Designated hitter Ho-Jun Lee broke a 2-2 tie with a solo shot in the sixth and the NC Dinos hung on for a 4-3 win over the LG Twins in their third playoff game in this five game series. Jin-Sung Kim worked the last inning to pick up the save. The Dino closer had saved 25 games during the regular season. The Twins still lead the best of five series two games to one.
The win was their first playoff win in the history of the Dino franchise, entering its second season in the KBO. An Erik Thames single in the opening frame and two poor throws allowed the Dinos to open the scoring in the top of the first inning. Ho-Jun Lee then drove in the first of his two runs with a double.
The Twins were able to pull even with single runs in the third and fourth. Byung-Kyu Lee drove in the run in the third on a sacrifice fly and Joo-In Son evened things in the fourth with a sacrifice fly. The Twins tried to score a third run on a sacrifice fly in the fifth but Sung-Bum Na rifled a throw home to retire the runner.
The Dinos started Charlie Shirek. He got the win working five innings and allowing only two runs, one of them earned. Cory Riordan took the loss giving up three runs, two of them earned in his six innings of work.
Boxscore for the game can be found here:
Italy has provided their roster for the 21 and under World Cup to be held in Taiwan in November. No familiar minor league names on this roster, but there could be some diamonds in the rough here. The roster was provided by Mister Baseball.
Pitcher: Gabriele Quattrini, Yomel Rivera, Jacopo Piccini, Simone Bazzarini, Matteo Bocchi, Filippo Crepaldi, Enrico Varin, Davide Anselmi, Andrea Pizziconi, Milvio Andreozzi, Paolo Taschini, Valerio Simone.
Catcher: Mario Trinci, Alberto Mineo.
Infielder: Matteo Pizzolini, Mirco Caradonna, Davide Benetti, Luca Pulzetti, Leonardo Colagrossi, Mattia Mercuri, Freddy Miguel Noguera, Giovanni Garbella.
Outfielder: Sebastiano Poma, Federico Celli, Federico Giordani, Alessandro Grimaudo.
The NPB held their draft for newer players. Most teams only select five to seven players in the draft. The NPB does not have the extensive minor league system equivalent to the major leagues so drafting quantity is not a priority. High school, independent and college players have to register in order to be eligible for the draft.
For the first round the NPB has a unique system of a sealed selection where every team selects their top pick. If you select the most popular player in the draft you run the risk of falling down in the draft because a lottery will determine a winner when more than one team chooses a player. A team that chooses a player not picked by any other team is rewarded that player. Once the lottery is conducted for those multiple teams who chose the same player those teams losing the lottery get to select another player for their first round pick.
Below is the list of picks:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.