Archive for July, 2017

United States Gets the Walk Off Against Japan in Opener

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

An exciting first game in a five game series with Japan. Tyler Frank smacked a one out two run walk off single to give the United States an opening 2-1 win. It seemed ages ago when Japan had scored their first run on a Taishi Kusumoto RBI single in the first inning. Kairi Shimada started the game off with a single in a perfect 4 for 4 day, scoring the first run for Japan.

Katsuki Azuma was denied a victory after the two run single. He pitched four innings without allowing a run, giving up only two hits and striking out 7. The United States Patrick Raby threw four innings of shutout relief, giving up just two hits.

Nats Should Make Bullpen Trade with the Eagles

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Unfortunately it is not possible to make a trade with an NPB club. But the Rakuten Golden Eagles have two guys in their bullpen having phenomenal seasons. It is one of the reasons they find themselves in first place in the Pacific Division. Major league scouts would not be too enamored with them as their height is a bit on the short stature.

Their primary bullpen guy is their closer Yuki Matsui. He is tied with Dennis Sarfate for the lead in saves with 27. He also has a 0.22 ERA, allowing just one earned run in 40.2 innings. During that time he has only allowed 19 hits and walked 21, striking out 46 hitters.

Last year was a struggle for Matsui. While he saved 30 games it was done with an ERA of 3.32. The start of the season saw his ERA above 5 and a nice finish to his season brought it down to respectability. But a 3.32 ERA is not good when his second season in the NPB, his first as a reliever he recorded a 0.87 ERA. The walk numbers increased, resulting in the higher ERA. This year they are also a little high.

Despite his 5′9″ height five teams selected Matsui in the first round. The Golden Eagles won the rights to him. His reputation of striking out 22 hitters and 19 hitters twice while pitching in high school made him a hot commodity. The Eagles put him in the rotation in 2014 and he struggled a bit with his command. Once put in the bullpen he has been dominant. He throws lefthanded with a fastball in the high 80s to low 90s. His best pitch is a slider and he can focus on his fastball/slider combination when in the bullpen.

The other dominant pitcher is Hiroyuki Fukuyama. He has yet to give up an earned run (one unearned run) in 36 appearances covering 33 innings, putting his ERA at 0.00. He has given up a few more hits than Matsui (22) and does not have a lot of strikeouts (18). He is 5-0 with 15 holds. This is his fourth successful stint in the Eagles bullpen. He is also small in stature standing at 5′8″ but does not come with the same high draft status or high school cache of Matsui.

The giant in the Eagles bullpen is Frank Hermann. He stands 6′4″ and is second in the Pacific Division in holds with 23. By Eagles standards he has a rather ordinary 1.99 ERA but like Matsui he has more whiffs (34) than innings pitched (31). Japanese teams seem to be focusing more on finding foreign players to fill their bullpens. Strikeouts are also on the rise in the NPB as players copy the major league stars with their all or nothing approach to swinging.

Ugly First Start for Otani

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Shohei Otani got his first NPB start for the struggling defending champion Nippon Ham Fighters. He has pitched one game in their minor leagues and it might have been wise to give him a second start. As can be expected Otani was a little wild walking three hitters in his 1.1 innings. The second inning he pitched was where he struggled. He struck out the first hitter he faced in that second inning but then walked the second on five pitches. He got behind the next two hitters 1-0 and 2-0 before giving up singles. A four pitch walk to the next batter ended the day for Otani.

Based on details provided by Yakyudb.com he threw mostly fastballs. The velocity was there. His first 13 pitches were fastballs. He ended up being charged with four runs allowed in just 1.1 innings after reliever Luis Mendoza gave up a three run double to Hikaru Ito, driving in all three Otani baserunners he inherited.

The five run inning gave the Orix Buffaloes a 6-3 win over Nippon Ham Fighters. Nippon finds themselves in fifth place in the Pacific Conference with a 31-51 record. They are 17 games back in the loss column from the third place Seibu Lions who are 43-34-2. Only the top three teams qualify for the playoffs.

The last time a team won a NPB championship but did not repeat a playoff run the following year was the 2013 Rakuten Golden Eagles. The 2013 team had Masahiro Tanaka lead them to the championship. After that season he was posted to the major leagues. The Eagles finished the 2014 season 64-80. Last year Otani led the Fighters to their championship. Other than a few games at the start of the season where he was in the starting lineup as a hitter the Fighters have been without Otani for most of the season.

Additional Significant 2010 International Signings

Monday, July 10th, 2017

Myworld updated in a previous post the status of the top 30 international free agents in 2010. Below are some of the other significant signings in 2010. Myworld is not aware if we got all of the significant signings. Some of the players received contracts greater than those in the top 30. Some who got contracts under $100,000 are playing in the major leagues.

Adeiny Hechavarria SS Cuba (Jays) - Toronto signed him paying him a $4 million bonus. He was traded to the Marlins and more recently to the Rays. Known as a solid defensive shortstop with a quiet bat.

Edward Salcedo SS Dom Rep (Braves) - Signed for $1.6 million he was released in 2016 reaching AAA in 2014 but playing in AA his last season.

Jorge Alfaro C Colombia (Rangers) - Signed for $1.3 million, injuries have stalled his ascent to the majors. Traded to the Phillies he is still considered a top prospect. Jorge made his major league debut last year for six games.

Danry Vasquez OF Venezuela (Tigers) - Signed by the Tigers for $1.4 million in June 2011 so he is still considered part of the 2010 signing group. He was released by the Astros in 2016 having reached AA.

Carlos Martinez RHP Dom Rep (Cardinals) - Originally signed with the Red Sox in 2009 under the name of Carlos Matias. The following year signed with the Cardinals for $160,000. At age 25 he would be two years older than most 2010 signings. Now the ace for the Cardinals so the Red Sox loss was the Cardinals gain.

Orlando Calixte SS Dom Rep (Royals) - Signed with Royals for $1 million then it was learned he switched identities with his brother and was two years older. Now with the Giants. Orlando is mainly a utility player who has seen 8 major league games this year. Still has not made it as a major league regular.

Rubi Silva OF Cuba (Cubs) - Signed by the Cubs for $1 million. Released prior to the 2016 season after reaching AAA.

Michael Feliz RHP Dom Red (Astros) - Originally signed for $800,000 but after a positive test for steroids the contract was reduced to $400,000. Pitching in the Astros bullpen.

Rafael dePaula RHP Dom Rep (Yankees) - Signed by the Yankees for $500,000 but suspended one year because of identity issues. Now listed at 26 years of age he is pitching for the Padres at the AAA level. The Yankees included him and Yangervis Solarte in the Chase Headley trade.

Jeimer Candelario 3B Dom Rep (Cubs) - Signed for $500,000 is still a top prospect with the Cubs. Made his major league debut this year.

Mauricio Cabrera RHP Dom Rep (Braves) - Signed for $400,000. Throws triple digits and was in the Braves bullpen last year. He has been on the disabled list all year for the Braves in 2017.

Jose Peraza SS Venezuela (Braves) - Signed for $350,000. Now playing second base for the Reds. Looks to be a serviceable middle infielder.

Ronny Rodriguez 2B Dom Rep (Indians) - Graduated from high school in the United States but left for Dominican Republic where he signed as a international free agent for $375,000. Currently in his second season of AAA ball with no major league time yet.

Johendi Jiminian RHP Dom Rep (Rockies) - Signed for $350,000, currently pitching in AA after starting the season in AAA.

Randy Rosario RHP Dom Rep (Twins) - Signed by the Twins for $220,000. Made his major league debut in June this year but did not fare well (30.86 ERA). Now back in AA pitching.

Willy Garcia OF Dom Rep (Pirates) - Signed for $280,000. Currently playing as a fourth outfielder type for the Chicago White Sox.

Dilson Herrera 2B Colombia (Pirates) - Signed for $220,000. Currently playing in AAA for the Reds. Made his major league debut with the Mets in 2014.

Eduardo Rodriguez RHP Venezuela (Orioles) - Signed for $175,000. Currently pitching for the Red Sox but on the disabled list.

Ramiel Tapia OF Dom Rep (Rockies) - Signed for $175,000. Currently playing in the outfield for the Rockies. Appears to be a solid player.

Socrates Brito OF Dom Rep (D-backs) - Originally signed for $190,000 but failed a steroid test and resigned for $90,000. He has not been able to stay healthy but has played outfield for the D-backs. Currently playing in AAA.

Ketel Marte SS Dom Rep (Mariners) - Signed by the Mariners for $100,000. Started for them at shortstop in 2016 but traded to D-backs after the season in the Jean Segura trade. Promoted from AAA in late June.

Maikel Franco 3B Dom Rep (Phillies) - Signed for $100,000. Currently the Phillies third baseman but having his second disappointing season.

Orlando Arcia SS Venezuela (Brewers) - Signed for $95,000. Currently the Brewers starting shortstop.

Jarlin Garcia LHP Dom Rep (Marlins) - Signed for $40,000. Currently pitching in the Marlins pen in his first year in the major leagues.

Johan Camargo UTL Panama (Braves) - Signed for $42,000. Johan is playing as a utility player in his major league debut this year with the Braves. He hit his first homerun this past weekend.

Honeywell Named MVP of Futures Game

Monday, July 10th, 2017

For the first time since the games were created a pitcher was voted the MVP of the Futures Game. Pitchers normally do not play more than two innings because of the number of pitchers selected for the team and pitch counts. Brent Honeywell got the start, was the only pitcher in the game to work two innings and struck out four in the United States 7-6 win over the International stars. The United States now holds a 12-7 advantage in wins over their international stars since the games began in 1999.

The United States had jumped to an early 7-0 lead scoring at least one run in each of the first four innings. Nick Senzel contributed an RBI single in the first. Chance Sisco hit a triple in the second to score Brian Anderson, who was the only United States player to collect two hits in the game. Brendan Rodgers scored Sisco with a sacrifice fly.

In the third a Kyle Tucker double scored Senzel. In the fourth the United States erupted for three runs with an RBI double from Lewis Brinson and a two run double from Derek Fisher, both players who saw some major league time with their first place clubs (Brewers and Astros).

The International team did not quit. Josh Naylor drove in the first run with a single to drive in Vladimir Guerrero Jr. In the sixth a sacrifice fly by Victor Robles scored one run and a Lucius Fox ground out scored the second run to make the score 7-3.

In the seventh Vladimir Guerrero Jr. scored his second run of the game on a Tomas Nido single. In the ninth the International team gave the United States team a scare. Yordan Alvarez drove in Estevan Florial with a single to make the score 7-5, a fielding error allowing Alvarez to advance to second. Nido drove in his second run of the game with another single to pull the international team to within one run. Mauricio Dubon grounded out to third to end the game.

Michael Kopech was one of the more impressive pitchers on this day. In his one inning of work he struck out one and hit 100-101 on five fastballs. Beau Burrows struck out two of the three hitters he faced with a fastball hitting the high 90s.

On the hitting side Guerrero and Nido each had two hits for the International team, with Guerrero scoring twice and Nido driving in two. Brian Anderson was the only United States player to collect two hits with Derek Fisher driving in two runs. The box score for the game can be found on milb.com.

Taiwan Wins the Port Championship

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

Hsin Chuan Wang delivered on the walk off single in the bottom of the 10th to give Taiwan a 3-2 win over Japan in the World Port championship held in Netherlands. Wang also came through in the second and fourth innings with RBI singles to account for all the runs for Taiwan. Yi Hung Chen scored runs in the second and the fourth innings after he led off each inning with a single.

Japan tied the score in the top of the ninth to send the game into extra innings. Ryoto Maeda slapped a two out single to score Takuya Okura with the tying run. Taiwan had an opportunity to win the game in the bottom frame. Ching Han Ko blasted a two out double. Han Lin singled to right center but Ko was thrown out at home to send the game into extra innings.

Japan had their opportunities to put this game away but they stranded 16 runners in the 10 innings. Japan slapped 13 hits with 5 walks. Taiwan stranded 13 runners with 11 hits and four walks.

Braves Thump Nats in Worse Loss of Season

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

Myworld does not know what is worse. Waiting three hours for a ballgame to be played because of the possibility of rain. Or watching the home team get spanked 13-0. The Nationals were shutout for the first time this season, the last team to do so, with Julio Teheran getting credit for the zeroes. He also did pretty good job with the bat driving in three runs.

It was not a very good day for Stephen Strasburg. The Braves were pricking him to death with seeing eye singles through the infield. The first hit off him was ruled a double but it was a low fly ball that Adam Lind lumbered for. A Goodwin out in left might have caught the ball but Lind could not reach it and then had the ball bounce past him. That led to an intentional walk to Matt Adams after the first two pitches missed. Kurt Suzuki found the hole on the left side of the infield for a single to score Nick Markakis. Johan Camargo hit a grounder to short. If Stephen Drew had taken it himself by stepping on second he may have turned two but he flipped to Murphy who made a tough pivot and throw to first that did not beat Camargo to the bag. Teheran made it hurt by bouncing a single through the left side to score Adams to make it 2-0.

The beatdown continued in the third. Freddie Freeman hit a legitimate double into the left centerfield gap. Matt Kemp bounced a single up the middle to score Freeman. Nick Markakis lined a pitch off the hip of Strasburg. He picked the ball up, threw to second but one hopped it. Drew could not handle it and the ball trickled into centerfield, advancing Kemp to third. Matt Adams flied out too shallow to score Kemp, Brian Goodwin rifling a one hop throw to the plate. Unfortunately for Strasburg the bottom of the order came through again. Suzuki, Camargo and Teheran all singled, Teheran driving in two runs to give the Braves a 6-0 lead. Strasburg would not come out in the fourth.

Teheran only gave up four hits in his seven innings of work. The Nationals put two singles back to back in the first inning by Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman but the Nationals could not score. The Braves played excellent defense behind Teheran with Brandon Phillips making three excellent defensive plays, including a diving catch on a liner by Murphy that appeared to be going into right field. Nick Markakis also made a diving catch in right field and Matt Adams made a nice diving stop at first base. Freddie Freeman made an error at third, but the Braves were already up 6-0 at that time.

Tanner Roark came on to eat some innings for the Nationals. He gave up three runs in his five innings of work including a Nick Markakis line drive solo shot into the right field bullpen. He retired the side in order in the first two innings but then got nicked with single runs in the next three innings.

Sammy Solis came on for the ninth with an ERA of 10.94. Before he was done that ERA had risen to 14.73. He retired only one of the seven hitters he faced. Matt Adams took one of his pitches for a ride into the second row of the Brewhouse. Solis fed him a fat 0-2 pitch. The Braves got three hits on his 0-2 deliveries. Solis got one strikeout on an 0-2 pitch.

Game Notes: The first two hitters in the Braves order went 1 for 11 with one walk. The last two hitters in the Braves order, which includes the pitcher went 5 for 7 with two walks and one sacrifice…Brandon Phillips played stellar defense at second base. He let very few balls get by him, diving three times to make outs…The Braves hits were squirting through the infield. The Nationals hits were being robbed by excellent defensive plays by the Braves…Jose Lobaton hit the ball hard his first three times up but his average dropped to .136. That slash line of .136/.202/.235 is ugly…It took 87 games but the Nationals were shutout for the first time this season. They were the last team to be shutout…An announced crowd of 38,459 watched this ugly affair.

Cuba Wins Final Match Against United States

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

Yoanni Yera worked seven innings and allowed just two runs. Yasmany Hernandez pitched a perfect two innings and got the win after Yordony Samon drove in the go ahead run in the top of the ninth with a sacrifice fly to give Cuba the 3-2 win. The United States used seven different pitchers to finish the game. Despite the win by Cuba the United States won the series three games to two.

The next opponent for the United States team is a five game series against the Japanese collegiate national team.

Japan to Play Taiwan in World Port Championship

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

Japan 15 Curacao 0

Japan gets to play Taiwan tomorrow for the championship of the World Port Tournament. After Curacao had upset Cuba for their first win of the tournament they did not seem to have anything left for Japan in the semifinal game. Masaki Otani drove in three runs with three doubles in four at bats. Takuya Okura and Kazuya Suzuki also drove in three runs. The game lasted just seven innings because of the slaughter rule.

Daisuke Yamagami toed the rubber for five innings to get the win, giving up just four hits. Kosuke Fukushima pitched the last two innings to close out the game. Japan scored in six of the seven innings to thrash the Curacao team.

Netherlands 3 Cuba 1

The last two port tournaments these two teams battled for the championship. This year the two were in a battle to see who could avoid last place. Netherlands used four different pitchers to restrict the Cuban offense to one run. Diegomar Markwell worked the first 3.1 innings without allowing a run. Jim Ploeger relieved him and gave up the lone Cuban run working 2.2 innings. Kevin Kelly got the game to two out in the eighth with 1.1 innings of shutout relief before turning it over to Mike Bolsenbroek to retire the final four hitters to pick up the save.

Dwayne Kemp got the big hit for the Netherlands in their three run third with a two run single. The third run scored on a double play ground out. Cuba scored their only run in the sixth on an RBI single from Yusniel Ibanez. It was his second hit of the game. With runners on second and third and one out two fly outs failed to produce the second run, The Netherlands bullpen pitched a perfect seventh, eighth and ninth inning to close out the game and avoid a last place finish in their own tournament.

Taiwan to Championship Game; Curacao Shocks Cuba

Friday, July 7th, 2017

The two favorites for the Port tournament, Cuba and the Netherlands will play a game where the loser finishes in last and the winner takes the fourth spot. These two teams played for the championship in the last port tournament and finished in first and second in 2015. Taiwan did win this tournament in 2011. How times have changed in two years.

Taiwan 4 Japan 2

Taiwan will play in the championship game between the winner of the Curacao and Japan game. Han Lin collected three hits and drove in two runs with a single in the fifth inning to give Taiwan an early 4-0 lead. He scored the first run for Taiwan after singling in the opening frame. Ju Liang Tai scored twice from the leadoff spot, once in the third inning after being hit by a pitch and again in the fifth after drawing a walk.

Sheng Feng Wu threw five innings of shutout ball before turning it over to the bullpen. Cheng Hao Wang pitched the final two frames without allowing a run to earn the save.

Curacao 5 Cuba 3

Curacao picks up their first win. Shurendell Mujica hit an RBI triple in the top of the ninth to break a 3-3 tie. Curacao then pulled off a first and third double steal with Mujica streaking home to score an insurance run. Cuba was able to load the bases with one out in the bottom frame. Claysandy Hariquez came on to pitch and struck out Yoelkuis Guibert, who was leading Cuba in average at .455 and got Frank Camillo Morejon to fly to center to clinch the victory.

Yusniel Ibanez hit a homerun for Cuba in the first inning, only the second homerun of the tournament. Guibert had three hits with an RBI single in the seventh inning to tie the game at 3-3. The only at bat he failed to get a hit was in the final frame with the bases loaded and one out.

Mujica drove in three runs in the game. In the first inning he hit a two run double to give Curacao a 2-1 lead and sending starting pitcher Geonel Gutierrez to an early shower. Mujica was a homerun short of the cycle finishing the game 3 for 3 with one walk. Raywendley van Gurp drove in the other run for Curacao with a double in the fifth.