Archive for November, 2013

Two More Cuban All Stars Depart

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

One of the hardest throwers and perhaps the best defensive shortstop have departed Cuba.  Raisel Iglesias, who showed his mid-90’s stuff in an exhibition series against a collegiate national team and his Cuban national teammate Erisbel Arruebarruena departed for the United States after both being suspended from their teams in the Cuban Nacional Series for previous attempted defections. 

Iglesias pitched as a reliever for the Isla de la Juventud.  He stands only 5′11, 160 pounds.  At 23 years of age he will not need a lot of time in the minor leagues before he appears on a major league roster, though his durability as a starter could be an issue if teams are looking to move him there.

Erisbel is also 23 and is an ex-teammate of Jose Abreu with the Cienfuegos Elephants.  His glove work is on a par with Jose Iglesias.  Cuba preferred to use him at shortstop for the National team rather than recently signed Alexander Guerrero because of his defensive acumen.  The big question mark with Erisbel is his ability to hit.  Against the collegiate national team he was 0 for 7 with four strikeouts and was pinch hit often late in the game.  He may need a year or two in the minor leagues to show he can hit major league pitching with his long swing and inability to recognize pitches.

Both players will be exempt from the international signing bonus restrictions.  It will also take some time before major league teams can sign either player since they first have to establish foreign residency and then be approved by the Foreign Assets Control to be allowed to sign a contract.    

Presidents Beat the Lions

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

For the first time in the Asian Series a team from a country other than Japan or Korea will win the championship.  The Uni-President 7-11 Lions quieted the Rakuten Golden Eagle bats to win their semifinal game 4-1.  Nelson Figueroa has won a number of big games in his career in Taiwan, Dominican Republic and the United States.  He won another one, tossing a complete game victory in the Asian Series, another bullet to notch in his belt to add to the victories he has accumulated in the Tawian Series, the Dominican championships, the Series del Caribe and the World Baseball Classic.  There may be some games myworld has missed.

The Eagles team was lacking their two big hitters in Andruw Jones and Casey McGehee as well as their starting catcher Motohiro Shima.  Figueroa was able to easily pitch around the decimated Eagle lineup, retiring the last 14 hitters in a row to cruise to the victory.  The only time the Eagles mounted a threat was in the second inning when two singles and a hit batsman loaded the bases with just one out.  A sacrifice fly by Ryo Hijirisawa scored the only run.  Takero Okajima grounded to short to end the threat.

The Lions ripped Eagles rookie starter Sho Miyagawa early in the first inning, an error by first baseman Taishi Nakagawa getting the nightmare started.  A double by Fu-Hao Liu and triple by Wu-Hsiung Pan made it 2-0.  Yung-Chi Chen singled to drive in the third run of the inning.  After giving up two hits to start the second inning Miyagawa was gone.  Sho was forced to start because of the unavailabilty of the Eagles two aces Masahiro Tanaka and Takahiro Norimoto.

The Lions added another run in the seventh inning on an RBI single by Chih-Kang Kao to score Kuo-Ching Kao, who had doubled to start the inning.  The way Figueroa was pitching the Lions did not need that run.

The Canberra Cavalry will play the Uni-President 7-11 Lions for the championship with two new teams representing two countries who have yet to win an Asian Series championship.

Camden Debut (cont - 20)

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Larvell had not seen Mr. Hwa since before the game started. He was probably in the same room as the Chinese premier and the United States President. He and Kathy Li. Why be here when you have a yellow pass and can be seen with two of the most powerful men in the world.

The no hitter had been broken. There had been a huge groan from the crowd as the ball split the gap. Now it was a matter of winning the game. Everyone in the owner’s box was still standing by the window, a sense of doom on their faces. After all, these were the Orioles. The Chinese fans down in the seats were still waving the red flag with the five stars. They didn’t know any better. The history of the Orioles had not yet been taught to them.

It was a quieter crowd. A tense crowd full of nervous energy. The no hitter may have been lost but the game could still be won. All that was in the way of that was one of the hottest hitters in the game - Armando Santiago. Victor Murray was dancing around like a loaded firecracker at second base trying to distract Jason.

Jason Woo had run the count to Armando Santiago to 3-2. At this point it would probably be best to walk him, but after Armando was Bill Boehringer, who was probably the best clutch hitter in the Yankees lineup. He also hit left-handed. It could all come down to this one pitch.

Larvell listened to the announcer through the television set speak with nervous anticipation. “Jason Woo winds. The pitch.” There was a solid crack of barrel of bat on ball. “And there’s a line drive to right field.” Larvell could see from the trajectory the ball was not going to be caught. He twisted and turned with the other 40,000 plus fans hoping for a diving catch from the right fielder. It wasn’t going to happen. “It falls in for a base hit. Hamilton picks the ball up on one hop. Victor Murray has run right through a red light. He’s rounding third, heading for home. Here comes the throw. It is a weak throw. And-“

Just as the ball reached the plate there was a flash of blinding light streaking from the sky followed by a large crackle of thunder. The flash brought about a momentary blindness and the roar of thunder had everyone in the owner’s box jumping with fright.

Right after the thunder there was an amplified crunch from the collision between Victor and Kevin at home plate. “He dropped the ball. The ball came flying out and….Wait. What is this? The Warrior is flat on his back but he is holding the ball high in the air with his right hand. The umpire has thumbed him out.” The announcer’s voice raised an octave or two. “He has held on to the ball. He has held on to the ball. Unbelievable. What a hit the Warrior took and he has still held on to the ball. The Orioles have beaten the Yankees for the first time this year. The Dragon has slain the Giant. Woo and the Warrior win. Woo and the Warrior win. It sure looked like he dropped the ball from here but the flash and thunder that happened just before the hit blinded my sight line.”

As the replay of the hit was being shown the color announcer commented “It appears the white object you saw flying in the air was not a ball but the mouth piece of Victor Murray. As the two collided the mouth piece came flying out. What a hit Victor put on the catcher. How Kevin was able to keep that ball in his glove is a miracle. The replay does not appear to show what caused the flash of light. There doesn’t appear to have been any lightning strike that you would associate with the sound of thunder. ”

As they showed the replay on the television Victor Murray put his hands to his chest and collided with Kevin as hard as any linebacker in a football game. There was a huge groan from the crowd in the owner’s box as they relived the hit on the giant video board. Larvell eyed Shu as she watched the hit in slow motion. She winced as if it had been her taking the brunt of the blow. Kevin went flying five feet backward. They all turned their gaze back down to the field. Kevin slowly got to his feet. Jason pulled him up by the arm. Victor Murray was still on the ground, rolling around in agony. A trainer was bending down and appeared to be screaming in his ear. As Kevin rose to his feet the crowd began chanting “Warrior. Warrior. Warrior.” Their right arms were raised proudly with three fingers raised to form a “W”. The loudest yell was coming from a kid in the front row whose uncle pitched for the Yankees. He carried a smile larger than the straw from his gigantic coke. This wasn’t a shock to him. He knew the Orioles would win with the Warrior behind the plate. Victor Murray stood no chance.

Kevin held the ball up to the thunderous roar. He flipped it to the ground, where it rolled to a stop, right next to the right hand of a gasping Victor Murray still struggling to find his breath. Kevin noticed a plume of smoke rising from the arms of where Victor lay cringing, curled up and writhing in pain.

He didn’t have long to determine the origin of the smoke. The whole Oriole team soon surrounded Kevin, blinding his sight line. Jason lifted him on his shoulder. Another grabbed his legs. It wasn’t long before Kevin was surfing above 50 or so hands passing him along from teammate to teammate.

Larvell hoped Kevin wasn’t hurt. With the big smile on his face he didn’t look like he was in pain. He glanced over at Shu. She was again wiping tears from her eyes as she watched her husband being carried by the team back to the dugout. A smile was on her face. A smile also blessed her two older guests, who Larvell guessed were her parents. Larvell tried to find John and his guest. They were both hugging each other down by the aisle behind the home plate area, bouncing up and down with excitement. If you are really his mother good for you. You deserve this moment of happiness. Larvell could never imagine the owner’s box of the Orioles would ever be this celebratory. It was as if they had just won the World Series. It felt good.

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Korean Rookie Pitchers Damaged Goods

Monday, November 18th, 2013

An interesting article that tracked the health of 41 pitchers drafted by the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO).  Only four of the 41 pitchers did not have any arm surgeries or feel pain in their shoulders or elbows.  There were 33 pitchers who experienced shoulder surgery or shoulder pain and 31 who had experienced elbow surgery or elbow pain.

The 41 pitchers averaged 127 pitches per game with some of those pitchers throwing over 200 pitches.  There were 27 pitchers who admitted to pitching through pain.  The American Medical Institute recommends pitchers do not surpass over 107 pitches in a game.

During winter conditioning when the weather is cold these pitchers averaged 162 thrown balls per day. 

You can read more about this here: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/culturesports/2013/11/18/46/0702000000AEN20131118004200315F.html  

Cavalry Upset Lions; Advance to Finals

Monday, November 18th, 2013

The Canberra Cavalry upset the Samsung Lions 9-5 in 10 innings to become the first Australian team to ever advance to the finals in the Asian Series.  Jack Murphy’s first hit of the game proved to be one of his biggest as it travelled over the right field wall in the tenth inning for a 2-run homer to give the Cavalry a 7-5 lead.  Aaron Sloan later added a 2-run double to give the Cavalry an insurmountable lead.

The Lions played some sloppy ball, committing four errors that led to two unearned runs.  They also had a bases loaded walk that allowed another run to score in the second inning.  One error in the fifth led to an unearned run while a second unearned run scored in the tenth.

Jeremy Barnes was the big bat for the Cavalry with four hits.  Jon Berti added three hits from the leadoff spot. 

The Lions had to rally from a 5-2 deficit to score three in the fifth.  Han-Yi Park and Seok-Min Park were the big bats for the Lions with two RBIs each.  Hyeong-Sik Jung scored two runs from the leadoff spot with his two hits.  He also drove in one run.

Jeff Lyman got the win for Australia throwing three shutout innings in relief.  The loss went to Ji-Man Ahn, who yesterday had gone two innings to get the win.

The loss by the Lions completed a dismal year for Korean baseball.  The team that represented Korea in the World Baseball Classic did not get past the first round, attendance was down in their professional league and this latest upset by Australia in the Asian Series will not bring out the happy faces.  Their only solace is the success of two players, Ryu and Choo in major league baseball.  

Australia advances to the finals to play the winner of the Rakuten Eagles versus the Uni-President 7-11 Lions.   

Samsung Downs the Presidents

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

In a battle of the Lions the Samsung Lions beat the Uni President Lions 5-4.  It took 10 innings to resolve.  Dong-Kyun Woo ripped a clutch two out single in the tenth inning to score the fifth run.  Missing closer Seung-Hwan Oh, the Samsung Lions called on Ji-Man Ahn to work a second inning.  He did what he accomplished in the ninth inning, striking out two and retiring the side in order to ensure the win.

Seung-Yeop Lee drove in the first run for Samsung in the third inning with a RBI double.  The Presidents responded back on RBI singles by Wu-Hsiung Pan and Yung-Chi Chen.  It was the only lead they would keep in the game.

Hyeong-Sik Jung erased the lead in the top of the fourth with a 2-run double.  Samsung added to the lead in the fifth with another run.

The Samsung bullpen could not hold the lead.  The Presidents tacked on runs in the seventh and eighth to tie the game.  Wu-Hsiung Pan drove in another run with a double in the seventh to pull the Presidents to within one run and Chih-wei Teng drove in the tying run with a pinch hit sacrifice fly. 

In another battle of the unbeaten the Rakuten Eagles drubbed the Canberra Cavalry 6-3.  Shota Koseki got the big hit with a bases clearing 3-run double in the second.  The Cavalry could not recover from that hit. 

Satoshi Nagai worked five innings to pick up the win.  Shinichiro Koyama picked up the save working the ninth inning after Kohei Hasebe worked three innings of shutout ball. 

Down 5-0 the Cavalry made a comeback with five of their eight hits in the fifth inning.  Shane Opitz drove in the first run with a single and Casey Frawley doubled in two runs.  Jack Murphy, representing the go ahead run with two runners on flied to center to end the inning.  The Cavalry did not get a runner on base in the last four innings off Hasebe and Koyama.

The Samsung Lions will play the Cavalary in the playoffs while the Eagles will do battle with the President Lions.  Fortitudo and EDA have been eliminated.  The winner of those two games will play in the championship.

For the box scores you can go here: http://asiaseries.org/2013/   

Saguros Win AFL Championship

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

Jeremy Guthrie to Visit China

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

Cavalry and Lions with the Shutout

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

Perth Heat has represented Australia the last two appearances for Australia in the Asian Series.  In those two appearances they could not pull out a victory.  The Canberra Cavalry won their first game 2-0.  Mike Eckstrom scattered eight hits in his six plus innings of work, striking out five to get the win.  He turned the ball over to Jeff Lyman and Sean Toler to complete the shutout.

Matt Torra was one out away from pitching a complete game for the EDA Rhinos, whose second loss has eliminated them from the finals.  Yesterday they had lost to the Rakuten Eagles.  His wild pitch in the ninth inning allowed the Cavalry to score an insurance run.

Aaron Sloan drove in the only run for the Cavalry.  He had an RBI double in the second inning to score to score Michael Wells.  Aaron Sloan was the hitter in the ninth inning when Matt Torra threw a wild pitch to score the second run.  Michael Crouse scored the second run after hitting a two out single to start the rally.

The Uni President Lions won their opener 10-0, eliminating the Fortitudo Bologna team from the finals.  It was the second loss for Bologna, who lost to the other Lions (Samsung) the day before.  The game lasted only seven innings as the Lions scored early and often.  Ching-Ming Wang gave up only two hits in his five shutout innings to get the win.

Giancarlo Alvarado got the start for Fortitudo and lasted only one out into the second inning.  The big bats for the Lions were Chih-Hsiang Lin with three hits and two RBIs and Fu-Hao Liu with two hits and two RBIs.  The Lions also coaxed nine walks from three different Bologna pitchers. 

The website for following the tournaments is here: http://asiaseries.org/2013/

If you want to watch the games live you can go here: https://www.youtube.com/user/CPBLofficial/Custom    

Saguaros and Solar Sox to Play in AFL Final

Friday, November 15th, 2013

The Surprise Saguaros and Mesa Solar Sox have won their respective division to play in the AFL championship game on Saturday.  With that myworld will put together our all AFL team.

Jorge Alfaro C (.386, 0, 11) Surprise - His defense is a little short and myworld was not impressed with his arm but he had the best bat in the AFL.

C.J. Cron 1B (.413, 5, 20) Mesa - Myworld was impressed with his power.  The Angels have no room for him at first base.

Mookie Betts 2B (.271, 1, 5) Surprise - He was 8 for 10 in stolen bases.

Kris Bryant 3B (.364, 6, 17) Mesa - He was perhaps the best player in the AFL.  Showed an ability to play the position.

Addison Russell SS (.282, 1, 5) Mesa - He scored 15 runs and played solid defense.

Henry Urrutia OF (.377, 3, 15) Surprise - He was older than most of the prospects and his defense was weak but he showed he can pull the ball.

Tyler Naquin OF (.339, 1, 18) Surprise - He was the straw that got the offense going, scoring 22 runs batting leadoff.

Jared Mitchell OF (.304, 5, 11) Glendale - One of four players with an OPS over 1.000.

Travis Shaw DH (.361, 5, 19) Surprise - Lots of big hits for the Saguros he also had an OPS over 1.000.

Sammy Solis SP (5-2, 2.17) Mesa - Led the AFL in whiffs with 29.

Andrew Heaney SP (2-1, 1.95) Glendale - Unhittable in the AFL.  Second in ERA of all starters with five or more starts.

Aaron Sanchez SP (2-1, 1.16) Salt River - Myworld saw him pitch five no hit innings.  Top ERA of all starters with five or more starts.

Alex Meyer SP (2-1, 3.12) Glendale - Lots of whiffs and very few hits.

Nick Wittgren RP (0.66, 3 saves) Glendale - Led the league in appearances.