Archive for October, 2019

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.

All Asian Team

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

Taiwan recently won the Asian championship, defeating Japan 5-4. Below is the all tournament team.

Catcher - Leung Ho Nam (Hong Kong)
First Base - Juan Diego Lozano (Philippines)
Second Base - Jennald Pareja (Philippines)
Third Base - Chen Wei Chih (Taiwan)
Shortstop - Liao Chun Kai (Taiwan)
Outfielder - Hwang Seong Bin (Korea)
Outfielder - Du Nan (China)
Outfielder - Tsai Chih-Yu (Taiwan)
Designated Hitter - Tatsuhiko Satoh (Japan)
Pitcher - Yasuaki Ojima (Japan)
MVP - Liu Chih-Jung (Taiwan)

Bears with Back to Back Walkoffs

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

It does not get any more exciting than at the KBO championship series where the Doosan Bears have beaten the Kiwoom Heroes in the first two games on back to back walkoffs.

In the opener the Bears appeared to be coasting with a 6-1 lead. They decide to take their Cy Young starter Josh Lindblom out of the game, who had won 20 games for them during the season. The bullpen gave up five runs to allow the Heroes to tie. A dropped popup, bunt single and walk loaded the bases for the Bears in the bottom of the ninth, giving Jae-il Oh the opportunity to end it with his walk off single.

The second game was a little harder with the Bears down 5-2 going into the bottom of the eighth. They scored a run on an error to make it 5-3. In the ninth they rallied for three runs, one run scoring on a Jae-ho Kim single and the tying run scoring on a sacrifice fly by In-tae Kim. A wild pitch allowed a runner to advance to second where he scored on a walk off single by Kun-woo Park. Oh, who got the walk off single in the first game hit a two run homer in the fourth inning to give the Bears their first two runs.

Exciting baseball is not just happening in the United States, where the name World Series is not really an appropriate. There are championship series that have been played in Taiwan and are being played in Japan and Korea. None of those championship teams will get an opportunity to play in the “World” Series.

Red Sox Hope to Have Signed the Next Ohtani

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

The Boston Red Sox have signed Taiwan outfielder/pitcher Liu Chih-Jung to a contract, with a signing bonus estimated between $750,000 to $1 million. Liu starred for Taiwan in the 18 and under tournament in 2017 both on offense and defense, hitting .316 with seven walks and two whiffs, while starting two games and going 1-1, 1.98 with 13 strikeouts in 13.2 innings. Taiwan finished tied for second with three other teams in pool play and dropped down to the consolation round where they went undefeated. Some of the players on the United States team in that tournament were Tristan Casas, Jarred Kelenic, Matthew Liberatore, Kumar Rocker and Brice Turang. Liu played shortstop in the tournament.

In the Asian tournament recently completed Liu was clocked at 101 miles per hour with his fastball. According to CPBLstats.com he also crushed several homeruns while hitting from both sides of the plate, though it was not clear if this was from batting practice or during games. It was also stated by CPBLstats that Liu is the backup replacement to C.C. Lee on the Premier 12 roster for Taiwan. Lee had to recently withdraw his name from the roster. Red Sox fans may be able to watch their future star play in the Premier 12, though they have had a number of players signed out of Taiwan, with few of them making an impact in the major leagues.

You can go to CPBLstats.com to see some youtube video of Liu hitting a homerun and pitching. He has a pretty swing. The video shows a maximum velocity of 157kph, which is close to 98. He does have a good breaking ball. He sits at 152-154 kph, but gets a lot of swings and misses with his breaking pitch. He closed out the championship win against Japan in the Asian championship, throwing 2.1 scoreless innings and striking out five. You can also see his performance against Japan at CPBLstats.com.

Three Pitchers Vying for Top KBO Pitcher

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

Three pitchers have been named as vying for the Choi Dong-an award, which is equivalent to the Cy Young award in major league baseball. Yang Hyeon-jong (Kia Tigers), Kim Kwang-hyun (SK Wyverns) and Josh Lindblom (Doosan Bears). Yang won the award in 2014 and 2017 while Lindblom won the award last year when foreigners first became eligible to be nominated. Kim has yet to win the award.

Lindblom has to be the favorite with his 20 wins against just three losses. His 2.50 ERA is second in the league and the Bears finished as the top team in the KBO. Kim was looking at the major leagues a couple years ago, but major league interest in him was slim. He was just coming back from two injury prone seasons, but the last couple years he has been pitching well. He finished 17-6 with his 2.51 ERA third in the league. Yang is the only pitcher still not in the playoffs, but his 2.29 ERA was the best in the KBO. He was 16-8 and his Tigers fell short of making the playoffs.

Korean pitchers must meet a set of criteria in order to be considered for the Choi Dong-an award. They must start at least 30 games, pitch 180 innings, have 12 wins, 150 strikeouts, 15 quality starts, a sub-3.00 ERA and have 35 saves. The three pitchers all met at least 5 of the seven criteria.

United States Premier 12 Roster

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

The United States may be the most impacted team with their inability to use players from 40 man rosters. This leaves a team filled with journeyman and top level prospects. As they found out in the first Premier 12, teams like Japan and Korea who use their professional players are better equipped to do well in the tournament. The United States finished second to Korea in the first Premier 12 event, with the favored Japanese team finishing third. Both Japan and Korea will be stronger in this tournament.

Top level prospects to watch for Team USA will be Jordan Adell, Alec Bohm, Xavier Edwards, Daulton Varsho, Andrew Vaughn and Drew Waters. The veterans on the club include Brandon Dickerson, who could be the ace in the rotation, Eric Kratz and another veteran pitcher in Clayton Richard. Tanner Houck, Spencer Howard and Noah Song are talented young arms that will filter into the rotation. The top two teams will qualify for the Olympics. Myworld feels the United States will finish third, which will be enough to qualify for the Olympics since Japan has already qualified as the host of the tournament.

Pitchers

Clayton Andrews, Brandon Dickson, Parker Dunshee, Jonathon Feyereisen, Brian Flynn, Tanner Houck, Spencer Howard, Tyler Johnson, Wyatt Mills, Cody Ponce, Brooks Pounders, Clayton Richard, Noah Song, Caleb Thielbar, Daniel Tillo

Catchers

Taylor Gushue, Erik Kratz, Daulton Varsho

Infielders

Alek Bohm, Connor Chatham, Jacob Cronenworth, Robert Dalbec, Xavier Edwards, Andrew Vaughn

Outfielders

Jordan Adell, Mark Payton, Brent Rooker, Drew Waters

Premier 12 Roster for Australia

Monday, October 21st, 2019

Australia will be relying on a veteran group to try to qualify them for the Olympics next year. There are a couple cup of coffee major leaguers on the roster in pitchers Travis Blackley and Warwick Saupold, who also had some success in the KBO this past season. Luke Hughes saw a couple years in the major leagues with the Twins, but many years have passed since that experience. Peter Moylan at 41 years of age will be one of the oldest participants. He will try to nail down the bullpen. The outfield could be strong with veteran minor leaguer David Kandilas and prospect Aaron Whitefield, who is the youngest player on the roster at 23. Australia will be playing in Korea against the hosts, Cuba and Canada.

Pitchers

Dean Aldridge, Timothy Atherton, Travis Blackley, Joshua Guyer, Jon Kennedy, Steven Kent, Peter Moylan, Dushan Ruzic, Warwick Saupold, Ryan Searle, Joshua Tols, Todd Van Steensel, Luke Wilkens

Catchers

Ryan Battaglia, Allan de san Miguel, Robert Perkins

Infielders

Trent D’Antonio, Wade Dutton, Darryl George, Robert Glendinning, Luke Hughes, Mitchel Nilsson, David Sutherland, Logan Wade

Outfielders

Andrew Campbell, David Kandilas, Timothy Kennelly, Aaron Whitefield

Taiwan Upsets Japan in Asia Baseball Championship

Monday, October 21st, 2019

Taiwan upset Japan 5-4 in the Asian Baseball Championship. The win qualifies them for the last Olympic qualifier that will be played in April 2020 in Taiwan. China won the third place game 8-6 against Korea to become the second team eligible for the qualifier. Netherlands will also be in that qualifier as well as the second and third place teams in the Americas qualifier that will be played in March 2020. Japan has already qualified because they are hosting the Olympics.

The big hits for Taiwan were a bases loaded triple by Chin-te Chang and a two run double by Chien-ming Chiang. It was the first win for Taiwan in the Asian championship since 2001. Japan had won six of the past seven Asian championships, Korea interrupting their run when they won it in 2014. Taiwan had a streak of finishing second the last four championships.

The loss by Korea means their only opportunity to qualify for the Olympics next year is to finish in the top two at the Premier 12 to be held in a couple weeks, with the finals held in Japan.

Venezuela Roster for Premier 12

Sunday, October 20th, 2019

Venezuela may be in an economic crisis, but they are still able to send a team to Taiwan to play in the Premier 12. They will be missing their major league stars and there are no big time prospects who are participating. Two minor league outfielders are their youngest players and neither has gotten past AA in the minor leagues. Finishing in the top two to qualify for the Olympics will be a long shot. Dixon Machado is their most recent major league player, but he was released by the Miami Marlins after the 2018 season and signed to a minor league contract by the Cubs. Henderson Alvarez, Felix Doubront and Andres Blanco are additional ex-major league names who will be participating. Venezuela will be in the Taiwan pool competing against Japan, Taiwan and Puerto Rico. Below is their roster for the Premier 12

Pitchers

Cristian Alvarado, Henderson Alvarez, Argenis Angulo, Liarvis Breto, Yeizo Campos, Felix Doubront, Elvis Escobar, Yapson Gomez, Carlos Navas, Williams Perez, Jhonleider Salinas, Miguel Socolovich, Andres Sotillet, Anthony Vizcaya

Catchers

Juan Apodaca, Jose Godoy

Infielders

Andres Blanco, Ali Castillo, Luis Castro, Jecksson Flores, Dixon Machado, Juniel Querecuto, Carlos Rivero, Henry Rodriguez

Outfielders

Manuel Melendez, Alexander Palma, Diego Rincones, Herlis Rodriguez

Monkeys Win the Taiwan Championship

Saturday, October 19th, 2019

They lost the second game to the Chinatrust Brothers to even the series at 1-1, but they won the last three, including the fifth game 20-3 to win a third consecutive CPBL championship. A nine run first inning, eight of them off Brothers starter Elih Villanueva, who could retire only two batters, put the game out of reach early. The Lamiga Monkeys starting pitcher Michael Nix went six innings to get the win.

The Monkeys have now won seven championships, six of them since 2012. Only the Uni-President Lions with nine have won more. Rakuten has recently bought the LaMiga Monkeys and their name could change to the Rakuten Eagles, similar to their Japanese team name, or a more unique Rakuten Monkeys.

Lin Li was named MVP of the Series for his .520 batting average and three homeruns and 11 RBIs in five games. He had two homeruns in the final game, a three run blast in the first and a solo shot later in the game. Shih-Hao Liu powered a grand slam homerun in the first inning to up the score to 6-0. Li closed out the scoring with his three run shot. Cheng-Fei Lin and Chun-Hsui Chen also went deep for the Monkeys.