Guerrero Looking for Starts with Dodgers

April 24th, 2015

If the Dodgers had their choice they would have sent Alex Guerrero down to AAA. A clause in his contract does not allow the Dodgers to send Guerrero down to the minors without his permission, or he becomes a free agent. For those with short memories, Guerrero is the player who had his ear bitten off while playing in the minor leagues. If that is not incentive enough not to go back, myworld can’t blame him.

The Dodgers have to be ecstatic over the clause in his contract. It has prevented them from making a bad decision. All Guerrero has done in three starts and 20 at bats in the major leagues is hit .474 with 12 RBIs and four homeruns. His slugging percentage is an OPS like 1.211 and his OPS is at a stratospheric 1.661. With those kind of numbers the Dodgers are going to have to give him more at bats, but they have a crowded infield with Juan Uribe at third, Jimmy Rollins at short and Howie Kendrick at second. Some say Guerrero is deficient at playing any of those positions well, which would leave the outfield, but that is so crowded the Dodgers had to trade Matt Kemp to make room.

Despite the lack of playing time his four homeruns has put him sixth in the National league in homeruns, behind teammate Adrian Gonzalez and Joey Votto, who share the lead with six homeruns. He is tied for eighth in RBIs with 12, four behind the league leader Paul Goldschmidt who has 16. All the league leaders have three times more at bats than Guerrero.

For the Dodgers, only Adrian Gonzalez has more homeruns and RBIs than Guerrero. That would seem to be incentive enough for the Dodgers to find him more playing time.

Dubon Looking to be Second Honduran in Major Leagues

April 24th, 2015

He doesn’t have a lot of competition since he is the only Honduran currently playing in the minor leagues right now. Gerald Young took the honors of becoming the first player born in Honduras to make the major leagues, getting the callup in 1987 and playing through 1994. Mauricio Dubon is getting his first shot at full season ball this year and is playing well. Yesterday he went 2 for 4 to up his average to .377. He has been bouncing around between second base and shortstop. With all the good shortstops the Red Sox have in their system his best bet may be to make it as a utility player.

Mauricio Dubon was a 26th round pick in 2013 by the Red Sox. Born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, he came over to the United States as an exchange student, playing for the baseball team in his junior year. His trek started when a Christians mission group Impact International visited San Pedro Sula to conduct a baseball clinic there. His mother asked if there was an opportunity for them to take him back to Sacramento so he could play baseball.

He stayed with a family while in Sacramento, a family whose son also played baseball. The high school team that gave him his opportunity is Capital Christian School. Capital Christian shares its baseball stadium Raley Field with the Sacramento Rivercats, a AAA baseball team of the San Francisco Giants.

Greenville is his home now. His hitting streak for the Greenville Drive sits at seven, with three straight games of two hits or more. One of these days myworld hopes his mother will get an opportunity to see him play, if she has not done so already. You can read more about him at the link below:

Honduran player

Nats Throw Game and Series Away Versus Cardinals

April 23rd, 2015

The Cardinals were leading the game 2-1, but a couple of throwing mishaps allowed them to double the score. With the anemic bats of the Nationals it was asking a lot for them to score three runs in the last two innings, though they did have the tying run at the plate in the eighth inning. The Cardinals went on to win 4-1.

With the Nationals down 2-1 Matt Holiday ripped a two out single off Matt Thornton. When the Cardinals had Mark Reynolds pinch hit for Matt Adams, the Nationals countered with Aaron Barrett out of the bullpen. Reynolds drove his first pitch off the right field scoreboard. Bryce Harper played the ball well and fired it to the cutoff man Danny Espinosa. Matt Holiday came racing home and the throw from Danny Espinosa appeared to be capable of beating Holiday to the plate, but the ball sailed over the catcher Jose Lobaton’s head to allow Holiday to score. Barrett caught the ball on the fly backing up Lobaton, saw Reynolds was too far off second base and fired in that direction, but over the head of Espinosa and on into centerfield, where no one was backing up the throw. Mark Reynolds came trotting home with a Little league homerun.

Matt Carpenter has been a terror to the Nationals pitching staff. He laced a double into the right centerfield gap to lead off the game. Jason Heyward blooped a single to left, with Clint Robinson taking forever to get to the ball. It fell in for a single with Carpenter stopping at third. A wild pitch scored Carpenter, but with two K’s and a fly to shallow center there is some question whether the Cardinals would have scored.

Michael Wacha held the Nationals scoreless until the fifth. Danny Espinosa lined a double against the right field wall, the ball hitting off the foul line painted along the wall. Max Scherzer grounded a ball to short where the initial out call at first was made with Espinosa advancing to third on the throw. The Nationals appealed the call and fans were surprised when they saw neither of Matt’s feet were touching the base when he received the ball and immediately threw to third. Replays confirmed that. Denard Span bounced a single to right to tie the score, Scherzer hustling to third. With first and third and no out the Nationals had an opportunity to put the game away, but failed. Ian Desmond popped to second, Bryce Harper struck out and Ryan Zimmerman grounded to short.

The Cardinals took the lead in the sixth with a two out single by Jason Heyward. The second pitch thrown by Max Scherzer hit Holiday. The Cardinals then showed the Nationals what clutch hitting is all about, Matt Adams lining a single to left center to score Heyward.

The Nationals had other opportunities to score. In the fourth their first two runners got on base with a single and a walk. Yunel Escobar grounded into a 6-4-3 double play and Jose Lobaton struck out. They again put their first two runners on in the eighth with a double and walk. This time Ryan Zimmerman grounded into a 6-4-3 double play and Clint Robinson flied to center.

Trevor Rosenthal came on in the ninth to retire the Nationals in order.

Game Notes: Ryan Zimmerman hit a single to lead off the fourth. The hit was down the right field line and normally would have been a double. But Ryan is dealing with a bad back and ran gingerly, stopping at first…Jose Lobaton had a rough day, striking out all four times he went to bat. With the batting average of Danny Espinosa hitting at .185 the last three hitters in the order, Lobaton, Espinosa and the pitcher does not put any fear in the hearts of the pitchers…

Gonsalves K’s 11

April 23rd, 2015

A couple of Tennessee Smokies had a good day with the bats, Kyle Schwarber going 4 for 6 to raise his average to .345 and Dan Vogelbach continuing to smoke AA pitchers with a 2 for 5 day and five RBIs. He homered and doubled in his offensive onslaught. The five RBI only give him 9 for the season. Schwarber is slugging .513 while Vogelbach is slugging .705 on a talented Smokies team that also includes Albert Almora.

Brent Honeywell, the Rays second round supplemental pick, pitched a gem allowing only one hit in his six innings of work. He struck out 7 and lowered his ERA to 1.13. Last year Honeywell crafted a 1.07 ERA in eight short season starts at Princeton in the Appalachian League. He limited the opposition to a .161 average, striking out 40 in just 30 innings of work. He is replicating those numbers in the full season league.

For the second day in a row it is a Twins pitcher to win minor league player of the day. Stephen Gonsalves won it for April 22, going seven innings and only giving up one hit, a bunt single, while striking out 11. Alex Meyer had won it for April 21. It was the third start of the season for Gonsalves and his strikeout numbers have gone up in each start, from 9 to 10 to 11. His ERA lowered to 0.90. The Twins have to be happy with the pitching in the minor leagues at this point, though the 2013 fourth round pick is still a long ways away from being considered for the Twins rotation.

Meyer with an Impact Game

April 22nd, 2015

This is the third time myworld has given accolades to Pete O’Brien for his bat. He had another 3 for 4 day, raising his average to .431 and hitting his fifth homerun. Myworld will be surprised if he sticks in the minor leagues to reach 40.

Domingo Santana had a good day. He went 4 for 5 with a double and a homerun to raise his average to .316. Domingo would want nothing better than get another major league opportunity to edit the stats that currently exist on his major league card, a .000 batting average in 18 at bats with one walk and 14 strikeouts. That is not what the Astros outfielder wants to show for his final career stats.

A few nice pitching performances worth mentioning. Tyrell Jenkins, one of the players the Braves acquired from the Cardinals in the Jason Heyward trade had his best outing of the year. He gave up just one hit in five plus innings of work, walking four and striking out four. He did not throw a lot of strikes but he got his first win of the 2015 season.

Brian Johnson, the 2012 first round pick of the Red Sox gave up only two hits in his seven innings of work. In three starts at AAA Brian has only allowed two runs, just one of them earned to put his ERA at 0.56. The seven inning outing was his longest of the year.

The only hit the Marlins Jarlin Garcia allowed was a homerun, which ruined his shutout and an opportunity for a victory. This is the third start for the Dominican at High A and he has only allowed two runs for a 1.13 ERA. The Marlins gave him 25 starts last year at Low A. He may get promoted this year to AA before he reaches 20 starts if he continues to pitch this well.

Brooks Hall also allowed only one hit in his six innings of work, but he did not allow a run. This is the third year at AA for the 2009 fourth round Brewer pick. Last year an elbow injury ended his season early after five starts. In three starts this year he has only allowed two runs for a 1.13 ERA and given up just seven hits in 16 innings of work.

The April 21 minor league player of the day award goes to Alex Meyer, who pitched against his young ex-teammate A.J. Cole. Jason Martinson hit a solo shot in the seventh inning to give the Syracuse Chiefs a 1-0 win over the Rochester Redwings, but Alex Meyer was not on the mound when the homerun was hit. For Alex, despite the team loss it was his best outing of the year, with six shutout innings, allowing only two hits with three walks and 11 strikeouts. The six shutout innings lowered his ERA to 4.91 after giving up eight runs and walking 11 in his first two starts covering just 8 plus innings.

Brazillian Triples his Chances to Stick in the Major Leagues

April 22nd, 2015

Paulo Orlando thought he would be the first Brazilian to make a major league roster. He was in the minor leagues long before Yan Gomes. Unfortunately as the Rolling Stone wrote, “you can’t always get what you want..” and his advancement stalled while Gomes got all the hype for being the first Brazilian to play in the major leagues. Even pitcher Andre Rienzo beat him to the punch.

Paulo became the third Brazilian to reach the major leagues. He is getting some hype because of the unusual way he has achieved results in his major league debut. A good spring opened some eyes on the Royals management staff and an Alex Rios injury gave him his opportunity. At 29 years old Paulo Orlando was finally getting his shot at the major leagues.

In his first eight games Paulo has eight hits in 29 at bats for a .276 average. Nothing unusual about that. Except for the fact that five of his hits have been for triples. To put that in perspective he now leads all of major league baseball in triples, with the closest player behind him Sam Fuld sitting at three. Sam has had 50 at bats to get his three triples. To make this even weirder, the team with the most triples in major league baseball is the San Francisco Giants with 6. And they have done that in 519 at bats. There are five teams tied with five triples each, including the Kansas City Royals, whose only triples have been hit by Paulo Orlando.

So Paulo hopes his triples continue so he can continue his ride in the major leagues. To continue with the Rolling Stone song “…but if you try some time you get what you need.”

Yunel Drops the Cards with Walk-off

April 22nd, 2015

Ryan Zimmerman leads the team with nine walkoff homeruns. He has not hit one in a couple years and in the bottom of the tenth he got an opportunity. He lined one to centerfield, which was chased down by John Jay for the second out. Yunel Escobar followed. He drove the first pitch from Carlos Villanueva, an ex-teammate with the Blue Jays into the left field bullpen, a line drive that cleared by plenty to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead. You could tell by the dejected look of the Cardinal bullpen as they watched the ball sail at them they knew it was out of here once bat met ball.

It was another game in which the Nationals inability to manufacture runs only wasted a strong pitching effort by Gio Gonzalez. In the second inning Ryan Zimmerman lined a double into the right centerfield gap past a diving John Jay (about the only ball he was not able to chase down last night). Yunel Escobar did a good job of advancing him to third by grounding out to the right side. Wilson Ramos failed to make contact and struck out. The Cardinals walked Danny Espinosa intentionally to face Gio Gonzalez, who popped to catcher.

In the sixth they had runners on first and third with one out. Yunel Escobar, who is one of the few players myworld is confident can manufacturer a run hit the ball hard to the right side, but it was turned into a 4-6-3 double play. Ian Desmond, who has trouble making contact struck out with a runner on third in the seventh and ninth innings. In the ninth there was only one out and all he had to do was drive the ball into the outfield to score Danny Espinosa from third. He swung and missed at three pitches. John Jay then broke the hearts of Nat fans by making a diving catch off a Jayson Werth line drive to send the game into extra innings.

The Nationals did score their lone run in regulation time in the third inning. Ian Desmond ripped one over the head of Jason Heyward. It appeared Jason gave up on the ball too soon to play it off the scoreboard wall and if he had kept on running he may have caught it. A walk to Jayson Werth brought up Bryce Harper. He bounced a high grounder the opposite way into left field to score Ian Desmond. Ryan Zimmerman drove one deep to the warning track in centerfield that John Jay tracked down. Harper was already at second and returned to first. The Cardinals appealed Harper passed second and did not re-touch the bag on his return. The umpire agreed and called Harper out. Myworld did not think Harper passed second so did not have to touch it again upon his return but we’d like to see the replay. You have to think the umpire saw it because he called it.

The Cardinals also had their opportunities to score, massing together 13 hits but failing to cross the plate until the ninth inning. They did not reach third until the fifth inning when they loaded the bases with two outs on a Mark Reynolds walk. John Jay grounded to Ryan Zimmerman to end the threat. The Cardinals put runners on first and second with no out in the sixth, but a nice play by Wilson Ramos on a bunt by Lance Lynn got the runner at third and Matt Carpenter grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

Drew Storen came on to pitch the ninth and the Cardinals continue to haunt his world. Fans will not let Drew forget the 2012 playoffs in which the Cardinals came back in the fifth game off Storen to advance to the playoffs, completing a 6-1 comeback victory. Storen also coughed up a 1-0 lead against the Giants in the playoffs last year that turned the series around. Matt Carpenter started the nightmare by flaring a single to left field. Storen struck out Jason Heyward, but the third strike bounced in the dirt and traveled to the backstop. Wilson Ramos did a good job of getting to the ball fast enough to throw out Heyward at first, but Carpenter advanced to second. Another wild pitch advanced Carpenter to second. Matt Holiday, who was 3 for 3 for the day with one walk lined a single into left field to tie the game. A strike out throw out double play ended the inning.

Game Notes: Ian Desmond had a stellar fielding day. He made a spectacular play in the hole to throw out John Jay, showing Nats fans why he is a good shortstop. He fielded all four balls hit at him, turned two double plays, one on a low throw from Gio Gonzalez that he had to submarine to first base…Matt Adams did not have a good fielding day. He was a late replacement coming in on a double switch. In the three innings he played a dropped a popup and booted a grounder, but none led to a run…The fans booed the results of the President’s race with the racing Presidents using joy sticks to control their automated selves on the video board. George won, but the fans booed the results wanting to see the real Presidents race, not the automated figures on the scoreboard…Most of the fans had departed the game after the ninth inning to take the Metro home, missing the walkoff homerun by Escobar. In Japan they start their games at 6 because most fans have to take the trains to get home and the trains shut down at midnight. They also end them after 12 innings, regardless of result, which makes for the ties in Japanese ball. If the Nationals do not want to pay Metro to stay open later, perhaps they can start the games sooner. Many of the fans take the Metro back home to Virginia…Ryan Zimmerman should have had four hits, but was robbed twice by Jon Jay. He finished the day with two hits…Yunel Escobar dove headfirst into home plate after hitting his walkoff. A player appeared to rain some orange power drink onto the home plate area as soon as he went into his dive. The walk-off was the third of his career, six behind Ryan Zimmerman…Anthony Rendon could be ready for a rehab game by Friday. If all goes well he would be available to the Nats sometime next week.

Cuban All Stars and Gold Gloves

April 21st, 2015

They announced the All Stars at each of the positions for the 54th Nacional Series. Alfredo Despaigne was voted the MVP of the year. Below are the All Stars by position:

Catcher - Yosvani Alarcon (Las Tunas - Artemisa)
First Base - Yordanis Samon (Granma)
Second Base - Dainier Galvez (Isla de la Juventud)
Third Base - Michel Enriquez (Isla de la Juventud)
Shortstop - Adrian Moreno (Granma)
Outfield - Urmari Guerra (Granma), Roel Santos (Granma) and Yadiel Hernandez (Matanzas)
Designated Hitter - Alfredo Despaigne (Granma)
Pitcher (right side) - Lazaro Blanca (Granma)
Pitcher (left side) - Yoanni Yera (Matanzas)
Relief - Danny Aguilera (isla de la Juventud)
Rookie of the year - Alfredo Rodriguez (Isla de la Juventud)
MVP - Alfredo Despaigne (Granma)
MVP for playoffs - Yander Guevara (Ciego de Avila)
Manager of the year - Roger Machado (Ciego de Avila)

No love for Ciego de Avila who won the playoffs. They had no players named to the All Star team. The gold glove awards were given to the players listed below and again not a lot of love for the champion Ciego de Avila:

Catcher - Yulexis la Rosa (Villa Clara - Granma)
First Base - Luis Rivera (Isla de la Juventud)
Second Base - Michael Gonzalez (Mayabeque - Artemisa)
Third Base - Jefferson Delgado (Matanzas)
Shortstop - Alfredo Rodriguez (Isla de la Juventud)
Outfield - Orlando Lavandera (Mayabeque - Ciego de Avila), Dairon Blanco (Camaguey - Industriales) and Livan Monteagudo (Sancti Spirutus - Artemisa
Pitcher - Yander Guerra (Ciego de Avila)
Utility - Luis Yander La O (Santiago de Cuba - Matanzas)

Not a lot of known players among the gold glover winners, or a lot of players who played for winning teams. Most of these players did not play for teams that advanced to the second round and were drafted later by the playoff teams.

Baker One Strike from Perfect Game

April 21st, 2015

Two hitters with good days yesterday who are having a good start to the season deserve mention. Pete O’Brien went 3 for 4 with his fourth homerun. He has hit three homeruns in his last four games and has seen all his time rotating between left field and right field. The Diamondbacks have a crowded outfield and O’Brien has had some challenges handling responsibilities behind the plate so he may stay in AAA awhile until a position opens for him. Eventually, it will be hard for the Diamondbacks to ignore a player hitting .404 with at least one RBI in his last five games, or 10 RBIs in his last five games.

Brett Phillips is one of the less heralded prospects with the Astros. That may change if his bat continues to smoke its way from April into May, churning along at a 40 homerun pace. He went 3 for 5 with 4 RBIs yesterday, clubbing his fifth homerun of the early season. He has at least two RBIs in his last four games and 14 RBIs in his last six games. Brett has also rotated between left and right field. If Evan Gattis or Chris Carter do not get hot with the sticks Brett may be called up to add some juice to the Astros lineup.

A couple strong pitching performances before we get to our minor league player of the day. Robbie Ray was competing for the fifth spot in the Diamondbacks lineup but toiled through a tough spring that put him in AAA. Yesterday he had the best stuff of his 2015 season, working five innings, allowing six hits and one run, but striking out 10. He threw 109 pitches, 72 of which were strikes, the best his command has been this year. He needs to have a couple more good starts like that to show the Diamondbacks he has figured it out with his command.

Mike Foltynewicz had his fastball hitting 99 miles per hour, going a full 8 innings and allowing just three hits, one run and striking out 9. His first two outings he failed to get out of the fifth inning. In this game he threw more strikes and debuted a new pitch to his arsenal, a hard slider. The big issue with Foltynewicz has been the lack of a second pitch to keep him in the starting rotation. Hitters can sit on his fastball in the zone. Yesterday, with the slider working they were guessing most of the day. Unfortunately for Mike, he lost his second game of the year yesterday to go 0-2, despite not giving up more than a run in each of his three starts. His teammates could not generate any offense against his opposing pitcher Mike Wright and the Norfolk bullpen, losing 1-0 to the Norfolk Tide.

The minor league player of the day goes to veteran pitcher Scott Baker, who was just one strike away from completing a seven inning perfect game. Addison Russell, who was rewarded with a surprise call up to the Cubs today bounced an 0-2 count up the middle for a single. Mike Baxter followed with a double, but Baker completed the shutout in the 8-0 win by Oklahoma City over the Iowa Cubs. Perfect games are not new to Baker. He almost had a nine inning perfect game when he pitched for the Twins in 2007, but he allowed a walk and a single in the ninth inning. The best season in the major leagues for the 33 year old veteran was in 2009 when he won 15 games for the Twins, working 200 innings in 33 starts. The Dodgers may need a fifth starter and if Baker can continue his success in AAA he could be the first alternative. For the outing yesterday, he wins the minor league player of April 20.

2015 Japanese Update - Pacific League

April 20th, 2015

The Central League is the favorite league for many fans in Japan because of the Hanshin Tigers and the Yomiuri Giants. Myworld prefers the Pacific League because our favorite team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles reside there. The Eagles have developed Hisashi Iwakuma and Masahiro Tanaka for the major leagues. The Nippon Ham Fighters sired Yu Darvish, and may have a better pitcher developing through their system in Shahei Otani. Only one team in the Pacific League has a losing record, but the teams have the Orix Buffaloes to thank for that.

Nippon Ham Fighters (12-6)

They have three players flirting with .300, Kensuke Kondo (.300), Kensuke Tanaka (.299) and Takuya Nakashima (.290). Nakashima has stolen five bases in six attempts and leads the team in runs scored with 10. The big bat has been provided by Sho Nakata, who has slugged six homeruns and driven in 16, tops on his team and three behind the league leader, despite a .227 average. Brandon Laird is having some success with his .227 average, hitting three homeruns and driving in 10 runs, second on the team. Jeremy Heredia is struggling with 24 whiffs in 73 plate appearances and a .234 average. Shohei Otani is still light with the bat (.208, 1, 7) compared to his numbers last year.

On the pitching front Shohei leads the NPB in wins with a 4-0 record and a 0.94 ERA. The twenty year old has been humming a three digit fastball that has contributed to his NPB leading 33 whiffs. He may be a better pitcher at this stage than Yu Darvish. Mitsuo Yoshikawa (3-0, 1.93) is also undefeated and putting up solid numbers. Yohei Kagiya (0.00) has been the setup man with 4 holds and Hirotoshi Matsui (1.80) has been the closer with four saves. Foreigners Victor Garate did not give up a run in his five inning start, allowing only two hits and picking up the victory. Luis Mendoza (1-2, 3.80) has not been so effective.

Softbank Hawks (10-8-1)

Yuki Yanagati is second in the Pacific League with a .361 average. He has scored a team leading 12 runs. Akira Nakamura is not too far behind him in average (.347) and he has crossed the plate 11 times. Nobuhiro Matsuda (.309) has been the big slugger with three homeruns and 11 RBIs. Seichi Uchikawa (.319) leads the team in RBIs with 17. He has seven doubles and two homeruns, giving him a .500 slugging average. Korean Dae-Ho Lee (.191) finds himself south of the Mendoza line with only one homerun. Smooth fielding shortstop Kenta Imamiya (.153) needs to break out of his no hit funk. He does have six sacrifice hits, but he is hitting worse than a pitcher in a league that uses a DH.

Kenji Otonari (2-0, 0.40) leads the Pacific League in ERA. He has only allowed one run in 22 innings and three starts. He has also only struck out 7 in 22 innings, so he relies on weak contact. Jason Stanridge (3-1, 2.17) and Tadashi Settsu (2-2, 2.25) are the other two big starters. The Hawks are soon hoping for the addition of Daisuke Matsuzaka to their rotation, but he is still rehabbing in the Ni-gun league. Dennis Sarfate has one win and six saves in nine appearances. He has yet to give up a run. Edison Barrios is the top setup man with 9 holds in 9 appearances, allowing only an unearned run to score.

Seibu Lions (9-8)

Shogo Akiyama leads the Pacific League in hitting with a .397 average. He is only second on the team in runs scored with 11. Hideto Asumura (.317) tops all Lions with 12 runs scored. He has also walked 12 times to put his OBA at .425. Takeya Nakamura (.246) with his four homeruns and 11 RBIs shares the team RBI lead with Tomoya Mori (.293) who has hit three homeruns. Ernesto Meija (.246) has yet to break out the power with just two homeruns and 9 RBIs. He is only slugging .404.

Wade LeBlanc (2-1, 1.96) is finding his slow stuff effective in Japan. He has only allowed 9 hits in 18 plus innings. Kazuhisa Makita (2-1, 2.00) and Ryoma Nogami (2-1, 1.42) are also having success in the rotation. The kid from Taiwan Chun-Lin Kuo, who shut down Japan in the championships of the 21 and under tournament in Taiwan had two good starts followed by two poor starts that evened his record to 2-2 and saw his ERA climb to 4.32. His command has been an issue with 10 walks in just 16 innings. Tomomi Takahashi has picked up five saves in a closing role with a 1.29 ERA.

Chiba Lotte Marines (9-9)

Alfredo Despaigne has arrived (.188) but after four games he is still looking for his first RBI. Luis Cruz (.294) leads the Pacific League in RBIs with 17. He has hit 7 doubles to go with his one long ball. Ex-major leaguer Tadahito Iguchi (.323), Katsuya Kakunaka (.328) and Toshaki Imae (.357) are hitting for average. Imae only has two extra base hits, both doubles, among his 25 hits. Takashi Ogino leads the team in runs scored with 11 despite a .217 average and .260 OBA. Daichi Suzuki is a good field little hit (.246) shortstop.

Dae-Eun Rhee (3-0, 3.33) left the Cubs to pitch for the Marines. He is undefeated but he has been hit (31 hits in 24 innings). Hideaki Wakui (2-2, 1.86) and Ayumu Ishikawa (2-0, 2.05) are providing the best starts for the Marines. Yuji Hishino (2.70) is the closer with his five saves. Takahiro Matsunaga (1.29, 4 holds) and Carlos Rosa (0.00, 2 holds) have alternated at setup.

Rakuten Golden Eagles (8-8-2)

Eagles are still looking for a power bat. Wily Mo Pena (.246) has yet to go deep and Gaby Sanchez (.152) has gone deep twice but only has three other hits. No player has double digits in RBIs. Kazuya Fujita (.328) has been getting on base. Ginji Akamin (.319) has only two doubles from his 23 hits, far short of the power teams look for in their first baseman. Motohiro Shima has providing a solid bat (.288) for a catcher. Zelous Wheeler (.150) has been absent with his offense. Kaz Matsui is still hanging around with an anemic .235 average.

Kenny Ray (3-0, 1.06) has been a find for them in the starting rotation. Takahiro Norimoto (1-2, 2.17) is taking over the mantle of Iwakuma and Tanaka. Takahiro Shiomi (0.86) has three dominating starts with no decisions. Yuki Matsui (0.00, 5 saves) has had success converting from starter to closer. Rhiner Cruz has been used in a setup role and has yet to give up a run in his five appearances, with two holds.

Orix Buffaloes (5-14-1)

The Buffaloes have been struggling to score runs. Francisco Caraballo (.355, 2, 10) has provided them with a productive bat. He is tied with Yoshio Itoi (.247) for the team RBI lead with 10. Too many hitters below the Mendoza line and no production from Tony Blanco (.067) who has just one hit in 16 appearances. Esteban German (.217) has yet to drive in a run and has only crossed the plate one time.

Bryan Bullington (0-1, 1.80) and Brandon Dickson (1-3, 2.17) have provided consistent starts, but they have been hit with four losses. Not a lot of saves to divvy up in a losing season. Alessandro Maestri from Italy has been provided some good long relief (0.84) and Tomoyuki Kaida (0.63) has 10 appearances in short relief.