Flintoff & Dunn's NEWS ARCHIVE
OCTOBER 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 From time to time we will archive old or outdated news on our "WHAT'S NEW" & "AUSSIES IN THE US LEAGUES" pages.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 OCTOBER 2008 BEGINS BELOW:

ARCHIVE
OCTOBER 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.

 

  27 OCT 2008 - BALFOUR FIRES IN WORLD SERIES!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Grant Balfour

Australia's new high-profile baseball star GRANT BALFOUR has again been at the pointy end of the drama during the first few games of the 2008 World Series, pitching in late relief for the American League Tampa Bay Rays against the Philadelphia Phillies. As the "position description" often demands, his job involves more of the pressure than most others in baseball and more of the fluctuating fortunes.

After pitching quite brilliantly in Game 1 (more on that later) he would be a disappointed man left on the mound when Game 3 was snatched by the Phillies 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth. The cauldron was already boiling when Balfour was asked to relieve J.P Howell who had just put the leadoff runner on in the ninth by hitting Eric Bruntlett with a pitch. This was quickly exacerbated when Grant threw a emotionally charged wild pitch, only to see the runner make it all the way to third when the play was compounded by a throwing error. These events caused Tampa manager Joe Maddon to "roll the dice" by instructing Balfour to issue successive intentional walks to Shane Victorino and Greg Dobbs. The baseball gods did not shine on Balfour or the Rays at this stage with the bases loaded and none out when Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz mishit a "squibber" towards third base that allowed the winning run to score. His unflattering and rather unrepresentative pitching line was 0.0ip 1h 0er 2bb 0k on this occasion.

Back in Game 1 Grant would have been one of the real heroes had his Rays rallied to win in what resulted in a 2-3 loss to the Phils. On this occasion 'Balf' was at his flame throwing best with a powerhouse 1.2ip 1h 0er 1bb 2k performance in the heat of the kitchen. In this game he replaced Howell with two on and two out in the seventh inning of the finely balanced 2-3 game. His first mission accomplished was to end this threat by striking out the pesky Shane Victorino with a 95mph rocket. Then in an ice-cool effort, he banked the eighth inning 1-2-3 with only six pitches. He had Pedro Feliz fly out to right field, Chris Coste ground softly back to the mound and Carlos Ruiz line out to right field. He was so impressive that he was given the ball again to start the ninth which began well when he erased leadoff star Jimmy Rollins who struck out on three high-voltage pitches. Grant's only blemish would come when Jayson Werth "poked" a quite fortunate ground rule double just inside the right field line, which prompted Maddon to intentionally walk Chase Utley. Balfour was then relieved by Trever Miller with his first World Series job VERY well done!

'Flintoff & Dunn' believe that GRANT BALFOUR deserves serious consideration for MLB's SETUP MAN Award for 2008. To assist with this, we encourage EVERY Australian baseball fan to vote for Grant via this link... http://www.mlb.com/mlb/awards/y2008/tyib/index.jsp

  17 OCT 2008 - BALFOUR SLUGGED BY BOSOX!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Grant Balfour

By any measure the 2008 major league baseball season has been nothing other than a magnificent success for Australia's new No.1 player GRANT BALFOUR who has established himself as one of the premier right arm relief pitchers in the game. However, the last few days have not been most successful for Grant in the middle of the American League Championship Series against the defending World Champion Boston Red Sox. Even though he might well go on to play in the World Series, he has taken some punishment lately at the hands of the playoff-hardened Red Sox hitters.

In today's epic Game 5 'Balf' was one of the villains of the normally suffocating Tampa Bay Rays bullpen when they combined to cough up a seven run lead from the seventh inning when the resilient Bosox rallied to snatch a dramatic 8-7 triumph in the ninth inning. In fact, not to avoid the truth, it was our man who allowed the Red Sox to find a pulse when he first put them on the scoreboard with 0.2ip 4h 4er 0bb 0k in a performance that is in complete contrast with what he has done so regularly this season. Starting the fateful seventh inning he was immediately in trouble when Jed Lowrie greeted him with a leadoff double, but he would have felt reasonably comfortable after getting Jason Varitek and Mark Kotsay to fly out, both to centre field. It was then that the wheels started to wobble for the Rays when Dustin Pedroia battled an eight pitch full-count for a RBI single to right field, only to be cashed in by David 'Big Papi' Ortiz who launched a two-run homer to right field. That was the end of Balfour on this occasion as his much heralded bullpen partners allowed the game to slip completely out of Tampa's considerable grasp!

His previous outing back in Game 2 was a much happier occasion for the Rays when they were rather fortunate to square the series in Florida with a 9-8 win after 11 innings. Grant did not escape some lumps in this game either when he couldn't deliver an out while pitching 0.0ip 1h 1er 2bb 0k. This time he replaced starter Scott Kazmir in the fifth inning after he had just served up two game tying solo home runs with one out in the frame. The first batter Balfour faced was new Boston favourite Jason Bay who promptly put the Red Sox in front with a two-strike homer to left field. This time Grant was given the hook after following up with two most uncharacteristic walks issued to Jed Lowrie and Jason Varitek.

  11 OCT 2008 - GRANT BALFOUR SIZZLES IN ALCS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Grant Balfour

His Tampa Bay Rays may have lost the opening game of the American League Championship Series, but Aussie MLB star GRANT BALFOUR continues to be a prominent performer. Facing the defending World Champion Boston Red Sox, Tampa could not overcome their Japanese star Daisuke Matsuzaka in a 0-2 shutout loss, but all the damage was done before our man took the mound in the top of the eighth inning.
In fact, had the Rays rallied to win, B
alfour would have been a hero after pitching out of a one-out situation with runners on second and third bases. A run had already scored in the inning and the game was right on the verge of being broken open. His first act was to "plonk" Boston's dangerous left-hander J.D Drew with a "high and tight" rocket that slammed into his shoulder. But, with bases loaded, he proceeded to fan the tough Jason Bay with a 94mph fastball, then to induce Mark Kotsay to pop out to the third baseman.

Grant returned to keep the game within reach in the top of the ninth with both Jed Lowrie and Jason Varitek flying out to centre field. He was then replaced after another job well done with the positive pitching line of 1.1ip 0h 0er 0bb 0k. Balfour is still yet to allow a run in four post season relief appearances.

  8 OCT 2008 - GRANT BALFOUR  CLOSES ALDS VICTORY!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Grant Balfour

Australia’s own GRANT BALFOUR continued to be one of the big stories for the Tampa Bay Rays who won the first post-season series in franchise history 3-1 over the Chicago White Sox. And, much as he had been a headline grabber in the opening home games, he was again a key factor in the series clinching 6-2 win in Game 4 at US Cellular Field in Chicago. Even though the Rays owned a clear four-run lead, it was Balfour who was entrusted to close out the last two innings, which he did in fine style with a scoreless 2.0ip 0h 0er 1bb 2k. ‘Balf’ took over the bottom of the eighth where calmly disposed of Juan Uribe who grounded out to the second baseman, followed by Orlando Cabrera who flied out deep to right field. He temporarily lost his radar with a five pitch walk to A.J Pierzynski but quickly found it again with the important erasure of Jermaine Dye who was struck out looking at a sizzling 95mph heater. 
Grant was so effective that he was handed the ball again for the ninth inning where he was to do something VERY few pitchers will ever have the opportunity to do… pitch to a 500 career home run man and a 600 career home run man in the same inning, or game! He started by having 500 homer slugger Jim Thome ground out to the short stop, then he had Paul Konerko fly out to right field. To put the icing on an exciting day for both himself and the team, he finished with a flourish by having legendary 600 homer man Ken Griffey Junior overmatched and struck out swinging at a 96mph cannonball.

  4 OCT 2008 - GRANT BALFOUR ANIMATED IN ALDS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:


Grant Balfour

Most recently 'Flintoff & Dunn' have enjoyed the opportunity to sit back and relax while watching the MLB post season, but it certainly looks like we will be writing this stuff for a good while longer thanks to the continued success of Aussie "serial rally killer" GRANT BALFOUR and his upstart Tampa Bay Rays.

In fact Grant has not only done his job brilliantly for the Rays so far, but he has also been a genuine "headline grabber" so far in the playoffs with his ultra-intense approach and his highly animated antics on the mound that seem to have hit a crescendo in the pressurised post season atmosphere!

In the first game of Tampa's post season history yesterday Grant was again the fireman in a 6-4 win over the visiting Chicago White Sox with dominant 0.2ip 0h 0er 0bb 2k that earned him a hold. In somewhat typical fashion 'Balf' was summoned in the seventh inning in relief of starter Scott Shields to snuff out a one-out rally with runners perched on first and second bases. He did this with a blitzkrieg of 94-97mph fastballs to strike out both Juan Uribe and Orlando Cabrera to end the inning. But, for those who didn't see it, it was hardly "ho hum" stuff with plenty of emotion and drama. At one stage a prowling and yelling Balfour had buzzed Cabrera with a rocket, followed by Cabrera kicking the dirt and urging our man to "bring it on"! When Balfour had struck him out, he may have reached back to some good old Aussie cricket heritage when he reminded the star Venezuelan where to find his way back to the dugout! The moment of controversy very nearly spilled over into something more serious for a few high-tensile seconds!

Balfour's antics were still the story of the moment when Game 2 of the series started today and we didn't need to wait more than one pitch for the epitaph when Rays' starter Scott Kazmir immediately hit leadoff man Orlando Cabrera on the leg with a way-inside pitch. Grant wasn't nearly as sharp when relieving Kazmir today in the sixth inning, even though he earned another hold with 0.2ip 2h 0er 0bb 0k in a 6-2 win. He entered this game with one on and one out and he mopped up any dregs in that inning by having his "new mate" Orlando Cabrera ground out to the second baseman, then Nick Swisher flying out to left field. Back to start the seventh inning Jermaine Dye laced a hard-hit ball towards first base but, when the ball bounced away off the heel of the first baseman's glove, I'm not convinced that it should have been scored a hit? Grant was then relieved by J.P Howell after Paul Konerko connected with a liner into left field.

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.