Albert Belle Gambles

Albert Belle Gambles

Sparked by Deadspin's recent athlete run in stories as well as ESPN's Page2 question of whether Albert Belle belongs in the Hall of Fame:

Hall of Fame ballots were delivered last week and among the usual
difficult decisions, there is the Albert Belle riddle. Where does one
of the most feared hitters of the '90s fit? He had more home runs
(389), RBIs (1,239) and a higher OPS (933) than Kirby Puckett, who was
a no-brainer first-ballot. But does Albert belong in? Do the math -- a
score of 100 is necessary to get to Cooperstown.

It was February of 2003 and I was in Vegas for the first time ever.  I stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino due to it's close proximity to the Thomas & Mack Center where I was seeing a few concerts coupled with the fine scenery at the Hard Rock.

It was early on Friday probably around 2 pm and I wandered into the casino to throw some money around.  I kind of hate blackjack so I sat at a Caribbean stud table with a 5$ minimum.  The casino was pretty empty but there was a rather large black guy sitting at the table I sat down at.

As soon as I sat down I thought the guy playing next to me looked really familiar but I couldn't put a name to the face.  He was all buddy-buddy with the pit boss and dealer like he was in there 5 days a week.  The pit boss walked over at one point and said, "Hey Al, anyone else reach the 50-50 club yet?"  Even then it took me a minute to figure out that Al = Albert.  At that point I said something to the effect of "I didn't think anyone ever reached the 50-50 club?"  Then Albert kind of fires back all defensive that he did it in HRs and doubles.  I didn't even know they counted that as some sort of milestone?

He wasn't all that friendly, but I did chat him up a little bit.  Apparently he lived in Scottsdale or some random city out there.  Once I realized who he was I was kind of shocked he was playing at the 5$ table AND betting the minimum every single hand.  Hopefully he will make the Hall of Fame for the sole reason I would be able to say I played poker with a Hall of Famer.  The only other famous poker run in I've ever had was the cook from Under Siege 2 at the Mirage.

Sorry, I didn't say it was very exciting.

 

Watch: The Phillies pulled off the old double steal

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Watch: The Phillies pulled off the old double steal

The Philadelphia Phillies are attempting to salvage something in Detroit this after noon as they take on the Tigers. The Fightins got on the board early and hold a 2-0 lead midway through the second.

After a Peter Bourjos single scored Ryan Howard, Odubel Herrera came up to bat and didn't even have to move to get another run in.

The Phillies pulled off a double steal with Bourjos taking second which allowed Andres Blanco to come home easily.

With the Phils showing such little pop at the plate this season, a little hustle and ingenuity is needed.

Today's lineup: Phillies try to salvage game against struggling Anibal Sanchez

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Today's lineup: Phillies try to salvage game against struggling Anibal Sanchez

Justin Verlander mowed down the Phillies last night in a 3-1 Tigers victory, but the Phils have a chance to strike back this afternoon against a struggling pitcher who hasn't had much career success against them.

Anibal Sanchez will take the hill for the Tigers and oppose Aaron Nola in today's series finale (1:10 p.m. on CSN). To say Sanchez hasn't had a great start to his season would be an understatement. He's 3-5 with a 6.32 ERA and opponents are batting .270 against him.

In his career against the Phillies, Sanchez is just 4-8 with a 4.94 ERA. Granted, most of those numbers came in the early part of his career with the Florida Marlins, when he regularly faced powerful Phillies lineups. As one might expect, Ryan Howard, who is again in the lineup today as the designated hitter and batting fifth, has seen Sanchez plenty of times. His 42 at-bats against Sanchez are tied for third-most against the 32-year-old righty. Howard's done OK against Sanchez — 9 for 31 (.290 average) with two homers and four RBI. Maybe some familiarity will finally lead to a breakout game for Howard. But, if his massive slump is any indication, maybe not.

For as poor as Sanchez's start to the season has been, Aaron Nola's first six weeks of 2016 have been at the other end of the spectrum.

Today's Phillies starter is 3-3 with a 2.85 ERA. But he's been better than those numbers show.

His .900 WHIP is third in the NL, as is his 5.82 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His 6.45 hits allowed per nine innings is fourth in the NL, as is his 1.65 walks per nine innings. His 64 strikeouts rank eighth in the NL. Imagine if he got more than the 2.89 runs of support he's been getting in his starts.

As for the rest of the Phillies' lineup today, the only changes see Andres Blanco getting the start for Cesar Hernandez, batting seventh and Cameron Rupp behind the plate, batting sixth.

Phillies
1. Odubel Herrera CF
2. Freddy Galvis SS
3. Maikel Franco 3B
4. Tommy Joseph 1B
5. Ryan Howard DH
6. Cameron Rupp C
7. Andres Blanco 2B
8. Tyler Goeddell LF
9. Peter Bourjos 1B

Tigers
1. Cameron Maybin CF
2. J.D. Martinez RF
3. Miguel Cabrera DH
4. Victor Martinez 1B
5. Nick Castellanos 3B
6. Steven Moya LF
7. James McCann C
8. Mike Aviles 2B
9. Jose Iglesias SS

Watch: Miguel Cabrera gives Jeremy Hellickson thumbs up for fooling him on nasty pitch

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Watch: Miguel Cabrera gives Jeremy Hellickson thumbs up for fooling him on nasty pitch

The Phillies once again couldn't find much offense and fell to the Tigers in Detroit last night by a final of 3-1.

But at least the pitching showed something.

There was a fun moment between Jeremy Hellickson and Miguel Cabrera after Hellickson threw quite a nice pitch that fooled Miggy.

Here's how Jim Salisbury described the fun battle:

Hellickson served up a down-the-middle fastball to Miguel Cabrera in the first inning and Cabrera swatted it for an RBI double. He has four RBIs in the first two games against the Phillies.
 
In the third inning, Hellickson struck Cabrera out on a nasty changeup for the third out. The pitch was so good that Cabrera flashed Hellickson a thumbs-up before spiking his helmet to the ground.
 
Hellickson’s changeup has been very good lately.
 
“I really feel comfortable with it right now and I’m throwing it for a lot of strikes,” he said.

And here's the thumbs up: