Archive for the 'Japan' Category

Baystars and Eagles Even Series

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

The Yokohama Baystars and the Rakuten Golden Eagles evened their five game series against each other with wins last night

Yokohama Baystars 13 Hanshin 6

The normal power hitting Yoshitomo Tsutsugo slapped four singles to drive in two runs and Tomo Otosaka triggered the rout with a three run pinch hit homer, allowing the Baystars to even the best of five series one game each. Before the six run seventh the game was tied 4-4. Jose Lopez strung together three singles to drive in three runs.

Neither pitcher Shota Imanaga or Tigers starter Takumi Akiyama pitched into the fourth inning. Yusuke Oyama was a triple short of the cycle mashing two doubles, a homerun and a single to drive in three runs in a losing cause for the Tigers.

Rakuten 4 Seibu Lions1

Takayuki Kishi gave Rakuten a masterful start, throwing 6.1 innings of shutout ball. Eigoro Mogi slugged the first pitch he saw from Ken Togame over the centerfield fence sending the Eagles off to a good start. They scored two more runs in the second inning on a double by Shintaro Masuda and a bunt by Motohiro Shima. Yuki Matsui put two runners on in the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate, but struck out the last two hitters to pick up the save.

NPB Playoffs Begin with Tigers and Lions Begin with Shutout Victories

Saturday, October 14th, 2017

There were two shutouts in the NPB playoffs. A couple aces did well. One did not.

Hanshin Tigers 2 Yokohama Baystars 0

Ex-major leaguer Kosuke Fukudomo drove in both runs with a two run homer in the sixth inning and Randy Messenger pitched six innings of shutout three hit ball to lead the Tigers to victory. Marcus Mateo, Kentaro Kuwahara and Rafael Dolis each worked an inning to preserve the shutout.

Shoichi Ino pitched five shutout innings for the Baystars. In the sixth Yoshio Ito led off with a single and Fukudome took him deep for the only runs of the game. Ino finished the inning for his last inning of work.

The Baystars never really threatened, taking until the eighth inning before they put two runners on base. They were stranded after a groundout to the pitcher and a whiff.

Seibu Lions 10 Rakuten Golden Eagles 0

Not much of a game here. Rakuten ace Takahiro Norimoto got assaulted for seven runs in just four innings of work. Hideto Asamura got the scoring started for the Lions with a two run homer in the first inning. Takeya Nakamura finished off the scoring with a three run homer in the sixth. With his sacrifice fly in the five run third Nakamura had a game high four RBIs. The Lions banged out four hits and walked three times in the five run third off Norimoto.

On the other hand Yusei Kikuchi was brilliant throwing a complete game shutout, striking out 9 and allowing just five hits. According to Sponichi via yakyudb this was the first game in Climax Series history in which both pitchers had recorded 200 strikeouts for the season.

The Lions coaxed seven walks and banged out 12 hits in the rout. Hotaka Yamakawa and Ginjiro Sumitani led the way with three hits each.

Otani More Ankle Surgery

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

Shohei Otani had additional ankle surgery on October 12 to treat a posterior ankle impingement syndrome. Otani did not pitch in the World Baseball Classic because of ankle issues. It will take him two to three months of rehabilitation before he is healthy.

It is anticipated the Nippon Ham Fighters will post Otani to play major league baseball. With his injury riddled year and the international salary cap teams have to bid for foreign players under 25 years of age, the salary Otani will get will be restricted. If he waited two more years he would get Yu Darvish money.

Japan Leaders

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

For all practical purposes the NPB season is over. There are a few more games to play to get everyone to 144 but the playoff teams have been decided and the offensive and pitching leaders have also been decided. Below are the league leaders in various categories for the Pacific and Central Leagie.

Central League

Homerun - Alex Guerrero (Chunichi Dragons) - 35
Average - Toshiro Maru (Yokohama Bay Stars) - .323
RBIs - Jose Lopez (Yokohama Bay Stars) - 105
Stolen Bases - Kosuke Tanaka (Hiroshima Carp) - 35

Most Wins - Tomoyuki Sugano (Yomiuri Giants) - 17
ERA - Tomoyuki Sugano (Yomiuri Giants) - 1.59
Strikeouts - Miles Mikolas (Yomiuri Giants) - 187
Saves - Rafael Dolis (Hanshin Tigers) - 37

Pacific League

Homeruns - Alfredo Despaigne (Softbank Hawks) - 35
Average - Shogo Akiyama (Seibu Lions) - .322
RBIs - Alfredo Despaigne (Softbank Hawks) - 103
Stolen Bases - Haruki Nishikawa (Nippon Ham Fighters) - 39

Wins - Nao Higashihama (Softbank Hawks) 16
Yusei Kikuchi (Seibu Lions) - 16
ERA - Yusei Kikuchi (Seibu Lions) - 1.97
Strikeouts - Takahiro Norimoto (Rakuten Eagles) - 222
Saves - Dennis Sarfate (Softbank Hawks) - 54

Japan Wins Asian Title

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

Japan beat Taiwan 6-1 to reclaim the Asia Baseball Championship, their 18th title. Korea secured the title in 2015. The third tiger Taiwan had to settle for a second place finish for the fourth consecutive tournament. Korea won the third place game over the Philippines 15-0.

With the wins Japan, Taiwan and Korea qualify for the Under 23 World Championships to be played in 2018. The Netherlands and Czech Republic are two other teams who have qualified. In late November the Pan American Confederation of Baseball Under 23 Championships will qualify five more countries. Those games will be played November 23 to December 3 in Panama City, Panama.

Taiwan had beaten Korea in pool play 3-2 while Japan cruised through their pool undefeated, beating Hong Kong 30-0 and Pakistan 13-1. China had to withdraw from the tournament dropping the number of teams in the pool to three.

Japan shutout out both Korea (3-0) and Taiwan (10-0) in the semi-final games but with only one loss Taiwan advanced to the championship while Korea, the defending champions had to settle for the third place game.

Bay Stars Final Team to Make NPB Playoffs

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

The Yokohama Bay Stars clinched third place in the Central after their 13-7 win over the Hiroshima Carp. The win, combined with the Yomiuri Giants 5-4 loss to the Hanshin Tigers eliminated them from the playoffs for the first time since wild cards were established. That was a streak of 10 straight years.

The Hiroshima Carp won the Central Division. They will play the winner of the wild card match between the Hanshin Tigers and the Yokohama Bay Stars.

In the Pacific League the playoff participants have been known for a long time. The Softbank Hawks won the Pacific League. They will play the winner of the wild card game between the Seibu Lions and Rakuten Golden Eagles.

The wild card games are a best of three game series. All the games are played at the park of the second place team. The winner of these two wild card games get to play the first place team in a six game series. The first place team starts the series with a 1-0 advantage. All the games will be played at the park of the first place team.

The Japan Series is a seven game battle similar to the World Series in the United States. The format is 2-3-2 with two games at home, three on the road and the last two games at home.

Fighters Leave 19 Men on Base; Otani Returns to Lineup

Friday, September 29th, 2017

The Nippon Ham Fighters lost a game to the Rakuten Eagles. During the game they collected 9 hits, walked 12 times and had three batters hit by pitch. You would have suspected they would have lost this game in a slug fest. They actually lost the game 3-0, stranding 19 runners on base, breaking a Pacific League record for stranding runners and tying an NPB record. The Yokohama Bay Stars had stranded 19 runners in a game in 2014.

Shohei Otani was a perfect 2 for 2, hitting a single and double with a hit by pitch and a walk. The Fighters loaded the bases in the first, third, fifth, seventh and eighth innings. In the first, third and eighth there was only one out. A line drive and strikeout ended the first and a popup and strikeout ended the third. In the eighth they grounded into a double play.

It was good to see Otani back in the lineup after he was removed from an earlier game because of calf tightness. His fragility has myworld concerned whether he can survive as a two way player in the major leagues. This year he has encountered a number of injuries while playing the field that has limited his ability to pitch.

Japan Still Number One in Baseball Despite United States Dominance

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

The United States has finished higher than Japan in most of the tournaments the two play in. The main reason Japan is rated higher is they have played in more tournament, two November World Cup age tournaments that the United States chose not to participate in. The voting system tends to favor quantity of tournaments played rather than quality.

Below are the top ten countries in baseball. You can see the complete list at WBSC.org.

1) Japan - 5598
2) United States - 5414
3) Korea - 4908
4) Taiwan - 3747
5) Cuba - 3637
6) Mexico - 2957
7) Australia - 2634
8) Netherlands - 2374
9) Venezuela - 2286
10) Canada - 2142

Carp and Hawks Clinch First in NPB

Monday, September 18th, 2017

The Hiroshima Carp have clinched first place in the Central Division and the Softbank Hawks have clinched first place in the Pacific Division. In the NPB clinching first place has significant advantages when the playoffs start. First you get a bye while the second and third place teams battle it out. Second, all the games are played at your park until you get to the Japan Series. Last, you get a 1-0 lead in the series against the winner of the second and third place match.

For the Carp this is the first time in franchise history they have won a division two consecutive years. For the Hawks, they have been one of the more consistent teams in the NPB, but this division win was their first since 2015. It is their 18th division win in franchise history. Dennis Sarfate became the first pitcher in NPB history to save 50 games in a season to lead the Hawks.

In the Central Division the Hanshin Tigers have a comfortable 4.5 game lead for the first wild card spot. The Yomiuri Giants and Yokohama Bay Stars are in a virtual tie for the second wild card spot. Both teams have the same number of wins and losses, but the Bay Stars have played one more game than the Giants resulting in one more tie game (4 to 3).

The Pacific Division seems pretty well set with the Seibu Lions getting the second wild card spot and the Rakuten Golden Eagles capturing the third. The Golden Eagles seem to have recovered from their collapse, when they once had first place in their grasp and are no longer a threat to lose a playoff spot. The Orix Buffaloes seemed to be charging hard to take advantage of that collapse, but at 12 games behind with just about 20 games to play their chances of catching the Eagles are slim.

Under 18 World Cup All Tournament Team

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Below is the Under 18 World Cup all tournament team. Myworld will include other players who were deserving of consideration based on their statistical performance.

Catcher - Dae-Hyun Cho (Korea) - .278, 1 HR, 11 runs scored, 8 RBIs with a .935 OPS

First Base - Leonardo Seminati (Italy) - .423, 2 HR, 7 RBI with 1.185 OPS

Second Base - Cesar Prieto (Cuba) - .581 ave with a 1.251 OPS

Third Base - Noah Naylor (Canada) - .313 average with .856 OPS

Shortstop - Brice Turang (United States) - .364, 7 runs scored with a .932 OPS

Outfield - Jin-Won Ye (Korea) - .355, 1 HR, 10 runs scored, 6 RBIs with a .992 OPS
Outfield - Alek Thomas (United States) - .361, 8 RBIs and six runs scored with 5 stolen bases
Outfield - Michael Siani (United States) - .333, 12 runs scored and 6 RBIs with 7 stolen bases and a .896 OPS

Starting Pitcher - Ethan Hankins (United States) - 1-0, 0.75 ERA, 27 K’s in 12 innings

Relief Pitcher - Fuminaru Taura (Japan) - 1-1, 1.32 ERA with 29 K’s in 13.2 innings

Others to Consider

United States

Triston Casas - .250, 3 homeruns and 13 RBIs with .993 OPS. Voted MVP of the tournament
Matthew Liberatore - 2-0, 0.00 ERA in 12 innings
Ryan Weathers - 2-0, 0.00 ERA in 9.2 innings
Brandon Dieter - 1-0, 0.00 ERA in 10 innings

Korea

Jun-Hwan Jang - .381, 2 HRs, 9 RBIs with 7 runs scored and a 1.234 OPS. 8 walks
Baek-Ho Kang - .375, 1 HR, 8 RBIs, 6 runs scored, 4 2Bs with a 1.100 OPS. Also 4 K’s in 2 innings. The Shohei Otani of Korea.
In-Hyok Yi - .300, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 6 runs scored with a .967 OPS
Been Gwak - 1-1, 2.51 with 18 K’s in 14.1 innings
Min Kim - 1-0, 0.77 in 11.2 innings

Japan

Kaito Kozono - .378 average
Hisanori Yasuda - .324 average, 4 2Bs with a .918 OPS
Ginji Miura - 2-0, 0.00 ERA with 19 K’s in 12 innings
Kento Kawabata - 0-2, 2.51 ERA with 25 K’s in 14.1 innings

Canada

Jason Willow - .333, 1 HR, 10 RBIs, 7 runs scored with a .928 OPS
Archer Brookman - .219, 2HR, 11 RBIs, 9 runs scored with a .866 OPS

Australia

Jack O’Loughlin - 2-0, 0.69 ERA with 15 K’s in 13 IP

Cuba

Roidal Martinez - .429 ave with a 1.026 OPS
Victor Mesa - .320 ave.

Taiwan

Han-Yu Tseng - .393 with .964 OPS
Tien-Hsin Kuo - .364 with .860 OPS

Netherlands

Dylan Koster - .364 with .845 OPS
Donny Breek - 1-1, 1.08 ERA, 18 K’s 16.2 innings, 151 opponent average

Italy

Michele Vassalotti - 1-0, 1.64 ERA with 15 K’s in 11 innings
Chih-Jung Liu - 1-1, 1.98 with 13 K’s in 13.2 IP
Yi-Sheng Chu - 1.29 ERA with 12 K’s in 7 IP

Nicaragua

Wandley Lagos - .424 ave, 4 stlen bases with a .899 OPS
Jeyner Flores - .393 ave, 2 HRs, 7 RBIs with 1.219 OPS

Mexico

Saul Martinez - .423 with a 1.041 OPS
Jose Gaona - .400 with a 1.070 OPS
Jorge Valdez - 1-0, 1.17 ERA with 10 K’s in 7.2 innings

South Africa

None