Archive for September, 2014

Asian Games - Final Four Decided

Friday, September 26th, 2014

In the Asian Games the final four have been decided. Taiwan will face Japan and China will play Korea. The two winners will battle for the gold while the two losing teams will fight for the bronze.

Nine of the 12 games resulted in shutouts while nine of the 12 games were decided by ten or more runs. Japan defeated China 11-0 to win their pool. Korea and their professional KBO players shutout Taiwan 10-0 to top their pool. The two first place teams play against the two second place teams in a single round playoff format. Japan and Korea, who have given up only one run combined, are favored to play in the finals.

In other games with non-traditional opponents, Thailand defeated Hong Kong 13-7. Joseph Matthew Daru was a perfect 2 for 2 from the leadoff spot with three RBIs. Teerasak Kongsabai drove in three runs with his three hits. Hong Kong got three hits and two runs driven in from Kin-Chung Tsang in a losing cause.

Mongolia lost 61-0 in the three games they played against Pakistan, Japan and China. Pakistan actually scored more runs (26) than they gave up (15) but 25 of those runs were scored against Mongolia, which accounted for their 1-2 record resulting in a third place finish.

Final pool standings for the games can be found here:

More Cuban Departures

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

The month of September is around the time the leaves begin their descent to the ground. The Cuban departures from the Nacional Series for the major leagues seems to be a constant flow, regardless of the month. The latest departure is one time star Hector Olivera, who at 30 years old does not have a lot of years left, but if healthy could make an immediate impact with a major league team.

Hector was the regular second baseman for the Cuban national team for a number of years. He missed the 2012/2013 season and the 2013 WBC because of thrombosis of the biceps. He played in the 2013/2014 season but mostly at DH. In 2011/2012 he made the Cuban All Star team as a second baseman hitting .315 with 15 homeruns.

Baseball America also reports the departure of Yoan Moncada a 19 year old with the tools to remind scouts of Yasiel Puig or Jorge Soler. He made his debut in the Nacional Series as a 17 year old, getting 172 plate appearances and hitting .283. At the Cuban All Star game, where players show off their skills Moncada beat Rusney Castillo (who signed recently with the Red Sox for $72 million) and another future superstar Guillermo Heredia in a race to first base as well as a race around all the bases. Yoan is another player from Cienfuegos departing for the United States, joining Yasiel Puig and Jose Abreu. Currently his whereabouts are unknown, so it is possible he is with a smuggling group waiting for the payment of a ransom.

The Hector Oivera story can be found here:

LaRoche Leads Nats Over Mets

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Adam Laroche hit a 3-run bomb to lead the Nationals over the Mets 4-2 moving them one game closer to clinching the best record in the National League. A combination of a Dodger loss and National win tonight would clinch the Nationals having the home field advantage in the National League playoffs. They would not have home field advantage in the World Series since the American League won the All Star game this year.

Tanner Roark pitched a good game and should make it as the fourth starter in the playoffs, knocking Gio Gonzalez to a long relief role. With Ross Detwiler in the bullpen that is even no guarantee. Gio gets a start tonight to try to redeem himself. The Mets scored first in the fifth when Wilmer Flores drove a pitch into the right field corner for a double. One out later Kirk Nieuwenhuis pulled one into right field where it bounced into the bullpen for a ground rule double, scoring Flores with the first run.

Bartolo Colon had shut down the Nationals on two hits through the first four innings. He was late covering first on a ground ball hit by Kevin Fransden that Lucas Duda made a diving stop for and that proved to be his undoing. A bunt by Roark moved Fransden to second. Michael Taylor, subbing in for an injured Denard Span, sneaked a ground ball to the left of a diving Duda for a double to tie the game. A walk to Jayson Werth put two runners on, setting the stage for Adam LaRoche to uncork one into the back of the right field bullpen to give the Nationals a 4-1 lead.

In a September ballet for the seventh inning, the Mets Wilmer Flores delivered a one out single and a double from Curtis Granderson put runners on second and third with one out. Ross Detwiler came in to pitcher for Roark. Eric Campbell pinch hit for Nieuwenhuis and walked. Ruben Tejeda hit a fly ball deep enough to right to score Flores to make the score 4-2. Josh Satin came on to pinch hit for Colon. Matt Williams went with Aaron Barrett to replace Detwiler. Terry Collins countered with Bobby Abreu to face Barrett. Barrett walked Abreu on four pitches to bring up the lefty hitting Matt Den Dekker. Barrett was replced by Jerry Blevins. Anthony Recker pinch hit for den Dekker and popped to first to end the threat. Four pitchers pitched that inning and there were four pinch hits. It felt like spring training in September.

The Nationals used Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen to close out the last two innings. In the eighth Travis d’Arnaud lifted one to the warning track in left field. Bryce Harper tracked it to the fence and it appeared to hit off his arm as he reached his glove to the top of the bullpen fence, the ball bouncing toward the infield. d’Arnaud was able to lope into third with a triple. Lucas Duda hit a shallow fly to left for the second out, Harper making amends for his poor play with an acrobatic catch and a rifle throw home. Flores struck out to strand d’Arnaud at third.

Storen put the tying run on first after striking out the first two hitters. Bobby Abreu grounded to short to end the game.

Game Notes: Denard Span injured his knee making a diving catch on a ball hit by Matt den Dekker to the warning track. His knee hit off the dirt and Matt Williams took him out. The Nationals will play it day by day…Drew Storen threw a nice 3-2 change to Curtis Granderson to lead off the ninth to set the tone for the inning. It was a gutsy pitch to call in that situation…Adam LaRoche bounced a single down the third base line in the fourth inning to beat the shift…Daisuke Matsuzake pitched the ninth. He was hitting 93 on the radar gun. He came in with a runner on third and two out and struck out Wilson Ramos…Myworld got our playoff tickets delivered to us yesterday. We’re waiting for the games to begin…The Mets have to have the most last names in the history of baseball beginning with a small lower case “d”. They have Matt den Dekker, Jacob deGrom and Travis d’Arnaud on their September roster.

Asian Games - Day 2

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

The sight appears to be down but in the second day of action China evened their record to 1-1 with a 15-0 win over Mongolia. Japan moved to 2-0 with a 9-0 victory over Pakistan, who was playing their first game of the series. Taiwan moved to 2-0 with their 13-1 win over 0-2 Thailand. Myworld will try to post more details on the results when the site again becomes available.

2014 Asian Games - Day One

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

The traditional powers had an easy time defeating the Asian countries whose baseball is not as advanced. Taiwan shutout Hong Kong 12-0. Four different pitchers limited the Hong Kong bats to two hits over seven innings with Kuan-Yu Chen getting the start and going three innings. He struck out five and gave up no hits in those three innings of work. Chih-Hsien Chiang did not get a hit but scored three times and drove in one run. Taiwan did not score more than three runs in any inning, but scored in every inning but one.

Japan shut out China 11-0. Akira Matsumoto drove in four runs with his two hits to lead the offense. Takuya Fujishima was a perfect 3 for 3 with one walk to drive in two runs. Japan also used four pitchers in the seven inning game to limit the China team to five hits. Wei Tang collected two of those five hits for China.

Korea has suspended their professional league and are using their KBO players for this tournament. Future major leaguer Kwang-Hyun Kim got the opening day nod and went two shutout innings, striking out two in the 15-0 Korea win over Tahiland. Korea scored eight runs in the opening frame and ended it in five. Sung-Bum Na put together three hits and to drive in three runs to lead the Korean offense. Korea only batted four times.

You can follow the results of the games here:

Update of Top Ten Minor League Homerun Hitters

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Mike Hessman has cracked into the top ten homerun hitters in the minor leagues. The 6′5″ 215 pound 36 year old hit 28 homeruns to put his total minor league total at 417. This puts him seventh on the homerun list, knocking Jack Pierce and his 395 minor league homeruns off the list. Many of the players ahead of him slugged their homeruns in the Mexican League. Below is the new list:

1. Hector Espino (484) - Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, most of his homeruns were done in the Mexican League, which is considered AAA. He is considered the Babe Ruth of Mexico. The St. Louis Cardinals invited him to their spring training, but he never showed because he wanted a fair share of the sale price that was being given to the Mexican League team for his services. He did play two seasons in the International League with the St. Louis Cardinals where he hit six homeruns. The California Angels tried to sign him a number of times in the late 60s, but they were not successful as well. Other major league teams who tried to sign him were the New York Mets and San Diego Padres. His refusal to sign with a major league team earned him the nickname “the Rebel of Chihuahua”. Like Jackie Robinson and his uniform number 42, the number 21 for Hector Espino has been retired by all professional teams in the Mexican winter and summer leagues. He died in 1997 at the age of 58 of a heart attack. With his 453 homeruns in the Mexican League, 20 in the Mexican Central League and his six homeruns in the AAA international league it is not clear how he got to his total minor league numbers to 484, but I’m sure there are five additional homeruns in the Mexican Central League we don’t see.

2. Nelson Barrera (457) - He broke the Mexican League homerun record of Hector Espino by two (455 to 453) but not the overall minor league record. Nelson was signed by the Chicago White Sox in 1984 but only batted .174 with two homeruns for the Buffalo Bisons, resulting in his release. He played 26 seasons in the Mexican League until his death at age 44 when he was eloctrocuted trying to repair his roof, touching a metal sheet that was in contact with some high voltage wires. The 6,000 seat stadium in Campeche is named after him.

3. Alejandro Ortiz (458) - Another Mexican League player, but there is a lack of history on him. He played on many teams with Andres Mora.

4. Andres Mora (444) - Another Mexican League player, he at least got four seasons in the major leagues with the Baltimore Orioles and the Cleveland Indians, beginning at the young age of 20. The Montreal Expos were the first team to sign him at age 17 but after 21 hitless at bats in the Florida State League with 11 strikeouts he returned to Mexico. Three years later the Orioles called him. He started the season as a 20 year old with the major league team Baltimore Orioles because Reggie Jackson held out in April. The problem with Mora is that if he wasn’t hitting he was a liability in the field as well as on the bases. He bounced up and down between Rochester and the major league team. The Cleveland Indians picked him up in 1979 but Joe Charboneau had a rookie of the year season, beating out Mora for the left field job. Instead of being sent back to the minors in Tacoma he chose to return to Mexico to play. He slugged 27 major league homeruns. He ranks third all time in Mexican League homeruns behind Hector Espino and Nelson Barrera (and probably Alejandro Ortiz, but he is not named for whatever reason). If Mora had not spent the four seasons in the major leagues he probably would have surpassed Espino and Barrera (and Ortiz) in homeruns. Add the 148 homeruns Andres hit in the Mexican winter league and his homerun totals add up to an impressive 619.

5. Mike Hessman (433) - Mike was a 15th round pick of the Braves in 1996. He was not a prolific homerun hitter in the minor leagues, his most homeruns hit in 2012 when he slugged 35. In 13 of his 19 minor league seasons Mike hit 20 or more homeruns. Five of those seasons were interrupted by promotions to the major leagues where he never appeared in more than 32 games and powered 14 homeruns in 250 plate appearances, with a career batting average of only .188. There was also the 2011 season when Mike played in Japan, hitting only .192 but mashing six homeruns. Mike does hold the International League AAA record for homeruns with 272. He also holds the record for most homeruns in the minor leagues for a player who has not accumulated his homeruns in the Mexican League. His last appearance in the major leagues was in 2010. His last season was 2015 and all indications are that this was his last season.

6. Buzz Artlett (432) - He was called the Babe Ruth of the minor leagues, the first non-Mexican League player on this list. He is considered the all time minor league homerun king. At 6′4″, 230 pounds he was a big man for the 1920s. He began his career as a pitcher, getting his nickname Buzz because he could go through a lineup like a buzz saw. In 1923 he began his career as an outfielder. He played his only major league season in 1931 at the age of 32 when the Philadelphia Phillies purchased his contract, but his poor fielding became an issue. As a hitter he hit .313 with 18 homeruns. After that one major league season he returned to the minor leagues to establish the home run record.

7. Nick Cullop (420) - Nick is the all time minor league RBI king and may have surpassed Artlett for the homerun crown if he hadn’t spent five seasons playing major league ball. He hit 11 major league homeruns playing for five different teams. His best minor league season was with the Minneapolis Millers with the short right field porch where he could hit .359, swatting 54 homeruns and driving in 152 runs.

8. Merv Connors (400) - He had two major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox in 1937 and 1938 at the age of 23 and 24. He hit eight major league homeruns. His two best years in the minor leagues were his two last seasons when he hit 47 and 34 homeruns as a 38 and 39 year old for Amarillo and Carlsbad. Most of his homeruns were hit in class C ball.

9. Joe Hauser (399) - He played in the major leagues from 1922 to 1929 where he hit 80 homeruns, another player who could have hit many more homeruns if not for the major league service time. He blames Ty Cobb for over analyzing his hitting style and ending his major league career, though a broken leg also hindered his ability to hit. He is legendary because he is the first player to hit 60 or more homeruns twice, hitting 63 in 1930 for the Baltimore Orioles and 69 in 1933 for the Minneapolis Millers. His chance to hit 70 was ended when the game was rained out, but he finished with 182 RBIs for the year. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa became the other two players to hit more than 60 in their tainted seasons.

10. Bobby Prescott (398) - Prescott was born in Panama in 1931. He played briefly for the Kansas City Royals in 1961 but only hit .083 while appearing in just ten games. He played his last eight seasons (1964 -1972) in the Mexican League where he had his most prolific homerun numbers, hitting 175 homeruns in a five year period.

Red Sox Beat O’s with Kelly

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

The Orioles sat their top two starting outfielders and Kelly was able to take advantage pitching the Red Sox to a 3-2 win. He worked seven innings, giving up two runs on just three hits before yielding to the bullpen. The Red Sox offense was led by solo homeruns from Mookie Betts and David Ross.

Mookie Betts started the game off with a solo shot off Miguel Gonzalez, lofting a high fly ball into the left field bleachers to give the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead. The Red Sox got two more hits in the inning to put runners on first and third with two out but Rusney Castillo swung at the first pitch from Gonzalez and grounded to the shortstop for the third out.

In the fifth Yoenis Cespedes scooted a single up the middle to drive in his 97th run, production the Oakland Athletics are missing in their slumping offense. Jemile Weeks, who the O’s gave to the Red Sox started off the inning with a two out single, the second of his two hits in the game. He had replaced starter Xander Boegarts at shortstop, who was bothered by a sore neck.

David Ross ended the day for Miguel Gonzalez in the sixth when he blasted a homerun into centerfield. Gonzalez had started the inning with two whiffs to give him seven strikeouts for the day. It was a rare outing when Gonzalez was pulled before he had completed six innings.

The Orioles rallied off Kelly in the bottom of the sixth. Alejandro de Aza walked on four pitches to start the inning. David Lough pulled a ball into the left centerfield gap for a double. Rusney Castillo did not make a lot of effort getting to the ball, jogging from his centerfield post while watching Yoenis Cespedes chase the ball down. The double scored de Aza from first. A fly ball to Castillo advanced Lough to third and a ground out pulled the Orioles to within one.

The Red Sox lost a scoring opportunity in the seventh when Jemile Weeks was caught wandering off second base on a line drive out to Nelson Cruz. The throw from Cruz doubled off Weeks to end the inning.

In typical September fashion the game ended with the Red Sox throwing three relievers to finish the last two innings. The Orioles ended it pinch hitting for three of their last four batters, then calling on a pinch runner to run for Steve Clevenger, who had pinch hit for Caleb Joseph. The Red Sox won the battle of the September callups to close out the win.

Game Notes: Nelson Cruz was voted the Orioles MVP of the season by the Oriole writers. He is one short of 40 homeruns and leads the team in RBIs. With Chris Davis bat absent for most of the season he has replaced his offensive production…It was Chris Tillman bobblehead day. The Orioles handed out 25,000 of the 28,000 bobbleheads they received from China…Rusney Castillo is not a big guy but he is built like a fire plug. He did get a hit in his fourth at bat and stole second base on Caleb Joseph after Evan Meeks threw a curveball. He was robbed of a hit by J.J. Hardy in the fourth on a ground ball to the left of second base…Joe Kelly threw the ball at 95 miles per hour, hitting 98 for most of the game. For a pitcher standing only 6′0″ this may create a lot of strain on his arm. The Cardinals were always hesitant to use him in the starting rotation because of his small stature and big arm. He missed much of the season because of a hamstring injury…Nick Markakis sat out a fourth straight game because of shoulder soreness and Steve Pearce did not play because of a troublesome wrist.

Three Wins Three Different Uniforms

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

If the Oakland Athletics do not make the playoffs by three games or less they will have Jerome Williams to thank. Jerome Williams pitched for three different teams and is the first player ever to beat one team wearing three different uniforms in the same season.

We saw Jerome Williams in spring training in Houston pitching well enough for the Astros to make the team as a relief pitcher. On April 26 he pitched two innings in an Astros 7-6 win, not pitching particularly well, giving up five hits on three runs. He entered the game at 3-3 and the Astros rallied for four runs in the eighth to give them the lead. He almost lost the game, giving up two singles, a walk and a three run homer in the ninth. It was his first win of the year.

His next opportunity came wearing a Texas Rangers uniform after the Astros released him four days after July 4. It was his first appearance for the Rangers and he worked six innings, giving up only one run. The Rangers held on to win 4-1 giving Williams his second win of the season, both of them against the Athletics.

The Rangers only kept him for two starts before putting him on waivers in August and the Philadelphia Phillies fitted him for a uniform. For the Phillies he won three games before he got another start against the Oakland Athletics. Williams worked seven innings of shutout ball to get win number six, three of them against the Oakland Athletics wearing three different uniforms.

Williams was born in Hawaii and spent 2010 pitching for the Uni-President Lions in Taiwan. He was a first round pick for the Giants in 1999 but has bounced around, playing for many different minor and major league teams as well as some foreign teams in the Winter Leagues and in Taiwan.

Netherlands European Champions

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

The Netherlands started their big game pitcher Rob Cordemans and he pitched four shutout innings of two hit ball in the Netherlands 6-3 win over Italy. Curt Smith and Kalian Sams each went deep twice with solo shots and Randolph Oduber led the game off with a homerun to score five of the six Netherland runs. Five of their seven hits went over the fence and one was lashed for a double. Tom Stuifbergen pitched the last two plus innings to spoil an Italian comeback off reliever David Bergman.

Curt Smith was voted the MVP of the tournament. He hit a tournament leading six homeruns with a .469 average and 16 RBIs. Myworld will work on our all tournament team tomorrow. The box score for the game can be found below:

European Championships - Netherlands Wins Round One

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Netherlands 5 Italy 0

Italy has won the last couple European championships to the chagrin of Netherlands, who won the last World Cup of baseball in 2011 but fell short in the European Championships in 2012. Mike Bolsenbroek tossed a complete game three hit 5-0 shutout to give the Netherlands the number one seed in the championship game tomorrow against the same Italian squad. The big hit for the Netherlands was the three run bomb from Hanley Statia in the fifth that allowed Netherlands to pull away. Yurendell Decaster slugged a solo shot in the second inning to score the first run for the Netherlands.

Spain 10 France 5

Spain repeated their bronze medal showing from 2012, scoring ten runs in the first two innings to cruise past France. Oscar Angulo continued to carry the hot stick with four hits in five at bats, driving in two and scoring twice. Angulo hit .543, the best average of all European participants. Spain has now taken third place in five of the last six European championships.

Germany 5 Czech Republic 2

Germany, which finished in third place in 2010 had a disappointing tourney, winning their first game in the second around 5-2. Jan-Nicolas Stoecklin worked seven innings, striking out nine for the Germans to pick up his second win. Markus Solbach worked the last two innings to pick up the save. Max Boldt and Ludwig Glaser carried the offense with three hits each, both players contributing two RBIs to the offensive cause. Glaser lashed two doubles. Jakub Malik hit a solo shot for the Czechs in a losing cause.

The championship game between Italy and Netherlands will be played tomorrow. Netherlands had won five European championships before Italy took the last two. The Netherlands would like to retake their glory before Robert Eenhorn leaves the program for an administrative position in soccer.