Archive for March, 2012

Bichette Bombs Fuel Yankee Buzz

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Dante Bichette Jr., had his first two spring training at bats in a late inning substitution on the last day of spring training with the wind blowing out and a steady rain pouring down.  His first at bat was a high shot to the deepest part of center field (410 feet) that just cleared the fence.  His second at bat ws a monster shot that again went to the deepest part of center field high into the centerfield backdrop.  The Yankee blogs are undoubtedly buzzing about these two at bats that proved the difference in the Yankees 11-9 win in a rain shortened eight inning game.  Not a bad major league spring training for the youngster, two at bats and two homeruns.

The day was not so good for Jordan Lyle, who probably punched his ticket for AAA.  In the opening frame the Yankees had one bloop single and two groundball singles through the infield to score their first two runs.  The Yankees added two more in the third, aided by a single that skipped by the immobile glove of Carlos Lee for an RBI single for Raul Ibanez, the second RBI for what would be a four RBI day for Ibanez.  A fly ball to right for which Travis Buck made a diving catch scored another run.  The Astros tried to appeal that the runner left first too early, but the first base umpire who made the out call also made the safe call on the tagup.  Myworld does not know how he could see both plays, but I suppose some umpires have eyes in the back of their heads.  The umpires were using a 3-man rotation and myworld thinks they botched this call.  We didn’t see when Ibanez left first, but his soon to be 40 year old legs carried him to second base pretty quickly on the trapped out that had Ibanez in no man’s land.

It was the fifth inning that sealed Lyle’s fate.  The Yankees bashed him pretty hard with Curtis Granderson roping the first pitch he saw for a double to right center field.  Robinson Cano blasted the first pitch he saw over the right centerfield fence.  Mark Teixiera at least took a strike before smashing a double down the left field line.  Raul Ibanez ran the count to 1-2 before crushing a pitch over the right field fence.  The four players in the Yankee lineup who will be considered starters batted 2-5 in the lineup and went 10-12 against Lyle in the game, with two homeruns.  While he was able to get the backup catcher, utility player and minor leaguers out, the starters were a different story.

The Astro bats kept them in the game.  They took a 4-2 lead after two when Justin Ruggiano blasted a ball to the deepest part of the park in centerfield for a 3-run homer.  Marwin Gonzalez followed with a triple over the first base bag that Raul took too long to track.  Gonzalez scored on a ground out.

After the Yankees had tied the game at 4-4, the Astros jumped ahead on three straight singles after two were out.  Chris Snyder tagged the RBI single.  The Astros could never recover after the Yankees 4-run onslaught in the fifth, though Carlos Lee launched a homerun in left center in the bottom frame to make it 8-6.

Brian Bogusevic and Chris Johnson were to hit solo shots in the gusting wind, but they were matched by the two solo homeruns from Dante Bichette Jr. and a solo shot from Jose Gil.  Bichette had followed the Gil blast to make it back to back with the first two hitters that Brandon Lyon faced in the eighth.

The game was called in the top of the ninth with a runner on first and two out.

Game Notes: The stadium was filled with “Let’s go Yankee” chants.  Fathers were teaching their sons how to make the chant…There were some pretty big gusts of wind that were aiding the homerun blasts after the fifth inning.  Bichette got his balls high in the air and if taken by a gust of wind could have easily aided in his homeruns…The conditions were not great after the rains came.  Preston Claiborne was called for a balk after he slipped off the mound and didn’t make the pitch…Travis Buck was a bit too casual tracking a ball hit into right field and it skipped past him after hitting the ground, turning a single into a double…Not particularly impressed with the DP pivot of Jose Altuve.

Prospect Watch:The biggest news for Yankee fans were the two homeruns from their top prospect Dante Bichette Jr. in his first two at bats.  That will have the hundred or so Yankee blogs buzzing.  Mason Williams played centerfield and had to follow the Bichette blasts.  He had three swings and misses in his first at bat and grounded to short in his second, trying to convince the ump that he was safe with his own safe call when he was clearly out by a step.  Benjamin Gamel and Anderson Feliz, both got to pinch hit in the DH spot and the twenty year olds both struck out.  Adam Warren went five plus innings, but he doesn’t look to have great stuff.  The Astros bashed him around for five runs…Marwin Gonzalez held his own at short and tripled in three at bats.  He did turn and look on his hit to the right field corner while racing into second rather than watch the third base coach waving him to third.  J.B. Shuck struck out in his only at bat.  He will probably be sent down even if Jordan Schaeffer is not ready.  The Astros have been playing Brian Bogusevic in the leadoff spot and playing him in centerfield.  Ruben Alaniz looked sharp in his two innings of work.  He gave up the first pitch homerun to Bichette, and a double to Francisco Cervelli, but he struck out five of the six hitters he retired, all of the hitters late inning defensive replacements.

Samon Hits for Cycle for Stallions

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Alfredo Despaigne did not hit his 34th homerun, but he walked four times. This allowed Yordanis Samon a number of RBI opportunities as he hit for the cycle to drive in eight runs in the Granma Stallions 9-2 win over the Mayabeque Hurricanes. Samon had a bases clearing double in the third to drive in his first three runs, a 3-run homer in the fifth to drive in three more and a 2-run triple in the sixth to complete his RBI tally. He had a single in the eighth to complete the cycle. Despaigne was on base with a walk during all three of his RBI hits.

The victory keeps the Stallions a game ahead of the Santiago Wasps, who were also victorious 5-4 over the Artemisa Hunters. Alberto Bicet threw four plus innings of shutout relief to lead the Wasps and Rolando Merino had a 2-run homerun.

The Matanzas Crocodiles extended their lead to a game and a half in the Occidental League with an 11-1 skunk over their first place counterparts, the Ciego de Avila Tigers. The Cienfuegos Elephantes stayed three games ahead of the idol Sancti Spiritus Roosters with a 9-1 pasting of the Villa Clara Orangeman, who share second place in the Oriental League with the Las Tunas Woodcutters. Jose Abreu went deep for the Elephantes.

Japanese Opening Day

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Japan had their openers yesterday.  Myworld will give a brief summary of each game, but you can follow the Japanese season at their English website: http://bis.npb.or.jp/eng/2012/games/ or go to http://yakyubaka.com/ for continued summaries of the game.

Chunichi Dragons 4 Hiroshima Carp 2

The Japanese do not throw a lot of no hitters but Kazuki Yoshimi had a perfect game until the eighth inning when Kenta Kurihara led off the inning with a single.  Tomonori Maeda ended his shutout with a 2-run single, but the Dragons held on for the 4-2 win.  Ryosuke Hirata was the big bat for the Dragons with an RBI single in the fifth and a solo shot in the seventh.  Hirokazu Ibata slashed out three hits, including an RBI single in the fifth.  There were over 37,000 in attendance in the Dragons lair.

Yakult Swallows 4 Yomiuri Giants 0

There were 44,000 mostly Giant fans that saw their team get shutout by their in city rival Swallows, Masanori Ishikawa limiting them to two hits over eight plus innings.  Tony Barnette got the last two outs to pick up the save.  Tsuyoshi Ueda drove in two runs to lead the Swallow offense.

Hanshin Tigers 5 DeNa Yokahama Bay Stars 5

Kentaro Sekimoto had a homerun and three RBIs to give the Tigers a 4-3 lead.  The Bay Stars rallied for a run in the ninth and both teams scored a run in the tenth to end the game in a 5-5 tie.  Hichori Morimoto got three hits and drove in two runs for the Baystars and was a homerun short of the cycle.  Norihiro Nakamura also drove in two runs for the Bay Stars.  There were over 33,000 to see the Tiger tie.

Chiba Lotte Marines 5 Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 3

With Yu Darvish gone, the Eagles threw Masahiro Tanaka, now the best pitcher in Japan in front of a home crowd of over 20,000, but it was not enough as the Marines downed the Eagles 5-3.  Tanaka lasted only six innings, giving up five runs on seven hits, striking out seven, but only two of the runs were earned.  The Eagle’s defense did not support him well making four errors.  Josh Whitesell rapped three hits to drive in two runs to lead the Marine offense.  Tadahito Iguchi also got three hits, including two doubles and scored twice and Shunichi Nemoto also drove in two runs for the Marines.

Nippon Ham Fighters 9 Seibu Lions 1

The Fighters bats mauled out 13 hits to announce to the NBP that the departure of Yu Darvish will not lead them to a slide in a 9-1 drubbing of the Lions.  Yuki Saito had a complete game victory for the Fighters, giving up just four hits and walking four.  Atsunori Anaba had three hits, including two doubles and two runs scored to lead the Fighter offense.  Yoshio Itoi drove in two and scored twice with his two hits and walk.  Hideaki Wakui was roughed up for six runs in only four plus frames for the Lions.  There were over 36,000 undaunted Nippon fans at the stadium to cheer their team on to victory.

Softbank Hawks 3 Orix Buffaloes 1

The Hawks lost three starting pitchers and their starting shortstop to their championship team, but they were still able to win their opener 3-1 behind the seven inning pitching of Tadashi Settsu and in front of over 36,000 fans.  Nobuhiro Matsuda had a 2-run homer in the second inning to lead the Hawk offense.  South Korean slugger Dae-Ho Lee had one hit in three at bats for the Buffaloes.  He drove in the only run for Orix and also walked.

Norris Pitches Astros Past Braves

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

They say spring training numbers do not matter.  However, there are some players who are losing jobs and winning positions as a result of their spring training results.  Bud Norris threw six innings of one run ball in leading the Houston Astros past the Atlanta Braves 5-1, solidifying his spot in the starting rotation.

Randall Delgado could work his magic for only three innings for the Braves.  In the fourth, two walks sandwiched by a bunt single from Travis Buck loaded the bases with no out.  Chris Johnson bounced a single between third and short to score two and when the throw from left fielder Jordan Parraz bounced in front of the cutoff man and careemed off his glove past the catcher, the runners advancing to third and second.  Jason Castro blooped a single just over the outstretched glove of secondbaseman Josh Wilson to score one and Brandon Barnes clubbed one to deep center to score the fourth run of the game.  Delgado was not hit hard, but the Astros had scored four runs.

The Astros hit Delgado a bit harder in the fifth frame, Brian Bixler splitting the gap for a triple.  Bixler scored on a medium fly to center even though the throw by Michael Bourne had beaten Bixler to the plate, but Brian McCann could not hang on to the ball.  Delgado was removed after a single by J.D. Martinez.  He had retired 9 of the ten hitters he faced in the first three innings, not going to a three ball count to any of those hitters.  In the fourth he walked two of the first three hitters he faced.

Kris Medlen retired all nine Astros he faced working the last three innings.  The first batter he faced got on base on an error by Josh Wilson, who reminded Braves fans of Dan Uggla, but Kris picked him off before making a pitch to the next batter.

Jarred Cosart pitched the seventh for the Astros and struggled to throw strikes.  He had three ball counts to three of the five hitters he faced, but gave up only a single and a walk before retiring pitcher Kris Medlen on a grounder to second.  The Braves could have pinch hit for the pitcher with runners on first and third with two out and behind 5-1 but they chose to have the pitcher bat.

Game Notes: Randall Delgado had an unfortunate fourth inning.  He gave up a bunt single, a bleeder single and a broken bat blooper single and when it was over the Astro had scored four runs…Josh Wilson had a rough day at second base.  He booted one ball, couldn’t handle a tough hop single and allowed a bloop hit to evade his outstretched glove…Jordan Parraz got a start and finished 2 for 3 and is now 4 for 6 while being witnessed by myworld.  None of his hits were hard, an infield single in the second and he poked an 0-2 pitch into left field for a single in the ninth.  He also walked.

Prospect Watch: Randall Delgado did not seem to have a lot of bite to his curveball.  He didn’t get hit hard, but his two walks in the fourth inning came back to haunt him.  Edward Salcedo got some playing time at third.  His first time up he struck out on three pitches, taking the first two for strikes before swinging and missing on a breaking pitch from Bud Norris.  He grounded weakly to short in his second at bat.  Tyler Pastornicky went 0 for 3 and other than his 4 for 5 day has been a bit vanilla at short.  Matt Chaffee faced one batter, Chris Johnson and struck him out on three swings and misses…Brandon Barnes gets good jumps in center field and appeared to cover a lot of ground in center.  J.D. Martinez was smart enough to back away from him as he roamed into left field to make a catch.  Jarred Cosart needs to throw more strikes.  He hits 95 on the radar gun and his curve has a lot of bite, but he has trouble throwing strikes.

Italian League Opener

Friday, March 30th, 2012

The baseball season opened in Italy yesterday with Unipol Bologna defeating Cariparma Parma 7-2.  Juan Carlos Infante drove in two runs for Bologna and Alessandro Vaglio and Marco Sabbatani scored twice to lead the offense.  Jesus Matos went five innings to get the win.  The only homerun in the game was a leadoff shot by Parma hitter Stefano Desimoni.

You can see the boxscore here: http://cnc.fibs.it/cnc/Baseball/2012/L1/campo/AA0111.htm and you can follow all your European baseball action here: http://www.mister-baseball.com/

Nats No Names Down Tigers

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Most of the National starters had played earlier this afternoon, so the game against the Tigers had no starters.  Steve Lombardozzi drove in the first run with a single and after he was intentionally walked in the eighth Xavier Paul broke a 3-3 tie with a 2-run single to give the National back ups a 5-3 win over the Tigers.

Mitch Atkins got the start for the Nationals.  He gave up a 3-run homerun to Brennan Boesch, but otherwise mesmorized the Tigers with his pedestarian stuff, striking out six in five innings.  He retired the side in three of the five innings he worked, giving up only four hits.  Tyler Clippard and Josh Wilkie followed him in the bullpen, pitching two innings each and facing the minimum 12 batters.  For Brennan Boesch it was the third straight game in which he has hit a homerun that myworld attended.  Myworld expects a monster year from him.

Max Scherzer got the start for the Tigers and shut the Nationals out for the first four innings.  In the fifth he gave up four hits to allow two runs to score and in the sixth two hits and a walk to allow the Nationals to tie it at 3-3.  Steve Lombardozzi got an RBI single and Chad Tracy an RBI double in the fifth.  Josh Johnson bounced one up the middle for a game tying RBI single in the sixth.

Xavier Paul won the game in the eighth with a 2-run RBI single after Steve Lombardozzi was intentionally walked.

Game Notes: Tim Pahuta had a nice day getting three hits and scoring twice.  He scored two runs.  Corey Brown also scored two runs with a walk and double.  Steve Lombardozzi had three hits and was intentionally walked in five at bats.  Josh Johnson had two sacrifice bunts and an RBI single to drive in one run and set up three runs with his two bunts…Brennan Boesch drove a Mitch Atkins curveball over the right centerfield fence.  Austin Jackson, the previous batter had just struck out on a 0-2 curveball…The Tigers had only two innings when the side was not retired after three hitters.

Prospect Watch: This game lacked any real prospects.  The Nationals started Corey Brown in centerfield and he got one hit and a walk in four at bats, scoring two runs.  He wasn’t really challenged in centerfield.  Steve Lombardozzi singled in his first three at bats.  He scored one run and drove in one run.  He also attempted to steal second in the first inning and was thrown out by a foot.  Sandy Leon was the only National that came into the game for defense.  He walked and flew out to center.  The only Tiger prospect that played the game was Tyler Collins who grounded out to second.

Pakistan Beats Sri Lanka for West Asia Championship

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

In the one competetive game of the tournament, Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka 4-1 to won the West Asia championship.  Ihsanullah got the complete game victory for Pakistn, qualifying them for the Asia Cup to be played later this year.

In games earlier in the week Iran downed Afghanistan 14-0 to earn the bronze medal.

You can read more about the results here: http://www.ibaf.org/en/news/2012/03/29/pakistan-wins-10th-west-asia-baseball-cup/ac2cb387-89da-4df3-9791-b32dce152798

Despaigne Ties Cuban Homerun Record

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Alfredo Despaigne ended for him what had been a long homerun drought, slugging two homeruns to tie the Cuban homerun mark of 33 in a crucial loss by the Granma Stallions to the Hunters 11-4.  The 33 homeruns in a season mark is shared by Jose Abreu and Yoenis Cespedes who hit that number last year.  Despaigne has not been getting a lot of good pitches to hit so his homerun numbers have dropped as his walk numbers have increased.  But in a game where the Artemisa Hunters are well out of the playoff race and scored six runs in the top of the first to take a 6-0 lead, pitching to Despaigne was not much of a fear factor.

The Hunters also had their ace Miguel Lahera pitching for them.  Miguel is afraid of no batter.  He gave up a 3-run homerun to Despaigne in the bottom of the first to cut the Hunters lead in half to 6-3.  The Hunters increased that lead to 10-3 going into the bottom of the sixth and Lahera served up a solo blast to Despaigne to give him a tie for the single season homerun record with 33.  Ironic that Yoenis Cespedes, who was considered the second best player on the Granma Stallions, also went deep in Japan to lead the Oakland Athletics to a victory over the Mariners.

Alfredo Despaigne has nine games left to break the homerun mark.  Almost forgotten in the record tying performance is the Granma Stallions battle for the last playoff spot in the Oriental Division.  They have a one game lead over the Santiago Wasps, who were 9-3 winners over Pinar del Rio.  The loss for Pinar knocked them two games behind Sancti Spirutis for the last playoff spot in the Occidental Division.

You can read a nice article on the homerun chase by Despaigne here: http://www.baseballdecuba.com/newsite/newsContainer.asp?id=2770

National High School Tournaments

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

On the same day that Japan is holding the first portion of their Koshien tournaments, the United States is making their first attempt at holding a national high school tournament that attempts to have the best high schools play each other.  The tournament does not have as many teams as the Koshien, but it is the first year.  Myworld had hoped to stop by Cary, North Carolina and catch a few games on our way back from spring training, but the Astros had the audacity of scheduling the Yankees last on their spring training docket.  Myworld needs to see the Yankees to see every team that plays in Florida.

For the Koshien tournament you can go to http://yakyubaka.com/category/high-school/spring-koshien-high-school/ for summaries of those games.

For the United States high school tournament you can go to http://web.usabaseball.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120328&content_id=27708852&vkey=news_usab&gid= to get a summary of the results.

Harrell Pitches Astros to Win

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Lucas Harrell has been the antithesis of Rhiner Cruz.  While Cruz has not been able to get anyone out, Harrell does not give up hits.  Today he pitched five innings, giving up only one unearned run in the Astros 6-3 win over a second rate Marlin lineup whose best power hitter was Carlos Zambrano.  The only run Harrell gave up was after Brian Bogusevic dropped a 2-out routine fly ball after colliding with J.D. Martinez to allow Omar Infante to score from third.  Harrell only allowed three hits, getting 11 ground ball outs.

Carlos Zambrano got the start for the Marlins.  His breaking ball seemed too loopy with the Astros taking advantage of the poor breaking hook in the second inning.  After the first two hitters walked, three of the next four hitters ripped Zambrano’s offerings for basehits.  The Astros could only score one run in the barrage because Carlos Lee was thrown out at home by Emilio Bonafacio.  Though the throw clearly beat Lee to the plate, the tag appeared to be made after Lee had made a nice effort to slide his 280 pound frame into home.

The Marlins tied the game in the fourth on the dropped fly ball.  Brian Bogusevic made up for the error by taking a Zambrano curveball up the middle to drive in two in the bottom frame to give the Astros a 3-1 lead and Brian a plus 1 in the run production count.  Zambrano was done after four, replaced by Beau JonesMatt Downs ripped a 2-run double down the left field line to end a 3-run fifth and give the Astros an insurmountable 6-1 lead.

Game Notes: Jed Lowrie hurt his thumb when he was picked off second in the third inning.  Marwin Gonzalez replaced him and got two hits in three at bats.  He should have had a third hit, but a diving stop by Gabby Sanchez resulted in an unusual 3-4-3 out…Myworld witnessed a family of five, two adults and three kids purchase eight bottles of water, five hot dogs, 4 ice creams, one giant pretzel, a bag of peanuts and a box of popcorn.  The ticket price for the five seats is listed at $23 and the food cost was about $66 for a total ballpark cost of $231.  That is an expensive day at the ball park.  He could have taken his wife to dinner and the movies and then paid for a baby sitter for a price less than $231…Chris Coghlan took a bad route to a ball, allowing it to skip by him to the fence, turning a single into a double.

Prospect Watch: Lucas Harrell is not much of a prospect, but he gets hitters out.  After retiring all nine hitters he faced in a three inning bullpen appearance, he got the start today and threw five solid innings.  This could get him a job in the starting rotation.  He retired 11 of 19 hitters he faced on ground ball outs, throwing less than 10 pitches in three of his five innings of work.  Marwin Gonzalez looked good turning the pivot on two double plays and fielded his position cleanly.  He also collected two singles and was robbed of a hit in another at bat.  J.B. Shuck struck out in his only at bat…The only prospect that the Marlins played was Alfredo Lopez, who showed some good speed by beating out a single past the pitchers mound.