Archive for November, 2011

Myworld in Transit

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Myworld is spending the night in a city near the airport by the name of Taoyuan.  We get on a 6 A.M. flight for the United States tomorrow.  Posts will resume when myworld arrives stateside.

Some thoughts until then:

It appears that the Yomiuri Giants have signed Scott Mattieson after the Phillies released him.  We’ve always liked Scott and just when he was about to make the starting rotation of the Phillies he required arm surgery.  Because of all his arm ailments the Phillies moved him to their bullpen.  He has a fastball that registers in the mid-90s, but at 27 he should have been promoted to the major leagues a couple years ago.  The Phillies pen has always been their weak spot, but Scott, sitting right in their back yard was never called up except for September appearances.  Whenever he was called up he didn’t do well.  Perhaps a change of scenery is required for him to succeed and if that is the case the Yomiuri Giants have an excellent bullpen man.  I’d have second thoughts about making him a closer right away and first give him an opportunity just to have some success.

There is some talk about Korea hosting the Asian Series next year.  Japan has already indicated that they will not host it because there are no sponsors willing to take on the financial responsibilities.  There is some concern with whether Korea has the facilities to even host such an event.  As defending champions, Korea would certainly like to see this series continued, especially with the popularity of baseball in Korea last year.

Hiroyuki Nakajima has been posted and teams have until Friday to bid on him.  It will be interesting to see what the high bid is and whether Seibu will accept the bid if they consider it too low.  The Baltimore Orioles and the San Francisco Giants are said to be the most likely bidders.  Only San Francisco has a position at short that is available for Nakajima to take.

This seems to be a very active year for Japanese posted players and free agents.  The NPB has been in the red and created a third all star game this year just to bring in additional revenue.  Perhaps the posting process of their better players is an additional step to bring in revenue.  For the NPB, they would have to hope that the posting of their stars will not dilute the talent level in the NPB to the extent that the fans stop attending.  This is the most talent they will lose in one year that myworld can remember, assuming that Yu Darvish posts and the free agents sign major league contracts and are not enticed back to the NPB with contracts from a respective team in the NPB.

Samsung Wins;Ends Japans Streak

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

The Samsung Lions scored all their runs in one inning and relied on the arm of Won-Sam Jang and closer Seung-Hwan Oh to pull out a 5-3 win over the Softbank Hawks.  It was the first win by a non-Japanese team since the Asian Series was started back in 2005.  The Samsung Lions finished second to the Chibba Lotte Marines that year.  This was the Hawks first Asian Series.

The Lions started Jang, who was 8-8, 4.15 ERA in a rather unimpressive 2011 season.  He struggled in the opening frame, giving up a walk, stolen base and a bullet RBI double to Nobuhiro Matsuda down the left field line to give the Hawks an early 1-0 lead.  After the first inning Jang turned the Hawk bats into putty, limiting them to just two hits for his next five innings.  He was taken out with one out in the seventh after giving up back to back singles.

Sho Iwasaki also pitched well for the Hawks.  Sho was 6-2, 2.72 during the 2011 season.  During the first four innings he had allowed only one hit, walking one and hitting a batter.  He unraveled in the fifth.  Jung-Sik Lee got the inning started with a single.  Song-Su Kim made like a human pinata and got hit for the second time in two at bats.  A walk to Young-Seop Bae loaded the bases with just one out.  That left it to Hyung-Sik Jung, who was only in the game because of a first inning injury to Han-Yi Park.  Jung slapped a single up the middle to give the Lions a 2-1 lead.  Sok-Min Park took Iwasaki for a ride deep into left field.  It would have scored two runs, but the ball bounced over the fence, halting the runner at third.

The Hawks brought in their Taiwan star Yao-Hsun Yang to try to get them out of the inning.  He always gets a good ovation when he comes into a game.  He got the first batter to fly to shallow left, but the next batter Bong-Kyu Kang bounced a single off the glove of the diving shortstop Kawasaki to score two more runs.  An error by the second baseman on a hard hit grounder by Tae-In Chae went right under his glove, advancing Kang to third.  With the count 1-2, Chae broke for second and tried to get in a rundown while Kang raced for home.  Kawasaki wasn’t buying this and fired to home, easily nailing Kang at home.

The Lions almost blew the game open in the next inning when they loaded the bases with no out.  Hyung-Sik Jung, who had come through with a 2-run single in the previous frame was not so lucky here.  He grounded into a 4-2-3 double play to end the threat.

In the eighth the Lions turned the ball over to Hyun-Wook Jong.  He only faced two hitters, as back to back singles drove him from the game.  A high bouncer down the first base line was beaten out by Munehori KawasakiYuichi Honda had one of the most amazing at bats that myworld has seen, fouling off at least 10 two strike pitches before blooping a single into left.  Lions manager Joong-Il Ryu did not want to save his best bullet for the ninth inning and allow the game to get out of control in the eighth, so he brought in his 47 save closer Seung-Hwan Oh to close out the game and get a two inning save.

Seiichi Uchikawa singled off Oh to load the bases.  Nobuhiro Matsuda then stroked one sharply, but a ground ball at the second baseman, who turned a 4-6-3 double play.  Yuya Hasaegawa singled in the second run of the inning to put the Hawks to within two, 5-3.  On a littel grounder to first, Kenji Akashi was able to beat Oh to first, putting the winning run at the plate.  Shuhei Fukuda flied to left to end the rally.

Oh did not have any trouble in the ninth striking out the first two hitters in the inning, then getting Munehori Kawasaki to ground weakly to second.  The Lions were victorious and now it was time to gather at the pitcher’s mound for the traditional manager toss.  Ryu was tossed three times

Game notes:  Myworld only saw one pitcher hitting the gun at a consistent 150 Kilometers (93 miles per hour) and that was the Taiwan pitcher Yao-Hsun Yang.  His fastest pitch was 153 kilometers (95 miles per hour).  Myworld did not notice any other pitcher hitting 150 kilometers per hour…Sadaharu Oh was at the game and threw out the first pitch.  His arm still looks pretty good as the throw was straight and true…The IBAF President Riccardo Fraccari was also at the event.  Riccardo and myworld would then be the only two people that attended both the Baseball World Cup in Panama and the Asia series in Taichung, unless someone in his entourage also made the two trips…The ticket prices were a little higher for the championship match.  My $NT 500 ticket was only good for the second level, but in all honesty I preferred the sight lines better from those seats.  The stadium is equivalent to some of the AAA minor league parks, so when you are talking about second floor, you still are not that far away from the action.  The only downside with the upper deck is that there are no concessions in the area…There was a much larger Japanese following at the game than a Korean following.  The cheer section of the Japanese crowd was drowning out the muffled chants of the Koreans…Shortstop Munehori Kawasaki made a nice play on a ball hit up the middle, extending his glove as far as he could to catch the ball, then flipping the ball backward while running towards right field.  The ball was still in his glove hand when he flipped it to get the force at second.  It was the best defensive play of the tournament…Han-Yi Park made a nice falling catch in foul ground in the right field bullpen area.  Unfortunately, he twisted his knee and had to be removed from the field via a stretcher…Catcher Toru Hosokawa threw a ball on a steal of second that first bounced on the pitcher’s mound before it reached second.  Myworld is hoping the ball just slipped off his hand…With a Taiwan team not participating in the finals, the crowd of 4,300 was the second lowest attended game.  The weekend match between Samsung and Softbank drew 3,000 more fans.  Many of those Japanese fans probably had to return to work Sunday night.  The attendance lower than the championship match was the opening day match between the Perth Heat and the Samsung Lions.

Japanese 2011 Best Nine

Monday, November 28th, 2011

These are the “Best Nine” in Japan, which I’m assuming are the post season All Stars at each position.  There are at least two players who will be posted that have made this list.  Below are the players:

Central League

P - Kazuki Yoshima (18-3, 1.65, Dragons) - His first time being voted here.

C - Shinnosuke Abe (.292, 20, 61, Giants) - This is the veteran catchers sixth time voted here.

1B - Kenta Kurihara (.293, 17, 87, Carp) - His first time here.

2B - Keiichi Hirano (.295, 1, 29, Tigers) - Voted the first time, he had 34 sacrifice hits.

3B - Shinya Miyamoto (.302, 2, 35, Swallows) - First time appearance, power is lacking for the position

SS - Takashi Toritani (.300, 5, 51, Tigers) - His third selection, has expressed an interest in the major leagues for 2013 season.

OF - Hisayoshi Chono (.316, 17, 69, Giants) - His first year selected, led the league in hitting.  Not a bad sophmore year for the Giant.

OF - Matt Murton (.311, 13, 60, Tiger) - His second year selected, Matt could be looking to get back on a major league team.  The lack the power to play a corner or the speed to play center may hurt his chances.

OF - Norichika Aoki (.292, 4, 44, Swallows) - His seventh selection were the most in the Central, despite a down offensive year.  The Swallows have agreed to post him.

Pacific League

P - Masahiro Tanaka (19-5, 1.27, Eagles) - His first selection.  It is Masahiro and not Yu Darvish that is now considered the best pitcher in Japan, but that is like arguing between Verlander and Halladay.  Darvish was second in the voting, but it was not even close.  Potential free agent Tsuyoshi Wada was third with two votes.

C - Toru Hosokawa (.201, 1, 20, Hawks) - His second selection.  Must be noted for his defense.  Hard to tell here since no one has challenged him on the basepaths.

1B - Hiroki Kokubo (.269, 10, 48, Hawks) - His first selection for this position.  He won the award at second base twice.  He does not appear to have made the trip for the Asian Series.  A neck injury has prevented his participation.

2B - Yuichi Honda (.305, 0, 43, Hawks) - His first time here, the third Hawk for the infield.  He stole 60 bases.

3B - Takeya Nakamura (.269, 48, 116, Lions) - For the 2011 homerun champ, this is his third selection.  He had trouble making the all star team last year, finally being selected by the manager after being overlooked by both the players and the fans.

SS - Hiroyuki Nakajima (.297, 16, 100, Lions) - This was the Hiroyuki’s third selection to the team.  The Lions are willing to post him to the major leagues after resisting the last couple years.

OF - Yoshio Itoi (.319, 11, 54, Fighters) - This is his second selection.  Itoi was second in the league in hitting and stole 31 bases.

OF - Seiichi Uchikawa (.338, 12, 74, Hawks) - This is his first selection here, but in the Central Leage he had won the award at first base and the outfield.

OF - Takumi Kuriyama (.307, 3, 60, Lions) - This is his third selection

DH - Jose Fernendez (.259, 17, 81, Lions) - This is his first selection for the outfield.  He had won once at third base.

The Softbank Hawks and Seibu Lions hogged eight of the ten Pacific League positions.  The Central was a little more balanced, with the Tigers finding the most players on this list (three) despite their absence from the playoffs.  The Giants and Swallows had two each and the Dragons and Carp one each.

Thoughts from Taiwan

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Myworld is having a nice time away in Taiwan.  It is tough to talk about a vacation when you are not working.  Taichung is a pleasant place to stay and I would recommend it for all.  The only downside is that English is not widely spoken, so walking into restaraunts can be quite an adventure with the menu in Mandarin character.  Many of the menus have pictures so one can make do with that.  Some of myworld’s thoughts about Taiwan:

>  Bud Selig would have a fit here about the pace of the game.  Asian players are very deliberate, soaking in all the strategic aspects of the game.  The catchers talk to the pitchers, the managers visit the mound, the hitters take a lot of pitchers.  The games tend to be very long, averaging about three hours.  To top it all off, after the fifth inning they have a 10 minute break to clean up the field and replace the bases.  The players sit in the dugout and drink cool refreshments and the fans all bolt for the limited restroom facilities.

>  Video or gaming is quite big in Taiwan.  It has gotten so big that they have tournaments.  In fifty years you may start reading about champion gaming players similar to the press that is given athletes.  So instead of physically playing baseball on a real outdoor field, you will have champions of video baseball that are able to make made-up players move around a video screen with great skill and dexterity.  These champs may not look so fit, weighing 250 pounds with flesh so loose it bounces around like jello, but they will be champions of the new age, the video age.  Myworld hopes it doesn’t come to pass.

> When I ask where the Taiwan Intercontinental Stadium is they point to a spot on the map.  When I ask how long it would take to walk there they look at me in horror and say it is too far.  I must take a cab.  I walk it anyway.  Walking is the only way to see the city.  It is about an hour and a half walk from my hotel, but along the way I pass betel nut girls, noodle shops and all sorts of retail shops along the way.  It is a true way to immerse yourself in the city.

> Of course, no one in Taiwan would walk.  It seems everyone has motorcycles here, and not of the Harley variety.  They ride the scooter type bikes.  They tend to invade the sidewalk, forcing you to walk on the street.  Everyone seems to wear a helmet, which is good and there are a lot of helmet shops in the city.  Myworld has seen numerous women wearing shorts, exposing her legs to trajedy if she should ever crash, but she has her helmet on.  Or kids aged five or under ride on the lap of an adult, but the kid has his helmet on.

> In addition to the scooter bikes, many of the retail and noodle shops invade deep into the sidewalk.  I will be walking and find myself right in the middle of the noodle shop walking around the chefs that are soaking the noodles in hot water, or try to filter my way past tables where people are parked to eat.  They have underground and overhead passways at some of the busier intersections, but these are rarely used.  People don’t walk that far, or they prefer not to climb the steps and cross through the intersection instead.

> The must have cracked down on the provocative dress of the betel nut girls.  I have not seen any skimpy outfits and many of the woman could pass for grandmothers.  Perhaps these places with the provactivly dressed betel nut girls are located farther in the outskirts of Tiachung.  Of course, if I am a betel nut chewer I would worry more about the quality of the product rather than the quality of the person selling it.  All things being equal though…

> Lots of Shu Qi sightings here on billboards and television when advertising her upcoming movies.  Myworld doesn’t have the television on much, but when we do there is usually a Shu Qi sighting.  She was here for the Taiwan Golden Globes on Saturday, Taiwan’s equivalent to the Oscars.  Shu Qi is still myworld’s favorite actress, so it is nice seeing her here.  She gets no publicity in the states but is usually ranked as one of the 100 prettiest women in the world.  She co-starred in the movie Transporter.

> Saw a cab with its windows rolled down.  Looked inside the cab and the keys were in the ignition.  It appears they have no interest in stealing cabs in Taichung.  I could have driven it to the stadium.  Also saw a piece of paper drop from a women’s hand.  I didn’t think much of it, thought about walking over to her to tell her she dropped it, but thought better of it.  The paper stayed on the ground so it didn’t look important.  When they were about to go into the stadium she had a look of panic on her face and it was obvious she couldn’t find her ticket.  When they started looking around they spotted the piece of paper sitting on the ground.  It was her ticket that she had dropped.  It stayed on the ground for more than 10 minutes and no one had picked it up.  In the United States, if that was a ticket to a ball game, that piece of paper would have been gone 30 seconds after it hit the ground, especially with the number of people that were in the area.

> Myworld has been experiencing dinner at the night markets.  We have no idea what we are eating, but a lot of it is on sticks.  They usually ask you whether you want chicken or beef, but I usually stick with the chicken.  The night markets are a shopper’s dream with all sorts of stuff sold here, many of which are probably counterfeit.  The night markets would be a shopper’s paradise, but I’m not much of a shopper.

> Before the game tonight myworld will take a spin to look at the Confucious Temple and Martyr’s Shrine.  We wanted to go yesterday, but it is closed on Monday.  There must be a Confucious saying there somewhere.

> Myworld was going to post some pictures of the visit, but it just takes too long for the downloading process.  So the pictures will have to wait until our return.  When we do return myworld will breakdown all the prospects that we like in the minor leagues at each postion, starting with the catchers.  December will be a long offseason, but the winter leagues and Cuban baseball are still active.

Ciego Defeats Pinar in Cuban Opener

Monday, November 28th, 2011

While many of the cream of the crop in Cuban baseball are fleeing for the big bucks of the United States, there are still some stars battling in the Cuban League.  The opener of the 51st series was played today with the Ciego de Avila Tigres defeating the Pinar del Rio Tobacco Growers 8-4.  Pinar won the championship of the 50th series after taking second in the Western Division.  They defeated Ciego, who were the champions of the Eastern Division.

Pinar scored the first two runs but Ciego battled back on a 2-run homer from Yoelvis Fiss in the fourth to quickly tie the game.  In the next frame Yourbis Borroto broke the 2-2 tie with a booming 2-run double.  Vladimir Garcia picked up the victory, throwing six innings and only giving up two runs.  Yosvany Torres took the loss for Pinar.

U.S. Rolls Over Canada for Gold

Monday, November 28th, 2011

The United States trounced Canada 12-2 to win the gold medal in the 18 and under junior’s tournament in Cartegena, Colombia, exacting some revenge for the Canadian defeat of the United States senior team in Mexico last month.  Canada scored first in the opening frame to make the score 1-0, but the United States was like a waterfall, cascading seven runs in the bottom frame.  Addison Russell had the big hit with the grand slam homerun, the first homerun of the tournament for the United States team.  With the effectiveness of the United States pitching staff, it was all over after that.

Pitcher Carson Kelly had two runs in the second inning by roping a 2-run double, then shut down the Canadian bats for six innings, allowing only two runs and four hits.  The United States ended the game in the eighth with two more runs on four consecutive hits to invoke the 10-run slaughter rule.

Russell ended up scoring three times in addition to his four RBIs.  Carson Kelly had a pretty good offensive day to add to his pitching dominance, finishing the game 3 for 3.  Albert Almora was voted the MVP of the tournament.  The United States dominated the all star selections with six of the 10 representatives.  The all star team is below:

Pitcher: Jesse Winker (USA)
Catcher: Raphael Barbosa (BRA)
First Base: Daniel Pinero (CAN)
Second Base: Gavin Cecchini (USA)
Third Base: Alex Bregman (USA)
Shortstop: Addison Russell (USA)
Left Field: Brett Sidall (CAN)
Center Field: Albert Almora (USA)
Right Field: Carlos Arroyo (VEN)
Coach: Scott Brosius (USA)
The United States, Canada, Venezuela and Panama were the four teams that qualified for the Junior World Championships to be played in Korea.

You can read more about the game here:

Samsung Lions to Face Hawks in Asian Series Final

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

The Samsung Lions showed they had the biggest roar with a 6-3 win over the Uni-President Lions.  The Uni-President Lions started their third ex-major leaguer, Seth Etherton, but he was driven from the mound early by the Samsung Lions.  The Samsung starter Young-Soo Bae came into the game with a 5.27 ERA, but he allowed only one unearned run against the Uni-President bats for five innings.

The first two runs scored by Samsung were unearned when an error by the third baseman on a tough hop grounder allowed the third inning to be extended.  Back to back singles by Young-Seop Bae and Han Yi Park scored one run and a deep fly to left by Tae-In Chae scored the second run.

They drove Etherton from the mound in the fourth with a leadoff single by Sok-Min Park.  A diving stop by shortstop Sheng-Chiu Hsu almost saved the inning, but he couldn’t find the ball in time and his underhand flip to second rolled a little too slowly to get Park.  After a bunt advanced the runners, another nice diving stop, this time by firstbaseman Tai-Shan Chang, scored another run, but the fine defensive play prevented a second run from scoring.

Taiwan got a run back in the bottom frame, getting a boost from Samsung shortstop Sang-Su Kim, when his double play pivot sailed over the first baseman’s head, allowing the runner to advance to second.  He scored when Sun-Hsuan Yan blooped a ball just out of reach of the third baseman’s glove, scoring Tai-Chi Kuo.

The stadium really got electric when with a runner on second Chun-Yu Kuo slugged a ball far over the left field wall to tie the score.  The jubilation in the stands was as if he had hit the game winning homer.  The Lions female mascot presented him two miniature stuffed Lions and he threw them into the stands.

The excitement was fleeting as the Samsung slugger Hyoung-Woo Choi would counter with an eighth inning drive off Ryan Glynn deep over the center field wall for a 2-run homerun of his own to make the score 5-3.  The Lions would add another run in the top of the ninth on a wild pitch.  Samsung closer Seung-Hwan Oh, who has not had a save opportunity with a blow out win countered by a blow out loss, retired the Uni_Presidents 1-2-3, striking out two.

In the earlier game that meant nothing but pride, since both team’s fates were sealed, the Softbank Hawks shutout the Perth Heat 4-0.  The Hawks started Sho Iwasaki for the first two innings then Shingo Tatsumi threw the next four to get credit for the win.  Shingo did not pitch for the major league Hawks during the 2011 regular season and came into the game with a career 11.74 ERA based on brief appearances the previous two years.  He did have a 11-5, 3.07 ERA for their farm team.

The Perth Heat manager Brooke Knight must have been seeing the same thing that myworld was seeing, that the left side of the infield was killing the Heat with their poor defensive performance.  He changed it up by putting Mychal Givens at short and moving Mitch Graham to second.  Tim Kennelly played third.  It didn’t help matters as both Givens and Kennelly committed errors.

In the top of the first a boot by Givens allowed a runner on base.  Seiichi Uchikawa drove him in with a booming double.  In the fifth a poor throw by Tim Kennelly that one hopped Aaron Baker kept the inning alive.  Seiichi Uchikawa took advantage again with a 2-run single to make the score 3-0.  The Hawks finally scored an earned run off of hard luck pitcher Trevor Caughey when Kenji Akashi singled, went to second on a hit and run ground out, then scored on a Ryuma Kidokoro single down the first base line.

The Heat offense was all but, getting only three hits off four different Hawk pitchers.

The Samsung Lions will now play play the Softbank Hawks and try to make up for that earlier embarrassing 9-0 loss.  They would like to become the first non-Japanese team to win the Asia Series.  The bold myworld prediction - a Samsung Lion victory.  It will be interesting to see what kind of crowd shows up for the championship game without a Taiwan team participating.

United States Stays Undefeated; Canada Loses But Clinches Spot in Worlds

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

The United States remained undefeated, downing both Panama 9-0 and Venezuela 5-1 in Colombia to clinch a spot in the junior world championships in Korea.  Walker Weickel was the star of the game, tossing eight innings of three hit ball, striking out ten.  It was his second win of the tournament for Weickel.  The United States finally broke a scoreless tie with a four spot in the fifth, Albert Amora driving in the first two runs with a double.  Almora was the big offensive star, going 2 for 4 with three runs scored and three driven in.  Jeremy Martinez also had a big day with two hits in two at bats, driving in two and scoring once.

The United States then handed Venezuela a 5-1 defeat, again getting good pitching.  Cole Irvin was the starter in this game, going seven innings and allowing just five hits.  The only run in the game he allowed was on a wild pitch in the second inning.  A Gavin Cecchini sixth inning single, with a subsequent error allowed the go ahead run to score.  The United States broke the game open with three runs in the eighth.  The loss dropped Venezuela to 2-2 in second round play.

Canada was upset by Mexico 3-2 in their first game of the second round.  Panama then upset Mexico the next day 6-1.  The go ahead run for Mexico was scored on a squeeze play in the top of the ninth inning that made the score 3-1.  Canada made a valiant comeback attempt in the bottom of the ninth, but came up short by one.  Canada ended the game stranding 15 runners on base.

Canada recovered the next day with a thrilling 4-3 win over the host team Colombia.  The win clinched a spot in the top four, making them eligible for the junior world championship in Korea.

The United States and Canada are set as the first two teams to qualify for the world championship in Korea.  Venezuela is poised to take the third spot at 2-2, but still must beat Mexico.  A loss to them and the winner of the Colombia/Panama game would result in a three way tie at 2-3.  Only two of those three teams could advance, so a tie breaker would prove the difference.

You can follow the scores and the standings for this junior tournament in Colombia here:

A more complete summary of the United States games can be found at their website here:

A summary of the Canadian games can be found at their website here:

Uni President Lions Stay Alive with Win Over Heat

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

It took ten innings, but the Uni-President Lions were able to down the stubborn Perth Heat 3-2 in ten innings last night.  A 2-out triple by Tai-Shan Chang proved to be the game winner in the top of the tenth to score Wu-Hsiang Pan, who had singled to give the Lions the victory.  They still have hope to advance to the final with a win over the Samsung Lions in Taipei.

Both starters pitched well to begin the game, throwing shutout ball through the first four innings.  Perth starter Ben Moore deserved a better fate.  In the fifth Chun-Yo Kuo drove one to left field that Brenden Webb overran.  He jumped for the ball in foul territory, but the ball landed to his left in fair territory.  After Chung-Hsun Tu fouled two balls foul just outside the right and left field lines, he drove one over the left fielder Webb’s head for a double to score the first run.  An error by third baseman Alex Burg on a slow grounder that slipped under his glove extended the inning and allowed the second run to be scored on a sacrifice fly.  Moore worked eight innings, striking out six and giving up seven hits.

Dan Reichert was masterful for seven plus innings, though the Heat were not too found of the strike zone of the home plate umpire.  He finally tired in the eighth when the Heat scored two runs against him.  He limited the Heat to just four hits, striking out seven.

Game Notes: Myworld did not attend this second game. We watched the first six innings from our hotel room on television, then had zonked out before the game ended.  There was a drizzle in the air just after the first game and when myworld saw some umbrellas up during the game we were glad we chose the comfort of our hotel room for the evening…For the next two days myworld will be enjoying the hospitality of Taichung.  We will not be going up to Taipei for the games there.  We will wait until Tuesday when they return to Taichung for the finals.

Hawks Rip Samsung Lions

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

It was a good showing for both team’s fans, but the Hawks fans had covered the entire third base and left field lower section while the Lions fans could only occupy the first base side.  The right field lower section was pretty empty.  A good turnout for a game that did not involve any Taiwan teams, but a bad ballgame from a competetive standpoint as the Hawks ripped the Lions 9-0.  Poor fielding was again the key as back to back errors by the Lions allowed three unearned runs to score in the 5-run second inning that buried the Samsung nine too deep.

Hiroki Yamada dodged a bullet in the first inning when the Lions loaded the bases with just one out.  He struck out Bong-Kyu Kang and then got Tae-In Chae to fly out to right field to end the threat.  After that inning, the Lions could not advance a runner to third base against Yamada as he limited the Lions to just two more hits.

The Hawks exploded in the top of the second inning to virtually seal this game early.  A walk to Kenji Akashi by starter Woo-Son Lee got the inning started.  Akashi stole second, the first of five steals (possibly six, I ruled a defensive indifference on one stolen base) the Hawks had against the Lion’s catchers.  They ran at will and could have had more if the game had not turned so lopsided.  Shuhei Fukuda pulled a double down the right field line to score Akashi with the game’s first run.  After a ground out advanced Fukuda to third, the Hawks catcher Toru Hosokawa squared to bunt, then pulled the bat back and drilled one into the left centerfield gap, past the shallow Lions outfielders for a double, scoring Fukuda.

Munehori Kawasaki struck out for the second out.  Yuichi Honda beat out a slow chopper to shortstop for an infield single to extend the inning.  Seiichi Uchikawa then was grazed by a pitch and was awarded first.  It appeared that Honda had easily stolen second base, but after the safe call Uchikawa was awarded first base.  Nobuhiro Matsuda then bounced a grounder in front of the mound and reliever Dong-Kul Lee’s throw was way wide of first base, allowing the third run to score.  Yuya Hasegawa then hit a hard liner to shortstop, but it glanced off the top of his glove and kareemed into centerfield to bring in two more runs.  Yuya Hasegawa could have had the fifth steal, but myworld judged it a defensive indifference since no one appeared to cover the bag so the catcher had no place to throw it.  Kenji Akashi, who had started the inning with a walk, ended the inning with a comebacker to the mound.

The Hawks scored two more in the fifth.  Yuya Hasegawa was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning by Dong-Kul Lee, who working his fourth inning.  The Lions had replaced their starting catcher Kab-Young Jin with Jung-Sik Lee, but it didn’t prevent the Hawks from stealing.  Hasagawa easily stole second base then advanced to third on a Kenji Akashi single.  Akashi broke for second, the catcher threw to second and Hasegawa broke for home, easily beating the throw to effectively pull off a double steal.  Kenta Imamiya drove in Akashi with a single.

Another run was tallied in the sixth on a Munehori Kawasaki single that should have been caught.  It was a tough in between hop that bounced over the first baseman’s glove.  A stolen base, advance to third on a ground out and then a fly ball by Seiichi Uchikawa scored Kawasaki.  Even though the fly ball was very shallow, the throw was so low that it had to be cut off and there was no chance to get Kawasaki once the ball was cutoff.  Uchikawa drove in the final run with a RBI single in the eighth inning to complete the scoring.

The Lions had an opportunity to score in the seventh, despite being down 8-0.  An error by the shortstop allowed runners to move to first and third with one out.  Young-Seop Bae hit a comebacker to the mound.  Jung-Sik Lee broke for home and was caught in a 1-2-5 rundown.  Myung-Chul Shin ended the scoring opportunities with a fly ball to center.

The Hawks brought in Masahiko Morifuku to retire the side in the eighth inning, then brought on Teruaki Yoshikawa to pitch the ninth.  The Lions put runners on first and third with two out, but Young-Seop Bae struck out to end the game.

Game Notes: The Hawks stole at will against the Lions catchers.  The throws from the catchers were slow and loopy.  There were a few huge jumps that did not allow the catcher to get a throw off, but when they threw it was not crisp at all.  The Hawks seemed to have found a Lions weakspot with the steal…The Japanese Hawk fans show great reverence for their players.  They would rush down the third base line during a break in action to take a photo of whatever player was available.  There did not seem to be a lot of requests for autographs, but a lot of picture taking.  The Hawks players showed a lot of class at the end of the game.  They all came out of the dugout and bowed to the fans that were crowded along the third base line…There was a Hawks cheering section just behind the third base dugout, the chants, bugle and drum were being shared by a man and a woman.  I’ll give the woman a lot of credit for her projection in leading most of the cheer.  There was no announcement against ”objects that make loud noises” at this game…They stand for the national anthem of both countries, but Yamada continued to warm up in the bullpen during both anthems.  Some people wear their hats, some take them off…Shortstop Munehori Kawasaki made a nice diving stop of a grounder in the hole to prevent a Samsung rally in the third inning…Lions third baseman Sok-Min Park continues to impress me with his defense.  He made another diving stop of a ball in the hole in the third inning that prevented a run from scoring.  I also liked Hawk third baseman Nobuhiro Matsuda, but more for his offensive play…Kenta Imamiya was the offensive star with three hits.  He is short for a first baseman, but since he played only 18 games last year with a .000 batting average he is obviously not the Hawks starter…The Hawks offense was assisted by four walks, two hitbatsman, two errors and five (or six counting the defensive indifference) stolen bases…With the win, the Hawks have clinched first place in the pool for the Asia series.  They will play the winner of the Samsung Lions and Uni-President Lions game, played in Taipei for the championship…The Hawks do not appear to be slowing down despite this Asian Series.  They appear to be close to a contract with Wily Mo Pena…They do have box scores for these games. They can be seen at The characters are in Mandarin so it is difficult to read.