Royals Turn the Tables on Giants to Even Series

October 23rd, 2014

After losing the opener 7-1 the Royals came right back and won game number two 7-2. A five run sixth inning that included a two run homer from Omar Infante off Hunter Strickland turned the trick and emptied some benches.

It started out well for the Giants when Gregor Blanco started out the game by pulling a 98 mile per hour fastball off Yordano Ventura into the right field bullpen. The Royals responded back in the bottom half with a Lorenzo Cain double, an Eric Hosmer walk and a Billy Butler single to tie the game at 1-1. The inning could have been worse for Jacob Peavy after Alcides Escobar began the inning with a single but he was caught stealing for the second out.

In the second inning the Royals got doubles from Omar Infante and Alcides Escobar to take a 2-1 lead. The Giants responded off Ventura in the fourth with doubles by Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Belt. Belt made a baserunning error to end the inning straying too far off second on a fly ball to right.

The Royals went to their high heat bullpen in the sixth after the Giants were able to put two runners on base with just one out. Kelvin Herrera came on to retire Brandon Belt and Michael Morse to end the inning.

The Royals then erupted for five in the home half of the sixth, Lorenzo Cain starting the party with a leadoff single. Billy Butler drove in the first run with a single to break the 2-2 tie. After Machi relieved Peavy and Lopez relieved Machi to face one batter, Hunter Strickland came in to pitch. The Royals destroyed his high heat, taking advantage of a wild pitch to advance two runners in scoring position and then getting Santiago Perez to double both runners home. After the Infante homer Strickland seemed to take umbrage to the blast, screaming into his glove. Perez standing on home plate to congragulate Infante on his bash said a few choice words back. The benches emptied but no punches were thrown or ejections issued.

Like most teams before them the Giants could not score on the Royals bullpen. Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland closed out the last three plus innings, making Ned Yost look like a bullpen savant.

Jeremy Guthrie is scheduled to go against Tim Hudson for game three. Hunter Strickland has allowed five homeruns in 23 at bats. He can throw his fastball in triple digits, but hitters are able to barrell it over the fences. In the minor leagues he only allowed three homeruns in 38 plus innings. In the major league regular season he did not allow a homerun in seven innings of work. In the post season he is giving them away like a garage day special.

With the loss the Giants ended a streak of having won seven straight World Series games.

Kaneko Expresses Interest in Major Leagues

October 23rd, 2014

Chihiro Kaneko of the Orix Buffaloes has expressed interest in playing in the major leagues. In 2014 he has put up better numbers than Kenta Maeda, recovering from elbow issues that plagued him in 2012 to combine for 31 wins.

Kaneko led the Pacific League in ERA (1.98) in wins (16-5) and was second in strikeouts (199 in 191 innings pitched) to Takahiro Norimoto (204). Maeda pitched in the Central League and was third in ERA (2.60) and third in whiffs (161 K’s in 187 innings pitched). He went 11-9 for the Hiroshima Carp but seemed to be troubled by arm issues. Maeda is slight of frame at 6′0″ and 160 pounds with a fastball in the high 80s to low 90s. He relies on command with the slider being his best pitch. Kaneko does not have any more juice on his fastball than Maeda, but he seems to have better movement. He is also slight of frame being listed as 2 centimeters smaller than Maeda and a few kilometers less in weight. Both pitchers rely on command and an array of different pitches they can throw at hitters. With their slight frames, niether pitcher will go on the mound with an intimidating presence.

Previously, Kaneko has been reticent about playing in the major leagues. In one year he can become an international free agent like Maeda and the Buffaloes will get nothing for him. Kaneko is a domestic free agent this year and the Yomiuri Giants have expressed an interest in signing him. If he signs a multi-year contract with the Giants that would probably be an end to his major league aspirations, since the Giants would have no interest in posting him now that the amount NPB teams get from the posting has been greatly reduced. The Buffaloes could still sign him for one year with the understanding they would post him to see what they could get for him.

Snyder Leads LG Twins to Game Two Win

October 22nd, 2014

Sung-Hoon Jung led the game off with a homerun and Brad Snyder added a 2-run shot in the fourth inning to give the LG Twins a 4-2 win over the NC Dinos to take a 2-0 series lead in their best of five playoff matchup. Both homeruns were hit off Eric Hacker. Snyder was a late addition to the Twins this year and struggled during the regular season with a .210 average and only four homeruns in 37 games.

The Dinos came back, getting two in the seventh, one of them scoring on a solo shot from Eric Thames. Eric Thames hit .343 with 37 homeruns and 121 RBIs during the regular season. The Dinos must now sweep in the LG Twins park to keep the series alive and return home for game five.

Kyu-Min Woo gets the win working five shutout innings while only allowing four hits. Jung-Keun Bong struck out the side in the ninth to pick up the save.

The box score for the game can be found here:

boxscore

Bird and Zimmer Win Player of the Second Week in AFL

October 22nd, 2014

The Royals 2012 first round pick Kyle Zimmer was restricted to just five starts and less than five innings in the 2014 season because of injuries. It was hoped he could make up for that lost time pitching in the AFL. The decision looked promising when he struck out 11 in five innings of work in his second start. In his third start he only lasted one inning before he was pulled because of shoulder issues. It is expected his AFL season has come to an end but not before winning player of the week honors in his second week.

Yankees prospect Greg Bird is another player who had his playing time restricted because of injury during the 2014 season. Back problems limited him to 102 games. The fifth round 2011 pick was still able to hit 14 homeruns at two different levels, walking 63 times. In 2013 he led the minors in walks with 107. In the AFL Bird has hits in all 11 games he has played, juicing up the power last week with three homeruns and six RBIs. His four homeruns lead the AFL and his 11 RBIs are second in the league to Jesse Winker, who won the player of the week award the first week. Jesse has 13 RBIs.

Giants Rout Royals in the Opener

October 22nd, 2014

Big Game James Shields has struggled to support his nickname in the post season, getting knocked around for five runs in three innings and Madison Bumgarner has shown more big game swag holding the Royals to one run in his seven innings of work in the San Francisco Giants opening 7-1 rout of the Kansas City Royals.

The Giants got to Shields in the opening frame, accumulating five hits off him. Pablo Sandoval ripped a double to score one run but Buster Posey was thrown out at home for the second out of the inning. Hunter Pence followed by blasting a two run homer to give the Giants an early 3-0 lead.

Shields seemed to settle down after the opening frame, retiring the Giants in order in the second and third. He could not get an out in the fourth before departing after giving up a leadoff double to Hunter Pence, walking Brandon Belt and giving up an RBI single to Michael Morse. Danny Duffy came on in relief to contain the damage, and though he did not give up a hit, he walked two, the second walk forcing in a run.

The Giants continued to pull away in the seventh. Joe Panik drove in a run with a triple and Pablo Sandoval singled him home for his second RBI of the game. Sandoval has reached base in his last 24 post season games. His double in the first gave him more extra base hits than any Giant, surpassing the number hit by Giants great Barry Bonds.

Salvador Perez finally ended the 32 plus inning road post season scoreless streak for Madison Bumgarner, hitting a two out solo shot in left in the seventh inning to make the score 7-1. It also ended a 21 inning World Series scoreless streak for Bumgarner dating back to 2012. Bumgarner would not go out to pitch the eighth, but with the game and the fight in the Royals just about done he was not needed.

Besides the consecutive road scoreless streak for Bumgarner ending the Royals also ended their post season winning streak at 11.

Yordano Ventura will go against Jacob Peavy in game two. Peavy is 1-3 with a 7.03 ERA in seven post season starts according to ESPN.com. Billy Butler is hitting .424 against Peavy, so the odds appear to be stacked in the Royals favor for game number two. Never under estimate a veteran pitching going against a rookie in Ventura. Also, teams who have won the opening game have won the last four World Series and 10 of the past 11.

Venezuela Winter League Update

October 22nd, 2014

Zulia Aguilas (9-1)

Giovanny Urshela has driven in 14 runs in just ten games. He’s had six RBIs in his last two games, hitting .435 for the first week with two homeruns. Second in hitting is veteran Mark Minicozzi with his .417 average. His five walks has placed his OBA at .488. Shortstop Ali Castillo has five steals in seven attempts, hitting .389 with a team high nine runs scored.

Tim Dillard has yet to give up a hit in his seven innings of work, striking out seven with a 2-0 record in six appearances. Diego Moreno has been the closer with four saves. He is 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in six appearances.

Anzoategui de Caribes (7-2)

Oscar Salazar is the team RBI leader with nine, hitting .340. Shortstop Orlando Arcia is hitting .281 with five walks and three whiffs. He has hit one dinger and has scored a team leading seven runs. Tomas Perez is hitting .440 with five doubles in seven games.

Richard Salazar has only given up one hit in six innings, a solo shot to put his ERA at 1.50. He has one victory in four appearances. Jose Alvarez (1-0, 1.35) has pitched four games in relief and started one game

Aragua Tigres (6-3)

Renato Nunez has slugged two homeruns in the early season but is also hitting only .226 with ten strikeouts. Despite the low average he leads the team in RBIs with nine. Minor league homerun hitter Mike Hessman is hitting .174 with one homerun. He has ten walks and 11 whiffs.

Chris Smith has yet to give up a run in 12 innings of work and two starts. He has given up just five hits and struck out nine. Jason Lane continues to try to resurrect his year as a pitcher but is finding the Venezuelan League rough going (0-1. 6.75). He has given up two homeruns in his nine plus innings of work.

Margarita Bravos (4-7)

Aaron Hicks is off to a fast start (.368, 1, 2). Taylor Motter (.293) leads the team in RBIs (6) and runs scored (8). He has a double, triple and two homeruns.

Eric Berger is their top starter (0.82) winning one game in his two starts.

Caracas Leones (4-6)

Josh Whitesell is the team leader in RBIs with 10. He has hit two homeruns but his 14 whiffs has lowered his average to .226. Henry Rodriguez is the hottest hitter (.500) with four doubles and one triple. Five of his ten games have been multi hit games.

Jarrett Grube is 1-0, 1.13 in two starts.

Magallanes Navegantes (3-5)

Mario Lisson (.226) has hit the only two homeruns for the navegantes. Cuban Adonis Garcia (.316) has only one extra base hit for his 12 hits, a double. He has yet to drive in a run.

Orangel Arenas (2-0, 3.86) has two of the three Navegantes wins in four relief appearances.

La Guaira Tiburones (3-7)

Rene Reyes (.364) and ex-Japanese slugger Alex Cabrera (.179) are tied for the team lead in homeruns with two.

Lara Cardenales (2-8)
Carlos Rivero (.351) is the leading homerun hitter with four, but it has not given the Cardenales any victories. They are 0-5 on the road. Brazillian Paulo Orlando (.289) is the team RBI leader with nine.

Under 21 World Cup Roster for Japan

October 21st, 2014

Below is the Japanese roster for the under 21 World Cup tournament that will begin November 7 in Taiwan.

P Nakamura, Masaru (Nippon Ham Fighters)
P Toda, Takaya (Hiroshima Carp)
P Uwasawa, Naoyuki (Nippon Ham Fighters)
P Mori, Yudai (Rakuten Eagles)
P Nomura, Ryosuke (Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Yokohama)
P Yokoyama, Yuya (Shin Nittetsu Sumikin Kashima)
P Yamaoka, Taisuke (Tokyo Gas)
P Taguchi, Kazuto (Yomiuri Giants)
P Taira, Kentaro (Yomiuri Giants)
C Takajo, Shuto (Yokohama Bay Stars)
C Kondo, Kensuke (Nippon Ham Fighters)
C Wakatsuki, Kenya (Orix Buffaloes)
INF Makihara, Taisei (Softbank Hawks)
INF Miyoshi, Takumi (Rakuten Eagles)
INF Hojo, Fumiya (Hanshin Tigers)
INF Tsuji, Harutomo (Yomiuri Giants)
OF Takeda, Kengo (Orix Buffaloes)
OF Suzuki, Seiya (Hiroshima Carp)

Hawks Advance to Japan Series

October 20th, 2014

The Softbank Hawks won the sixth and final game 4-1 to win the best of six climax series over the Nippon Ham Fighters. Kenji Otonari threw seven innings of six hit shutout ball. The offense was supported by Seiichi Uchikawa, who drove in the first run with a single and Yuki Yoshimura whose RBI single drove in the second run. Yoshimura was voted the MVP of the series for his six RBIs. Toru Hosokawa hit a solo shot in the fifth to give the Hawks a 3-0 lead.

The Fighters were not able to mount much of a challenge off Otonari, who was pitching on four days rest. They put two runners on in the fifth but could not string any hits together to mount a rally. They did score their lone run in the ninth off Hawk closer Dennis Sarfate, but an error by Sarfate allowed the lone run to score. With two runners on Takuya Nakashima grounded out to end the game.

There was a capacity crowd of 38,561 to see the Hawks advance to the Japan Series.

Minor League All Stars AL West

October 19th, 2014

Oakland Athletics

Shane Peterson OF (AAA) - He hit .308 with 40 doubles so the Athletics need to find room for him in their outfield. In the young AFL season he already has three triples, two less than he hit during the regular season. A .381 OBA makes him a typical moneyball player, but he does have a lot of swing and miss to him (137 whiffs).
Chris Jensen SP (AA) - A 12-8, 3.14 numbers in AA but only 94 whiffs in 160 innings. The Athletics acquired Jensen in a Brett Anderson trade with the Rockies that also got them Drew Pomeranz.
Matt Olson 1B (Hi A) - A slugging bat (.543) that sent 37 balls over the fence. He also walked 117 times to give him an OBA of .404. Matt was a first round supplemental pick in the 2012 draft.
Renato Nunez 3B (Hi A) - He was just one homerun short of 30 but did drive in 96. He doesn’t draw the walks that Olson does (34). The duo could light up the scoreboards at the corner infield positions in a couple years. He cut his errors down from 40 in 2013 to 15 this year, though he played 26 fewer games at third base.
Seth Streich SP (Hi A) - He showed excellent command with a 22/116 walk to whiff ratio, resulting in a 3.16 ERA. Not overpowering stuff but if he continues locating his pitches it will result in weak contact.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Brennan Boesch DH (AAA) - At one point a top Tigers prospect, but at this point his best option may be continuing his career in Japan or Korea. He hit .332 with 25 homeruns but when called up to the Angels the average dropped to .187. The Angels took him off their 40 man roster.
Alex Yarbrough 2B (AA) - The fourth round 2012 pick could be the best prospect in the Angels system after hitting .285 with 38 doubles. He doesn’t carry a lot of speed and his power is gap to gap.
Brian Hernandez DH (AA) - The first baseman hit .308 but lacks the power to fill the position at the major league level.
Cam Bedrosian Relief (AA) - The son of Steve and the Angels first round pick in 2010 got some major league time after dominating the late innings in AA with a 1.11 ERA and 15 saves. The AA batters could only bat .097 off him. He could be the Angels closer in 2015.
Michael Roth SP (AA) - A savy pitcher who lacks the stuff to be an effective major leaguer. He was a big game pitcher for South Carolina, but the major leagues are a different animal (8.76 ERA). Roth did have success in AA (11-7, 2.62).
Tyler DeLoach LHP (Hi A) - A 26th round pick who put up good numbers (10-4, 3.21) that were even better in his brief showing in AA (4-0, 2.29). In a weak farm system that could put the 6′6″ pitcher on the prospect map.

Seattle Mariners

Ketel Marte SS (AA) - The solid defensive player is showing an impressive bat (.302), even hitting .313 in AAA. There is not a lot of power in his bat but he does have some speed in his legs to steal 23 bases.
Patrick Kivlehan Utl (AA) - A Triple Crown winner in the Big East conference in 2012 that power is showing in A/AA with 32 doubles, 20 homeruns and a .507 slugging. He also drove in 103 runs between the two levels. He plays third base but 24 errors in just 72 games forced the Mariners to show him at first and in the outfield.
Jordy Lara DH (Hi A) - The Dominican hit .353 with 22 homeruns at High Desert, a park that has shown many gaudy numbers for hitters. He did finish the year with 104 RBIs between A and AA but his slugging percentage dropped from .609 to .492.
Jabari Henry OF (Hi A) - The second Jabari in the Mariners farm system swatted 30 homeruns at High Desert, driving in 95 runs. He slugged .584.
Carlton Tanabe 1B (Rookie) - A .326 average got him promoted to AA. He gapped 13 doubles in just 39 games. Tanabe also caught 13 games.
Estarlyn Morales OF (Rookie) - He finally broke out with a .303 average with 17 stolen bases in 20 attempts. The Dominican now needs to break out of the rookie leagues into a full season league.
Arby Fields OF (Rookie) - Arby was drafted twice but did not sign ultimately signing as a minor league free agent, first with the White Sox and then by the Mariners. Broke out with a .331 average slugging .503 with a .932 OPS.
Trey Cochran-Gill Relief (Rookie) - The 2014 17th round pick saved 12 games and combined for a 0.25 ERA at two levels. The opposition hit him at a .172 clip.

Texas Rangers

Trevor Adams 1B (AA) - Not big numbers (.278, 14, 61) for the position. He is more gap to gap with his 36 doubles.
Joey Gallo 3B (AA and Hi A) - One of two bats to slug more than 40 homeruns. The only player to make an All Star team at two levels. Joey hit 21 homeruns in just 58 games in High A. He hit 21 in 68 games after being promoted to AA. He swung and missed more after his promotion to AA (115 to 64) which resulted in a 100 point drop in average (.323 to .232). Joey had 179 whiffs last year with 87 walks meaning there are a lot of absent contacts in his at bats.
Jorge Alfaro C (Hi A) - The Colombian is considered one of the better catchers in the minor leagues. He has fallen into a pattern of hitting .260 with 17/18 homeruns. Not a lot of plate patience with a 29/123 walk to whiff ratio.
Nick Williams OF (Hi A) - The second round 2012 pick saw his power drop a bit when compared to last year. His 22/140 walk to whiff ratio does not bode well as he rises higher in the minors.
Chris Garia Of Utl (Hi A) - The Curacao native scampered for 11 triples and hit .284. His triple numbers was just as much as his doubles (7) and homeruns (4) combined. Chris lacks power but his 11 triples and 45 stolen bases shows he carries a lot of speed.

Houston Astros

Preston Tucker OF (AA) - Preston had his second year for hitting for power with 24 homeruns and a .481 slugging percentage. His lack of strong defensive tools may make him a fourth outfielder.
Roberto Pena C (Hi a) - Slugged a career high 13 homeruns. Noted more for his defense than offense where he caught 52 runners to only allow 40 successful stolen bases.
Tony Kemp 2B (Hi A) - Tony hit .316 in the California League with a .411 OBA. He also walked (73) more than he struck out (67) and he stole 41 bases.
Teoscar Hernandez OF (Hi A) - One of the Astros five tooled uber prospects. Slugged .550 at Lancaster with 31 stolen bases and gold glove defense in center field. His arm got him 11 assists in the outfield.
Josh Hader LHP (Hi A) - They traded Bud Norris to the Orioles for Josh. They hope his 9-2, 2.70 ERA is indicative of his major league potential. California League hitters only hit him at a .206 clip.
Colin Moran 3B (Hi A) - The Marlins first round pick, they traded him to the Astros. His power has been disappointing (.397) after he led all college hitters in RBIs in 2012.
Brett Phillips OF (Low A) - He hit for a triple double, with 21 doubles, 12 triples and 13 homeruns with 23 stolen bases.

Monkeys Take Second Game from Brothers

October 19th, 2014

The Lamigo Monkeys took the second straight game from the Chinatrust Brothers 7-6 to go up in the seven game series two games to none. A near sell out crowd of 17,000 attended the game, less than the attendance for the opener. The Monkeys had to rally from a 4-0 deficit to take this game.

Chih-Ping Lin had an RBI double to tie the game at 4-4. The-Lung Yu stroked a bases loaded single to drive in two to give the Monkeys a 6-4 lead they would not relinquish. The hit gave Yu the game MVP honors.

Chinatrust had an opportunity to win the game in the ninth, putting runners on first and third with one out, but unfortunately the batter roping the base hit roamed too far from first when rounding the bag and was gunned down trying to return to the bag. The runner on third scored to put the Brothers to within one, but with two out and nobody on it was too much to ask for them to put together a second rally for the inning.

The two teams travel to New Taipei City’s Sinjhuang Baseball stadium for game three.