Archive for September, 2014

Nats Formidable Rotation

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

In a short series having a deep rotation is an advantage. The more aces you can throw the greater the chance your team has of winning games and a short series. No team has more aces for the playoff series than the Nationals. Taking their last five starts these are the numbers National pitchers have put up.

Stephen Strasburg 1.13 ERA, 32 IP, 21 hits and 32 K’s

Jordan Zimmermann 1.32 ERA, 34 IP, 21 hits and 32 K’s

Doug Fister 1.87 ERA, 33 2/3 IP, 25 hits and 18 K’s

Gio Gonzalez 1.93 ERA, 32 2/3’s IP, 21 hits and 31 K’s

Tanner Roark 3.09 ERA, 32 IP, 34 hits and 18 K’s

That means the Nationals only have to score two runs to win their ball games if the first four starters are on their A game. Of course, all but one of these 25 starts were September starts and that is when teams call up prospects and managers like to play them. Veteran pitchers can carve up the prospects and put goose eggs on the scoreboard. The Oakland Athletics can also tell you in the short series almost anything can happen. A poor start by the ace can have a domino effect on the rest of the staff, sending shock waves through the rest of the rotation and creating cracks in the bullpen.

Looking at the top four of the Nationals myworld will take our chances with them appearing in their first World Series, if the other teams do not counter with shutouts of their own. One of the problems with the Nationals offense is their ability to create runs and their inability to hit with runners in scoring position.

Minor League Affiliation Winners

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Myworld will identify each of the minor league post season All Stars for the major league clubs this week. These are a little bit different than top 10 prospect lists which try to address a player’s future potential for major league stardom. These awards are given to players, whether prospects or not, who have had good seasons, which may enhance their prospect status.

AAA International - Pawtucket (Red Sox) defeated Durham (Rays) three games to two.

AAA Pacific Coast - Omaha (Royals) beat Reno (Diamondbacks) three games to two.

AA Eastern - Binghamton (Mets) beat Richmond (Giants) three games to zero.

AA Southern - Jacksonville (Marlins) beat Chattanooga (Dodgers) three games to zero

AA Texas - Midland (Athletics) beat Tulsa (Rockies) three games to two

A California - Lancaster (Astros) beat Visalia (Diamondbacks) three games to two

A Carolina - Potomac (Nationals) beat Myrtle Beach (Rangers) three games to one

A Florida State - Fort Myers (Twins) beat Daytona (Cubs) three games to one

A Midwest - Kane County (Cubs) beat Lake County (Indians) three games to zero

A South Atlantic - Ashville (Rockies) beat Hagerstown (Nationals) three games to two

SS New York Pen - State College (Cardinals) beat Tri-City (Astros) two games to one

SS Northwest - Hillsboro (Diamondbacks) beat Vancouver (Blue Jays) two games to zero

Rookie Appalachian - Johnson City (Cardinals) beat Danville (Braves) two games to one

Rookie Pioneer - Billings (Reds) beat Orem (Angels) two games to zero

Rookie Arizona - Indians beat Giants one game to zero

Rookie Gulf Coast - Red Sox beat Yankees two games to one

The only major league affiliations not to play in a championship game are the Brewers, Mariners, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Tigers and White Sox. As far as post season All Stars, if you are a fan of the Nationals and Diamondbacks you have a lot to get excited about. If you are a fan of the Reds or Phillies you will be disappointed by the names, or lack of, on this list. We will start with the NL East and continue to roll through each conference.

Playoff Teams Decided in NPB

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

In the NPB the playoff teams have been pretty much decided. It would take double digit winning streaks combined with double digit losing streaks for a fourth place team to move forward. The order of those playoff teams still needs to be determined. In Japan, the team with the better record gets home field advantage for all the games as well as gets awarded one victory before the series even begins. It is a big hole for a lesser team to overcome.

In the Central Division the Yomiuri Giants have won the division and will get the home field advantage in the Climax Series. The two wild card teams will be the Hiroshima Carp and Hanshin Tigers. Those two teams are currently tied with each other.

In the Pacific Division the Softbank Hawks and Orix Buffaloes are fighting to take the top spot. The Nippon Ham Fighters are far behind the two top teams and will have to travel to the loser of that division race to play the wild card series.

Korea Downs Taiwan to Become Asian Champs

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Taiwan had the 3-2 lead going into the eighth but Kuan-Yun Chen could not hold it. Singles by Byung-Hun Min and Hyun-Soo Kim put runners at the corner. Chen was replaced by ex-major leaguer Chia-Jen Lo, who walked slugger Byung-Ho Park to load the bases. A hitbatsman and a grounder allowed the tying and go ahead run to score. Jae-Gyun Hwang drove in the final two runs with a single. Korea held on for the 6-3 win.

Ji-Man An was the real hero for Korea. After Taiwan had scored two runs to take a 3-2 lead they also put runners on first and third with no out in the seventh. An was able to come in to retire all three batters without a runner crossing the plate, then pitched a scoreless eighth to get credit for the gold medal victory.

Han Lin drove in two runs for Taiwan with a ground out in the first and an RBI single in the sixth. Pin-Chieh Chen scored two of the three runs for Taiwan.

Korea had a big opportunity to take a quick lead, loading the bases with no outs in the top of the first. Their two big sluggers Byung-Ho Park and Jung-Ho Kang struck out and Sung-Bum Na grounded to third to end the threat.

Strasburg Sharp in Final 2014 Start

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Stephen Strasburg threw six innings of shutout ball in his final start of the 2014 season, showing he is ready to take on the ace role for the Nationals in their playoff run with a 5-1 tune-up win over the Miami Marlins. Strasburg gave up two catchable hits and struck out seven to take the National League lead in whiffs with 242. He has not given up a run in his last three starts covering 20 innings.

The first hit he gave up was in the third inning, a double by Jeff Mathis in which Bryce Harper appeared to take a bad route to the ball. Mathis hit the ball into the left centerfield gap and Harper took a straight line route for the ball that flew over his head. It is possible if he angled backwards he could have caught the ball. The second hit was a line drive Jayson Werth appeared to have lost in the sun. It was originally ruled an error after hitting the webbing of his glove but was changed to a hit an inning later. Other than a walk in the sixth inning those were the only Marlins to reach base off Strasburg.

In the second inning Wilson Ramos legged out a single for the second hit of the inning. With runners on first and third and one out Stephen Strasburg laid down a bunt. Nate Eovaldi looked Harper halfway to third and threw to first. Harper broke for home after the throw and slid just ahead of the throw from the first baseman. Marlins manager Mike Redmond did the ballet with the umps to wait for a dugout review of the replay and chose not to challenge the call. Denard Span followed by legging out a hit, Asdrubal Cabrera tried to score from second, or had just rounded the bag too far and the throw home caught him between home and third where he was tagged out in a rundown.

In the fifth the Nationals loaded the bases on two singles and a walk, Denard Span and Jayson Werth collecting the base hits. Adam LaRoche hit a slow ground ball to Adeiny Hechavarria, who chose to go to first for the second out to allow the second run to score.

In the eighth inning the Nationals put the game away with a three spot. Carter Capps came in with his 100 mile per hour fastball but Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond were able to hit back to back singles off the heat. A walk to Bryce Harper loaded the bases. With one out Asdrubal Cabrera lined one into right center over the head of Jordany Valdespin to drive in all three runs.

The Marlins were able to score their lone run in the ninth, courtesy of two boots, one by Ryan Zimmerman at first and the second by Anthony Rendon at third. The ground ball to Rendon should have been the third out to preserve the shutout. Instead, it scored the Marlins first run, kept the bases loaded for pinch hitter Jarrod Saltalamacchia who lined out to short to end the game.

Game Notes: Both Nathan Eovaldi and Stephen Strasburg were dealing their fastballs at 95-97 miles per hour. The difference between the two is Strasburg has better secondary stuff in his arsenal with his change and curveball…It was Tyler Clippard bobblehead day where “Fear the Goggles” was the mantra. Clippard made an appearance and retired the side in order…In the fifth with the bases loaded and two outs Bryce Harper took two strong swings at slow curveballs and missed. If he ever learns to hit the slow stuff his average will rise…The second hit by Denard Span in the fifth put his average at .301. He was replaced by Michael Taylor in the seventh and will probably not play on Sunday to keep his .300 season intact…With his seven strikeouts Strasburg took over the National League in whiffs with 242, taking the lead from Clayton Kershaw.

Taiwan Upsets Japan in Asian Games

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Japan has won the last five Asian Games baseball championships dating back to 2003. They will fail to make it six in a row as Taiwan upset the Japanese in the semifinals 10-4. Taiwan scored seven unearned runs in the second inning to take a commanding lead. Kai-Wen Cheng came on in relief to get the last two outs of the third inning and then pitched the next six innings, limiting the Japanese bats to three hits and one run. Coming into this game Japan had only allowed one run, outscoring their opponents 41-1 in three games. Taiwan had lost to Korea in the other pool 10-0.

Yen-Wen Kuo slugged a big three run homer in the seven run second to lead the offense. It was his only hit in five at bats. Chih-Hsien Chiang led both teams with three hits for Taiwan in their upset victory.

Taiwan will face Korea in the finals. In pool play they lost to Korea and their KBO professional players 10-0. China was tied with Korea at 2-2 in the other semi-final match until the fifth when Korea scored two to take a 4-2 lead. Professional homerun hitter Byung-Ho Park blasted a 3-run shot in the sixth to put the game out of reach for Korea who went on to win 7-2.

Korea had entered the game outscoring its opponents 37-0. China gave them fits, throwing out two runners on the bases to end rallies in the first two innings. They also ended the shutout streak for Korea with an RBI double by Cui Xiao in the third to tie the game at 1-1. Jung-Ho Kang broke the tie in the bottom frame with a solo shot but China got another run in the top of the fourth on an RBI double from Yang Shunyi to tie the game again.

Sung-Bam Na broke the 2-2 tie in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI single. Korea pulled away after that, Na scoring the second run by stealing second and scoring when the throw from the catcher sailed into the outfield. Jae-Gyun Hwang went a perfect 4 for 4 for Korea but that resulted in no runs scored or RBIs. Tae-Yang Lee shut down the China bats on one hit through four innings of relief, striking out five to get the victory.

Results for the game can be found here:

Asian games

Myworld’s European Championship All Star Team

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Myworld promised our All European All Star team. It took a couple days after the tournament was over to put it together. To review, Netherlands beat Italy in the championship game with Spain finishing in third place, so those three teams have many of the All Stars.

C - Alberto Mineo (Italy) - No catcher hit better than his .389 average and .833 slugging. He also hit two homeruns and drove in 8.
1B - Curt Smith (Netherlands) - He was voted MVP of the tournament, hitting .448, 4, 14 with 14 runs scored. He also added two homeruns in the championship game.
2B - Benjamin Dille (Belgium) - He hit .421 with 9 runs scored.
3B - Alex Liddi (Italy) - He hit .421 with 4 homeruns and 13 RBIs despite missing first two games. Slugged 1.158.
SS - Oscar Angulo (Spain) - Tournament leading .543 with 4 HRs and 13 RBIs with 13 runs scored. 19 hits led tournament
LF - Randolph Oduber (Netherlands) - A .448 average with 3 homeruns and 14 runs scored.
CF - Stefano Desimoni (Italy) - A .462 average with a .563 OBA.
RF - Franklin Tavarez (Spain) - A .500 average with a .630 OBA.
DH - Gianison Boekhoudt (Netherlands) - Hit .385 but his five homeruns tied for tournament lead and 15 RBIs led tournament
CI - Jakub Sladek (Czech Republic) - Hit .517 with 5 homeruns and 13 RBIs
UTL - Max Boldt (Germany) - He hit .435

Starting Pitchers

Mike Bolsenbroek (Netherlands) - Won two games with a 0.00 ERA with a 2/16 walk to whiff ratio.
Eric Gonzalez (Spain) - Another pitcher 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA
Panagiotis Sykaras (Greece) - 1-1 with a 0.56 ERA and 1/25 walk to whiff ratio
Jan Niclas Stoecklin (Germany) - 2-0, 1.29 ERA with a 1/21 walk to whiff ratio

Relief Pitchers

Tiago da Silva (Italy) - three appearances with one save and 8 whiffs in four plus innings
Remegio Leal (Spain) - three appearances with one start and a 1.23 ERA
Kevin Kelly (Netherlands) - 0.00 ERA in four appearances, one hit and six whiffs in four innings
Thomas Langloys (France) - 0.00 ERA in four appearances

Kai Gronauer to be Hitting Coach in Germany

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Myworld had Kai Gronauer in our top ten European prospects a couple years ago. He signed a contract with the New York Mets seven years ago after a tournament in Taiwan. That contract is about to expire and he has decided to end his United States professional career to pursue the hitting coach position for the Buchbinder Legionaere Regensburg team in his home country of Germany.

Kai finished with a career average of .257 but never played more than 88 games in a year. Injuries or a more promising catcher ahead of him kept him on the bench. The Mets have two young catchers ahead of him in Travis d’Arnaud, currently in the major leagues and Kevin Plawicki, both players younger and with more promise. Last year Kai was limited to just 30 games in AA and AAA and only hit .172 with two homeruns. He paved the way for other German players Max Kepler and Don Lutz, who became the first German to play for a major league team.

Central American and Caribbean Games

Friday, September 26th, 2014

It will be played November 14-21 in Vera Cruz, Mexico, just after the 21 and under games in Taichung, Taiwan. The Dominican Republic are the defending 2010 champions and are expected to play in the event as well as Cuba, Guatemala, second place Mexico, bronze medalist Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

These games will count against the IBAF World Rankings, which have added some significance to the tournaments. Next year in Taiwan the top twelve countries will compete in a World Cup type of event. You can read more about the tournament here:

Gio KO’s Mets

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Gio Gonzalez struck out a career high 12 in the Nationals 3-0 win over the Mets. At one point in the game Gonzalez struck out the side in the second and third inning to give him six whiffs in a row. He struck out at least one hitter in each of the seven innings he pitched, walking just two. He gave up his only hit in the first inning in his quest to win the fourth starting spot for the playoff rotation.

Zack Wheeler was good for the Mets in the first three innings, allowing only one hit. A little wildness and two seeing eye singles by Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos led to the only three runs being scored in the game. Wheeler walked Nate Schierholtz to load the bases. A ground out resulted in the first run scoring, the Mets unable to turn two and a passed ball allowed the second run to score. Another walk and a Danny Espinosa single loaded the bases again where Wheeler hit Anthony Rendon to force in the third run.

The Mets rallied off reliever Matt Thornton, getting two hits off him. Pinch hitter Bobby Abreu flied to left and Eric Young grounded back to the box to end the threat. Drew Storen closed out the game in the ninth, striking out two of the three hitters he faced to up the ante to 14 whiffs in the game for the Mets.

Game Notes: Scott Hairston made a leaping catch at the fence on an Eric Campbell drive…Eric Campbell had a ball clank off his glove that Nate Schierholtz was generously given a double. Campbell was on the run, but a decent right fielder should have caught that drive…Lucas Day was responsible for four of the 14 K’s. He struck out three times against Gonzalez and once against Storen to end the game. He did not make a lot of contact, swinging and missing at most of his pitches…Zack Wheeler hit Anthony Rendon on an 0-2 pitch to force in the third run…Interesting Daisuke Matsuzaka wears the number 16. Maybe he does not feel as a reliever he deserves the number reserved for aces in Japan (18). That number is worn by coach Tim Teufel. It would probably not have taken much to take that number away from him…Michael Taylor failed to lay down a bunt on three attempts. With runners on first and second and no outs he fouled off three attempts to lay a ball down. It didn’t appear the potential 30 homerun hitter is particularly good at bunting for a sacrifice…The Nationals now need one win or a Dodger loss to clinch home field advantage throughout the National League playoffs…The Mets loss gives them 82 on the season, giving them six consecutive seasons below .500…Denard Span was held out of both games of the double header, but could play Friday. He injured his knee on a diving catch on Tuesday and Matt Williams is allowing the knee to heel.