaway train after the ‘Tribe’ had plundered seven hits and eight runs from starter Miguel Batista who failed to get an out in the third inning. Our man entered the deluge in the top of the third with two runners still on base and nobody out, but he did a man-sized job to pitch up to the end of the sixth inning with 4.0ip 4h 1er 3bb 5k (3.44ERA). In fact he got better after a wobbly beginning in the third when a throwing error cashed in another run for Bautista, followed by two doubles to left field from Franklin Gutierrez and Jamey Carroll, the latter nailing ‘RRS’ for his only earned run of the outing. The only other serious moment for him was when Franklin Gutierrez doubled again in the fifth but it came to nothing before he handed the ball to R.A Dickey to start the seventh inning.

… and in other games over the weekend:

RON MAHAY (Gold Coast Cougars 1996) recorded his 15th and 16th holds of the season over the weekend, pitching for the Kansas City Royals in two victories over the Chicago White Sox. He pitched 1.0ip 2h 0er 1bb 1k (1.78ERA) in an 8-7 win today and 0.2ip 0h 0er 1bb 0k in their 9-1 triumph yesterday.

A pair of former AMLB imports were in the thick of the action for the Washington Nationals during their most recent road series against the Atlanta Braves. PAUL LoDUCA (Adelaide Giants 1995) batted 1-6 (.230) while RYAN LANGERHANS (IBLA Internationals 2001) batted 2-6 (.267) with a RBI in their most recent 15-6 win. Prior to that LoDuca batted 2-5 with two RBI’s and Langerhans 2-3 in another 8-2 win. In the preceding game ‘Paulie’ batted 1-5 with two RBI’s and Ryan managed 2-4 with a RBI during a 6-7 loss to the Braves.

Catcher DAVID ROSS (MLB All-Stars 2001) contributed 1-4 (.257) with a RBI for the Cincinnati Reds in a 7-2 win over the New York Mets.  

Unable to do enough for the Houston Astros in their 0-9 hammering by the Chicago Cubs were GEOFF BLUM (Hunter Eagles 1995) who batter 1-4 (.213) or reliever CHAD PARONTO (Perth Heat 1998) who pitched 0.2ip 1h 0er 0bb 0k (3.86ERA).

MATT HERGES (Adelaide Giants 1999) pitched a tidy 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 1k (3.64ERA) to help his Colorado Rockies to contain the New York Mets 7-1.

Texas Rangers’ veteran “workhorse” KEVIN MILLWOOD (Melbourne Monarchs 1997) was saddled with his sixth defeat of the year after dishing up nearly two hits per inning in a 0-6 shutout loss to the Minnesota Twins. ‘Big Kev’ saw his record slide further to 6-6, 5.23ERA after his battling 6.1ip 11h 5er 1bb 6k performance in this game.

  15 JULY 2008 - LUKE HUGHES PLAYS IN FUTURES GAME!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Luke Hughes

 

Australia’s LUKE HUGHES had the honour of being selected as the starting third baseman for the WORLD Team that triumphed 3-0 over Team USA in Major League Baseball’s prestigious FUTURES GAME. The maturing WA infielder has earned his selection by batting a consistent .328 for the Minnesota Twins ‘AA’ team New Britain Rock Cats this season, with a .589 slugging percentage.

Hughes flied out to centre field to end the first inning then struck out swinging while hoping to protect a stealing runner in the top of the fourth. He was part of traditional mid-game defensive replacements in the bottom of the fifth after batting 0-2, but he did initiate a neat double play during his time in the field.

The big new for Luke Hughes, and many of the other players who played in this showcase game, is that it has proven a conduit for players who have gone on to reach the major league level. Our best of luck to him for the same future!

  14 JULY 2008 - BALFOUR & ROWLAND-SMITH RELIEVE!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Ryan R-Smith


Grant Balfour

 

 

 


Paul LoDuca

 

Aussie RYAN ROWLAND-SMITH may not have enjoyed his return to the Seattle Mariners’ bullpen today after making two starts for the team recently when he found the going tough during the M’s 4-3 win over the Kansas City Royals. Ryan replaced starter Carlos Silva to start the bottom of the seventh and he was immediately under pressure after Ross Gload and John Buck both punched singles up the middle to open the inning. The situation became even more sticky when David DeJesus laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. That was all for Rowland-Smith today when he was replaced by Sean Green with one out in the frame. However, by the vagaries of baseball scoring, he collected a hold, even after Green cashed in one of his earned runs for his 0.1ip 2h 1er 0bb 0k (3.53ERA) effort today. RON MAHAY (Gold Coast Cougars 1996) pitched 1.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 1k (1.84ERA) for Kansas City.

Another Aussie, GRANT BALFOUR, had a similar experience yesterday when he came into the bottom of the eighth inning for the Tampa Bay Rays who were well on their way to a 4-8 loss to the Cleveland Indians. Grant would have expected a quick end to the inning with two out and none on, but he dug himself a hole with a six pitch full-count walk to Ben Francisco and a seven pitch full-count walk to Jhonny Peralta. Veteran Casey Blake saddled ‘Balf’ with an earned run with his RBI single to left field, but the inning also ended when Peralta was put out at third base on the play.

Not to dwell on that outing, GRANT BALFOUR was back to his more normal, highly effective, self today when he contributed a strong 2.0ip 1h 0er 1bb 2k (1.64ERA) for the Rays in their 2-5 loss to the ‘Tribe’. This time Grant replaced ace starter Scott Kazmir for the bottom of the seventh to open with a commanding 1-2-3 inning. He had Jamey Carroll struck out swinging, Ben Francisco ground out to the third baseman and Jhonny Peralta ground out back to the mound for his own assist.
Back for the bottom of the eighth he had Casey Blake “whiffed” before Ryan Garko drove a double to right field. Then after getting Andy Marte to fly out to centre field, he filled the open first base with a strategic walk to Sal Fasano. It worked out for him when the light hitting Franklin Gutierrez flied out to right field to conclude his solid day’s work.

… and in other games over the weekend:

PAUL LoDUCA (Adelaide Giants 1995) batted 2-4 (.226) and scored a run, which was not quite enough for his Washington Nationals who were outscored 4-6 by the Houston Astros. In the same game RYAN LANGERHANS (IBLA Internationals 2001) pinch hit with 0-1 (.194) for the ‘Nats’ while GEOFF BLUM (Hunter Eagles 1995) could have been a villain for the ‘Stros’ after batting 0-5 (.212) with SIX left on base!

Veteran starter KEVIN MILLWOOD (Melbourne Monarchs 1997) was hit hard with 5.1ip 10h 5er 4bb 4k to take his fifth loss of the season for the Texas Rangers who were trumped 7-9 by the Chicago White Sox. ‘Big Kev’s’ record slipped to 6-5, 5.11ERA.

Things were even worse for Houston reliever CHAD PARONTO (Perth Heat 1998) the previous day when he took a painful loss for the Astros in a 0-10 hammering by the Nationals. Making his second appearance for the season, Paronto was tagged for 2.1ip 6h 3er 1bb 1k to see his record fall to 0-1, 4.26ERA.

DAVID ROSS (MLB All-Stars 2001) batted 1-2 (.270) with a RBI and two walks for the Cincinnati Reds, helping them to a 6-5 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

  10 JULY 2008 - BALFOUR TAKES LOSS AGAINST YANKEES!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Grant Balfour

 

Newsflash for Australian baseball fans… GRANT BALFOUR is human!! More seriously, he was the unfortunate reliever to be on the mound when the New York Yankees snatched a narrow 2-1 win over his Tampa Bay Rays in the tenth inning. ‘Balf’ entered the game with one out in the ninth inning, but a runner in scoring position on second base. The first action he saw was Yankee runner Justin Christian stealing third base, however, he was left stranded there when Grant struck out Melky Cabrera on a foul tip, then had Jose Molina pop out to the second baseman. Back to start the tenth he immediately had Brett Gardner called out on strikes after four searing fastballs that capped at 96mph. The decisive moment in the game came when star Yankee captain Derek Jeter worked an eight pitch, full-count walk. This set the table for the ever dangerous veteran Bobby Abreu who fought off five trademark Balfour fastballs before latching onto a changeup to slap the game winning double up the middle. While he will not be feeling too happy with the outcome, Grant Balfour has nothing to feel negative about his 1.0ip 1h 1er 1bb 2k effort that saw his record slip slightly to 2-1, 1.37ERA. He has been nothing short of brilliant this season but, as a relief pitcher in the big league, this had to happen sooner or later!

  9 JULY 2008 - GRANT BALFOUR BLUNTS THE YANKEES!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Grant Balfour


Vernon Wells

You’ll have to excuse us if we seem to be running out of ways to praise the OUTSTANDING performances of Australian pitcher GRANT BALFOUR this year. Maybe we can by-pass the superlatives by simply marvelling at his 2-0 record, his three saves, his more than three-to-one strikeout versus walk ratio and his miniscule earned run average that has now shrunk to BELOW ONE!! 
Once again today Grant faced a nasty assignment when asked to blunt a few of the toughest of ‘Bronx Bombers’ in his Tampa Bay Rays 0-5 shutout loss to the New York Yankees in famous Yankee Stadium. ‘Balf’ replaced the Rays’ ace starter Scott Kazmir to start the bottom of the sixth inning and he could hardly have been more imposing by striking out veteran Bobby Abreu with a sinker, then he fanned superstar Alex ‘A-Rod’ Rodriguez with a 96mph fastball. He then erased a Jorge Posada single to centre field when he got Wilson Betemit to ground into a fielder’s choice force out. Balfour’s line today was 1.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 2k (0.96ERA) before he handed over the bottom of the seventh to
GARY GLOVER (Sydney Storm 1999) who pitched a less impressive 1.0ip 3h 3er 0bb 0k (4.05ERA) which saw the Yankees ice the game.

VERNON WELLS (Sydney Storm 1999) batted a most valuable 2-4 (.284) with two RBI’s and a run scored for the Toronto Blue Jays, helping them to sneak past the Baltimore Orioles 7-6.

Continuing his strong season for the Kansas City Royals in their 5-7 loss to the Chicago White Sox was reliable reliever RON MAHAY (Gold Coast Cougars 1996) who pitched 0.2ip 1h 0er 0bb 0k (1.91ERA).

MATT HERGES (Adelaide Giants 1999) took some lumps during his Colorado Rockies 3-7 defeat by the contending Milwaukee Brewers, pitching 1.2ip 2h 3er 2bb 2k (3.80ERA) today.

  8 JULY 2008 - CHAD PARONTO RETURNS TO MAJORS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Chad Paronto

 

Major league pitching journeyman CHAD PARONTO (Perth Heat 1998) returned to the major leagues for the first time this year and he did enough to hang around a while longer, even though his Houston Astros were topped 7-10 by the Pittsburgh Pirates today. Paronto pitched a more than useful 4.0ip 1h 0er 1bb 1k (0.00ERA) while his new team mate GEOFF BLUM (Hunter Eagles 1995) pinch hit for 0-1 (.220)

Kansas City Royals left-hander RON MAHAY (Gold Coast Cougars 1996) earned his 14th hold for 2008 when he pitched another excellent 2.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 4k (1.94ERA) in his team's 7-4 win over the red-hot Tampa Bay Rays today.

GARY MATTHEWS JNR. (Brisbane Bandits 1997) batted 1-4 (.239) plus a walk for the Los Angeles Angels who had the better of the Texas Rangers in a 9-6 result.

  7 JULY 2008 - ROWLAND-SMITH STARTS AGAIN!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Ryan 
Rowland-Smith

 



Kevin Millwood

To use American baseball vernacular, Australia’s RYAN ROWLAND-SMITH was “stretched out” today while making his second big league start for the depleted Seattle Mariners in what was to be a soul-destroying 1-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers over 15 innings. 
However, the big Aussie reliever certainly did not let his team down with a solid 5.0ip 5h 1er 3bb 2k (2.92ERA) with a total of 87 pitches, including 56 strikes. We won’t detail every out on this occasion, but we will start by telling you that Ryan gave up his only run when Ryan Raburn smacked a leadoff home run to left field in the fifth inning. 
In the first he had to work around a Placido Polanco double and a two-out walk to Miguel Cabrera. Then again in the second he caused himself some concern when Ivan Rodriguez slapped a leadoff single and he later loaded the bases with two out walks issued to both Ryan Raburn and Curtis Granderson. He escaped this jam when he induced Placido Polanco to ground out to the third baseman. Rowland-Smith provided a 1-2-3 third inning which he punctuated by striking out Marcus Thames for the third out. 
Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez was a headache again with a leadoff  single to open the fourth frame, but he was later caught stealing to end the inning. In the fifth Raburn’s leadoff homer was followed by a Curtis Granderson single before he tidied up the inning and handed the ball, to Mark Lowe to start the top of the sixth. It was another very good performance for a guy who is unaccustomed to starting games.

Hardly unaccustomed to starting is Texas Rangers evergreen “horse” KEVIN MILLWOOD (Melbourne Monarchs 1997) who collected his sixth win of the 2008 season when his team just managed to outscore the Baltimore Orioles in a “wild” 11-10 result. ‘Big Kev’ pitched 5.0ip 9h 3er 0bb 2k and, although he has pitched better and lost this year, he improved his record to 6-4, 4.93ERA.

GARY GLOVER (Sydney Storm 1999) supplied another inning of solid relief for the Tampa Bay Rays with 1.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 0k (3.34ERA) to help them cruise home 9-2 against the Kansas City Royals.

Former ABL catchers DAVID ROSS (MLB All-Stars 2001) and PAUL LoDUCA (Adelaide Giants 1995) were in opposition today in the Cincinnati Reds 6-5 win over the Washington Nationals. David batted 1-2 (.245) with a RBI and a run scored for the Reds, while ‘Paulie’ batted 0-4 (.221) for the ‘Nats’.

  6 JULY 2008 - BALFOUR SAVES THIRD FOR RAYS
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Grant Balfour

 

 

Just about the only thing hotter than Australian rocket-launcher GRANT BALFOUR is his division leading Tampa Bay Rays team as he helped them to preserve a 3-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals with his third save of the season today. 'Balf' closed the ninth inning with another highly efficient 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 2k (1.02ERA) performance today. He replaced J.P Howell to slam the door shut in the top of the ninth with Jose Guillen struck out swinging, Billy Butler struck out looking and Ross Gload flying out to centrefield.

Toronto Blue Jays All-Star slugger VERNON WELLS (Sydney Storm 1999) went deep for his ninth 'dinger' of the campaign while batting 1-5 (.281) with the two vital RBI's for his Toronto Blue Jays who outlasted the Los Angeles Angels 7-5. GARY MATTHEWS JNR. (Brisbane Bandits 1997) batted 1-4 (.239) and scored a run for the 'Halos'.

MATT HERGES (Adelaide Giants 1999) pitched 0.2ip 0h 0er 0bb 1k (3.32ERA) to help the Colorado Rockies to double the Florida Marlins 12-6 at Coors Field.

  4 JULY 2008 - GLOVER WINS & MAHAY HOLDS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Ron Mahay


Gary Glover

With Aussie players taking a back seat for the past couple of days, a few of our former AMLB imports continued to ply their trades in the US major leagues.

Kansas City Royals left-hander RON MAHAY (Gold Coast Cougars 1996), who played exclusively as an outfielder in our ABL, earned his 13th hold of an excellent season so far for him when his team outlasted the Baltimore Orioles 10-7. Mahay pitched another most effective 2.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 3k (2.03ERA) in relief.

GEOFF BLUM (Hunter Eagles 1995) scored half of the runs for his Houston Astros, batting 1-4 (.224) with the run scored in their 2-5 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

… and from yesterday:

Tampa Bay Rays reliever GARY GLOVER (Sydney Storm 1999) was pitching at just the right time to collect his first win of the 2008 season when his team rallied for a six-run seventh inning against the suddenly vulnerable Boston Red Sox bullpen for a 7-6 victory. Glover’s 1.2ip 1h 1er 2bb 2k was enough to take him to a decent 1-2, 3.45ERA record.

PAUL LoDUCA (Adelaide Giants 1995) batted 1-3 (.228) and drove in both of the runs for the Washington Nationals who fell 2-4 to the Florida Marlins.

  2 JULY 2008 - BALFOUR SAVES, ROWLAND-SMITH STARTS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Grant Balfour

 
Ryan 
Rowland-Smith

 

 


Kevin Millwood

 

 

 


Geoff Blum

Aussie ace GRANT BALFOUR was again at the forefront of the action today, claiming his second save of the year when he closed the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 win over the visiting Boston Red Sox. Grant earned his money again by pitching out of a sticky two on and two out situation in the top of the eighth inning while taking on the meat of the Bosox lineup. His first action was to “pitch around” super-slugger Manny Ramirez with a walk to load the bases, but he dodged the threat with three successive sliders to the dangerous Mike Lowell before he had him ground out to the short stop. Returning for mop up duty in the ninth, ‘Balf’ had Kevin Youkilis and Brandon Moss both struck out swinging before Alex Cora nailed a double to left field. He completed the inning with his third “fanned” strike out, this time of Red Sox skipper Jason Varitek, for his 1.1ip 1h 0er 1bb 3k (1.08ERA) pitching line.

Aussie reliever RYAN ROWLAND-SMITH was asked to make his first major league start today and he was soon to be reminded about the big differences between starting and relieving games. Ryan was very solid, allowing only one hit through three scoreless innings, but he must have been nearing the limits of his endurance when he pitched into the fourth frame and he was dealt with quite harshly by hitters who were seeing him for the second time through the batting order. In the top of the first he had David Eckstein pop out to the short stop, Marco Scutaro fly out to left field and Alex Rios pop up to the second baseman. In the second Vernon Wells grounded out to the third baseman, Lyle Overbay struck out swinging and Scott Rolen popped out to the catcher in foul territory. In the third inning Gregg Zaun popped out to the first baseman, Adam Lind singled to right field, John McDonald popped out to the first baseman and David Eckstein lined out to left field. 
His trouble started immediately in the fourth when Marco Scutaro led off with a single to left field, followed by an Alex Rios walk which set the table for slugger Vernon Wells to deliver a RBI double. Rowland-Smith next hit Lyle Overbay with a pitch before claiming his first out of the inning when Scott Rolen popped out to the short stop. Then he may have caught a small break when Gregg Zaun lined to left field, but another run scored while the runner was forced out at third base. ‘RRS’ was then lifted after Adam Lind stroked another RBI single to close his book at 3.2ip 4h 3er 1bb 1k (3.05ERA). He might be glad to return to the bullpen when his Seattle Mariners get past a temporary lack of starting pitchers.

Veteran starter KEVIN MILLWOOD (Melbourne Monarchs 1997) was unfortunate not to figure in the result after pitching a solid 5.0ip 5h 1er 1bb 6k (4.90ERA) for the Texas Rangers and anchoring them to a 3-2 win over the New York Yankees.

… and from other recent MLB games:

Australia ’s overpowering reliever GRANT BALFOUR simply repeated what he has been doing so consistently lately by peppering major league hitters with 95-97mph fastballs late in ball games to tremendous effect. Once again he made sure that his Tampa Bay Rays maintained their edge over division rivals the Boston Red Sox with his first hold of the season helping them to a tight 5-4 win. ‘Balf’ threw five of his seven pitches for strikes after relieving Trever Miller with two on and one out in the top of the seventh inning. His first victim was Bosox captain Jason Varitek who popped out to the catcher in foul territory, followed by Julio Lugo who grounded back to the mound for Grant to supply his own put out assist. He then made way for Dan Wheeler before the top of the eighth after his convincing 0.2ip 0h 0er 0bb 0k (1.17ERA) effort.

GEOFF BLUM (Hunter Eagles 1995) clouted his fifth home run of the season and it was a most important one for the Houston Astros as a decisive run in their narrow 3-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox. Blum batted 2-4 (.231) while he continues to be one of the more valuable bench journeymen in the big leagues.

A villain for the Colorado Rockies in their tough 3-4 loss to the revitalised Detroit Tigers was evergreen reliever MATT HERGES (Adelaide Giants 1999) who blew his fourth save of the season with 0.1ip 1h 0er 1bb 0k (3.49ERA).

DAVID ROSS (MLB All-Stars 2001) batted 2-4 (.244) for the Cincinnati Reds to help them claim a big 9-5 Interleague win over their Ohio state rivals the Cleveland Indians.

 

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