Archive for October, 2019

Japan Gold Glove Winners

Thursday, October 31st, 2019

The NPB announced their gold glove winners for the 2019 season. Only one foreign player was voted on the team. The Swallows and Buffaloes were the only two teams who lacked a player on the team. Nobuhiro Matsuda won his seventh straight gold glove and his eighth for his career. No third baseman has won eight gold glove awards. Jose Lopez was the only foreign player named to the gold glove team. Lopez set the NPB record for consecutive chances without an error (1,632). Below is the list of players.

Pacific League

Pitcher - Kodai Senga (Hawks)
Catcher - Takuya Kai (Hawks)
First Base - Seiichi Uchikawa (Hawks)
Second Base - Hideto Asamora (Eagles)
Third Base - Nobuhiro Matsuda (Hawks)
Shortstop - Sosuke Genda (Lions)
Outfield - Shogo Akiyama (Lions), Haruki Nishikawa (Fighters), Takashi Ogino (Marines)

Central League

Pitcher - Yuki Nishi (Tigers)
Catcher - Ryutera Umeno (Tigers)
First Base - Jose Lppez (Bay Stars)
Second Base - Ryosuke Kikuchi (Carp)
Third Base - Shohei Takahashi (Dragons)
Shortstop - Hayato Sakamoto (Giants)
Outfield - Yoshihiro Maru (Giants), Seiya Suzuki (Carp), Yohei Oshina (Dragons)

Nationals are World Series Champions

Thursday, October 31st, 2019

That is pretty cool to say. After beginning the season 19-31 and promoting the Nationals dismantle the team and start from scratch, myworld is glad they did not take that advice. Not that anyone from the Nationals really read this blog. Or anyone for that matter. Some of the cool things myworld remembers from this long Nationals journey.

1) Playing in RFK. That was a pretty cool stadium to watch a game in. Unless you were in left field where the seats seemed like an eternity away from the ball park. Most of the other seats were close enough to the field that it was pretty easy to get a foul ball. The down side is if you were too far under the lower section the upper section blocked your view of any fly ball. You had to wait for it to come down before you could see where the ball was hit. And the seats inside the stadium seemed to bounce as you jumped up and down. At the current park the same seats are a little farther and snagging a foul ball is very rare. And the stadium does not bounce when you jump up and down.

2) The drafting of Ryan Zimmerman and trying him at shortstop because Vinny Castilla was your thirdbaseman. That did not quite work out. But Zimmerman stayed loyal to the team and despite the myriad of injuries is now a World Series champion. The years in which he was hitting walk off homeruns every month were pretty cool. Those don’t come as frequently now.

3) The drafting of Bryce Harper. He was the Nationals first real superstar. He was a little brash. As you do in a relationship, the passage of time allows you to find the flaws. Harper liked to hustle on his terms. But when things were not going well, or he was frustrated the hustle was not always there. The arguments and the ejections were pretty constant too. He was supposed to be Mike Trout but he fell short of those expectations. Myworld can’t blame him for leaving because the Nationals offered him a “see you later” kind of contract. He is now with the Phillies and one has to wonder if the Nationals would be World Series champions if he was still on the team. I can’t see him doing the baby shark or the dances in the dugout after each homerun. If karma has its justice the Phillies will be World Series champions next year.

4) Stephen Strasburg won the MVP of the World Series. He is the most dominant post season pitcher in baseball. Myworld still remembers the criticism the Nationals got by sitting Strasburg in their first post season run. The Met chants of “Harvey is better” still ring clear inside my head. The Mets did not baby Harvey after he had his arm issues. They brought him out to pitch that extra inning and got eliminated from the post season because of that decision. Now where is Harvey? And where is Strasburg? Long term who made the best decision for their pitcher?

5) The nerds who do the analytics would probably never recommend acquiring a player like Gerado Parra. The things he did for the team this year would not show up in the baseball stats. The baby shark song became a sensation. That will probably be the most popular Halloween costume in D.C. After each clutch hit the Nationals players would mimic a shark bite with their hands. The dance in the dugout after each homerun was a Parra idea. I could just picture Strasburg as he is circling the bases after his one homerun, dreading the dance he would have to do in the dugout. And the group hugs with the reluctant Strasburg that Parra would start and Scherzer would finish were fun to see. It would have been interesting to see how Harper would have reacted to all that chicanery.

6) Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer were teammates for the Detroit Tigers from 2012 to 2014. They did not win a World Series then. Sanchez signed with the Nationals this year reuniting with Scherzer. Now they are both World Series champions. Watching them embrace after the seventh game win was pretty cool.

7) How much more clutch can Howie Kendrick be. After tearing his Achilles heal last year and being relegated to a bench role this year he had some big hits. His grand slam homerun against the Dodgers in the tenth inning of game five was a game winner and a Dodger eliminator. And against Will Harris, a pitcher who had yet to give up a run in 11 post season appearances and celebrated a little too much after striking him out in game four, Howie made him pay launching a two run shot against the right field foul pole that gave the Nationals a 3-2 lead in the seventh game of the World Series. He became the first player to have go ahead homeruns after the seventh inning in post season play. It does not get any more clutch than that. It would have only been better if Ryan Zimmerman had accomplished those feats, but we’ll take Howie.

So now the Nationals are World Series champions. They “finished the fight.” Cool.

Salt Lake Wins the AFL

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

A grand slam homerun by Jerar Encarnacion proved to be the difference in the Salt Lake Rafters 5-1 win over the Surprise Sagueros. The Rafters scored five runs in the fourth inning after falling behind 1-0. Luis Garcia drove in the only run for the Sagueros with an RBI single in the third inning. Sterling Sharp was the victim of all five runs.

Dakota Chalmers got the start for the Rafters and gave up one run in his 2.1 innings. He was a little wild, walking three and striking out three. Daniel Lynch got the start for the Sagueros and pitched three shutout innings, allowing just one hit, striking out three. Ashton Goudeau got the victory following Chalmers. He worked 2.2 innings, giving up just one hit and also striking out three.

The first pick in the 2017 draft Royce Lewis played third base in this game. Prior to the game he was voted the MVP of the AFL. He hit .353 with a .976 OPS, hitting three homeruns and 20 runs driven in.

Taiwan End of Season All Star Team

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

The CPBL announced their end of season All Star team. They also announced the Gold Glove winners at each position. The Lamigo Monkeys dominate the All Star team while the Chinatrust Brothers dominate the All Star team. Only Su Chih-Chieh of the Uni-Lions made both teams. Below are the names of those players.

Pitcher - Mike Loree (Fubon Guardians)

Catcher - Lin Hung-Yu (Lamigo Monkeys)

First Base - Chen Chun-Hsui (Lamigo Monkeys)

Second Base - Kuo Yen-Wen (Lamigo Monkeys)

Third Base - Lin Li (Lamigo Monkeys)

Shortstop - Lin Cheng-Fei (Lamigo Monkeys)

Outfield - Chan Tzu-Hsien (Chinatrust Brothers), Su Chih-Chieh (Uni-Lions), Lan Yin-Lun (Lamigo Monkeys)

Designated Hitter - Hu Chin-Lung (Fubon Guardians)

Gold Glove Winners

Pitcher - Cheng Kai-Wen (Chinatrust Brothers)

Catcher - Lin Yu-Le (Uni-Lions)

First Base - Chen Chun-Hsiu (Lamigo Monkeys)

Second Base - Wu Tung-Jung (Chinatrust Brothers)

Third Base - Wang Wei-Chen (Chinatrust Brothers)

Shortstop - Wang Seng-Wei (Chinatrust Brothers)

Outfield - Lin Che-Hsuan (Fubon Guardians), Su Chih-Chieh (Uni-Lions), Chang Chih-Hao (Chinatrust Brothers)

Bears Complete Sweep of the KBO Series

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

The Doosan Bears overcame an 8-3 deficit after two innings to come back and win the fourth game 11-9 to sweep the Kiwoom Heroes. Jae-il Oh drove in the winning run in the top of the tenth inning with an RBI double. Jae-Hwan Kim drove in Oh with a single to tally an insurance run. Oh was named the MVP of the Series. He hit .333 with two homeruns and six RBIs for the four game series.

The big inning was in the fifth when the Bears took a 9-8 lead, scoring five runs. Oh had an RBI single in that inning to drive in the first run. The second run scored on a wild pitch and the third on a hit by pitch. Jae-Won Oh drove in the last two runs with a single.

The Heroes were able to take the game into extra innings, scoring a run after a two out error by Kyoung-min Hur in the ninth inning. Young-soo Bae came on to get the last two outs to earn the save and give the Bears their first series since 2016 and their sixth in franchise history. It was the Bears fifth straight time playing in a championship series.

Astros One Win Away from World Series Title

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

When myworld arrived at the park on Sunday night we thought the Nationals were doing a special Halloween celebration. It appeared that Max Scherzer was on the mound disguised as Joe Ross. It was not until we settled in that reality struck and it was actually Joe Ross on the mound. Max Scherzer was having a resurgence of his back problems and would not be available to pitch on Sunday.

The Astros took advantage of the lack of Scherzer in the second when Yordan Alvarez slugged a two run homerun into the centerfield bleachers. Yuli Gurriel had started the rally with an infield single that glanced off Joe Ross and bounced toward Anthony Rendon, who could not make the throw to first. Alvarez got an opportunity to play left field by his manager after sitting out the first two games to get some swings in. Alvarez rewarded Hinch in his first at bat.

The Nationals had an excellent opportunity to rally in the bottom half of the second. Back to back singles by Juan Soto and Howie Kendrick put runners on first and third with no one out. Normally clutch hitter Ryan Zimmerman struck out. Victor Robles ended the threat by grounding into a double play. That would be the last time the Nationals would get a runner past first, with the exception of the solo homerun by Soto in the seventh.

The Astros struck again in the fourth on a two run homer by Carlos Correa. This was the start of the Nationals complaint with the home plate umpire Lance Barksdale. Joe Ross thought he had strike three on him but Barksdale disagreed, even though the pitch appeared to catch the outside corner. The next pitch Correa deposited into the left field bleachers.

The Nationals tried to make a comeback in the 7th with a solo homer by Soto. Ryan Zimmerman drew a two out walk and Victor Robles ran the count to 3-2 against Cole. The next pitch was clearly high and outside but Barksdale emphatically rang Robles up for strike three. The umpire probably knew he had blown the call with the boos raining from the stadium and getting even louder when they saw the replay on their phones, and as Robles threw his bat, batting gloves and everything else in the direction of Barksdale near home plate he was not ejected. Except for Astro fans Barksdale was the most hated person in the world for that particular moment.

The Astros put the game away in the last two innings, scoring a run on a Yuli Gurriel single in the 8th and two more on a two run homer by George Springer in the 9th.

Game Notes - Trump arrived at the ball park after the first pitch was thrown. Don’t know if that was purposeful intent. Juan Andres, a Trump critic was throwing out the first pitch. When Trump was introduced in the third inning the “boos” overwhelmed any cheers that may have been in the stadium. There were also chants of “lock him up”. D.C., Virginia and Maryland are strongly Democratic areas, so those “boos” may not have been as prevalent in Ohio…The Nationals were outscored 19-3 in the three home games. The Nationals were not really in any of the games, a disappointment to the 130,000 in attendance. Under the 2-3-2 format the Astros became just the second team to win the middle three games on the road without trailing. The Yankees were the other team against the Dodgers in 1949…Barksdale did not show any accountability for the blown call, blaming it on the catcher Yan Gomes for standing up too quickly after the pitch.

Astros Take Advantage of Nats R and R

Sunday, October 27th, 2019

The Nationals bullpen has been decent in these playoffs, but it imploded on Saturday night. The Astros took advantage of five walks in the seventh inning from Tanner Rainey and Fernando Rodney and a grand slam from Alex Bregman to erupt for four runs to bury the Nationals 8-1. Astros starter Jose Urquidy also did the unexpected, giving the Astros five shutout innings in what was supposed to be a bullpen start.

It was essentially over after the first inning. Patrick Corbin struck out the leadoff hitter George Springer. After that the Astros stringed together four consecutive hits from Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel to score two runs. For Bregman he would end the day with five RBIs. A walk to Carlos Correa loaded the bases, but the Nationals averted disaster when Robinson Chirinos grounded into a 5-3 double play, Rendon stepping on third to get the first out and throwing to first to retire Chirinos.

Chirinos would not be so kind in the fourth inning when he took Corbin deep into the left field bleachers for a two run homer. Carlos Correa had started the inning with his second walk of the game. He would end up walking three times in the game.

The Nationals could not figure out Urquidy. He gave up just two hits in his five innings of work. The only time he got into trouble was in the third when Yan Gomes led off the inning with a double. Corbin tried to advance him to third with a bunt but hit it too hard to the pitcher and Gomes was forced to stay while Corbin was thrown out. Trea Turner grounded out to first, advancing Gomes to third. Too little too late with Adam Eaton popping to short to end the inning.

The Nationals were finally able to score after Urquidy was pulled. Josh James started the sixth and walked two of the first three hitters he faced. The Astros then turned to Will Harris, who was making his 10th post season appearance. In his first nine he had not given up an earned run, two shy of the record for post season appearances without allowing an earned run. Harris gave up an infield single to Anthony Rendon that glanced off the leg of Harris. With the bases loaded and one out Juan Soto hit an easy grounder to Gurriel, who made the play at first, allowing the run to score. Howie Kendrick swung and missed at a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

In the top of the seventh the Nationals bullpen let the game get away. Tanner Rainey walked the first two hitters he faced. He got Jose Altuve to fly to right, but Dave Martinez went to Fernando Rodney to get the last two outs. Rodney failed. Michael Brantley singled into center to load the bases. Bregman then deposited Rodney’s second pitch deep into the left field bleachers for a grand slam. Rodney seemed to lose it after that, walking three batters, but he was able to get the last two outs without allowing the Astros to score another run.

Secure with an 8-1 lead the Astros finished the game with Hector Rondon, Brad Peacock and Chris Devenski to get the last six outs.

Game Notes: Josh Hader and Aroldis Chapman were awarded the relievers of the year prior to the game. Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera were present to issue them the award. Only Aroldis made an appearance. After losing the wild card game Josh Hader was a no show at Nationals park…Frank Howard was introduced at the game. The crowd gave him a standing ovation. Howard is now relegated to a wheel chair. Attendance was announced at 43,889, 22 more than last night. Two standing room only fans took advantage of the two seats next to me. They paid more for their standing room only seat than myworld paid for section 300 seats. Those $164 seats were going for $1,200 or more on stub hub…Jose Urquidy became the second pitcher to make his starting debut in the post season without allowing a run. Jon Lester (2007) was the first. Urquidy also became the second Mexican pitcher to get a victory in a World Series game. Fernando Valenzuela was the first (1981). And in a final Urquidy buzz, he had more 1-2-3 inning in his five innings than Scherzer, Strasburg, Verlander and Cole had in their starts…The Astros are the best team hitting lefty starters. They are 38-11 when facing lefty starters during the regular season and now 3-1 in the playoffs. The fact they are also the best hitting team against pitchers with sliders and Corbin’s signature pitch is his slider made it a tough match for Corbin.

Pen Gives Astros First Win

Saturday, October 26th, 2019

Zack Greinke could only go 4.2 innings so the Astros relied on their pen to get the remaining outs to beat the Nationals 4-1. They will need to rely on their pen in game four if they hope to even the series. For myworld it was another bucket list completed. My first World Series.

Anibal Sanchez was not sharp for the Nationals. He lasted one out into the sixth. In the second he gave up his first run. Carlos Correa clothes lined a double down the left field line. Josh Reddick followed by blooping a single into left field. Juan Soto tried to gun down Correa but threw it way over the head of the catcher and into the back stop. Reddick advanced to second. A single by Robinson Chirinos into right field put runners on first and third with one out but Sanchez was ableto wiggle out of the inning giving up just the run.

In the third Jose Altuve led off the inning bouncing a double past the diving Rendon and into the corner. Soto bobbled the ball and Altuve advanced to third. Michael Brantley lined a single off Sanchez for a hit to score Altuve. Sanchez again got out of the inning giving up just the one run.

The Nationals had their opportunities in the first and second innings. In the first Anthony Rendon doubled down the left field line. Juan Soto could not drive him in grounding to first. The Nationals had first and second with one out in the second inning when Victor Robles grounded into a double play. They also loaded the bases in the third but a Asdrubal Cabrera whiff ended that threat.

In the fourth the Nationals were finally able to put their lone run across. Ryan Zimmerman led the inning off with a walk. After a Kurt Suzuki strikeout Victor Robles hit a ground ball down the third base line and into the corner. Zimmerman scored and Robles stopped at third. They could not get the run across when Sanchez bunted a third strike foul and Turner grounded out to the pitcher.

Altuve got the run back for the Astros in the top of the fifth. He hit a one out double down the left field line and scored when Michael Brantley grounded a single into right field past a diving Cabrera. In the sixth Robinson Chirinos hit the left field foul pole for a homerun to make it 4-1. After a walk to pinch hitter Kyle Tucker the day was done for Sanchez.

The Nationals bullpen did well, shutting down the Astros the rest of the way. Rodney walked two in the sixth, one intentionally to load the bases but got Alex Bregman out on a hard grounder to short. Joe Ross pitched two innings giving up just a two out single in the eighth. Wander Suero retired the Astros in order in the ninth.

Greinke did not last five. Asdrubal Cabrera lined a two out double into the right field bullpen wall. Reddick played the ball perfectly off the wall and held Adam Eaton to third. With runners on second and third and two out Josh James came in from the pen and struck out Ryan Zimmerman on a 3-2 count.

Brad Peacock walked two in the sixth, forcing the Astros to turn to Will Harris a little early. He struck out Turner and got Eaton to ground to first to end the threat, then retired the side in order in the seventh. The Nationals had a hard time making contact off his curveball.

Joe Smith and Robert Osuna finished the game off, each giving up a one out single, but the Nationals could do nothing after that.

Game Notes: Myworld’s first World Series. A lot of pomp and circumstance for opening ceremony. The crowd also seemed a little different. It appears many sold their $164 dollar tickets for the stub hub price of $1,200…Carlos Carrasco was announced as the Roberto Clemente award winner…Buzz Aldrin threw out the first pitch. Based on his throw he did not have much of a baseball career. It did not reach home plate. Chad Cordero also threw out a first pitch to catcher Brian Schneider…There were 43,867 in attendance…Game again tonight as well as a volleyball match this afternoon, so myworld will have to cut this short.

Bears One Game from a Sweep in KBO

Friday, October 25th, 2019

The Hawks swept the Giants in the Japan Series. The Nationals are up on the Astros 2-0 in the World Series. The Doosan Bears are one game away from sweeping the Kiwoom Heroes in the Korean Series after their 5-0 win yesterday. Their first two wins were by walkoff, but this game was a bit easier. Seth Frankoff pitched six innings of two hit shutout ball and Yong-chan Lee finished the game off to complete the shutout.

The Bears got the bulk of their runs in the third inning when they scored four. Kun-Woo Park fueled the inning with his two run homerun. The Heroes scored two more runs on a Se-Hyuk Park triple and a Jae-Il Oh double. A couple singles sprinkled in the inning completed the cycle. Oh had a walkoff hit in game one and a two run homerun in game two to now give him RBIs in three consecutive games.

Hawks Sweep Giants to Take Japan Series

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

The Yomiuri Giants did not give the Softbank Hawks much of a battle, losing all four games in the Japan Series. For the Hawks it is their third straight championship, two coming in as the wild card participant, a very difficult task considering they have to play all their conference playoff games as the visiting team and come into the series down 1-0. The Japan Series is different when both teams are treated equally.

In the opener the Hawks tossed one of the best pitchers in baseball, Kodai Senga. He pitched seven innings, allowing just one run, a solo homerun by Shinnosuke Abe. The Hawks took the lead in the bottom half of the second on a two run homer by Yurisbel Gracial and never looked back. A four run seventh put the game out of reach and gave confidence to the Hawks that they could go to the bullpen. The Hawks win 7-2.

Game two was a pitcher’s duel between Cristopher Mercedes and Rei Takahashi. Mercedes had to depart the game after the sixth because of injury and the Hawk hitters mashed the Giant bullpen for three homeruns. Nobuhiro Matsuda had the big hit with a three run homer in the seventh to give the Hawks a 3-0 lead. In the eighth Yuki Yanagita hit a solo shot and Shuhei Fukuda hit a two run bomb to give the Hawks a 6-0 lead. The Giants rallied for three runs in the ninth but fell short 6-3.

In game three the Hawks survived two solo shots from Yoshyuki Kamei in the first and third but still pulled out the 6-2 victory. Gracial hit his second homerun of the Japan series, a solo blast in the second and Alfredo Despaigne drove in three runs to give the Cuban connection four of the six runs driven in for the Hawks.

Gracial hit his third homerun of the series in the fourth inning, a three run shot. That was enough to give the Hawks a 4-3 win and a sweep in the Japan Series.