Flintoff & Dunn's NEWS ARCHIVE
JULY 2012

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 From time to time we will archive old or outdated news on our "WHAT'S NEW" & "AUSSIES IN THE US LEAGUES" pages.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 2012 BEGINS BELOW:

ARCHIVE
JULY
2012

To make things easier for our loyal subscribers 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 2012 - BALFOUR HELPS A's TO WIN IN EXTRAS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Grant Balfour

Australia's GRANT BALFOUR was just one of 14 pitchers that took the mound at the Oakland Coliseum during the five hour epic that saw the Oakland Athletics nip the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 after fifteen long innings. In fact, Grant did a most important job by keeping the score tied in extra innings with his efficient 1.1ip 0h 0er 1bb 1k (2.81ERA). Taking over for the top of the 11th, he got the dangerous B.J Upton to ground out back to the mound for his own assist before Ben Zobrist battled for a full count walk. Zobrist was unable to advance when Jeff Keppinger popped out to the second baseman and Matt Joyce struck out looking. Balfour returned to claim one more out in the 12th when he got important leadoff hitter Ryan Roberts to pop up on the infield to the second baseman on a full count. Our reliever contributed to seven successive scoreless innings from the bottom of the seventh in a nail-biting contest.

  30 JULY 2012 - BLACKLEY BATTLES & BALFOUR HOLDS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Travis Blackley


Grant Balfour



Kevin Millwood

Following probably his finest ever start in the US major leagues, Australian lefty TRAVIS BLACKLEY hit a bit of a "speed hump" today with his first loss for quite some time. In an unusually ragged performance, Travis battled for location with 5.0ip 6h 5er 4bb 1k to see his record evened at 3-3, 3.15ERA when his Oakland Athletics were trampled 1-6 by the Baltimore Orioles.
BOT 1: Blackley started in control with a brisk three up and three down via two fly balls and one ground out after just seven pitches.  BOT 2: He worked around a one out walk to Lew Ford and a two out single by Chris Davis to keep his slate clean.  BOT 3: Trouble started on the first pitch when Omar Quintanilla reached on a bunt single that Travis fielded himself. Quintanilla then found himself on third base with one out when Travis committed a throwing error on a pickoff attempt before walking J.J Hardy. Orioles' star Adam Jones next delivered a RBI double ahead of powerful catcher Matt Wieters who spanked a three run homer over left centre for a decisive 4-0 lead in the game.  BOT 4: Blackley re-grouped for a scoreless frame even after Omar Quintanilla threatened with a two out double.  BOT 5: J.J Hardy set the table with a leadoff single to left on a 1-2 count, followed by a walk issued to Adam Jones. Travis then got Matt Wieters to ground into a fielder's choice but an error by his first baseman saw a fifth run scored. He did well to escape further damage in the inning but his day ended there. It was not a successful outing for Blackley, yet it should not detract from his recent great form.


On the weekend Australia's GRANT BALFOUR was more than a tad fortunate to collect his 13th hold of the season after pitching a precarious 0.2ip 0h 0er 3bb 0k (2.89ERA) for the Oakland Athletics during their 14-9 win over the Baltimore Orioles. Grant was asked to take over for the bottom of the seventh inning with his team holding a not entirely comfortable 8-6 advantage and, after issuing three walks, the A's would have been relieved to see that lead preserved. He began by getting Nick Markakis to pop out on the infield for his own put out ahead of back-to-back walks to J.J Hardy and Jim Thome. Balfour banked the second out when Adam Jones flied out to right field but, when Chris Davis battled for a full count walk, he was replaced on the mound by Sean Doolittle. He fanned Wilson Betemit to conclude the inning without addition to Balfour's ERA account.

Seasoned Seattle Mariners' starter KEVIN MILLWOOD (Melbourne Monarchs 1997) was very sharp yesterday with 6.1ip 6h 1r 0er 1bb 3k to anchor his team's narrow 4-3 win over the Kansas City Royals. With a struggling team, his 4-8, 3.90ERA record is pretty decent.

  26 JULY 2012 - BLACKLEY BRILLIANT v BLUE JAYS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Travis Blackley








Kevin Millwood

Followers of our web site and major league baseball fans in general would all be aware that Aussie star TRAVIS BLACKLEY has been growing in confidence with some terrific performances for the Oakland Athletics leading up to the All-Star break. The great news is that he has bounced out after the break with his finest performance yet when he mesmerised the Toronto Blue Jays with 7.0ip 5h 1er 1bb 8k. With a stunning mixture of well located fastballs and a crippling breaking ball, Blackley nailed his third win to take his season record to 3-2, 2.69ERA.  BOT 1: Brett Lawrie reached on a leadoff infield single that Blackley deflected before advancing to second on a wild pitch. This was nullified when Colby Rasmus flied out to right and outfielder Josh Reddick hosed Lawrie who tried to tag and go to third. He finished the inning with Edwin Encarnacion becoming his first strike out victim.  BOT 2: J.P Arencibia crunched a one out double to right centre field but he moved no further in an inning that included the strike out of Kelly Johnson.
BOT 3: With two strikes on leadoff batter Travis Snyder, Blackley hung a breaking ball and Snyder crushed a solo homer over right field to halve the A's lead to 2-1. It proved to be the only run that Travis allowed, even though he hit a batter and issued his only walk later in the inning.  BOT 4: The inning started with a strike out of J.P Arencibia and it finished with a ground ball double play after Kelly Johnson reached on an infield single.  BOT 5: Brett Lawrie singled to left with two out as Blackley held firm for another zero.
BOT 6: Travis really got rolling by striking out the side with Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind and J.P Arencibia all punched out!  BOT 7: With a 7-1 lead in his favour Travis locked down another 1-2-3 inning, including the strike outs of Kelly Johnson and Traviis Snyder. It was a fitting way to end his day with his career best eighth strike out and an ensuing 7-2 win for his team.

On a day when his superstar Japanese former team mate Ichiro Suzuki suited up for the rival New York Yankees, veteran Seattle Mariners' starter KEVIN MILLWOOD (Melbourne Monarchs 1997) took his eighth loss of the 2012 season. Millwood's season record fell to 3-8, 4.13ERA after pitching a decent 7.0ip 9h 3er 2bb 5k in their 1-4 defeat by the Yanks.

  20 JULY 2012 - BLACKLEY & BALFOUR TACKLE TEXAS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Travis Blackley


Grant Balfour



David Ross

The Australian pitching duo of TRAVIS BLACKLEY and GRANT BALFOUR were in action for the Oakland Athletics and they helped them to outlast the Texas Rangers in a tight 4-3 ballgame. Blackley once again contributed a quality start for the A's, even though he was in line for the loss when he left the hill after hurling a pretty decent 5.1ip 6h 3er 1bb 4k (2.86ERA). Balfour took the ball from Travis with one out in the sixth inning just after Texas had scored the go-ahead run and he cashed in the last of Blackley's base runners before ending the inning with the Rangers on top 3-1.
TOP 1: Blackley made short work of the top of the Texas lineup with a pop up and two ground outs.
TOP 2: Another clean inning was interrupted briefly when Travis issued a four pitch walk to Nelson Cruz with two already out. TOP 3: Once again Travis had two outs before Ian Kinsler poked a single into left field for no further damage. TOP 4: The meat of the Rangers' lineup threatened after Josh Hamilton led off the inning with an infield single. Critically, Blackley then won a huge nine pitch battle with the dangerous Adrian Beltre who finally struck out swinging after fouling off five successive pitches. He then killed that potential uprising by inducing Michael Young to hit into an inning ending double play.
TOP 5: Brandon Snyder started some two out noise with a single to right, allowing Craig Gentry to open the scoring in the game with his RBI double into deep left field.
TOP 6: After Oakland had tied the game in the bottom of the fifth Texas hit back with a leadoff single from Elvis Andrus who moved to second base on a contentious baulk that may have been a pickoff. Andrus moved along to third via Adrian Beltre's one out fielder's choice to set the table for Michael Young's RBI single to left. This is when compatriot Grant Balfour took the ball and he ultimately lost a seven pitch full count battle with Nelson Cruz who punched a RBI single to left centre. Grant polished off the inning by fanning both Mike Napoli and Brandon Snyder, but Texas had assumed a strong 3-1 position in the game in the middle of the sixth. That left Balfour with the line of 0.2ip 1h 0er 0bb 2k (3.07ERA).
Happily for both of our men the Athletics were able to rally back for an uplifting ninth inning 4-3 win.

We have mentioned often before that DAVID ROSS (MLB All-Stars 2001) is clearly among the most valuable backup catchers in all of baseball and he proved that again today with another vital contribution to his Atlanta Braves 3-2 win over the visiting San Francisco Giants. In the fourth inning of this game Ross hammered a two out rocket shot over centre field to score what proved to be the decisive run in the contest. It was his fifth homer of the season as he batted 1-3 (.293) while also catching the full game in place of regular All-Star Brian McCann.

  15 JULY 2012 - BALFOUR HOLDS 11th v TWINS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Grant Balfour

David Ross

Australian relief ace GRANT BALFOUR had a battle on his hands to get the one out asked of him, but he was rewarded with his 11th hold of the season when his Oakland Athletics doubled the Minnesota Twins by 6-3 on the weekend. Grant required eight pitches to put up his line of 0.1ip 0h 0er 0bb 0k (3.12ERA). On this occasion Balfour played a critical role when he was asked to get the final out in the bottom of the eighth with runners threatening on second and third bases, representing the tying and go-ahead runs in a 4-3 ballgame. As the tension mounted he held his nerve in a full count battle to finally get Trevor Plouffe to line out to the second baseman.


Veteran starter KEVIN MILLWOOD (Melbourne Monarchs 1997) pitched another workmanlike outing for the Seattle Mariners, yet he could not escape without his seventh loss of the season when his team fell short in a 2-3 defeat by his former team, the Texas Rangers. 'Big Kev' pitched 6.2ip 8h 3er 2bb 4k against the tough Rangers' lineup as his season record sank to 3-7, 3.71ERA.

That most productive of backup catchers DAVID ROSS (MLB All-Stars 2001) was at it again with a big hit to help his Atlanta Braves to get the better of their division rival New York Mets 7-5. With two on and two out in the bottom of the third inning, Ross delivered a crushing three run homer as the biggest blow of the game. It was his fourth long ball of the season as he batted 1-2 (.282) plus three walks for his four RBIs.

  9 JULY 2012 - BALFOUR STRONG IN EXTRA INNINGS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Grant Balfour

For the second time recently Australian reliever GRANT BALFOUR played a vital role in extra innings to help his Oakland Athletics to squeeze out a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners after 13 long frames. Grant was called to arms to pitch the 12th inning of a tied 1-1 ballgame and he preserved the position quite tidily with 1.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 1k (3.14ERA) as he threw 13 of 18 pitches for strikes. He needed to be sharp after Casper Wells punched a leadoff single into right field when he next won a key, eight pitch, battle with Justin Smoak who eventually punched out swinging on a full count. Balfour then made short work of wily Miguel Olivo who popped out to the catcher in foul territory and Brendan Ryan who fouled out to the first baseman.
It was a positive way for Balfour and the Athletics to head into the All-Star break.

  8 JULY 2012 - BLACKLEY & BALFOUR BATTLE SEATLE!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Travis Blackley






Grant Balfour

Australia's bounce back player of the year TRAVIS BLACKLEY continues to enjoy a roll of success with the Oakland Athletics, even though they were on their way to a heavy 1-7 defeat at the hands of the Seattle Mariners. Whereas his recent splendid form has come as a starter for the A's, this time he was asked to eat some innings of middle relief when young starter Jarrod Parker was knocked out of the game early. With the All-Star break on the immediate horizon Travis did exactly what was asked of him with a highly competent 3.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 3k (2.63ERA) that at least halted the Mariners onslaught through the middle innings. Taking over for the top of the sixth inning Blackley had Justin Smoak called out on strikes, Carlos Peguero pop out to the shortstop and Brendan Ryan ground out to the first baseman. In the seventh he started well by getting Dustin Ackley to ground out to second before the ever pesky Ichiro Suzuki reached on a trademark infield single. He was unable to advance when Travis got Michael Saunders to fly out to left field and then had John Jaso struck out swinging on a full count. In another tidy top of the eighth Blackley rolled a couple of ground outs to Kyle Seager and Justin Smoak either side of his punch out of Casper Wells. It was another impressive effort for the talented Aussie lefty.

The previous day his compatriot GRANT BALFOUR was called to duty in extra innings when he helped the A's to prevail 4-1 over the Mariners after eleven innings. Grant tucked away a vital scoreless tenth inning with his neat 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 1k (3.21ERA). With the game deadlocked at 1-1, Balfour got John Jaso to fly out to left field, Ichiro Suzuki to ground out to first and Casper Wells to strike out swinging. The opposing starter in this game was evergreen KEVIN MILLWOOD (Melbourne Monarchs 1997) who deserved a better outcome after his sterling start of 7.0ip 3h 0er 2bb 7k (3.69ERA).

Back at third base for the Arizona Diamondbacks was GEOFF BLUM (H
unter Eagles 1995) who batted 1-3 (.158) in their 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

  5 JULY 2012 - BALFOUR WINS 2ND v RED SOX!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Grant Balfour

GRANT BALFOUR swooped for his second win of the season when he chimed in at just the right time with a highly effective 1.2ip 0h 0er 0bb 0k to help his Oakland Athletics to complete an unlikely series sweep of the visiting Boston Red Sox with a 3-2 victory in the finale. Coming in to begin the top of the seventh in a 2-2 ballgame, 'Balf' made short work of the bottom of the Red Sox lineup when he got Cody Ross to grouind back to himself, Mike Aviles to ground out to third and Nick Punto to line out to the first baseman.
With a 3-2 lead putting him in line for the win, Grant registered a couple more outs in the eighth with Daniel Nava flying out to left field and Ryan Kalish popping out to the third baseman. Balfour improved his record to 2-2, 3.29ERA.

  3 JULY 2012 - HENDRIKS MISSES WIN v TIGERS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Liam Hendriks






Seemingly just an inning or two away from his first major league win, young Aussie right hander LIAM HENDRIKS suddenly found things heading south in the fifth inning of what turned out to be a 6-4 victory for his Minnesota Twins over the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. BOT 1: Liam looked comfortable in the first inning with three ground ball outs separated only by Miguel Cabrera's two out single up the middle.
BOT 2: A very efficient, eight pitch, 1-2-3 inning with Delmon Young Struck out swinging, Ryan Raburn grounding out to third and Jhonny Peralta lining out to left. BOT 3: A leadoff single by Alex Avila was followed by a ground out, but the table was set for Detroit when Austin Jackson walked and Quintin Berry singled to load the bags for 'Big Mig' Cabrera. Hendriks did well under the circumstances to limit the damage to a sacrifice fly RBI to Cabrera before he intentionally walked Prince Fielder and then got Delmon Young to pop up on the infield to end the inning. BOT 4: With a 4-1 lead now in his favour Hendriks delivered another tidy inning with only a two out single by Alex Avila populating the base paths.
BOT 5: Unfortunately there was no escape hatch for Liam in the fifth when Austin Jackson led off with a single on a 3-2 count and Quintin Berry received a rare four pitch walk from our young "strike machine". This brought Miguel Cabrera up again for his third hit as he came through with a two RBI double to deep left centre. Any chance Liam may have had to pitch through with the lead still holding at 6-3 were dashed when he lost a full count battle with Prince Fielder who milked a walk. Hendriks was then relieved by Anthony Swarzak who allowed a runner to third on a wild pitch before banking another run on Liam's account via a sacrifice fly. As we said, the Twins went on to maintain the 6-4 win in the game by our man was left with a no-decision after pitching his line of 4.0ip 6h 4er 4bb 1k (7.04ERA).

  2 JULY 2012 - BLACKLEY & BALFOUR BEAT TEXAS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Travis Blackley






Grant Balfour

It was a tremendous showcase for Australian baseball when TRAVIS BLACKLEY brilliantly anchored the win and GRANT BALFOUR assisted with a hold as their Oakland Athletics defeated the Texas Rangers 3-1 in Arlington. If his last few starts are anything to go by, and you'd have to think that they are, then Blackley is well and truly back in town as a bona fide major league starting pitcher. He seems to be getting sharper with each outing and his 7.0ip 7h 1er 0bb 3k effort in this game was his best yet. Most significantly it came against one of the strongest hitting lineups in baseball and in one of the most "hitter friendly" ballparks. Also, Blackley outduelled much heralded Japanese superstar Yu Darvish to collect his second win of the season as he now owns an impressive 2-2, 2.79ERA record. BOT 1: Elvis Andrus poked a one out single up the middle and, of course, he was looking to run but he perhaps wasn't familiar with Blackley's canny pickoff moves as he was caught stealing in a blank frame. BOT 2: Nelson Cruz lined a two out double to deep centre field but this did no damage. BOT 3: A leadoff single from catcher Yorvit Torrealba was also erased on a caught stealing (read pickoff) but an Ian Kinsler double was cashed in for the Rangers' only run of the game when Elvis Andrus stroked a RBI single to right field. BOT 4: A quick 1-2-3 inning saw All-Stars Josh Hamilton ground out and Adrian Beltre called out on strikes, then Michael Young flied out to right.
BOT 5: After his team had tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the fifth Travis put up another zero including the strike out of selected All-Star Mike Napoli for three up and three down. BOT 6: After Craig Gentry ripped a leadoff ground rule double Blackley needed to make some good pitches to handle the top of the lineup with Kinsler and Andrus out on two pitches each before he got superstar Josh Hamilton to pop up to end the inning. BOT 7: This time Blackley maintained a 3-1 advantage with yet another zero. Nelson Cruz got aboard with a two out single by the Aussie finished with a flourish by striking out Mike Napoli swinging on just three pitches.

Countryman Grant Balfour took the ball directly from Blackley to begin the bottom of the eighth, but it was not all plain sailing after Yorvit Torrealba reached on an infield single as the leadoff batter. A subsequent error put two runners aboard with one out but Balfour claimed the second out before he was relieved by Jerry Blevins who preserved the 3-1 winning score. Grant collected his tenth hold of the season with his 0.2ip 1h 0er 0bb 0k (3.43ERA) effort. It was a productive day for the Australian team mates who were pivotal in the winning result.

  1 JULY 2012 - BALFOUR HOLDS BUT LOSES TO TEXAS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Grant Balfour

So baseball buffs, how can a relief pitcher take a loss and a hold at the same time? ... The short answer is when it is his base runners who cross the plate when the lead changes in a losing game to take the loss, yet he still records a hold if he left the mound with his team in the lead. That was the unusual fate suffered by Australia's GRANT BALFOUR who had a rare tough outing when his Oakland Athletics were overrun 3-4 by the Texas Rangers in late innings. Grant unusually lost his command of the strike zone to take the rather ugly looking line of 0.2ip 1h 4er 3bb 0k as his record slid to 1-2, 3.49ERA.
As he most often does Balfour was asked to pitch the eighth inning and he faced the top of the prolific Rangers' lineup with his team enjoying a 2-0 lead. It all started well enough when leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler flied out to right but it all rolled steadily downhill from there. Elvis Andrus dumped a single into shallow centre and then stole second base as Josh Hamilton milked a full count walk. A second out was in the bank when Adrian Beltre flied out to right, possibly enticing Balfour to issue a semi-intentional four pitch walk to Michael Young as the bags were juiced. It proved to be a risky strategy when Nelson Cruz worked another full count walk to push across the first run of the game for Texas. With the home crowd suddenly invigorated Grant was replaced by Ryan Cook who was unable to preserve the lead when his second pitch to Craig Gentry served up a bases clearing triple to deep left centre field. Not only did it allow the Rangers to snatch the game from their grasp, but it also heaped the three extra earned runs onto Balfour's account. Baseball can be like that at times and walks will almost certainly kill you!

 

If anyone takes the trouble to contact us with any reasonably substantiated news of interest to AMLB supporters, we will publish this news on this site! Click these to contact Adrian Dunn or Peter Flintoff.