Archive for August, 2014

Solingen Alligators German Champs

Monday, August 25th, 2014

The Solingen Alligators won their second 2-1 game on the road to edge out the Heidenheim Heidekoepfe in the German baseball championships.  The Alligators won the best of five finals three games to one.

Chris Mezger went the distance to get the win for the Alligators.  Robin Drache drove in the only two runs with a homerun in the fifth to provide all the support Mezger required.

After the series Sascha Lutz was voted the best hitter, Tyler Lockwood, who gave up the game winning two run homerun to Drache was voted the best pitcher and Harry Glynn, who pitched the Alligators to their first 2-1 road win in game number three was voted the MVP.

You can see some video and more narrative on the game here:

Osaka Toin Wins Koshien High School Tournament

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Osaka Toin won the championship game in the Koshien high school summer tournament in Japan beating Mie 4-3.  Osaka Toin rode the arm of Kosuke Fukushima, who threw a complete game 118 pitch victory in the final.  He had also tossed complete game 154 pitch wins in the second game (8/19), the fourth game (8/22 - 121 pitches), and the fifth game semi finals (8/24 - 160 pitches).  He pitched in relief of Seiya Tanaka in the opening game (8/15) throwing 53 pitches.  Tanaka pitched a complete game 119 pitch shutout in the third game (8/20).  All total, from 8/15 to 8/25 Fukushima threw 606 pitches in 11 days, 399 of those pitches coming in the last four days.

Mie was more dependent on their starting pitcher Shigetoro Imai, who threw 814 pitches in the 11 days, getting relief for two innings on the first day and being taken out for the last inning on the last day.  In the last four days Imai tossed 373 pitches.

Makoto Nakamura got the clutch hit for Osaka with a 2-run single in the seventh inning to give them a 4-3 lead.  Nakamura also scored the second run in the third by starting the inning off with a double and scoring on a sacrifice fly.

The box score for the game can be found here:

South Korea Little League Champs

Monday, August 25th, 2014

South Korea cruised to an 8-4 win in the championship of the Little League World Series, Chicago scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth to make the score close. Dong-Wang Sin hammered a homerun in the fifth and Hae-Chan Choi homered in the sixth. Jin-Woo Jeon and Jae-Yeong Hwang each drove in two runs for Korea. Hwang drove in the first two runs of the game.

For Korea it was their third Little League World Series championship after winning back to back titles in 1984 and 1985. They have yet to lose a game when they qualify for the World Series. There were 28,000 plus in the stands watching the final.

Nationals Thrash Giants to Take Series

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

The day did not look good for the Nationals. Stephen Strasburg exited early, digging the Nationals a 5-0 hole after three innings. The bats awoke, a rally pigeon grazing on the outfield grass given credit for the big offensive outburst that resulted in the Nationals 14-6 win.

Stephen Strasburg was not sharp. Gregor Blanco launched him for a leadoff homer into the right field bleachers on a 3-2 count for his second homerun of the season. Travis Ishikawa led off the second inning, rocking Strasburg for a deep drive into centerfield on another 3-2 count for his second homerun. Strasburg coughed up four hits in the third, Michael Morse bouncing one off the scoreboard in a three run third, putting the Nationals down 5-0.

Ryan Vogelsong had not allowed a hit in his first three innings of work. His three walks showed he was not sharp. Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche rocked him for back to back doubles to lead off the fourth. After Vogelsong retired the next two hitters Asdrubal Cabrera ripped a third double in the inning into the left centerfield gap. A walk to Jose Lobaton saw Stephen Strasburg exit for new acquisition Nate Schierholtz. He failed to drive in the two baserunners, popping out to shortstop.

Gregor Blanco led off the sixth with a triple ripped just fair down the first base line that hit the ball girl’s chair. Werth had a long run, with Blanco using his speed to advance to third. Hunter Pence drove him in with a fly to right to up the Giant advantage to 6-2.

Ian Desmond sent Vogelsong to the showers by blasting a pitch over the left field bullpen to pull the Nationals to 6-3. Jeremy Affeldt replaced Vogelsong and could not retire any of the five hitters he faced. With runners on first and third and one out, with the Nationals tied at 6-6, Jean Machi came on in relief to promptly pick off Denard Span for the second out. The Nationals bats were not deterred, with Jayson Werth driving in Scott Hairston for the go ahead run. Michael Morse was atrocious in the outfield, allowing an easy fly ball by Bryce Harper to go over his head. The Nationals were also not afraid to run on his left field arm, advancing a runner home from second every time a single was hit to left.

The Nationals put the game away in the eighth with a five run outburst, Bryce Harper hitting the foul pole in right field for a two run homer and Danny Espinosa powering a ball into the right field bleachers for a two run homer.

Game Notes: Despite his short outing Stephen Strasburg struck out four hitters to reach 200 whiffs for the season. He has also given up 21 homeruns this year….Ryan Vogelsong walked four, all after running the count to 3-2….Michael Morse had a rough day in the outfield. He was not charged with any errors, but he turned an out into a double, a single into a double, and he allowed a number of runners to score from second on singles into left field…Jose Lobaton had a good day, stroking hits in his last three at bats after grounding into a double play in his first at bat…

Guilty Plea in Cuban Smuggling Case

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Eliezer Lazo pleaded guilty to the smuggling of over 1,000 Cubans, including baseball stars such as Leonys Martin. Lazo is already serving five years for a money laundering conviction. After the Cubans were smuggled they would be freed only after a $10,000 ransom was paid. For Martin that ransom was much higher. He paid a total of $1.2 million to the group and they were suing him to acquire more since the contract Martin signed under duress required him to pay the group 35 percent of his salary. Martin signed with the Texas Rangers for five years and $15.5 million.

The ransom netted the smugglers $1.5 million which allowed them to build a baseball academy in Mexico for major league scouts to watch the smuggled Cuban players.

You can read about the guilty plea here:

Nats Maul the Freak

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Tim Lincecum is not the mid 90s Cy Young pitcher he was in yester year. The Nationals spanked his high 80s fastball all about the outfield to score six runs in less than three innings of work. After Lincecum left the bats rested as no one else reached base. Fortunately for the Nats Jordan Zimmermann was able to hold the Giant bats in check.

It did not start off well for Zimmermann. He gave up a lead off broken bat double to Angel Pagan down the right field line to lead the game off. Hunter Pence then tomahawked an 0-2 pitch at his eyes into the right centerfield bleachers to give the Giants an early 2-0 lead. There would be no celebrations for Giants fans after that. Zimmerman was efficient with his pitches, not allowing a three ball count to a hitter until the eighth inning, when he seemed to tire and allow two three ball counts. Matt Thornton came on in relief in the ninth.

The Nationals got the runs back early. Denard Span lined a ball into the right field corner. The ball squirted past Pence after hitting off the wall and the scorer generously ruled it a triple. A walk to Anthony Rendon was followed by a line drive single into right by Jayson Werth to score Span with the Nats first run. The Giants chose to give up a second run to turn a double play on an Adam LaRoche ground ball.

The Nationals assault on Lincecum continued in the second inning, aided by a throwing error from Pablo Sandoval. Lincecum walked Asdrubal Cabrera. Jordan Zimmermann sacrificed him to second. Denard Span bounced a ball up the middle for a base hit and Cabrera easily scored after Angel Pagan bobbled the ball trying to pick it up. A wild pitch moved Span to second and the third out appeared to be made when Rendon hit an easy grounder to Sandoval for the third out. For the second time in three games on a Rendon hit ball to third, the thirdbaseman threw the ball away, Sandoval delivering a ball into the stands to allow Span to score and Rendon to move to second. Jayson Werth drove in Rendon with a single into right center.

After Lincecum got the first two hitters out in the third Asdrubal Cabrera lofted a high fly ball into centerfield that eventually settled into the centerfield bleachers for a homerun. Jordan Zimmermann followed with a double past the diving Sandoval down the third base line and that was all for the pitcher they called “The Freak”.

Yusmeiro Petit came on in relief and retired all 13 hitters he faced. Santiago Casilla retired the three batters he faced in the ninth. The Giants bullpen finished a perfect five plus innings in relief.

Game Notes: The virus of the ice bucket challenge extended to Nationals park. It seems every one is doing it now…The game represented an attempt by Tim Lincecum to win his 100th game. The result was his second shortest outing of his career. In his last seven starts per Lincecum is 0-6 with a 9.49 ERA against the Nationals….The Nationals called up Nate Schierholtz to the major league team to add a left handed bat to the bench. They sent down prospect phenom Michael Taylor, who was not getting any at bats with Jayson Werth now healthy…Joe Panik, who reaped havoc on the National pitchers the day before grounded into two double plays in this game…Since the trade Zach Walters has hit five homeruns for the Cleveland Indians while Asdrubal Cabrera has hit only two. Cabrera is hitting for a higher average and provides a much better defensive option for second base than Walters.

Little League World Series - Last Two Standing

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

One team got its revenge for an earlier loss while another team didn’t. Now there are only two teams in the finals.

Korea 12 Japan 3

Korea beat Japan for the second time in the Little League World Series, breaking their spirit with a seven run second inning. Hae-Han Choi smoked a two run double in the seven run eruption and Dong-Wan Sin tagged a three run double to provide all the damage. Both Choi and Sin finished with game high three RBIs.

Chicago 7 Las Vegas 5

Chicago avenged an earlier 13-2 loss to Las Vegas, rallying for three run in the bottom of the fifth to overcome a 5-4 deficit. Trey Hondras proved to be the big stick for Chicago with his two run shot in the first and an RBI single in the second. Both teams went with their aces, Joshua Houston for Chicago and Brennan Holligan for Las Vegas, but neither proved effective. It appeared Las Vegas would run away with the game again after a three run double in the top of the first by Drew Laspaluto put Vegas up 3-0, but Chicago responded with their own three spot in the bottom frame, created by the 2-run blast by Hondras. Ed Howard came on in the last inning to shut out the Vegas bats and send Chicago to the finals.

Rusney Castillo Signs with Red Sox

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

The Red Sox got their Cuban, 27 year old Rusney Castillo, who they signed for six years $72.5 million. It is the highest contract for a first year player from Cuba. Castillo only stands 5′9″ but he has some pop in his swing. He is a centerfielder who will use his speed to play centerfield and steal bases.

Since the Red Sox are not in a pennant race this year he may get an opportunity to see what he can do in September after he gets a few swings in the minor leagues in August. With Jackie Bradley unable to provide them with the offense they had hoped Castillo could take over the centerfield position. This would leave Bradley a corner outfield spot and he has not really shown the bat to fill that position.

Braves 2014 Domestic Draft Team

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Myworld is taking a look at all the major league teams to see what kind of 25-man roster they could field if they only relied on the players selected from the domestic draft and nothing else to stock their team. Only current major leaguers are considered for the 25 man roster. Realistically, some players would extend their career because without foreign players a job could still be available and others who never were called up could fill the empty positions.   At one point, with Ted Turner at the helm the Braves spent a lot of money on free agents.  Those days are gone.  Now they build through their farm system.  Once a player gets too expensive they let him go and replace him with a younger version.  The Braves drafts are filled with depth and talented players to fill the positions.

Catcher - They are loaded here with the veteran Brian McCann (2002 - 2nd round) and a decent backup who could also start for many teams in Jarod Saltalamacchia (2003 - first round).  Hard to believe the two are only one year apart in the draft.  Tyler Flowers (2005 - 33rd) is another player who can fill the position.  Tyler was also drafted by the Braves in 2004.  Evan Gattis (2010 - 23rd round) would probably fill the outfield need with this talented group.

First Base - Freddie Freeman (2007 - 2nd round) is the main man and a potential All Star.  Gattis could back him up, but they also have the veterans Adam LaRoche (2000 - 29th round) and Garrett Jones (1999 - 14th round) to share playing time.  That leaves a lot of room for Mike Hessman (1996 - 15th round) to continue to hit 400 homeruns in the minor leagues.  Brandon Belt (2007 - 11th round) was drafted but did not sign but would be an embarrassment of riches at this position.  He was drafted as a lefthanded pitcher, so that may have been his fate on this team.

Second Place - Tommy LaStella (2011 - 8th round) mans the position now.  For this team Brandon Hicks would share back up duties with Phil Gosselin (2010 - 5th round).

Shortstop - One of the best fielding shortstops is Andrelton Simmons (2010 - second round).  Nick Ahmed (2011 - second round) would be waiting for his opportunity.  The Cuban Yunel Escobar (2005 - second round) would fill a utility role.  A nice trio of second round picks.

Third Base - Anthony Rendon (2008 - 27th round) is the best player for the position the Braves drafted, but he never signed with the team.  Joey Terdoslavich (2010 - 6th round) showed a difficulty to play the position defensively.  Working out one of their first baseman to play this position might be the best alternative or moving Escobar from his utility role to third base would add stability.

Left Field - Gattis if he doesn’t catch.  Terdoslavich could also occupy space here.  Two defensive alternatives would be Ryan Langerhans (1998 - third round) and Jordan Schafer (2005 - third round).  Jeff Francouer (2002 - first round) could still make it as an extra outfielder, but he forgot how to hit after his rookie season.

Centerfield - Schafer is the only true centerfielder, though they could move Jason Heyward (2007 - first round) here and move one of the extra leftfielders to right.

Right Field - Heyward has been a disappointment with his offensive production but this is his best position.

Starting Pitching - The ace of the staff would be Adam Wainwright (2000 - first round).  Injured or ineffective pitchers fill behind him in Matt Harrison (2003 - third round), Andrew Cashner (2005 - 20th round) though he was not signed, Tommy Hanson (2005 - 22nd round), Kris Medlen (2006 - 10th round), Brett Oberholtzer (2008 - 8th round) and Mike Minor (2009 - first round).  Those injuries would create opportunities for Alex Wood (2012 - second round) and keep Jason Marquis (1996 - first round) from retiring.

Relievers - Craig Kimbrel (2008 - third round) would continue to be the All Star closer.  Sean Doolittle (2004 - 39th round) was never signed but he could provide support from the left side with Jonny Venters (2003 - 30th round).  From the right side you have Paul Clemens (2008 - 7th round), J.J Hoover (2008 - 10th round) and Cory Rasmus (2006 - first round).  Deunte Heath (2006 - 19th round) is now pitching in Japan but he would offer help to the bullpen.

Nats Win Tenth Straight; Another Walkoff

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

There are a number of ways you can get on base in a baseball game. The Nationals are trying all the different ways a team can walk away from a game in the last inning with a win. For the fifth time in six games the Nationals won on a walkoff, this time after third baseman Jordan Pacheco bounced a one hopper to Mark Trumbo, who could not come up with the ball. It trickled into the camera well, allowing Denard Span to be awarded home for the only run of the game in the Nationals 1-0 win.

Both Wade Miley and Gio Gonzalez threw shutout ball for seven innings. Gio was the more effective of the two, limiting the Diamondbacks to just four hits. Arizona did put runners at second and third with one out in the third, but Ender Inciarte lined to short and Cliff Pennington stroked a shallow line drive to right for the third out. Gio loaded the bases in the fifth but again Pennington could not capitalize on the baserunners, popping one into the infield.

The Nationals seemed to have opportunities in every inning. In six of the seven innings they got the leadoff man on base. In those six innings they got at least two men on base. Three ground into double plays, two of them by LaRoche spoiled three of those rallies. LaRoche also struck out in the fifth with the bases loaded, failing to drive in seven of the baserunners he inherited. Danny Espinosa struck out and also grounded into a double play to strand four inherited runners.

In the bottom of the ninth Denard Span fought off a one out single into centerfield, his second hit of the day. With Anthony Rendon up he stole second. Rendon had the walk off pinch hit single in the game yesterday. This time, instead of screaming a ball past the third baseman, he hit a slow hopper to him. Span froze at second as Pacheco fielded the ball. The throw from Pacheco bounced on one hop to Mark Trumbo who could not handle it and the ball trickled into the camera well, the umpires rewarding Span home with the game winning run. One has to wonder if Paul Goldschmidt could have come up with that throw if he was playing first base.

For the second straight day Rafael Soriano got the win by coming into the game in the ninth inning.

Game Notes: Gio Gonzalez threw ten pitches to the leadoff hitter Ender Inciarte, finally getting him to ground out to second. It looked like another one of those high pitch count, short outings for Gio. He settled down after that, walking just three batters and finishing seven innings with 97 pitches. In his last two outings he was over 100 pitches after five innings…Bryce Harper let a single bounce past him to allow Alfredo Marte to advance to third. He compounded the situation by holding the ball too long as if he was daring Marte to race home. He still threw the ball home, way off line, allowing Wade Miley to advance to second. Bryce Harper can sometimes play like the 21 year old he is…After the fifth inning the Diamondbacks only brought the minimum 12 hitters to the plate in the last four innings. Two hitters got on via walks, but one (Trumbo) was erased on a caught stealing and the other (Trumbo again) on a double play grounder…Ian Desmond got the day off on Ian Desmond bobblehead day. In the ninth it would have been nice to see him get the call to pinch hit and hit a walkoff homerun. Instead it was Scott Hairston who got the call. He roped the ball to left field for the line drive out…Matt Stites was hitting 98 miles per hour on the radar gun…It is a mystery to myworld why the Yankees released Matt Thornton if they were still gunning for the playoffs. His fastball is in the mid 90s and he hasn’t given up a run in his seven appearances, giving up only three hits. He still seems to have pretty good stuff…The ten game winning streak is tied with the longest in franchise history…The Diamondbacks are going in the opposite direction, losing their sixth straight game…